Setting Up Safe Community Libraries & Innovation Hubs in Kenyan Slums and Rural Areas - Laibu Mtaani

Setting Up Safe Community Libraries & Innovation Hubs in Kenyan Slums and Rural Areas - Laibu Mtaani

We saw a great need to address the lack of access to study spaces in the slums where each household living in a one-roomed house has an average of 6 - 7 family members. This one room is where the parents and children sleep, cook, sit and even do their homework. Children hence really suffer when they are studying due to constant interruptions, which affect their concentration and overall performance in education.

Our Solution
To address this need and through our "LAIBU MTAANI PROJECT" which means "community libraries" in Swahili, we are establishing safe community library spaces for young people in the slums and rural areas. In addition to having books, the community libraries are being fitted with computers for digital practical learning to encourage and train young people on technology and innovation training and incubation solution hubs.

The safe community library spaces will target children between 7 - 18 years. The community innovation and technology solution hubs will target young people between 18 - 24 years.

We are partnering with local community-based organizations and organized groups to make the library project(s) sustainable and foster ownership. Hence older-younger adults who are members of the community organizations are trained to become librarians, space managers, and tutors.

The tutors from these areas will be trained so that they can, in turn, teach the younger age groups on the use of digital technology platforms that will mainly encompass the use of computers.

With broader partnerships with organizations that foster technological solutions some of the young people who go through this community spaces/hubs will eventually:

  • Establish their own start-ups with localized solutions and earn from them.
  • Contribute to the African and global tech solution talent.
  • Connected to industry players in technology for placement.

In the next three years by the year 2022, we aim to have established 10 model safe community library spaces/hubs across slums in major towns/cities in Kenya and in marginalized rural communities across Kenya.

We are currently mapping existing spaces to set up or unused shipping containers that can be transformed into safe community library models.

Each model space will be solar powered for sustainability.

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Women and Youth


Half the world is women – and half the world is under 25 years of age. Women are particularly vulnerable in times of global crises. In many developing countries, primary, secondary and tertiary education for girls remains a challenge. There is no gender equality yet in matters of access to education, professional opportunities, pay and public representation.

Women remain underrepresented in top positions. In some countries of the world not a single woman is sitting in the National Assembly. All around the world, in every country, women and girls still struggle to exercise their full human rights, even to be seen as full human beings. Violence against women and girls is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the deep imbalances in power in our societies, and the vulnerabilities and limitations that follow them, especially for the most marginalised, and especially in crisis contexts, when vulnerabilities are at their peak and protections at their lowest point. Defending women and girls’ rights means understanding and addressing these effects holistically. Inadequate facilities at schools force millions of girls around the world to miss class during menstruation. It’s estimated that more than half of schools in low-income countries lack sufficient toilets for girls or are unsafe and unclean.

Worldwide, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence—most often by an intimate partner. Nearly 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday, and over 200 million have suffered female genital mutilation. More than 70 per cent of all trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 trafficked women and girls are sexually exploited. This must end. Access to quality education and skills training has never been so important to ensuring a future of dignity for all women around the world.


Awarding football kits to Green park Youth F.C . A young youth football team from the informal settlements of Mathare that is truly inspiring. MindMe international being an SDGs advocate seeing this young person daring to dream is such an inspiration.  Picture courtesy: Mindmeinternational 

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