P & G launches community centre in Kibera

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p and g

Human Needs Project has partnered with Procter & Gamble, Grundfos and Redhorse Constructors to launch a community centre in the Kibera, Nairobi.

  • The Kibera Town Centre will bring access to 240,000 litres of clean water a day, with 15 new toilets and 25 showers , 5 hand washing sinks, 2 washing machines and 2 tumble dryers.
  • Procter & Gamble’s Ariel Laundry Room will dramatically reduce physical strain and scarring of hands for women in the community and aims to reduce wash time by 33%.
  • Its innovative low-tech waste water management system is entirely self-contained, creating recycled water for use in the community
  • The centre will be 100% self-sustaining in terms of water usage, whilst clean energy delivered to the centre through solar panels will allow the centre to be energy efficient.
  • In addition to water services, the centre will provide empowerment services: microcredit, a cyber café, adult education and skills training, health information, and a green marketplace.
  • High-speed internet and clean tech building within the slum make the town centre a natural platform for collaboration between residents, corporations, universities, and other institutions.

Human Needs Project (HNP) has partnered with Procter & Gamble to offer the local residents in the Kibera slum, Nairobi, a radical solution to the traditional, exhausting search for basic services. HNP and its partners are today launching their first ever community centre – the Kibera Town Centre—which will bring clean water and other essential services to slum residents. The centre will be a self-sustaining social enterprise, eventually owned and operated by a cooperative of community members, with its services sold at competitive prices but offered more reliably at a much higher quality. As well as contributing to the whole build, Procter & Gamble has sponsored one room, the Ariel Laundry Room which will offer local residents respite from a long and often painstaking laundry process. This pilot will help P&G and their partners find long-term scalable solutions and improve health and well-being for communities in need of clean water like Kibera.

At the centre’s launch event, over 100 guests including local Area Chief Mr. Mutai and actress and HNP founder Connie Nielsen, gathered in the Kibera for the formal opening. The centre will have enormous physical benefits for the local community, including access to clean water, clean energy, showers, and sanitation. Moreover, the centre will be a source of economic empowerment through facilities such adult education and skills training, a cyber café, a green market place, a health and information kiosk, and microcredit.

The Ariel Laundry room will offer local residents respite from a long and often painstaking laundry process. Local women spend on average three hours, three times a week on a strenuous laundry process. Clean water is at the centre of the washing process, to which Kibera has limited access today. The Ariel Laundry Room will offer a clean washing space and clean water accessible through 5 hand washing sinks, 2 washing machines and 2 tumble dryers. The design of the stations and availability of scrubbing boards and machines will dramatically reduce women’s physical strain and scarring of hands as well as aims at reducing wash time by 33%. The Town Centre’s managers will guide community members in these new techniques. The centre will be able to serve Kibera with the products and practices that better address the community’s laundry issues and provide access to the newest laundry technologies and innovations.

  • The centre employed 300 local people in the build and an additional 45 local jobs will be created for the running of the centre.
  • To date, more than two dozen local centre managers have been trained in the skills that will allow them to run the centre such as Leadership, Economics, Health and Safety, Communications, and Programming, alongside practical skills such as Plumbing and Building
  • The centre will promote a living wage for employees

While this partnership is a first for Procter & Gamble, it has potential scalability and could be replicated in other communities.
Connie Nielsen, HNP Founder commented:

“I was first introduced to the people of Kibera when filming in Nairobi, and became acutely aware of the incredible hardship they faced. It was apparent that the human potential inherent in the wonderful people I had met in Kibera needed access to opportunity so it could express itself: together with David Warner, we founded HNP and created a concept that empowers the people we are trying to help while creating the conditions necessary for the project’s long term sustainability through a thorough programme of capacity building, education and community engagement.

Our Town Centre is a clean tech building where community members access high tech centralized services they need in order to create a future of their own choosing: laundry, water, sanitation and baths, education, information, banking and connectivity. Since embarking upon this project, we have had the good fortune to partner up with a number of Academic institutions and Corporate partners, such as P&G Fabric Care, helping us to provide innovation, sustainability and important networks of knowledge and know-how in the Kibera community. I am thrilled we have opened the Kiberan Community Centre; a place the community will operate and eventually own, and hopefully soon, grow and replicate.”

Virginie Helias, Global Director, Sustainability, Procter and Gamble said: “When it comes to sustainability, Procter & Gamble believes actions speak louder than words, so we are doing just that in Kibera. We are incredibly honoured to work in partnership with HNP in the Kibera Town Centre project to implement real solutions to key local issues, leveraging Procter & Gamble’s expertise in the fabric care sector. We are reshaping old ways of working to build a better business and that sentiment is at the core of this project: reshaping old laundry habits to make for a better experience. We look forward to learning more about what such a project can do in the Kibera community and how it might be scaled up.”

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