An employee of the community organization Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) activates a water selling machine in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, March 18, 2020. Photo Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

Society Nairobi2. October 2021

Vending Machines Offer Clean, Affordable Water to Slums

The life of Mukuru’s slum residents in Nairobi will soon change drastically because they will finally have access to clean water distributed through vending machines, instead of the polluted highly-priced alternative offered by informal vendors.

“The project is very efficient. Most residents now know how to use the system and we installed solar-powered lights for security at night,” says Johnstone Mutua, an officer of Kibera’s programme – run by the local nonprofit Shining Hope for Communities – similar to Mukuru’s. “This means someone can get water anytime they want.”

Following the success of the program developed in Kibera – Nairobi’s largest slum which has a total of 23 water stations – the Mukuru project has now installed 10 stations. Residents can now buy five 20-liter jerry cans of water per day without queuing. The new system works with plastic tokens exchangeable through the M-Pesa mobile money platform. The dispensers prevent residents from being at the mercy of the cartels that exploit the water market.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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