What We Do

Why Mathare?

Why do we focus our efforts on Mathare?

The Mathare community faces many challenges

Mathare is the second largest slum in Nairobi. Although estimates vary widely, between 500,000 and 800,000 people live in this area of just 1km2.  Mathare residents lack access to basic necessities such as water, electricity, roads, and waste disposal. Unemployment and precarious employment is common, with the result that most families struggle to meet their basic needs. Like most informal settlements, residents of Mathare do not own their homes or land, and as a result are often not recognized by or included in government programs.

Mathare’s youth need access to education

Education is a key step in addressing the challenges faced by residents of Mathare (learn more about the importance of education here). However, many families cannot afford to send their children to secondary school due to high tuition fees and the cost of uniforms, textbooks, school supplies, and transportation. Out-of-school youth in Mathare are at risk of being pulled into crime, child labour, or early marriage. There is an urgent need for more educational opportunities for the young people of Mathare, and this is why CMETrust exists.  

We see the potential for positive change

Despite these many challenges, there are many individuals and groups within Mathare working tirelessly to improve their community. Although Mathare often gets overlooked by international organizations focused on Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, it is home to numerous community associations that carry out innovative work to address the issues facing Mathare. CMETrust’s Kenyan Field Representatives are committed to giving back to their community, and work with many of these other associations in addition to their role with CMETrust. This environment provides a real opportunity to our scholars to learn from positive role models and participate in community change.

It is against this backdrop that we believe a critical mass of educated youth has the potential to make transformative change. This is why we work in Mathare, and we hope you’ll join us.


Why Education?

We believe education is a human right and that every child should have access to education regardless of where they live or their family’s income. We also believe education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming communities, nations, and the world. 

Our theory of change is simple: we believe that education empowers individuals, that empowered individuals help Mathare thrive, and that a thriving Mathare will help Kenya prosper.

Unfortunately, for many families in Mathare, secondary school education is out of reach. Although primary school is free in Kenya, secondary school is still prohibitively expensive. Most families in Mathare cannot afford to pay for tuition fees, uniforms, school supplies, transportation, and other associated expenses. This means many young people are left out of school, putting them at risk of being forced into child labour, early marriage, drug trafficking, crime, etc. This isn’t good for the individual, their family, or the community. By providing scholarships, CMETrust is ensuring that young people can instead develop their talents and put them to use positively. 

When we talk about education, we don’t just mean the formal education that happens in a classroom. In addition to offering secondary school scholarships and post-secondary school support, CMETrust runs a complementary school break program for our scholars while they are back in Mathare on their holidays. This informal education program provides our scholars with personal and professional skills beyond what they can gain at school. We also offer a three-month computer training course in partnership with KCITI to all our secondary school graduates to ensure they have the skills to succeed in today’s digital world.

Our goal is to create a critical mass of educated youth who can transform their lives, their families, their community, their country – and the world! 

If you believe in education, we invite you to get involved today! 


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