, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13- Crime rates have drastically reduced in Kibera following the ongoing massive development projects by the National Youth Service (NYS), according to local residents.
The NYS has been working with over 3,000 local youths in constructing roads and drainage systems as part of a major clean-up exercise spearheaded by the Devolution Ministry.
Capital FM crew visited the area on Saturday and spoke to some of the residents who could not hide their joy over what they term as a “new beginning and total transformation” of the slum.
“I feel the environment is favourable even for our children…you can feel the fresh air now,” said Juma Ali, a 40 year-old resident. ““We just need to plant a few trees and we shall have our own Runda.”
Although a lot remains to be done in the extensive slum that is rated the largest in the region, Ramadhan Musa says, “at least the high numbers of unemployed youths are now engaged in some activities. We are experiencing low crime rates lately.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who launched the project has said his government intends to extend the same to other informal settlements, as part of its quest to develop “every part of the country.”
Other projects initiated by the Government include lighting the area, building police posts and health clinics.
Ngugi Kamau, a head teacher at a primary school in the area, and a beneficiary of the projects, says access to his school has now improved.
“We have facilities which we did not have, we have a modern toilet, beyond zero clinics and a police post,” an evidently excited Kamau stated. “I hope these services will help the community which was neglected for a long time.”
Evelyn Aleyo, a mother of one is among the youths working with NYS personnel and says she is now able to feed her baby from the Sh320 she receives daily after joining the government-funded project.
“I am a single mother and I need money to feed and buy clothes for my child…I appeal to the Government to extend the programme. We have benefited a lot,” she told Capital Fm News.
President Kenyatta on Thursday night launched a lighting project in the slum, with a message that the Government will stay with the community and continue with programmes to uplift the living standards of residents.
President Kenyatta said there was no justification why the area had been denied government services for the last 51 years of independence.
“From independence, this is the first time the government has reached Kibera and we promise that it is here to stay,” the President said, drawing criticism from CORD leader Raila Odinga who accused him of having frustrated his initial project of developing the area when he served as Finance Minister.
Already, a tarmac road has been built to ease transportation within the sprawling slum.
“Kibera upgrading was frustrated by Uhuru who was Finance Minister. Let him finish the houses we started,” Odinga claimed, and urged the president to complete a housing project he initiated when he served as Prime Minister in a coalition government shared with former President Mwai Kibaki.
The National Youth Service under the Ministry of Devolution has been deployed in Kibera to also build toilets and clean-up sewerage systems.
The President said the youth project will be extended for another six months to complete the work of cleaning and upgrading the slum.