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The Nubian Rights Forum Identity Documentation Program empowers the Nubian ethnic minority by providing the much-needed assistance in acquiring identity documents, which are vital tools in fighting for other rights such as education, land rights, seeking of loans and employment opportunities.

The Nubian Rights Forum (NRF), in partnership with the Kenyan Department of Civil Registration with the support of UNHCR, Namati and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) have conducted three successful mobile birth registration campaigns in Kibra, Nairobi.

The program began in 2007 up to 2011 after the post-election violence with the theme “SAY NO TO POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE” under African Human Rights Education Program (AHREP).It was funded by DFID through Amnesty International Kenya and the implementation partners

Birth registration and registration of persons in general hugely affect children as they get affected when their parents lack registration documents as it makes the child not able to apply for registration documents and this can render them stateless. The Nubian Rights Forum identified that all interventions

  • Radio Program

    The radio show is now used to empower the community on the importance of citizenship documentation. Previously the show educated the community in Kibera on the effects of being instruments of politically motivated violence.

    The show is being aired on Pamoja FM 99.9 a community radio station based in Kibera every Saturday from 5 pm to 7 pm.

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The conduct of the state during the COVID-19 Pandemic shows the level of consideration the government has for its citizens. While people are fighting challenges such as hunger, insecurity and unaffordable lifestyles, residents in Kariobangi and Ruai in Kenya woke up to new challenges that now threaten the livelihood of residents; including women and children.

With the on going Pandemic, a new challenge hitting a majority citizens is the ongoing demolitions that are happening during night time because of alleged illegal construction on disputed pieces of land. All demolitions have happened during the night.
Currently, the affected areas are Ruai and Kariobangi. The demolished houses in Ruai are alleged to be on a 3000 acre piece of land that is meant for the expansion of the Dandora Sewerage Treatment Plant. At least 200 families have been left homeless. Demolitions in Kariobangi left around 5000 families homeless. Majority of those left homeless say they received no prior notice before the evictions.
While the state may justify the need for the demolitions, the action is wrong because prior ruling from the courts had instructed all parties to maintain status quo until the final determination of the case. The respondents ignoring the court ruling and carrying out the demolitions are in contempt. Upholding of the law in Kenya by the state has always been an issue of concern because most of rulings given to the state by the courts are rarely adhered to- these demolitions being a practical example.
Constitutionally, the government has a responsibility to its citizens to provide for them during these trying times but unfortunately this is not the case. Those approving demolitions of residents during this period should have a strategy that provides for the well being of the people. The risks of demolitions exposes children to cold, exposes individuals to potential COVID-19 infected persons and risks losing lives due to many unavoidable factors.

With restricted movement directives issued by the government, it is impossible for the residents left homeless to opt to go back home. Instead they are stranded in a critical state that exposes them to COVID-19, hunger and insecurity. The actions of departments of the state show the lack of proper planning between the different departments in the government to cater for demolitions and at the same time execute safe evacuations of residents to temporary safe sites. It also shows the level of disrespect of the state for the law and the courts at large.

Join our tweet chat today at 13:00 hours as we discuss the state of the evicted citizens and find a way forward.

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How alarming is COVID-19 if it were to hit informal settlements?

Let us paint a picture

India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, and South Africa are amongst the countries with a number of individuals in informal settlements in their countries. Research carried out by  Habitat for Humanity estimates that at least a quarter of the population live in informal settlements in urban areas. In Kenya, Kibera hosts at least 700, 000 individuals, In India Dharavi, hosts at least one million individuals, Mexico has similar numbers in Neza and the same applies for Khatyelitsha in South Africa. Study shows that informal settlements are characterized by inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, insecure residential areas, poor housing and overcrowding. Due to the economies of scale involved, informal settlements are here to stay- or at least for the time being.

A majority of people living in informal settlements are challenged by these extreme conditions live in, and to add on, employment is often scarce. Manual and casual labor or blue collar jobs are common amongst the people. These jobs, such as the Jua Kali industry, and casual jobs such as washing and cleaning, in Kenya, often dictate the level of sustainability of a person on a daily basis because their nature forces for meager earnings. These meager earnings are not guaranteed, they are also dependent on the availability of clients or people in need of casual laborers. With the increase in prices of local goods and other essential needs such as paraffin, the few earned coins are often divided to buy food, essentials, pay rent amongst other bills, and clearly, the funds are never enough to sustain. The challenge extends to accessing social amenities such as hospitals and schools where one has an option of private expensive education and healthcare that at least guarantees quality, or public facilities that are often understaffed, lack equipment and resources and are often at a threat of workers laying down their tools for lack of pay. Aside from crime, violence, the informal settlements also record high cases of police brutality and extra judicial killings that often go unresolved. In layman terms, the people do not dictate their way of life, their life dictates their living.

2020 saw us witness the spread of COVID-19, a situation that has now been declared a pandemic. Developed countries with adequate health care have witnessed massive deaths due to the Corona virus. A majority of countries are on lock down and there is no movement. This is an attempt to control and contain the spread of the virus. The main objective of all nations is to flatten the curve of the yet to be well understood virus. However, even with the control measures, countries are still counting deaths, and infections. What at least brings hope is the fact that we have witnessed a higher number of recoveries. To help the situation, countries have put in place response teams that are aiding in giving free food and essentials to the vulnerable, they are providing masks for their citizens and there is a controlled and visible organizational pattern top to bottom. There are clear directives that are inclusive of all groups whether rich or poor. It is an inclusive fight against COVID-19

In Kenya, with a slow but steady rise in infections. We have witnessed deaths, and we have recorded recoveries. The health care system especially for informal settlements and rural areas is still lacking in terms of enough beds, and availability of ICU units. If the infections were to rise rapidly, there would be excessive strain on the healthcare system. It is unclear how priority will be given to infected persons who need ventilators when the country is short of ICU units and functional ventilators. There have been complaints over the absurd charges at the isolation centers with clearly minimal supervision from the government which in turn puts the isolated individuals at risk of exposure. Worse still, people from informal settlements, if put in isolation will not afford the highly priced rooms.

Aside from that, some of the directives include a 7pm curfew, social distancing and wearing of masks. Masks have hiked in prices- the common mwananchi may not be able to afford purchasing masks. Most are opting for cloth masks that are not proven to prevent viruses. Surgical masks and N-95 are simply not affordable for most people who live under a dollar a day. Social distancing in over crowded areas is a challenge because most casual laborers would rather risk Corona virus than risk hunger. Food insecurity is a problem to an extent that during the recently witnessed scrambling for relief food in Kibera, two people lost their lives.

One of the government responses to these issues is to implore. To implore landlords to reduce or waive rent, to implore people selling masks to reduce prices, to implore people selling food to regulate prices and to implore police to use more civil means to implement the curfew directive. But this has not stopped the beating and killing of people who were caught out a few minutes after the curfew, it has not stopped prices from being hiked. With no one directly watching or putting in place measures that are inclusive of all groups, we continue to see people in informal settlements and other areas experiencing a pinch because of mistakes that are not their own.

The picture above is just a sample of how life is in informal settlements with COVID-19 in the country. That picture can easily get ugly if COVID-19 cases were to increase in informal settlements. Let us strive to increase access to justice, food, and healthcare for people in informal settlements. Make it possible for them to respond to the measures given, without having to strain.






The Nubian Rights forum has been dedicated to advocating for the rights of minority groups in the country. Our physical location in Kibera allows us to see first-hand the living conditions of slum dwellers in the vicinity. Kibera is home to at least 300,000 people and is one of the most congested slums in the country. The residents of the slum do not have adequate access to basic needs such as water, there is no proper sanitation, and a majority of the labourers are casual labourers and depend on their daily earnings to put a meal on their tables. The level of awareness in the community concerning the global pandemic- COVID-19, which is currently affecting the country, is low and there are a lot of myths being spread especially about how black people are immune to the virus. In recent observations, there is minimal social distancing and the living conditions in the area do not allow for practical social distancing because of congestion.

While developed countries may be ready for a lockdown, the Nubian Rights Forum observes that a majority of towns in developing areas are not capable of sustainable living under lockdown. Settlers in the Kibera community work in the Juakali Industry and therefore, they rely on their daily earnings to make a living. Current happenings on the NEWS show that the settlers prefer to risk getting infected by the virus and continue working instead of staying home with no food or means to earn. Kibera, if hit with a lock down, will witness a challenge access to basic needs including; proper sanitation, adequate food and access to social amenities such as hospitals. It is also an observation that while awareness may increase the knowledge of the community on the virus and in turn motivate them to observe safety, the economic inhibitions in the slums may make it impossible for the community to adequately provide for their basic needs. We request that anyone willing to provide relief in the near future depending on the turn of events, do so.

We as the Nubian Rights Forum believe that small acts of humanity will go a long way in ensuring the community members are protected from the virus. This particular appeal is for purposes of hygiene items that can help keep the spread of the virus in check. These small acts will involve awareness creation on COVID-19, practical dos and don’ts and provision of preventive gears such as sanitizers and masks.

With the above submissions, we as the Nubian Right Forum believe that it would be prudent to try and ensure the community is well educated and adequately prepared for the pandemic in case it is not contained in time. We would like to invite our partners and other organizations that share this plight, to come together, and try aid in the preparedness of the community to handle the spread of the virus in their different capacities.

In line with this, we would like to welcome any group that can contribute to the objectives listed below to reach out and work together to save the Kibera community.

  • sensitize the community on COVID-19
  • Supply the community in kind with items such as water buckets and water tanks, sanitizers, tissue papers, soaps, gloves masks and handkerchiefs
  • Supply the community with menstrual hygiene equipment and any other in kind donations.