A green chance. Mathare slum subsistence agriculture project.


Mathare, on the outskirts of Nairobi, is one of the largest collection of slums among those present in Kenya, hosting more than 500,000 people. This informal metropolitan area is characterized by a widespread lack of basic services, precarious living conditions, and daily challenges associated with extreme poverty. The narrow, dusty streets of Mathare are lined with makeshift shacks made of sheet metal and wood, creating a intricate labyrinth where thousands of people struggle to survive. The lack of adequate sanitation infrastructure contributes to public health issues, while limited access to clean water poses a daily challenge for residents.

Inside, a subsistence agriculture project was tested, creating, in the immediate vicinity of the local hospital, green areas in which the population can cultivate plots of land for their own food needs. Some of the cultivated areas, entrusted to private individuals, also produce vegetables which are put on the market at very low prices. Both through direct sales to the local population, and through a network of small shops within the slum itself. Local and international NGOs have provided the infrastructures and the technical advice necessary for the start and development of the project.

In a different area of Mathare, many inhabitants have also started to cultivate the land independently, also creating micro fish farms. In these areas, located on the borders of inhabited areas, however, the population is forced to use the polluted small stream as the only source of water, into which a large part of the waste water from the agglomeration of dilapidated houses flows, make up the slum.

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Read on my blog about other world suburbs (in Italian)