Building Bridges of Understanding Swedish Ambassador's Visit to Mathare, Nairobi.

To foster community engagement and continued collaboration, following a visit to Kibra in July 2022, the Swedish Ambassador, Her Excellency Caroline Vicini, visited Mathare – another of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements – on 18 July 2023. Organised by the Life & Peace Institute (LPI), this second visit brought together female and male youth leaders of community-based organisations (CBOs) in Mathare, Kibra, Majengo and Korogocho informal settlements.

The day began with a tree-planting activity at the Mathare community space to signify the importance and urgency of climate change action. Community members and regional and local government administrators also took part. In her address, Ambassador Vicini emphasised the importance of safeguarding the Mathare River.

Thereafter, the Ambassador held a meeting with the six youth leaders. It provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange and candid discussions on the challenges facing Kenyan youth today. Some of the issues included the nationwide protests (Maandamano) over the high cost of living and high taxation of basic commodities. The protests, led mainly by human rights activists, also contributed to a number of young people returning to crime due to the high cost of living, taking advantage of the protests to loot. The youth and ambassador discussed the role of security actors in the protests. It highlighted the need for inclusive approaches and more sustainable solutions to address them, and the importance of leaders’ prioritisation of the citizens’ well-being. The meeting called for deliberate inter-generational dialogues focusing on meaningful change at community levels. The youth also emphasised the need for conflict-sensitive messaging from leaders to address issues constructively and avoid further discord.



Mayer Ngala & Joyner Andati
Graduate Assistants, Life & Peace Institute