Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor



Many people have a heart for those living in poverty, but very few have a mind for how to fight poverty well, according to Harvard University Professor Michael Fairbanks. The Kibera slums in Kenya is no exception to the plethora of challenges informal settlements face concerning development, including a lack of security of tenure, corruption, an unhealthy business environment, and a lack of jobs. Kibera has been the subject of numerous studies and development efforts throughout the years and has faced a long history of failed government interventions. In 2020, Kenya received almost $4 billion from the U.S. in official development assistance. In Kibera alone, there are an estimated 511 non-governmental organizations, which is staggering in relation to its small size. Despite all the money that has been poured into Kibera, individual’s homes are still crammed and deteriorating, youth sit idle on the side of the road, garbage lines the streets, and people still live on about $1 or $2 a day. There must be a better approach to development. Sustainable community development in Kibera will take much more than some food and clothing being thrown at the residents. It will take multi-faceted partnerships, collaboration with local and national governments, and significant community involvement to deal with complex root issues and systemic corruption.