Jordi Alos, Director of Dianova Uruguay, describes his visit to the Korogocho (Nairobi) neighborhood during his stay in Kenya for the high-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Development
During my stay I had the opportunity to meet with George Ochieng Odalo, the Executive Director of the Slum Child Foundation (SCF) and associate member of the Dianova Network. SCF is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating the high levels of misery, violence and drug abuse that slums must face.
The Foundation works more particularly for the children of the Korogocho slum. Located about 10 kilometers of the Nairobi city centre, Korogocho is the fourth largest slum neighbourhoods of Nairobi, home to 200,000 people pressed into 1.5 square kilometers. Residents are served by very little formal infrastructure: there is no central sewer system, no piped fresh water and of course, no street lighting.
During my visit to Korogocho with George Ochieng Odalo, I realized that many residents are in poor health and all must of them must face high crime rates while living with very scarce resources. Moreover, the place is overcrowded and most residents live in the vicinity of the landfill, an enormous mountain of garbage that represents their daily sustenance and an opportunity to survive.
The landfill is a provider of life and death with permanent fires, toxic fumes and carrion birds. It is what we would consider an inhuman sight, nevertheless, this very sight accompanies every day the lives of the slum’s residents who have none of the services that we deem essential.
Poverty becomes a way of life, with a lack of essential rights that generates an environment where crime, alcoholism and drug use are rampant, where rates of HIV, rape and all sorts of abuse are absurdly high. A place where the poor prey on the poor.
In contrast to all this, civil society organizations such as the Slum Child Foundation and many other initiatives strive to help Korogocho’s residents and alleviate their burden. Collective and individual efforts are made. The Slum Child Foundation for example is strongly committed in preventing drug dependence and HIV transmission among the population. In addition, the foundation is dedicated to empowering women and girls, promoting children’s rights and education, and preventing adolescent pregnancy and child marriage, among other objectives.
We, at Dianova, would like to contribute to their actions so that issues such as that of Korogocho become more visible.
Our ambition is to work with other civil society organizations to implement safer environments for people to live in. For this reason, we adhere to the principles of the Global Partnership to achieve the global objectives of ending poverty and protecting our planet.
Director General, Dianova Uruguay