Mukuru Kenya Africa

When I grow up: a story of hope from the slums of Nairobi

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Victor wants to be a pilot, but without access to a clean toilet, he may never realise his ambition. This is the photo story of how one clever toilet is protecting children from disease, keeping kids in school, and changing the lives the people in the Mukuru slum in Kenya.

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What would you do if you were President for a day?

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Urban developments, otherwise known as slums, are quickly spreading across Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. With them comes a huge threat of disease and poverty for the hundreds of thousands of people who call the slums home. Read the stories of 10 kids from the Mukuru slum and their dreams for the future.

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Photo: Sam Tarling

The smart way to tackle poverty

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In the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Oxfam is working with our partner Sanergy to supply schools with Fresh Life toilets — providing a clean and sanitary environment for kids to go to the toilet. It sounds straight forward, but this ingenious invention is keeping kids in school, creating jobs and saving lives.

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Davis. Photo: Perou/Oxfam

Flying toilets versus Fresh Life toilets

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Davis has lived in Mukuru — a giant urban settlement, or slum — since the year 2000. The lack of proper sanitation and infrastructure in the urban slums of Nairobi cause vicious outbreaks of disease. But Davis has seen children’s lives saved with something called a Fresh Life toilet.

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Yusra dressed as a doctor in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

Good sanitation means more girls in school

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On her way to school, Yusra negotiates the toxic human waste that lines the streets. The sanitation crisis in her home — the Mukuru slum in Kenya — means residents are forced to use pit latrines and plastic bags as their toilet. The threat of disease lingers every where, but the implications of poor sanitation for young women and girls are particularly complex.

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Photo: Perou/Oxfam

A life-changing, life-saving toilet

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In Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, almost two million people live in informal settlements or ‘slums’. Water and sanitation facilities are completely inadequate, disease rates are high and poverty is rife. Amy Christian travelled to the Mukuru slum in Kenya and discovered how one innovative toilet is saving lives and changing them for the better.

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