Kenya has poverty headcount ratio of 46% and on average, Kenyans are expected to live to the age of 62. With statistics like that, urbanization is a change that’s more than essential, it’s a necessity.
Recently, Kenya has just experienced an installment that’s sure the change their quality of life in the long run. In partnership with the World Bank, Kenya Power and Lighting Corporation and the national utility have instituted a 30-fold increase in electricity connections in just one year for Kenyan slums.
Kenya is home to some of the largest urban poor areas; in the town of Nairobi alone, two million of the 3.4 million live in informal settlements.
The direction of top management at national utility changed Kenya Power’s focus to a community-based approach in the slum villages and as a result, mass change came.
Originally, Kenya Power’s first order of business was to take down illegal electricity connections. Illegal connections were the dependable electricity source for the slum population. Many informal settlements had to depend on poor-performing, unsafe electricity, usually bought from local cartels. From this practice, electric fires and electrocutions weren’t uncommon.
Until recently, Kenya Power and the World Bank focused on bringing down this illegal connection market but their new approach has other areas of interest. Now, the counterparts have been listening to community leaders and publicizing the safety and reliability benefits of legal electrical connections.
Just a year ago (May 2014), Kenya had only established 5,000 new legal connects. They’ve obliterated that statistic with over 150,000 connections as of May 2015.
Kenya Power is now seeing a demand within their communities for legal electricity. Hopefully their movement becomes more of a staple in slum households, not only in Kenya but throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.