Tag Archives: Community

Football Pitch Make-over through Design Thinking

A lot was happening in Mlango Kubwa’s football pitch last week. Mlango Kubwa is a ward in the Mathare informal settlement in Kenya. Mathare has approximately 500,000 residence; Mango Kubwa itself has approximately 50,000 residents of which 70% of the population is 24 and under.

After its inauguration by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, it became the centerpiece of Design Thinking workshop organized to give it a sustainable make-over.

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The football pitch is the cornerstone of the community, strategically placed and accessible for all Mlango Kubwa’s residents. Used primary for football, sport and play, at times it’s also a place for talent shows, celebrations and other community events. But time, weather conditions and lack of resources have left a toll on its appearance and condition. What was once an astonishing sport facility in the midst of a slum is now rapidly deteriorating public space.

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To try to help out and bring new ideas and perspectives on the issue, UN-HABITAT teamed up with GIZ Sport for Development Africa programme and Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel from University of St. Gallen, an expert in Design Thinking methodology, to run a 2-day workshop with the community. Ran as a pilot in a difficult context of poor urban community, the hope and expectation was to come up with new strategies to revitalize and sustainably maintain the field.

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Despite slow start, the community members attending the workshop came up with some amazing ideas of how to improve the current state of the pitch.  Through rather complex and at times quite challenging steps of the Design Thinking methodology, the community looked at the most pressing issues, including safety and security, drainage, waste management and communication. Here are just few examples of simple interventions that were born that day:

  • Adequate fence around the pitch perimeter, with some kind of roofing to protect from rains
  • Paid caretaker(s)
  • Build-in drainage
  • Regular clean-ups, with competitions between school
  • WhatsApp group to inform the community of events and happenings at/around the pitch

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Funding remains a challenge and will determine the successful implementation of all the ideas that the community envisioned for the football pitch but everyone remains hopeful that over time, they will achieve everything what they set themselves for. UN-HABITAT will continue to support the Mlango Kubwa community and hope that together we can make it happen.

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Young people rocking the Youth & Urbanization Workshop at East Africa Cup 2015

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Every morning, 46 participants from different communities in Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya (Dandora) join the Youth & Urbanization workshop organized and run by the UN-HABITAT. For two hours a day, they work in small groups on assessing their communities and towns in terms of sports equipment and facilities using various participatory methodologies.

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The interactive workshop is structured in three parts. Firstly, young people work on mapping their communities. They draw a map of their community and mark the existing landmarks and sports facilities. They discuss and make a wish-list of sports infrastructure that they would like to have. At the end, they are asked to find a space where they think these new facilities could be placed, using their community maps.

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In the second part, they work on their road maps. They think about the current and future scenarios more critically. They discuss the challenges they have and the roots of these problems. They paint the ideal scenario that they would like to see in the future and try to identify enablers – what is going to help them to achieve their dreamt vision. Ultimately, they are guided to come up with action points to bridge the problems with the goals.

On the last day, they will explain the current situation to wider audience and present their strategies to reach their goals.

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The workshops have been a great fun. The energy and ideas of the participants was fantastic, giving is a lot to think about and a lot to work on. The direct consultations with young people are priceless for the UN-HABITAT and we appreciate the enthusiasm that these young people put into this. We can’t wait to see the follow up actions and the first steps of the community change!

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