Mashimoni Water and Sanitation Project - 1

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Mashimoni Community

Latitude -1.26
Longitude 36.85

500 Served

Project Status:
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Estimated Install Date:   (Explain This?)  01/29/2016
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Stories and Community Profile

The Water Project is thrilled to be partnering once again with Pamoja Trust for the 2014 grant year for the Mashimoni Water and Sanitation Project, which is located in the Mathare Informal Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Mathare is one of the biggest informal settlements (also known as slums) in Kenya.

Background Information to the Project

The informal settlements residents of Nairobi have over the years not had formal connection to water and sanitation as these areas were considered by state agencies to be illegally settled and therefore could not be served.

Over the years more people have settled in the informal settlements and especially people who had been displaced during the 2008 post election violence. The living conditions have therefore deteriorated and these settlements are now characterized with lack of basic services and infrastructural facilities, poor housing, overcrowding and have become breeding areas for crime and disease.

Pamoja Trust has had a long relationship with the residents of Mashimoni settlement and helped them to develop a community action plan. The key priorities in this action plan were:

  • Water and sanitation
  • Security of tenure
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Livelihoods enhancement

In 2013 a trunk water line was connected in the Mathare settlements and water became available about 1 kilometer from the Mashimoni settlement. Five water kiosks were constructed and have been serving about 1500 households. Due to the long queues and high cost of water (Kshs. 5 for 20 liters) at the water kiosks, a significant number of households access water from other informal vendors whose prices vary and water quality is uncertain.

The Project

Pamoja Trust with support from The Water Project will provide a legally piped water network to at least 50 plots using a micro-loan model to 3 of the 5 clusters in the Mashimoni Settlement. (The laying a sewer line in the settlement under a partnership similar to what is being used to implement this project is also being conducted.) Sanitation facilities will also be provided, such as flush toilets in homes. The organization of a youth group, called Mwamko wa Vijana (Awakening of the Youth) will also be managed to allow youth to gain income through trash collection and recycling while simultaneously improving their immediate environment and will also work in conjunction with the City Council of Nairobi (CCN). There will also be various trainings and meetings conducted to train community members to become Community Health Workers as well as trainings to ensure community savings groups are running smoothly and workshops will be conducted to allow for open communication between landowners, government entities and informal settlement residents.


While The Water Project has determined that this project is not viable due to conflicts in key stakeholders, there was nonetheless much accomplished during the course of The Water Project’s involvement in this project to bring piped and metered water to the people in Mashimoni, within the Mathare urban settlement, Nairobi, Kenya. Below are a few highlights:

Piped Water to Neighborhoods

– After successful completion of water reticulation designs, financing, and selecting the contractor, the laying of 300 meters of 50-millimeter water pipe was completed for two-targeted clusters in Mashimoni (clusters A and B). Another 80m was laid as the individual water meters were readied to be installed and connected.

– The Water and Sanitation committee provided the necessary support for negotiating leeways and selection of both skilled and unskilled labor for laying down the piped system.

– After much deliberation and consideration between stakeholders in late 2014-early 2015, the agreement to use individual post-paid meters for connections was reached with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC). The prepaid meters were the point of contention, since water is more expensive when delivered through a prepaid system.

– 50 ‘yards’ (or pods, communities of 8-10 houses per pod) expressed interest in acquiring formal water connections; 20 applied to the water company for connection; 15 ‘yards’ were initially provided with water meters and connected to the new waterline. While water was running, they awaited formalization of these connections, which is through payment of fees to the NCWSC surveyor to include a connection into their grid, and fees for official issuance of meters.

– The 15 connected meters continued to receive water. However, after an unspecified amount of time, the NCWSC declared that the meters needed to be reinstalled because they were initially installed by laymen in the community and not staff of NCSWC, and therefore could not be formalized/approved connections. Thus, the meters were disconnected.

– Changes were made to senior staff in charge of the urban settlement services at NCWSC; and as a result prior agreements and terms of this project were not honored.  New meter connections were halted. Community members organized to plan protests and Pamoja continues to work towards resolution with NCWSC. [Note: This type of work requires a large amount of advocacy and negotiation at the government and private sector level, which in turn requires a large amount of time. The lack of consensus between these significant stakeholders is one of the reasons The Water Project views this project as non-viable at this time.]

Training of youth workers in solid waste management

The formation of waste management networks: Various groups and youth groups from different networks and different informal settlements were brought together from Kisumu and Nairobi for an informational exchange to share best practices. The objectives of the visits were successful, and as follows:

– To bring together both financial and human resources towards turning waste management into a business enterprise.

– Develop strategies to improve waste management ventures i.e Building links with other relevant stakeholders.

– Formation of a unified group to deal specifically with waste management.

– Formation of a cooperative, which is currently drafting their by-laws.

– The cooperative (a legal entity) will be the platform by which all networks will engage in business transactions.

– Mapping out of youth groups with the aim of identifying more networks engaging in waste management.

General background during the reporting period

Mashimoni Village in Mathare has been targeted for three years for comprehensive WATSAN services provision. This was done through an MOU between Pamoja Trust and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC). This was to be done through reticulation of water from the main city line to the settlement, and extension of a sewer line to benefit three clusters. About 5000 households were targeted to benefit from this project.

Context of the Project

Water provision in Mashimoni and the neighboring Mathare settlements has over the years been provided by small private water suppliers, including: private kiosk operators, household resellers, door-to-door vendors, and private piped networks illegally connected to the formal city water supply. The price of water provided by these suppliers is usually much higher than that of the main water utility (for 20 litres – 5 shillings during normal supply times and during shortages- 10 shillings versus the NCWSC official price of 2 shillings at official water kiosk). Average monthly income for households in Mathare is Kshs. 4000. (Equivalent of $40 USD per month) On average a household will use sixty litres of water per day. (15 cents per day)

In 2008 the NCWSC established a department to serve low-income areas, especially slum communities; an attempt to internalize and institutionalize water and sanitation services delivery to the residents of informal settlements. Staff were dedicated to serving slum areas and 1% of the company’s revenue pledged for reinvestment in the informal settlements.

However, a coherent approach for joint planning and execution of water and sanitation interventions does not exist, and the various actors remain uncoordinated. Furthermore, the department at NCWSC that deals specifically with the informal settlements, faced many capacity challenges due to minimal budgets.  And unfortunately, water service provided by alternative service providers results in community members paying higher prices for water of questionable quality.

A real commitment by the NCWSC to provide services has been lacking, and provision of services has been dependent only on the goodwill of the head of department. It is suspected that the NCWSC may only have established this department in order to attract donor aid. The company still advances the theory that the poor are a difficult and temporary segment of consumers who are not willing to pay for services. At Pamoja, we know this to be inaccurate, as the people who signed up for legally connected water services is testament to a willingness to pay.

An MOU between Pamoja and NCWSC seems to only be respected by the individuals that participated in its signing. With a constant changing of leadership in the NCWSC, the MOU is currently not being respected. The lack of clear partnership arrangements has created a situation where Pamoja is viewed as a competitor rather than a partner, and it finds itself against various obstacles when dealing with NCWSC.

Progress to Date

1. 380 meters of water line was laid covering two targeted clusters A&B.

2. 50 yards (communities of 8-10 houses) expressed interest in acquiring formal water connections; 20 applied to the water company for connection; 15 yards were initially provided with water meters and connected to the new waterline as they awaited formalization of these connections, which is through payment of 2500 for a NCWSC surveyor to include a connection into their grid and 2500 for official issuance of meters.

3. A staff change occurred at the NCWSC, a new engineer was put in charge of the informal services department, which was implementing the project with Pamoja. The project had previously sort for local plumbers to fix the meters, this was changed, and a demand made for all water meters to be fixed and tested by a NCWSC staff. 15 meters earlier fixed were then removed in order to be fixed at the supervision of the NCWSC, only 5 were returned, as fixtures needed were not available from the water company.

4. NCWSC allocated a staff to work with the project; this staff was after moved before the fixtures could be availed and the 10 pending connections done.

5. 20 application forms were filled and submitted to the NCWSC for the purpose of formalizing connection (formalizing of previously illegal connections); 18 were approved and a cheque was done by Muungano Investment Company, the group managing the loan fund on behalf of PT. The NCWSC refused to accept the cheque as the forms that had been submitted could not be traced. The file for the project could also not be located; this was blamed on poor handing over processes by the water company staff.

6. A water-automated machine was installed in Mashimoni, a project proposed by the Governor of Nairobi and launched. A second machine was also installed three months later.

7. NCWSC expressed reluctance to continue with the project (individual plot connections), stating that the company’s policy on providing water in Mashimoni had changed and that they preferred to do it through the automated machines. This communication was done verbally and a written one has not been provided.

8. Households in cluster A & B of Mashimoni where the newly installed waterline passes have been using the water at the 5 water points installed and have also been using the lines joints to access water. The two clusters have an estimated population of 1800 people.

9. Pamoja Trust appealed this decision and requested audience with the NCWSC Director of Technical Operations and the Engineer in charge of water provision to informal settlements. The Water Company gave a date for the meeting but failed to turn up.

10. During the 2nd half of September 2015, NCWSC disconnected water to several other informal settlements in the area, such as Mathare and Huruma villages, citing theft of water through illegal tapping.

11. The Mathare WATSAN committees met with PT and are currently organizing a public demonstration to NCWSC and to the office of the Governor of Nairobi.

Project Videos

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

01/29/2016: Mashimoni Water and Sanitation Project - 1: Highlights

Thank you for your patience. While The Water Project has determined that this project is not viable due to conflicts in key stakeholders, there was nonetheless much accomplished during the course of The Water Project’s involvement to bring piped and metered water to the people in Mashimoni, within the Mathare urban settlement, Nairobi, Kenya. Please take a look at the updated written report that describes the length and breadth of this massive project!

The Water Project and the community of Mashimoni Thank You for working with us to unlock potential!

The Water Project : mashimoni1-2

07/16/2015: Progress In Mashimoni

We are delighted to pass along good news of progress on the Mashimoni urban water project. The short update below comes from our partner in the field:

We are happy to inform you that the water infrastructure in Mashimoni is now completed and the water connected to the main city water trunk line. 

The line earlier vandalized  was re-installed through a neighboring plot; the process of dispute resolution was led by a government representative (Chief) which secures this line from future interference. Ketta has sent you pictures of the line being excavated and the line being connected to the main line which has water.

15 households have now connected officially to the line through loaning. 15 additional households are being registered for this.

The youths from Mashimoni visited youths in Kisumu and the County Government Department of Environment to learn about partnership for waste management. 10 youths from 5 youth groups participated in this visit. From this visit the groups have contacted the ward administrators in 3 wards and have had discussions on budget allocation for waste management at ward level. This is the consultation stage, we will inform you how that evolves.

Wonder what all of this looks like? There are some new pictures on the project page, including some of the hardware being installed and some of the community members whose lives are being changed.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : samsung-camera-pictures-293

03/24/2015: The Latest From Mashimoni

We wanted to let you know we received some new information from our partner working to bring piped water to Mashimoni Informal Settlement in Kenya.  Discussions between Pamoja Trust, the community committee, and the water company have moved forward in encouraging ways.  The system will use post-paid meters, and the cost of the water will be 18 Kenyan shillings for 1000 liters of water.  That comes to 1/3 of a shilling for a 20 liter jerrycan.  That is significantly cheaper than the 5 shillings/jerrycan that many people currently pay!

The work continues.  We just posted a few new pictures of the piped connections being installed.  Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : kenya-pamojamashimoni-34-clearing-of-the-drainage-for-water-connection-in-mashimoni

02/25/2015: Great Progress In Mashimoni

We are very excited to pass along this report from the urban water project in Mashimoni, Kenya.  After some significant delays due to disagreements between stakeholders in the project, it is once again moving forward.  See the report below:

1. Progress

As of early February, 300m of water pipe had been laid in the Mashimoni community.  Another 80m will be laid as the individual water meters are installed and connected. 

2. Water Meters

A major challenge in the Mashimoni urban water project has been the debate between pre-paid and post-paid water meters. In Mashimoni, each water meter will serve a plot, up to 10 rented houses or shacks owned by one structure owner. Each of the rented shacks houses 4-8 people.

– Pre-paid meters are preferred by the water company, in this case Nairobi Water And Sewage Company.

– Pre-paid meters are often used for communal water point systems, like the kiosks installed by Nakuru Water Company

– Tenants access water by purchasing tokens which are then used to dispense water at the meter.

– Mashimoni Community and Pamoja Trust fear that pre-paid meters will be too expensive for those struggling with poverty in the informal settlement.

– The water company established a policy that only pre-paid meters would be installed in informal settlements for fear of water-theft, and because they do not have to provide an employee to read meters.

– Mashimoni Community and Pamoja pushed back against that policy, arguing that such a restriction is discriminative against those already struggling with poverty. This disagreement caused a significant delay in the Mashimoni urban water project.

– Post-Paid meters are similar to what is used in more developed regions.

– Meters are read on a monthly basis and the tenants are billed accordingly. If the bill lapses, the water company disconnects the meter.

– In Mashimoni, post-paid meters will be installed in each plot. The water bill will be shared equally among the tenants in each plot. Some structure owners have agreed to pay for the water used as long as the residents stay below a threshold to be set by the water company.

– The current agreement is for 20 post-paid meters to be installed and connected in Mashimoni by the end of February, 2015.

3. Youth Groups

– Five youth groups have been active in Mashimoni, collecting waste at least once a week at the individual household level. By end of January, 359 households were participating, and pay Kshs. 20 for the service per week.

– The youth groups have formed an umbrella society (and are in the process of registering a cooperative) and have agreed on who provides services in which part of the settlement. Due to society, there is no competition among the groups for customers. The structure/house owners have been supportive and are encouraging their tenants to enroll for this service. Volunteer Community Health Workers and the Ministry of Public Health are also supporting these efforts. 

– The county government of Nairobi is providing a truck to the youth groups one day per week to transport the garbage to the city’s dumping site.

– In January the National Youth Service (NYS), working with the Ministry of Devolution, moved to Mashimoni to support a slum upgrading initiative. Settlement clean up has been a major part of this campaign. The youth groups working with the project are now engaged officially by the NYS to support the settlement cleanup work.

4. Youth Group Training Exchange Visit

A training exchange visit was planned to help the youth groups learn strategies for engaging and working with the government.  The learning visit to Kisumu for youth groups working in Mashimoni did not take place. A decision was made to work longer with the groups before the exchange visit took place. Now that there are groups that have shown commitment to this work, it is possible to undertake the exchange visit. The exchange visit has been planned for the 1st week of March.

We also just posted some new pictures and videos to the project page.  Take a look, and we’ll keep you posted as the work continues. Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : kenya-pamojamashimoni-22-mathare-river-being-cleaned

02/10/2015: A Long-Awaited Progress Report From Mashimoni

We are very excited to pass along a report we received toward the end of last year from our partner in Nairobi working on urban water solutions in Mashimoni. The work of bringing clean water is never easy and our partners face various obstacles that slow progress. The detailed report below from our partner working in Mashimoni gives some great detail about the particular difficulties with working in an urban environment:


General background during the reporting period.

Mashimoni village, which is one of the villages in the wider Mathare valley that is in the Mathare
Constituency, was in a politically hyped state after the court of appeal called for a byelection for the Member of Parliament seat. The constituency had been without a sitting member of parliament since March 2013 when the last general elections were held (after election results were disputed). Kenya adopted a devolved structure of government in 2013, 40% of the national resources for development were handed over to community structures in the county, constituency, and wards level. Resources allocated to the Mathare constituency in the last financial year which ended in June 2014 were returned to the treasury as there were no structures for managing this budget.

Historical Background

The political tensions in the area slowed down most community engagements as the constituency has been known over the years to have violent conflicts that have led to the loss of lives. (ie. 2010 Post election violence) In the past there has been heightened tensions between structure owners and tenants during electioneering season. Historically the structure owners have pre-dominately been from one ethinic group and support one political party, while the tenants have been communities from one geographical area who support a different party. This has been a major divider of the community of Mathare.

During the campaign period in 2014, Pamoja Trust together with the Muungano wa Wanavijiji (MWW- The Federation of Slum Dwellers), held ‘Peace Meetings’ in the Mathare area and supported the creation of Conflict Mitigation Committess that were well supported by the provincial government. The elections were held peacefully on 11th August, 2014. These meetings were vital to the success of the Mashimoni project, as a conflict free community is necessary to ensure any project completion and success. Therefore Pamoja felt the need to work with the communities in setting up these committees to ensure that there were no violent outbreaks due to election results.

The MWW in Mashimoni settlement was active during the reporting period as they engaged actively with the Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission in order to secure tenure for the land. Without this tenure, it is impossible to implement projects that consist of such permanent infrastructure. Once the tenure was secured, a database of all residents was compiled. This process was led by MWW and became an excellent avenue for engaging both structure owners and tenants on the living conditions in the village and to provoke debate on what else could be done to improve the living conditions in the settlement.

Progress To Date

The following were the activities implemented specifically in the last three months:

1. After successful completion of water reticulation designs, costings, and procurement of the contractor, the laying of 300 meters of 50 millimeter water pipe has finally been done covering the two targeted clusters in Mashimoni.
2. The Water and Sanitation committee provided necessary support in negotiating for lee-ways and selection of both skilled and unskilled labor for the construction efforts of laying down the piped system.
3. The connection of beneficiaries to the main line has been delayed due to introduction of new ideas (pre-paid meters) which were not contemplated during the project design and initiation.
4. The agreement on which model to use for connections was reached with Nairobi water and sewerage company to use individual post paid meters.
5. Currently the community are making applications for loans (for connections) before release of meters by NWSS company.
6. The formation of a waste management networks: Various groups and youth groups from different networks and different informal settlements were brought together from Kisumu and Nairobi for an informational exchange to share best practices. The objectives of the visits were as follows:
a. To bring together both financial and human resources towards turning waste management into an enormous business enterprise.
b. Develop strategies to improve the waste management venture i.e Building linkages with other relevant stakeholders.
c. Formation of sacco (co-operative group) to deal specifically with waste management
d. The youth have initiated a process of co-operative formation, which is currently in process of constructing the by-laws.
e. The co-operative (a legal entity) will be the platform by which all the networks will engage in business transaction.
f. A number of trainings have been conducted but there is still need to conduct further trainings on value addition. Plan exposure visits to other groups (Waste handling, reclying and shredding) working on waste management.
g. Mapping out of Youth groups with the aim of identifying more networks engaging in waste management.

Results Generated

• The youth are engaging with the wider market for their products and services rendered.
• One youth group in Mashimoni has now received a tender (contract) with the county government to collect recycling materials and be paid for the service.
• Visits to Build Partnership with count government environment ministry.


The connection of beneficiaries to the main water line was delayed due to the introduction of a pre-paid metering system by the Nairobi Water and Sewerate System. Initially a post-paid metering system was agreed upon by the community members and the NWSS, but after positive results with pre-paid meters from another informal settlement, the NWSS proposed pre-paid meters in Mashimoni. This caused a large amount of concern amongst community members as they were hesitant to pay for water before they knew the amounts in which they would be able to use it. Because of this, the metering and connection to households were significantly delayed by a few months. During the first week of December however, there was a meeting held between NWSS and MWW with Pamoja Trust also in attendance and it was decided that post-paid meters would be installed.

On Going / Pending work

• Water connections to the households.
• Loan issuance for households to connect to water.
• Training of youth groups in handling waste and developing formal relationships with state actors.
• Registration of the co-opertive movement

The Water Project : kenya-pamojamashimoni-13-construction-of-main-waterpipe-previously-implemented-5

Project Data

Project Type:  Urban Piped Networks
Location:  Mathare Informal Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya
ProjectID: 4284

Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Pamoja Trust is a Kenyan non-profit organization that seeks to work with the urban poor in informal settelments, by engaging communities to be actively involved in promoting and enhancing livelihoods through access to basic services such as safe and affordable water supply and sanitation and land rights.