As I move through Kibera, the largest urban slum not only in Nairobi but in Africa, a group of young men emerge from inside the slum onto the street. One of them whom I’m assuming is the leader shouts “Wana…Wanaume” and the rest of his comrades respond with “Eeeehhh”. Quite interesting to hear them chant as this is how their leader communicates to them before issuing any instructions. Clearly a motivational method to do a heavy lifting job and they do a good job by the way. What is their job exactly? You may wonder. These young men carry electricity poles through some really narrow paths and through some houses to take them to where they will be erected.
Giving these energetic young men employment is just one of the benefits of the Kenya Power slum electrification project that is supported by the World Bank’s GPOBA (Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid). Providing subsidised and safe electricity to the slum dwellers of Kibera is aimed at enhanced equity and wealth creation opportunities for the people living in abject poverty.
Connecting residents of Kibera to prepaid meters also addresses the problem of electricity theft that is common in most if not all slum areas in Kenya and providing this electricity at a subsidised rate is a step in the right direction towards correcting the existing economic and social inequalities.
This development project enables Kenya Power employ up to 41 young men a day to carry and erect about 40 poles at a fee of 4,500 per pole. This is a sure step in the right direction in reducing unemployment levels and reducing the crime rate in the area that stems from idleness.
Powering people for better lives