Nuru Intervenes in Kiambiu Slums

Kiambiu (sometimes spelled as Kiambio) is a slum in Nairobi with 40-50,000 residents. Kiambiu is 4 kilometers east of the center of Nairobi.  Compared to other slums in Nairobi, it is the smallest. It is not easily seen from the surrounding estates and a narrow entrance next to nearby kiosks welcomes you to access it. Many people are not aware of its existence.

Although the pathways are easier to access, and drinking water and waste handling are better compared to other slums, access to social amenities remains a challenge to this community.

Assistant Chief, Mr. Samson Kaindi opens the forum and welcomes the community to the baraza

In September 2014, Nuru–a PEPFAR funded program with a focus on HIV prevention in Nairobi entered its fifth and final year of intervention. From 2014 the program has been restructuring its interventions to focus on the most vulnerable in the community, most of whom are young girls who are exposed to sex work and are at risk of engaging in sex work due to their environment and /or by virtue of being raised by a sex worker.

On 28th January 2015, HOPE worldwide Kenya joined the residents of Kiambiu at a chief’s baraza (gathering) to discuss issues affecting the community.  The baraza presented a perfect opportunity to increase awareness about the program and to tap into the goodwill and support from the community. It was also a forum to engage the caregivers, guardians and parents of the continuously abused girls so that they would support their girls to acquire alternative skills and increase retention in the Nuru Program. The program has been experiencing high drop-out rates and involving the community to come up with solutions would address these challenges.  Nuru supported the event by providing refreshments.

An attentive audience keenly follows the presentations

According to the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework 2014/2015 – 2018/2019, girls between 15 and 24 years are 3 times more likely to be infected by HIV compared to their male counterparts. This led to Nuru’s decision to intervene in this community. The program provides alternative livelihood training to the girls by providing vocational skills training in hairdressing and beauty, fashion and design, catering, computer application skills and entrepreneurship courses. The program also provides HIV prevention interventions and life skills training.

The Baraza was led by the area assistant chief Mr. Samson Kaindi together with his colleague, Mr. Cheriyot (sub-chief in Kiambio area). Also, other organizations working in the community were represented. A representative from the Ministry of Health who is in charge of community health workers and attached to Bahati Health Centre made a brief presentation on the free cervical cancer screening services offered in the community. SOS Children’s Villages also briefed the community on their child sponsorship program.  Fresh Life, an organization who provides toilet services also presented a business opportunity to the community at a minimal and affordable fee; and a community health worker working under the children’s department gave a brief on the cash transfer initiative by the government which is a safety net for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC’s) in poor households.