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Engaging Communities in Data Collection - Rivers and People Planning in Mukuru, Nairobi

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

by Diana Muthoni

The Rivers and People Plan can be understood as a green and blue infrastructure master plan for contexts of informal settlements where residents often live close to waterways. The residents have a special relationship with rivers because they lack basic services and infrastructures. The plan is intended to be co-produced and owned by the community.

The plan captures the communities’ and other city stakeholders’ responsibility of the environment and 'bankable' projects that consider social impact and environmental sensitivity. The idea behind the Rivers and People Plan is that it is community-led, and the communities can use it to advocate for their rights.

On 14th July 2022, KDI held a community-led data collection and mapping exercise in Viwandani, Mukuru (Nairobi), forming the basis for the Rivers and People plan. This exercise entailed a transect walk led by the community through Viwandani, collecting environmental and social data. The community were able to map some problem areas such as pollution sources. Additionally, they took part in short surveys explaining challenge areas and potential opportunities.

Why engage the community in data collection and mapping?

The community has local knowledge of the conditions of their neighborhood hence they bring invaluable inputs into the process.

The exercise strengthens their understanding and contribution towards the plan.

They gain a thorough understanding of local issues as well as their obligation to protect the environment.

It promotes ownership and sustainability of the plan.

Following the community participatory data collection, a series of community workshops are planned to co-produce the above described Rivers and People plan. We will keep you updated on the progress on developing the plan in the upcoming months.

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” - Margaret J. Wheatley

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