Kutoka is a Swahili word meaning ‘coming out’ or ‘Exodus’. In the Bible, depicts the struggle of the Israelites as they journeyed from Egypt to the Canaan, the Promised Land. God appointed Moses to lead His people from the sorrow. People living in urban slums for a long time have been subjected to a life of suffering due to widespread poverty and exclusion from mainstream social, political and economic development. Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative was therefore started around 2002 by a team of priests, other Catholic Clergy and lay people working in or around urban slums in Nairobi to start the journey of empowering them to live better and dignified lives. The exodus itself did not mean that slum dwellers would be removed from their dwellings places to another land of milk and honey. Rather, it was meant to improve their slums for themselves and for their children and children’s children. Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative is currently registered as a non-government organization.
A dignified life for people living in slum urban slums where they are the story tellers of their own story.
Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative envisages a community where people living in urban slums have dignified spaces to participate in making decisions which affect their lives.
The aim of the Initiative is to address difficult realities which affect slum people living in urban slums, share their experiences, and reflect together on pastoral approaches which answer to their needs, plan common initiatives and actions which contribute towards dignifying their lives and to highlight positive aspects of the slum realities. Most of our actions lobby the government and other stakeholders to find together with the slums dwellers the solutions to the problems affecting our communities
2. Interfaith Mandate
In spite of its strong foundation of the Catholic Faith and principles of Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative has a strong inter-faith tradition. Previously, it has worked effectively with Muslim, Evangelical, Hindu and indigenous Christians faiths in advocating for the social rights of the people. The two main areas where inter-faith relationship worked very well were: Debt repudiation campaign which Kutoka spearheaded together with Kenya Debt Relief Network, Chemi Chemi ya Ukweli , several civil society organizations and leaders of a number of religious organizations, inter-religious platform on Dandora Dumpsite , Inter-religious platform on the World Social Forum, peace building and reconciliation initiatives after 2007/2008 Post election violence among others.
Catholic Parishes and organizations
The main members of Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative are Catholic Parishes and organisations working and ministering to people living in various urban slums in Kenya. Each Parish and/or organization nominates one member each to the various committees and departments of the Initiative. Such members serve at the pleasure of their nominating parishes/organizations. A member shall cease his/her membership upon leaving the nominating parish/organization.
Individual Local Membership
Any member who leaves or changes his/her parish/organization continue to be an individual member of the Initiative if they so desire. Such members may include students and people who change parishes or jobs to other non-slum areas but have a passion for the course of urban slums.
Corporate Local Membership
Corporate bodies who are committed to working with urban slums may join Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative based on areas of their competitive strength.
International Individual and Institutional Members
International individuals and institutions who/which identify with the vision and mission of Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative may become members and offer such networking, financial and technical assistance as their abilities may allow them to.
4. Areas of Operation
Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative is registered to operate in Kenya. However, our strategic areas of operation are slums in major cities and towns in Kenya. Currently, the major bulk of our work is concentrated in urban slums in Nairobi specially Korogocho, Dandora, Baba Dogo, Kayole, Kibra, Mukuru and Mathare.
To empower people living in urban slums to build their capacity to participate effectively in processes which improve their living standards hence restoring dignity of the urban poor in Kenya. This is achieved through three key pillars: Peace Building, Social Justice and Reconciliation and improved livelihoods.