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The impact of the World Social Forum (WSF) on the people of Kibera: "People think it is quite a failure"

radio interview with Pastor Nick Macharia, PEPKAG and Tenderfeet (Audio interview and transcript)

(by Indymedia Kenya]

Indymedia Kenya - Ok so im on the phone here with pastor Nick Macharia who is speaking from Kibera, in Nairobi, in Kenya. The world social forum is on at the moment. Macharia can you tell us about the impact of the World Social Forum in Kibera, what people think about it, are they being listened to, are they getting a chance to tell their story to the world and can things be improved also?

M - People think it is quite a failure, the impact has not been felt in the slums because one, the participation of the people in the slum has not been realised. Because apart from the organisers, they are buying some tee-shirts and taking them to the slum "Kibera for peace" and marching, there isnt much. Because people on the ground dont know even what the world social forum is for and the ideals, and again the occasion the _____________________ its very far away from the slum. If people from the slum have to participate they have to pay more than a hundred shillings 2 and 4, and they are not able to raise that money because they live below the povery line, less than dollar a day, so if you tell these people to give 2 or 3 dolars to attend that meeting, then it does not bring anything to them. Initially we thought that the best way was to take ask at a meeting where the problem is. we dont see the need of people going outside kibera to speak about the problems of Kibera and there is space and everything is there in Kibera. I think if are to make impact the organisers will see the importance of going to the people who really need these services and cutting off those people who only want to make cash out of the situation.

Indymedia Kenya - And is there talk of some of the independant media people coming out to Kibera?

M - Independant media - Yeah i recieved a telephone call from Daniela and she they told me about the kind of people who will be coming to Kibera to _________________ among the peole there and to see for themselves what we are doing there. And Im glad because _____________________________ in the afternoon, they told me we will meet here in town and go there and they are waiting to do some interviews and perhaps to give our overview over the whole thing.

Indymedia Kenya - Aswell as the situation, what message can come from Kibera or is coming from kibera? Has Kibera something to tell the world, has it something to offer the world in terms of people working together or solidarity, or just trying to deal with situations as best you can?

m - I think the message is very clear that these people feel abused. Now that we are living in times when the information is accessible to them and now they know what they need and they can be able to ___________ more clear because they are more informed than they used to be. I think the message is if people are sincere to come and help the Kibera people they should come directly to them and give land assistance directly. But when that assistance goes through other stages sometimes they feel people are using them to make ______________ as they want.

Indymedia Kenya - In terms of the housing situation, are things getting better or worse for the people in Kibera?

m - I think it is not right to even use the word house because houses are not there in the slum. You should call them ghettos or something because as far as i now from the stations of the courts? this a crown land, nobody can own a house there. They are not houses they are only some ineffectual things and these are not owned by the people who live in them,
they are owned by people who are wealthy. Because this is the only place which is near the town, many people move from rural areas, they want to come and look for greener pastures in the town, they will choose to come to Kibera where they can walk to the town to look for greener pasture and because of this you find that the issue of housing is not there becuase you can find one room with so many people living in the same room. Its quite pathethic because even toilets and other things like bathrooms and what have you, are not there.

Indymedia Kenya - Ok, well we will do as best we can to try to get that message from Kibera out to the world and hopefully people will listen and find out more about Kibera and from that offer support more support or assistance or whatever in the future. So Macharia, thank you for your time and tell the people of Kibera that we are thinking about them and waiting to hear from them.

m - Yeah, thankyou very much.

(Apologies for poor sound quality, interview done with audio recorder held to earpiece of phone in call shop in Barcelona.)

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