The importance of communitarian voluntary association in development cooperation: Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi


  • Giulia Murgia


This paper is the result of two study-trips to Africa, which took place in Kenya between 2012 and 2013. During my first visit I lived in a village called Kiburanga, in the South of the country, while the second time I stayed in the Kenyan slum of Kibera and in particular in Mathare. The report I am presenting in this paper is about my survey in Kibera, which was part of a broad collaborative effort of many individuals; people participating to an association help themselves and the communities, especially in a slum. I’ll try to explain what those places really are: «Slums are the physical negation of everything». Infact, as Kapuscinski maintains introducing his research work: «This is therefore a book about Africa, but rather about some people from there-about encounters with them, and time spent together. The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say Africa. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exists».


Alberto Alesina, Elena La Ferrara E., Participation in heterogeneous communities, National Bureau of Economic Research, n° 7155, June, 1999

Amnesty International, The unseen majority: Nairobi’s two million slum-dwellers, 2009

Marcello Balbo, Povera grande città . L’urbanizzazione nel Terzo Mondo, Franco Angeli, 1992

Marcello Balbo, L’intreccio urbano. La gestione della città nei paesi in via di sviluppo, Franco Angeli, 1999

Marco Berdusco, Giulio Levorato, Mathare slum. Accesso alle risorse e implicazioni per la sicurezza alimentare, Becco Giallo, 2013

Bernardo Bernardi, Africa. Tradizione e modernità , Carocci, 1998

Harry C. Boyte, Community organization in the 1970s: seeds of democratic revolt, in R. Fisher and P. Romanofsky (edited by), Community organization for urban social change; a historical perspective, Greenwood Press, 1981

Luciano Carrino, Perle e pirati. Critica della cooperazione allo sviluppo e nuovo multilateralismo, Erickson, 2005

Jean Comaroff, Comaroff John, Civil Society and Political Imagination in Africa. Critical Perspectivies, The University of Chicago Press, 1999

Mike Davis, Il pianeta degli slum, Feltrinelli, 2006

Pietro Garau, (edited by) Chiara Scandaletti, Arianna Zaccagnini, Barefoot & Prada. Architects and planners, the urban poor and the Millennium city, Officina edizioni, 2008

Jean Gottmann, Megalopolis. The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, The Twentieth Century Fund, 1960

Denis Chidi Isizoh, Religioni tradizionali africane: uno stereotipo di meno, in Mezzana D., Quaranta G., (edited by), Società africane. L’Africa sub-sahariana tra immagine e realtà , Zelig editore, 2005

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Ebano, Feltrinelli, 1998

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya facts and figures 2012, 2012

Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya, Secker and Warbung, 1936

Eliana La Ferrara, Inequality and group participation: theory and evidence from rural Tanzania, Bocconi University, December, 2000

Eliana La Ferrara, Self-help Groups and Income Generation in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi, in "Journal of African Economies", vol. 11 n.1, 2002

Giulia Murgia, L’importanza delle associazioni di solidarietà nella cooperazione allo sviluppo. il caso degli slums di Nairobi: Kibera e Mathare, [2012-2013 thesis], 2014

National Council for Law Reporting, The Constitution of Kenya, 2010

National Council for Law Reporting, Chiefs’ act. Chapter 128, 2012

Adams Oloo, East Africa: one identity or multiple identities, in The Society for International Development, East African scenarios project, 2007

Adriana Piga, Marco Bottaro, Stato e società civile nell’Africa contemporanea, Quaderno di ricerca n° 20, Aracne editrice, 2010

Bernard Pirot, Enfants des rues d’Afrique central, Khartala, 2004

The Society for Int. Development, East African scenarios project, 2007

UN, Millenium Development Goals, database, 2006

UN, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

UN, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013

UNDP, Human Development Report 2013. The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World, 2013

UN-Habitat, Nairobi urban sector profile, Nairobi, 2005

UN-Habitat, State of the world’s cities 2012/2013. Prosperity of Cities, 2013, p. 119




How to Cite

Murgia, G. (2014). The importance of communitarian voluntary association in development cooperation: Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi. L’architettura Delle città  - The Journal of the Scientific Society Ludovico Quaroni, 2(3-4-5). Retrieved from



L'Architettura delle città-The Journal of Scientific Society Ludovico Quaroni