Undugu Oasis Mathare

Mathare as a community is very simply put an example of “there is more than meets the eye”. The apparent precarious state of buildings is used by a varied, dynamic and intense society that fulfill the needs of people where formal institutions cannot, will not or does not fulfill them. The community breathes a make-do mentality born out of necessity. The Undugu School as an organization proves to be an essential part in and for the Mathare Society and delivers invaluable support in many ways. Their struggle to serve and support is however suffering from financial and technical issues. But in the end the organization shows an unrelenting motivation to keep heads up and keep going, thanks to the likes of Mary Moi.

VISION: Undugu Oasis

Our joined vision of Undugu School is that: everybody is welcome to improve him/herself and to contribute. To a large extent Undugu School already is an oasis; a lush and green enclave with trees and grass surrounded by the crowded Mathare Slum, with narrow streets and shacks in the mud.


First and foremost we realize we need each other to get to the optimal solutions, that answer everybody’s needs, make use of everybody’s possibilities and arrive at plans and results that everybody is happy with. That is not something we can make up as just architects, just lawyers, just community organizers, or just the government. But once we start to acknowledge each other’s perspective, explore each other’s possibilities and find common ground on which to elaborate plans, we are able to achieve sustainable, effective and impactful results. Using the Slumfighters City Simulation we explored and discussed problems, solutions and priorities.

KnownAfrique, MLAHRA and Slumfighters managed to harvest a wide variety of input, understanding and support from both the community and other stakeholders, in just two semi-public afternoons. This was thanks to well-prepared tools and ways of engagement (also thanks to Sapana) and a carefully selected and mobilized group of relevant participants.


In order to help out both Undugu and Mathare, the workshop participants point out to work on these mini-projects first:

  1. Community Hall
  2. Toilets
  3. Community Kitchen
  4. Routing to/from Mathare

The holistic approach of repairing the community halls and sanitary services, is a mixed strategy of technical, legal and financial aspects to support social needs. With the initial budget that was raised during a crowdfunding campaign of Slumfighters during the HiiL Foundation Justice Accelerator will be sufficient to supply electricity and minor repairs to a community hall. The improved Community Halls will be able to facilitate gatherings and raise money for further development.


We are an alliance of social entrepreneurs, who believe in an open, transparent approach to empower the (in)formal community and collaborate with formal stakeholders:

We joined in a dialogue together with several stakeholders from the Mathare Community:

  • Mary Moi, Undugu Mathare caretaker
  • Faith Mwende, Undugu student
  • Regina Mwende, Undugu student
  • Morgan Mulama, Undugu student
  • Joanes Owuor, Undugu student
  • Alice Nyambura, teacher
  • Francis Kamau, teacher
  • Jane Maina, teacher
  • Ann Wanjiru, women leader
  • Mary Njoki, women leader
  • Jakiwa Inda, youth leader
  • Ivy Kalya, youth leader
  • Rachel Irungu, youth leader
  • Winnie Githaiga, youth leader
  • Betty Odhiambo, MLAHRA
  • Elizabeth Omollo, MLAHRA
  • Peninah Kabura, committee member
  • Muthoni Karanja, committee member
  • Jane Kariuki, county representative

Undugu Society and MLAHRA will discuss and agree upon how to do the project management and overseeing progress and budget of the renovation and the exploitation of the newly created possibilities through the re-use of the community halls. KnownAfrique will pursue to help the existing network of paralegals that needs technical support with legal content, adapting their law kit and implement the cartoon character and law board game. Slumfighters will continue to raise money to initiate more sustainably run sub-activities for the community on and around the Undugu grounds. All parties will communicate and collaborate to optimally help Mathare community improve.