Africa’s largest slum
In Kibera, Kenya, most people live on less than a dollar a day
- By: Thomas Craig
Three weeks into a four week voluntary work project in Kenya, I found myself where the Foreign Office had said not to be.1 I stepped out of the taxi into a jungle—the urban jungle of Kibera.
Featured in the film The Constant Gardener, Kibera (jungle) is in the shadow of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and is Africa’s largest slum. This impoverished and unsanitary labyrinth is riddled with corruption and disease. No one really knows how many people live in Kibera, but population estimates range from 500 000 to 700 000.2 Locals claim up to a million people live there—a quarter of Nairobi’s population.
The average home for a family of five is 3 metres by 3 metres so overcrowding and infectious diseases are rife. This problem is compounded because the main sanitation system is a series of open sewers that flow through the streets leaving cholera, typhoid, and other diseases in its