Malezi Cares (and cleans)

By Christopher E. Lowman


Malezi Centre is located in the Kitui Ndogo slum, about 15-minutes due east from Nairobi’s Central Business District.

During my first in 2012, I was struck by the poor sanitation conditions in the slum. There were large trash heaps due to the absence of waste-management programs, open sewers due to lack of toilets and water drainage, and a highly-contaminated river in close proximity to the residents.

Seeing these things rattled me. Have a look…

A waste-dumping site in Kitui Ndogo slum.

A waste-dumping site in Kitui Ndogo slum.

Open sewers in Kitui Ndogo slum.

Open sewers in Kitui Ndogo slum.

Children nearby the polluted Nairobi river.

Children nearby the polluted Nairobi river.

Malezi as catalyst for community change.

When we re-launched Malezi in 2014, we envisioned it becoming a catalyst for positive community change. In other words, it made sense that all the care, love, and values that would be cultivated on its premises, would also ripple out to the surrounding area in one form or another.

During my most recent visit to Nairobi, Teacher Andrew Matheka, Programs Coordinator at Malezi, pointed out how clean the main road leading to the center had become. He shared that he has led several clean-up efforts with students and volunteers to remove the trash that had been piling up. In addition, he oversaw construction of a small trash pick-up point where residents can dispose of their waste, which is then hauled away by the city government.

Here’s Andrew discussing both initiatives in this short video…

 
Before Malezi clean-up efforts, 2014.

Before Malezi clean-up efforts, 2014.

After Malezi clean-up efforts, 2019.

After Malezi clean-up efforts, 2019.

Trash pick-up point, built by Malezi Centre.

Trash pick-up point, built by Malezi Centre.

 

To date, this is some of the clearest evidence I’ve seen of how Malezi Centre is slowly and steadily improving the conditions of Kitui Ndogo slum. I believe this is what Desmond Tutu had in mind when he said, “Do your little bits of good where you are.”