Nairobi is Kenya’s largest city with a population of nearly 4 million people. The Assessment focuses on Mathare, a network of informal settlements in Nairobi covering 3 sq km with a population of approximately 200,000 people. One of the most densely populated areas of Nairobi, Mathare is characterized by limited public services, such as water, sanitation, health and education. 

Crime and violence, alcohol and substance use, violence against women and girls, and lack of essential services were identified by participants as their main concerns. Concerning crime and violence, most respondents during the assessment period from February to July 2020 felt that muggings, robberies, murder, and defilement of children were the most committed crimes in Mlango Kubwa. 

With regard to alcohol and substance use, respondents reported that the most used substances in Mlango Kubwa are mainly alcohol, illicit brew, and marijuana. Respondents also highlighted that other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and phenobarbital use have increased over the years. Those most vulnerable in the community are children and youth due to the normalization of drug and alcohol use the result of which is drug use from a young age. 

Concerning violence against women and girls, respondents reported the most prevalent forms included physical abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Respondents felt that there has been a reduction in violence against women and girls over the past few years due to sensitization programs run by the government and non-governmental organizations. However, they felt that it was still a major problem in the community and more programs were required. With regard to essential services, lack of piped water, improper refuse collection, and poor housing, which have a direct impact on health, were identified as being of significant concern to the community.

UNODCity Mathare

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- 60 to 70 percent of the Nairobi population is currently estimated to be living in informal settlements that occupy only 5 percent of the residential land area of the city.

- Over 95 percent of the households cook in the same room they use for sleeping. 

- Over 90 percent of the households do not have any organized mechanism for garbage disposal, while fewer than 5 percent have their own toilets.

- Over 90 percent of households depend on poor-quality water distributed by vendors or kiosks for which they pay three or more times the tariff charged by the Nairobi City Council to pipe water to middle or upper income households. 


What we know:

- Nairobi is facing rapid urbanisation and its associated health and poverty problems.

- The divide between rich and poor is growing wider.

- In informal settlements in Nairobi, most households live in one-room houses that serve multiple purposes, including sleeping, sitting, and cooking and eating.

- Residents who now live in slums have no or limited access to even the most to water, sanitation, housing, education and healthcare services.

- The poorest urban-dwellers spend up to ¾ of their income on staple foods alone.