Play park and the Mathare community park


As the rate of worldwide urbanization increases, the percentage of the population living in urban slums increases likewise. Worldwide, over one billion people live in slums; 70% of Nairobi’s population live in slums or slum-like conditions.

Children who grow up in slums and informal settlements face a variety of challenges such as lack of safe playgrounds, domestic violence, eviction, drug abuse, and limited education and employment opportunities that hinder their mental, physical, creative, and social development.

The words, “play” and “children ” are inseparable and children’s right to play is rightly recognized as one of the fundamental rights by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Mathare children play-ground will provide a safe environment for emotional and social development for the children in the Mathare slum in Nairobi. The goal of this project is to design a safe playground with equipment that addresses these developmental needs, while providing additional benefits to the surrounding communities.

On August 25th Mathare Roots Initiative organized a co-creation workshop with over 60 children at the Mathare Community Park. Objective of this activity was to have a participatory designing and envisioning of the play-ground, raise awareness about the importance of play-grounds and build ownership of the process with the children. The workshop proved to be a valuable experience, highlighting the importance of effective communication and the use of creative drawings to express their desires and imaginations of a proper play-ground. Some of the suggestions brought forward by the children were the introduction of play equipment such as swing sets, slides, see-saws, trampolines and monkey-bars.

The outcome of the co-creation activity gives us a good starting point, taking into consideration the ideas and proposals brought forward by the Children. In order to achieve this, we have embarked on a campaign to mobilize resources through friends and partners to build a safe and well equipped play-ground that will provide an opportunity to the children of Mathare to enjoy outdoor play and have a healthy lifestyle while at the same building good relationships between the children.