Empowerment of women in Mathare

Mathare, the oldest slum in Nairobi

Country: Kenya
Promoter: Materra – Stiftung Frau und Gesundheit
Funding amount: EUR 130.000,–
Running time: 1.7.2017 – 30.6. 2020
Project management: Judith Fehrenbacher
Contact: Judith Fehrenbacher

Around 60% of the urban area of Nairobi consists of slums – informal settlements with no infrastructure. One of the largest is Mathare with an estimated 600,000 inhabitants. The people who live here are poor. Their huts: Accommodation made of corrugated iron, wooden boards, adobe bricks, cardboard or plastic sheeting. The paths: narrow, softened by the rain, lined with sewers. Mathare gained notoriety for the bloody unrest that followed the 2007/2008 election. At that time, after the disputed election result was announced, the political conflict quickly turned into an ethnic one. In Mathare, where Kikuyu and Luo live, violence escalated in the form of murders, looting and rape. Women and children in particular were the ones to suffer.

The partner organization Slum TV

At that time, a group of young journalists and artists founded an initiative called Slum TV. They were of different ethnic origins, but grew up together in the slum. They wanted to do something to put an end to the violence. Their idea: to arouse empathy and willingness to reconcile in the community through the filmic representation of personal experiences. The results were shown on large screens in central locations in the slum. These public viewing events soon enjoyed great popularity. They helped bridge ethnic divides. They also strengthened the sense of community. In the mainstream media, residents were commonly portrayed as dangerous criminals or impoverished drug addicts. The Slum TV actors succeeded in creating a counter-image: They showed people how creative, inventive and capable of learning they were.
Slum TV continues to produce documentaries or small sitcoms that are shown to the public. There has also been a film institute for a few years: young people from the slum can be trained there. Due to their qualifications, they have a good chance of earning money as a freelancer, not infrequently on state television.

Project "Sauti ya Binti"

The project „Sauti ya Binti“

Women in Mathare in particular are affected by poverty and violence and poor health care. There is a great need for reputable sources of information. Women-specific issues are underrepresented and marginalized in the Tanzanian media. The project “Sauti ya binti” (translated: the voices of women ”) supports women in Mathare in different ways. With the help of materra, Slum TV has been able to offer and run women’s courses in the expanded film institute since 2017. In this way, the students can acquire journalistic skills. Many women are single parents and have so far not been able to take advantage of training opportunities. Care aids for children have proven to be an effective, accompanying measure. The course participants meanwhile create a weekly program on “Koch FM”, a popular slum community radio based in the neighboring district. There they can bring their topics to the fore and discuss them with the numerous listeners in Mathare via telephone connection. As reporters and moderators, they effectively question discriminatory gender images in the media. The project also enables film productions and screenings in the slum in public places. It expires in June 2020. We are currently applying for a follow-up project to the BmZ.

Project "Sauti ya Binti"

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