A Window into the Reality of Organizing in Nairobi’s Korogocho

Korogocho slum in Nairobi

New Orleans   Often it’s hard to describe what ACORN International’s organizing is really like in mega-slums around the world and the very different challenges our organizers face in building effective and potentially powerful membership run and funded community organizations.

Last week ACORN Kenya had scheduled a large rally in Korogocho, the 2nd largest mega-slum of Nairobi, around our educational campaign.  Previously we had won real victories in opening up the bursary system to make sure Korogocho residents received the financial support to go to secondary schools, rather than seeing the money siphoned off to others not eligible.   I had talked to Sammy Ndirangu and David Musungu, our organizers there, on Skype the day before the rally and had asked them to let me know how it had worked out.

Here is Sammy’s report after the rally:

Hi Wade

I hope that all is well with you.

We started the day well and people had started coming in big numbers at St. Johns Catholic field  by 9.00am.

The puppet team also set themselves for the procession and the ceremony started at 9.45am with a word of prayer from Fr. John who also flagged off the participants. However everything  turned  chaotic in the mid of our procession by a big multitude of youths with bonda bonda (motorbikes) who were trucking a motorbike that was stolen on Tuesday and the owner murdered.

Things got worse when they caught him and brought him near the Chief’s camp with intention to kill him but only before he identify where the motorbike was hidden. By then he had bad injuries and the Administration police were out of control of the entire scenario. Reinforcement was called and more police were brought and there was a strong running battle between the police and the community people who were crying for his blood.

Most of our invited guests had arrived but nothing could continue by then coz it was all tension in the whole slum.

By 1.00pm we called off the campaign.  we have some few pictures of the event and we will [send] them latter.

I would also suggest that we do the Skyping on Monday next week other than tomorrow to give ourselves time to analyze the situation on the ground.

Thanks

Sammy

Welcome to our world!

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