AN ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY CENTRES IN KAYOLE SOUTH WARD, NAIROBI

ABSTRACT

Community centres are an integral part of the urban landscape in cities of developing countries. In Nairobi, the community centers were designed during the colonial period primarily as social halls. This was done to capture the needs of the then population. Rapid urbanization has for instance been continuously registered in the city growing at 3.8% (GoK, 2009). With technological advances also, the upcoming urban population has constantly developed a variety of social needs which are not met by the provision of the existing social needs.

It is the basis of the above factors that this particular study was undertaken. The area chosen for this study was Kayole Estate which had two community centres, Kayole I and Kayole II community centres. Kayole I Community centre had however been turned into a rehabilitation centre for street children. Kayole II Community Centre, located in Kayole South ward, is thus the only operational centre serving the entire estate. Unlike the other centres which were built during the colonial era, Kayole was  constructed and built by the City Council of Nairobi in 1994. The area had a rapid population increase due to urbanization, thus overstretching the provision of the community centre in trying to meet the social needs of the area residents.

The objectives of this study were to: assess the categories and location of community centres in the study area; establish the gaps in the provision and utilization of the community centres; establish the functional linkages of community centres with adjacent land uses; to find out the causes and consequences of the gaps in the provision and utilization of community centres; and to determine and propose an appropriate typology of community centre for the present and future situation of the study area. Data for this research was collected from both primary and secondary sources from various stakeholders i.e. users of the centre, management, and residents were consulted to capture their views.

The major findings of the study were that there were a number of challenges in the Community Centres including: Inadequate government support in skills development; noise from the centres, especially during gatherings organized by churches, political leaders and individual residents; Long walking distances to access the centre; Inadequate support facilities; Limited space for the various activities carried out in the centre and limited time against high charges for use of facilities. There were also a significant number of gaps in the provision of the demanded facilities which impact negatively in the well-being of the Kayole residents e.g. lacking facilities like the gymnasium, DSTV decoder, cyber café, library services, a sports ground among others . Some of the consequences of these gaps include: Idleness among unemployed youths hence high crime rates; high chances of political unrests due to social segregations; poor skill development; and poor revenue collections (for the City Council) plus poor economic empowerment (for community members).

Various recommendations were thus proposed in the view to provide short term remedy to the challenges identified and also long term strategies that will lead to re-developing the entire community centre and to design it in a way such that it will serve both the present and future Kayole.

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