Map Kibera

When I was starting the storytelling project in Kenya in 2010, several folks were already in Kibera using local people to build a detailed map of Kibera slum.

Just 3 years ago, if you typed in Kibera on google maps, it wouldn’t take you to this part of Nairobi:


The edges of Kibera should be obvious; where dense shacks with no roads run up against golf courses and green fields with high rise apartments for the rich – that’s the boundary.


kibera high rise apartments

That outline of Kibera slum on google maps is new. It happened because a group of people took the time to map the slum and put at least 100,000 (* some claim 150,000 or 700,000 people, but nobody is sure of the population) people on a map, both geographically and politically.

I needed this map so that we would know which place a person was talking about in our storytelling project. Kibera has 14  villages within it and people from one are not already welcome in another:

(* only 13 shown here; Olympic is missing)

A funny thing happened when Kibera had detailed maps of social services.


People got noticed by politicians. They became voters, and they had a say in who would represent them in the Kenyan Parliament.


This week Erica (co-founder of Map Kibera, the organization that helped Kiberans appear on the map and in voting booths) wanted to draw our attention to a Global Giving campaign they’ve started to keep the process going. She writes:

What’s the situation? Government funds in Kenya are distributed to communities through a community development fund budget, and the result is meant to be projects that are visible and useful to citizens – things like toilet blocks and playgrounds in slum areas like Kibera. For years, we’ve heard people talk about the need to properly document these projects because they tend to disappear. In some cases, funds are dispersed and projects do take form – unfortunately this is not often the case.

We believe Map Kibera is perfectly situated to get at the real story behind each allocated project and openly share the results with the community.

This takes a combination of mapping on the ground, documenting with visual media, and talking to people about their opinion of each project. We’ll lead local networks [that ensure implemented CDF projects follow] the needs of the community. No more wasted and hidden funds. It’s also the perfect time because new political leadership is in place at the community level. GroundTruth is supporting Map Kibera to achieve this and we urgently need your help!

Anything you can give will be a significant addition to the budget of this project: Just $25 will buy full day’s work for someone living in Kibera (and typically rent is under $50 for a month for that worker!)


Seriously, give now.


Do demonstrate the need for this project, I went to the storytelling search tool and searched for Kibera and CDF, retrieving 41 stories of the 58,000+ we collected from East Africa:

cdf kibera storiesAs the graphic summary shows, there are a mix of positive and negative stories within this batch of CDF feedback. Here are some examples:

Constituency Development Funds — KIBERA MAKINA, NAIROBI ( GOVERNMENT
The idea brought in about the constituency development funds by the government has helped change positively many constitiencies with better management and which leaders act well. To some with poor management it has not been well for them. The CDF money has help build better roads, expand many schools and even support many pupils and students who are unable to those constituencies with better management. It has been realised that the amount of money given by the government as a constituency development funds is not enough for the underdevelopment constituency and an appeal has been made to them to be considering each and every constituency because underdeveloped area should not be compared to development area

Am a resident of Kibera slum, the area biggest problem is health, we have less health centers in the area, where of the area is populated . My concern is that the government, i’ll improve the CDF on health care. The christian chruches have open small clinics which rely helping to easy health problem in the area

Sports Fund Embezzlement — OLYMPIC, KIBERA (
The constituency development fund are meant to help the community they are designated for. The projects in the given community have to be supported and financed adequately. This projects include sports. In lang’ata constituency this funds are nowhere to be seen. Sports teams are struggling to honour games,buy the things they require and even take care of themselves and their players and all this happen while the sports development funds in the community are being embezzled

That last story is fascinating because it mentions the CDF corruption problem in Lang’ata (near Kibera) but also assumes that the CDF was meant to promote sports. I don’t think Parliament expected CDF to finance youth sports originally, though the member of parliament has complete discretion to spend them however she/he likes without real oversight.

Building Of Toilets — KIBERA KIANDA, NAIROBI ( CDF
Toilets in these community have been problem, most of the people they use flying toilets which is very dangerous to resident, because where they go and through them it’s just near their houses which can cause diseases like Typhoid etc but for now we have seen more toilets like ushirika and many others,even if they pay but it was good idea that for now people are in community

The C. D. F project just started while i was in standard five. I live in Kibera and CDF has helped us alot. We did not have latrines or bathroom . People were suffering alot here. Some people could excrete in plastic bags then they throw them away. This helped in the spread of cholera from one person to the other. The other was bathing in their houses. The floor is made up of mud . In the process of bathing,the water collects itself and that can cause Birlhazia or mosquitoes which spread malaria

So as the next two stories show, CDF is not all good and not all bad. There is some nuance to the opinions about CDF in Kibera. I believe this Map Kibera project will bring to light even more useful knowledge and accountability to the CDF in Kibera slum – even possibly, creating a functional feedback loop if the CDF managers are listening.

Map Kibera is supported by Ground Truth Initiative, a co-founding organization for


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