The Mathare Green Movement (MGM) & International Justice Mission (IJM) were joined by a group of 45 Law students from Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) for a dialogue in the community. This was followed by a tree planting activity. The dialogue was held at Mathare Environmental Conservation Centre (Pequininos) in Mlango Kubwa. Discussions revolved around issues of extra-judicial executions, police abuse of power and political accountability in the community and our role as citizens, law students and the community at large. This was a great session that saw students leave the classroom to interact with the community in person. MSJC’s Kinuthia Mwangi talked about the social injustices happening in the community, with young people being executed by a notorious killer policeman, the community suffering from the inadequacy of water, houses going down in huge fire losses, and public spaces being grabbed. He further insisted that the students should go down to the communities more and get first hand information, not just read what is in the books or online.
Mutisya Muasya (Kaka), the founder of Pequininos spoke of how the space was once a garbage place, which he and other youth cleared as a personal initiative, later building an environmental centre that multitasks as a base where community members watch football matches at a fee in order to generate an honest income for the members of Pequininos. Most of the proceeds also go into their program of feeding over 300 street children. They collect garbage as well for a living, an activity that sees them redeem themselves from crime. This was also seconded by Kanyi Wyban, coordinator of MGM, as he introduced this ecological justice campaign — MGM. He appreciated that most of the people involved were the youth and that means substantial change – revolution coming; young people coming together to make a change for their community without waiting for help from outside. Wyban discussed the philosophy driving the Mathare Green Movement and insisted that green spaces are safe spaces.
Afterwards, everybody was invited for a walk through the community area, to Mathare Old Primary School, where we planted trees with some of the pupils and staff members. Mr. Maina, the environmental club teacher in the school appreciated the positive act and the fact that young community members are taking the initiative to bring change in Mathare. We called it a day, having planted a total of 53 trees within the school compound! We thank all who came through to make this a success. See the pictures below!