Case study of a squatter settlement – kibera, nairobi
Case Study of a
– Kibera Shanty Town
in Nairobi, Kenya
A case study of a squatter settlement
AQA A pg 208-9
AQA B pg 51
• All will understand the
characteristics of Kibera and
what life is like for the people
• Most will understand that
although life is difficult, there
are a number of ways in which
Kibera is being improved.
• Some will understand why Kibera
can be seen as both a slum of
hope and a slum of despair.
Characteristics of Kibera
Watch the first clip and
write a list of the
problems you would find
if you visited Kibera
Site and situation of Kibera
AQA A pg 208
Stick your copy of the map into your ex. books
• Describe the site of Kibera (mention marsh
land which floods during rainy season and
• Describe the situation of Kibera (mention
distance and direction from city centre)
• Where are all the shanty settlements
located? Is there a pattern?
• Where is the area of high income housing?
• Between 800,000 and
1 million people live in
the shanty town in an
area of only 255
density is so high
that people have only
1m³ of space each.
• Over 100,000
children are believed
to be orphans due to
the high incidence of
Characteristics of the squatter
settlement and living conditions
• Homes are made of mud, plastered over
boards, wood or corrugated iron sheeting.
• The paths between the houses are irregular,
narrow and often have a ditch running down
the middle that has sewage in it.
• Rubbish litters the area as it is not collected.
The area smells of the charcoal used to
provide fuel and of human waste.
• A standpipe may supply water for up to 40
families: private operators run hosepipes into
the area and charge double the going rate for
• Crime is rife and vigilante
groups offer protection –
at a price. The police are
reluctant to enter the
• However, there is a
community spirit: homes
are kept clean and the
What attempts have been made to
Practical Action, a British Charity, has been
responsible for low cost roofing tiles made
from sand and clay and adding lime and
natural fibre to soil to create blocks used
for building that are cheaper than concrete.
These allow self help schemes to progress.
The United Nations’ Human Settlement
Programme (UN Habitat) has provided
affordable electricity to some parts of the
slum at 300 Kenyan shillings per shack.
There are two main water pipes – one
provided by the council and the other by the
World Bank – at a cost of 3 Kenyan Shillings
per 20 litres.
Improving sanitation is more difficult and
progress is slow. Charities such as the Red
Cross are supporting the improvements. Gap
year students are encouraged to go to
Kibera to oversee the spending and to help
On a larger scale…
A 15 year project that began in
2003 plans to re-house thousands
of residents of Kibera. In the 1st
year of this project, run by the
government and UN Habitat, 700
families were re-housed in new
blocks of flats with running water,
toilets, showers and electricity.
Residents have been involved in
plans and funding of 650 million
Kenyan shillings had been set aside
for the first year. Funding is now
provided by charities and cheap
World Bank loans.
Nairobi slum life: Into Kibera
Nairobi slum life: An evening in Kibera
Nairobi slum life: Kibera's children
Nairobi slum life: Escaping Kibera
AQA A pg 209 Q3e
In your opinion, is Kibera a slum of hope
or dispair? Justify your views.
• parts of Kibera, one of the largest shanty towns in Africa, were
demolished by the Kenyan government recently (The Guardian, 20
April 2004). Bulldozers tore through the slums surrounding Nairobi
in preparation for the construction of a new road. Plans for the area
were not unknown but land is now in such short supply - population
density reaches 80,000 per square kilometre in parts of Kibera - that
shanty dwellings had been built there. While Kenya, like Brazil, has
given legitimacy to some of its slums, the government must also
press on with plans to develop national infrastructure and
modernise. Unfortunately, large parts of Kibera are now a physical
obstacle to this plan. This reminds us of the fundamental difference
between poor areas of housing in MEDCs and in LEDC shanty
towns – the latter are usually illegal. Housing is constructed on land
that is not being used. However, rights of ownership do not pass to
the slum dwellers. Their homes remain vulnerable should the true
owner make claim to the land.
• Write detailed answers to the questions
you have been given. Make sure you refer
your answer to a specific squatter