Water is scarce, costly, and contaminated in Kibera, Nairobi—one of Africa’s largest urban slums. On good days, the women and children of Kibera spend just under an hour finding clean water in their community. On bad days, the search takes all day and the price can increase tenfold. Water contamination is so common that people ask jokingly whether it is water or cholera they are buying at water kiosks. Even though many slums like Kibera lack access to clean drinking water, they don’t lack access to mobile phones.
M-Maji (“mobile-water” in Swahili) was developed to map clean water stations in Kibera, Kenya, a dense urban slum in Nairobi. Think of the Gas Buddy app, but instead of searching for the cheapest and closest gas station, M-Maji helps Kibera residents find clean water within walking distance. A text offers three options: find water, sell water or file a complaint. The “mobile-for-development” project aims to use widely accessible mobile phones to empower under-served communities with better information about water availability, price, and quality.
Learn more about the project at M-Maji.