Residents of Obunga estate woke up to a surprise clean up exercise by members of Kamakowa community conversation group on Tuesday 28th July.
Like most informal settlements around the world, a large portion of the estate is riddled with poor sewage and garbage disposal, which pose a great health risk to the residents especially children.
The group chairperson, Pamela Ibrahim says that most parts of the estate are in hazardous state due to poor sanitation, a predicament she attributes to Kisumu city council’s laxity to enforce waste disposal by laws as well as residence’s apathy towards the environment.
‘We have community based youth groups that sell garbage bags at twenty shillings inclusive of the disposal fee but some households still dispose of solid and liquid wastes on estate paths,’ laments Pamela. She adds that this requires not only intervention of the city council but also attitudinal change as a remedy.
Community conversation groups such as Kamakowa are a KMET intervention through its HIV, urban livelihood & social protection programs that support communities to form groups where they regularly discuss issues that affect the community, identifying gaps that need to be filled and offer solution on the same.
It is in such a forum that Kamakoa residents identified the filth in their environment as a threat to their health.
Rose Ogolla, KMET’s urban livelihoods Programme Coordinator, says that the community conversations (CC) that have been formed in 43 villages in Kisumu East District, purposes to achieve a holistic analysis of the communities’ situation and pave way for negotiations between segments within the community and with external actors which eventually leads to sustainable community driven development.
Members of such groups have also had massive capacity enhancement as far as economic issues are concerned. KMET through partners like CONCERN worldwide and other external actors have offered support in entrepreneurial training, soft loans, business mentorship as well as vocational training to youth members and member’s siblings who are unemployed.
Currently, the CC beneficiaries of the vocational training who have completed their course are receiving start-up kits to enable them launch businesses in their areas of expertise such as catering, hairdressing, computer technology and mechanics just to mention the four.