Why do we focus our efforts on Mathare?
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.