Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) CEO and founder Kennedy Odede has lauded Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Mohamed Badi for stopping demolitions of houses in Mukuru slums.
Mr Odede, who met Gen Badi on Thursday, said he was impressed by the swift response by NMS to rescue Mukuru slum residents who have been spending nights in the cold.
Prior to the meeting, the Shofco boss had received a group of community leaders from Mukuru who raised concerns by the manner in which the demolitions were being carried out.
“I met a delegation of leaders from Mukuru whose houses had been pulled down, I believe in development and progress but it has to be people-centered. I will engage the government on their behalf,” Mr Odede said.
He commended the government for building roads in the city's informal settlements.
“Great news that the government has stopped evictions in Mukuru slums, we welcome development projects in the slums and as Shofco, we are glad to partner with the state to uplift the lives of slum residents,” Mr Odede said.
General Badi, while addressing the demolition victims, promised them government’s support.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to rebuild all the houses that were demolished and he will come here to visit you,” Gen Badi told the residents.
Mr Odede said he looked forward to working with General Badi.
“Shofco and NMS have been great partners for the past two years, we are glad to work with Gen Badi to deliver services to the people of Nairobi,” he said.
The two bodies have partnered in administering Covid-19 vaccines and distribution of water among other activities in Nairobi slums.
Shofco centre in Mukuru became a safe haven for hundreds of residents whose houses and livelihoods were brought down. Nuria Abdi, a mother of eight children, was one of the residents who sought refuge at the centre.
She has lived in Mukuru slums for 23 years and was hurt when her home was demolished, leaving her children and ailing husband to spend the night in the cold.
“I bought land here in 1995 and built an iron sheet house. President Kenyatta came here in 2013 and promised to give us title deeds. Unfortunately, that has not happened,” Ms Abdi said.
She was out doing her hawking business when her home of 25 years was demolished.
“Everything in my house was destroyed. I did not recover even my children’s certificates. The demolitions were carried out without any notice,” she said.
Mr Odede promised to work with the government in resettling the affected families through the Shofco Urban Network (SUN) programme.
He said through SUN, the victims will be given bedding and food.
“As the government tries to build houses for the affected families, we will distribute bedding and food to our SUN members,” he said.
Through its SUN programme in Mukuru, Shofco is carrying out women empowerment projects, youth training, books library and gender-based violence response. The organisation also runs a Sacco in the slum which has enabled community members to save money and borrow loans.
The organization has since spread to over 24 slums across Kenya and is serving 2.4 million vulnerable people. It has two schools with over 800 students and six health clinics serving an average of 600 people per day.