In the last decade, the pace of urbanization, especially in Africa and Asia, has been rapid. It is predicted that by 2050 about 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be urbanized. That is equivalent to approximately 3 billion urbanites by 2050. In many fast-growing cities in Africa, what constitutes an urban neighbourhood has undergone dramatic change. In Kenya’s capital city Nairobi, not only have shanty towns grown as rural migrants move in search of work and opportunity, but often public services are stretched and power and water outages can become common.
The Kilimani Project Foundation (KPF) was established in August 2012 by a group of residents from the Nairobi neighbourhood of Kilimani, one of the city’s oldest and most diverse with a population of 43,000. Working with a network of volunteers, it seeks to bring the community together and identify ways to address collective interests and concerns from traffic congestion, to a lack of green spaces, recreational facilities and crime. Constant Cap, KPF’s Coordinator, shares how they have worked to use a mix of community engagement, community organizing and local resource mobilization to build a model for urban communities in large cities.
GFCF: Who does KPF understand to be its community?
Constant Cap: We see Kilimanians from various perspectives. Being an area of land used for different purposes, we have people who live in the area (residents), people who work in the area, and those who pass through Kilimani for one reason or another. For example, there are over 15 schools in Kilimani and while not all the students in these schools live in the area, their parents come to drop them off and pick them up every day, so essentially they are part and parcel of the Kilimani community. We also have informal vendors who live in nearby neighbourhoods and we have Nairobians who drive through Kilimani moving from one part of the city to another. These people spend part of their day in Kilimani and are therefore stakeholders in the area, and part of the community.