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Nairobi River Activations Clean Up, Shape up activities at Grogon, Nairobi CBD

by Annelyn Oranga

Under the title #RiveNiLife the R u NBS team Nairobi wrapped up the month of October powerfully by commemorating Nairobi Placemaking Week and #UrbanOctober with Nairobi River Activations Clean Up, Shape up activities. In partnership with UN-Habitat, Smart Gyms, the Grogon community doing business and living along the Nairobi River, the Nairobi County City County, and a variety of other actors, the Nairobi River at the Grogon area was not only cleaned, but also made more green and beautiful. The trending topic of the day was #RiveNiLife (Rive: local slang for river), which emphasized the importance of the river in our lives.

The two-day event was part of the R u NBS, and served as a precursor to future project activities aimed at making the river and city greener, cleaner, and safer for and by the people. The event was one of the many activities organized by the various organizations involved in the placemaking week celebrations. We took the lead on the River Activation event because it is a fundamental part of the city's ecological system that needs rediscovery, giving us the opportunity to co-design and co-implement a clean-up, shape up activity that drives and will bring sustainable urban development conversations between relevant stakeholders that can help build a symbiotic relationship between the city, the neighborhood, and the river.

(Photo: KDI, 2022)

The various stakeholders collaborated to clean the river and make the surrounding area green and beautiful for relaxing while waiting for your car to be serviced or cleaned. This willingness to collaborate and lead on the activities was unexpected, as the business community was initially opposed to the cleanup since they assumed we wanted to evacuate them from their premises, but through community participation, we were able to gain their support and guidance on how to implement the activity. Mr. Maxwell stated, "This is the best-organized event I've been a part of this year." I like how local communities are taking the lead and planning how they will clean up the river and ensure that no more dumping occurs in the section we cleaned today.'

We were able to clean and beautify the Gorgon area by leveraging community assets and skills, and as a post management intervention, the community adopted a tree to be responsible for.

Based on the success of the event, we believe The Placemaking Week can be used as a transformational tool in the future because it provides a forum for testing various innovations that can influence decisions and policies leading to transnational collaboration.

(Image: KDI, 2022)

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