No more time outs from poverty
27 June 2013
In the absence of active engagement with slum dwellers and serious consideration of their points of view and aspirations, most poverty alleviation and youth empowerment programs fail to offer a real chance for breaking the poverty cycle. This dialogue aimed at sparking a conversation between stakeholders that don't usually interact directly with each other in order to jointly share views on how to tackle poverty in Kibera, Nairobi's biggest slum, identifying who can play a role in that change and exploring ways of further engagement with the hope to build and validate an otherwise unlikely partnership. It was hoped that such a dialogue could shift the relations between the beneficiaries of poverty alleviation programs and donors and government agencies.
The meeting brought together a diverse group of 45 participants including Kibera's local Member of Parliament, representatives of national Government, urban poverty experts and practitioners, local political leaders and youth living in the slum. Participants shared views on how to tackle poverty in slums, and, through the sharing of personal success stories, mainly agreed that access to quality education is a key element to providing hope and support to young people eager to break the poverty cycle. In the absence of formal education in the slums, informal education is playing a key role in delivering an essential service and thus should be receiving greater support. Participants identified key actors that could play a role in bringing further and more flexible educational solutions for youth living in the slum. The sharing of success stories from local leaders was very inspiring for the young people present.
Recommendations were made on how to best continue this dialogue on a periodic basis using a space made available by the local MP, creating a virtual forum and through community-based radio. Participants and organisers are hoping for a continual relationship with the government and agency representatives for true interaction on youth, poverty and education in the slum. The long-term objective is to create a lasting platform to help raise aspirations of young people in slums and build a community that can support these aspirations.