Carolina For Kibera, Inc.
Children & Youth, Environment, International
FedEx Global Education Center Campus Box 5145, UNC-CH
Kibera, east Africa?s largest slum, is a microcosm of many of the world?s most vexing issues ? poverty, poor healthcare, severe water shortage, the spread of HIV infection, and lack of women?s rights. More than 700,000 people live in a 630-acre area (about 2.5 square kilometers) outside of Nairobi, Kenya. It is one of the most densely populated urban settlements in the world. The vast majority of Kibera?s residents live in abject poverty with few government services.
Kibera also faces an exploding youth population, which now represents over half of the slum?s entire population. According to a 2003 study by Oxfam, 37% of school-going age children were not even in the educational system and 70% of the children attending school only have limited access to informal schools and community centers. Approximately 80% of all youth in Kibera lack formal employment, while the UN estimates that 35-45% of the entire slum population is unemployed or underemployed.
Kibera has a violent history of ethnic and religious conflict. Five of Kenya?s six largest ethnic groups (Kikuyu, Kisii, Luo, Luhya, and Kamba) call Kibera ?home.? The Nubians (a Sudanese Muslim group that first settled Kibera after being recruited to fight on behalf of the British in World War I) claim land tenure rights to the slum. Kibera has experienced several intense, bloody ethnic clashes between these groups. In each case of collective violence in Kibera, the combatants were predominately unemployed youth, aged 16-30 years.
An estimated 12 to 15% of Kibera?s population is infected with HIV/AIDS, a situation exacerbated by the lack of basic human rights for girls and young women. Like billions of people in the world, even the most exceptional and promising youth in Kibera lack opportunities to get an education, live healthy lives, and lead others as agents of social change. Carolina for Kibera?s core projects ? the Youth Sports Program, Tabitha Clinic, the Binti Pamoja Center, and Taka ni Pato ? help address the many needs in the community.
Named a TIME Magazine and Gates Foundation ?Hero of Global Health,? CFK fights abject poverty and helps prevent violence through community-based development in the Kibera and beyond. CFK envisions a world where the poor have a voice in their futures and opportunities for healthy growth. We are rooted in the conviction that solutions to problems involving poverty are possible only if those affected by it drive development. Concerned outsiders can help by mobilizing communities, advising, networking, and providing resources. Ultimately, however, the community possesses the knowledge and motivation that are necessary to solve its own problems.
Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, CFK's primary mission is to promote youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation in Kibera through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Additionally, CFK works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation, and education in Kibera. Serving as a model for holistic, community-based urban development world-wide, CFK has helped grassroots organizations develop youth-based programs in six other nations and dozens of communities in Kenya.