Mathare

Transforming a New Community

SHOFCO is officially open in Kenya's second largest slum, Mathare! SHOFCO began working with a group of young people in Mathare over two years ago who were inspired by Kennedy's story and SHOFCO's work in Kibera. Staying true to our grassroots leadership model, SHOFCO supported Mathare community mobilizers as they funded their own projects and secured land for SHOFCO infrastructure.

This September, we opened our first SHOFCO-Mathare building which houses our second free school for girls and SHOFCO-Mathare's growing community programs. It is through continued grassroots leadership that SHOFCO plans to grow our innovative model to change the face of urban poverty across Kenya.  

About Mathare

With an estimated population of 600-800,000 in an area approximately covering 2 km by 0.3 km, Mathare is the second-largest slum of Nairobi.1 Mathare faces similar challenges to Kibera: deep gender inequality, limited economic prospects, and a lack of social services. Beyond that, it is characterized by gang violence, rampant illegal brew and deeper dearth of external support. 

SHOFCO is replicating our innovative model in Mathare Valley, the most densely inhabited area of the Mathare slum. The Mathare School for Girls will follow the same model SHOFCO uses in Kibera, starting with pre-school and using a world-class, hands-on curriculum. Until the school reaches capacity, a portion of the building will serve as a community center to house SHOFCO-Mathare's youth, economic empowerment, and gender groups that continue to grow with technical assistance from their counterparts in Kibera. As in Kibera, we will continue to build our programming around this new community keystone. A clinic and clean water initiatives will follow among other services connected to the school, specifically designed by the Mathare community according to its local context and highest need.

Life in Mathare

  • 80% of residents report being a victim of a crime in the past year.
  • Average monthly household income in Mathare is less than KSH 8500 per month (about $3 per day).
  • 87% of residents are casual laborers or have informal businesses.
  • Only 29% of households live within 30 meters of a functioning public latrine block.2

1 This estimate is from the Canada-Mathare Education Trust. SHOFCO acknowledges that population estimates of Nairobi slums widely range due to the difficulty of data collection in densely populated informal settelments.
2 Mathare statsistics sourced from The Mathare Zonal Plan of 2011