Music and the movement of the people have long been cultural tools to ignite change. It’s therefore fitting that the initiation of sustainable water in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, was marked in such a manner. June 20th saw one of the most remarkable events in the slum’s recent history as The Nourafchan Foundation (TNF) joined forces with Nairobi’s leading musical and creative minds to host Nourfest. It was a first-of-its-kind festival, themed The Big Splash, a gathering, which attracted over 2,000 individuals from the slums and surrounding communities and marked the unveiling of a critical change, the philanthropic organisation’s highly anticipated sustainable water project.
Such an event feels particularly powerful when considering that over 17 million people in Kenya are without access to safe water. Until recently Kibera’s only source was the Nairobi dam, whose unsanitary waters are rife with infections like typhoid and cholera. Studies show that Kibera’s residents are expected to pay more for clean water than wealthier Kenyans in the tapped neighborhoods of Nairobi and, shockingly, their charges are higher than those imposed upon European and US citizens. To put the magnitude of this financial impact into perspective, Kibera’s households spend up to 20 per cent of their income on water, which can be equal to the price of their rent. Known for their work within Africa’s most destitute communities, TNF has a mind to reducing the root causes of critical issues from adoption and HIV to education through social and economic development. In an essential first step towards eliminating this detrimental cycle, TNF’s sustainable solution affords the community with greater availability and access to clean water, and a move towards their ultimate goal: a resolution to this problem through community driven action.
Through music, art and performance, Nourfest celebrated the spirit of clean water and the transformative affect it will have on the Kibera community. An impressive array of artists, musicians and performers donated their time and energies to the cause. Revellers were entertained by the likes of Octopizzo, a prominent hip-hop artist and community activist who shares TNF’s passion for clean water initiatives, as well as Bankslave, Kenya’s founding father of graffiti, the famed ZamaSimba Acrobats, and the talented Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO) dancers. Against this vibrant backdrop of performance and positivity, The Nourafchan Foundation introduced their sustainable water initiative to the masses. Founder of TNF, Rafi Nourafchan said, “The underlying issues that spread diseases like typhoid and cholera need to be tackled at source, TNF is approaching this with a community-based approach that we believe will really make a difference.”