Posted by on Dec 1, 2009
Related program: 2007 Open Architecture Challenge
Architecture for Humanity
NAIROBI, Kenya – July 13, 2010 – Kenyan NGO Slums Information Development Resource Center (SIDAREC) is working with the 50x15 Foundation and Architecture for Humanity to bring a youth technology and resource center to the Mukuru slum settlement of Nairobi. The center will give residents Internet access, computer and technology training, health clinic services, early childhood development programs, and a community theater. A radio station and recording studio will top out the construction project, beaming SIDAREC’s radio station 99.9 Ghetto FM to more than 650,000 local residents and countless listeners around the world.
The youth of Mukuru say the center is like a rain cloud, “One raindrop will not do much, but a number of raindrops falling down within a community is enough to allow seeds to grow into new plants.”
The center will address the needs of the young people living in the slums of Nairobi, where the AIDS/HIV pandemic is critical. According to the World Bank, only one in every two Kenyan youth is enrolled in secondary education, and one in ten adolescent females gives birth.
Local architects and contractors are heading up construction efforts. They have erected the building walls and community residents soon will be able to see the technology center take shape. Leaders from the sponsoring organizations are raising funds to complete the structure. They feel an added sense of urgency since a devastating fire burned down SIDAREC’s original center in Nairobi, which housed 99.9 Ghetto FM, a library, computer lab, health clinic and afterschool program. Thousands of children and youth were left without services or a safe place to gather.
“With the recent loss of SIDAREC’s primary facility, the team decided not to halt construction on the Mukuru Community Resource Center,'' said Cameron Sinclair, Executive Director of Architecture for Humanity. ''We’ve stayed focused on the project and believe that by completing the structure, we’ll fill a void for the youth of Mukuru. They truly are a vast, untapped resource. We’re seeking finishing funds of $68K, which will open the building before the year’s end. Let's build the future leadership of Kenya.'' Architecture for Humanity has managed the construction of the center in partnership with SIDAREC through its Ugandan-born Design Fellow Isaac Mugumbule.
George Onyango, project administrator of SIDAREC, says the youth in the Mukuru settlement face big challenges, such as high unemployment, lack of access to education, drug abuse and high rates of disease, “This upcoming project will address some of these challenges by providing a platform for information dissemination, access to technology and opportunities, thereby increasing employability for youth and women. It will open opportunities for young people to explore their talents and enhance skill for sustainable development.”
The 50x15 Foundation works to increase worldwide access to technology. President Dan Shine said the time is now to provide the community with greater opportunities, “Internet and computer training provide skills for local residents to educate themselves and qualify for good jobs. Access to life services like healthcare information, education, financial services, job hunting and communication, empower Mukuru individuals, families, and the community at large to improve their lives and living conditions.”
The lead organizations are seeking sponsors to help fund completion of the structure. They hope DJs, musicians and other music professionals will take special interest in helping ‘raise the radio’ for the youth of Mukuru. To donate and to find out more, visit http://architectureforhumanity.org/updates/2009-12-01-help-sidarec-raise-the-radio.
Slums Information Development Resource Center (SIDAREC) is a youth development organization based in Nairobi, Kenya dedicated to improving living conditions in Nairobi slums. http://www.sidarec.org
About Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. The organization is building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. They have projects around the world, including Haiti, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Brazil. http://architectureforhumanity.org
About 50x15 Foundation
The 50x15 Foundation’s mission is to accelerate worldwide digital inclusion rates to 50 percent of the world’s population by 2015, 15 years faster than the current growth rate. http://50x15.org