Africa > Kenya

In the Beginning, There Is Water

When standing in the middle of one of the world’s largest slums, feeling the urge to help somehow, anyhow- one can easily have difficulty deciding where to start. However, when the founders of Human Needs Project visited Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya- one of the world’s “mega slums”- they knew immediately what to address first: water.

Estimates of Kibera’s population range dramatically, from 100,000 to 2 million. The difficulty in assessing an accurate population count stems from the unfortunate nature of slum housing: dwellings are packed tightly together into any available space causing a dramatic, nearly undeterminable population density. What’s more, the Kenyan government regards habitation of the land illegal and so is hesitant to provide public services. Any education facilities and water and electricity sources are privately owned and unreliable. But when actress and humanitarian Connie Nielsen visited Kibera in 2010, she saw every reason to hope.

armed with knowledge of the problem and a passion for solving it, Connie joined with Bay Area sustainable construction expert David Warner to found Human Needs Project (HNP). They quickly assembled a team of world class engineers, architects, environmentalists and humanitarians to develop a way to bring hope to Kibera. Their plan includes using clean technology to build a community center and adult education facilities as well as providing for improved sanitation and micro-financing. But first, they will bring water.

With this decision made, Connie and David knew just who to turn to and in 2011 WaterHope agreed to join forces with HNP. Plans for a sustainable community water well are in development stages and, once built, this well will serve as the center of development and improvement for a community in desperate need of help.

Check back often to watch as this project is brought to fruition and, in the meantime, keep hoping for a better Kibera.