Welcome to Kutoka Network

Kutoka Network was started as a movement in the year 2002 and acquired its legal identity in the year 20091 when it was registered as Kutoka Urban Slums Initiative which became its legal name while Kutoka Network  remains its operating name. The founders of the organization were Comboni Missionaries who were working  in parishes which were either in self-organized settlements or were neighboring the settlements. The main  objective of forming Kutoka Network was to empower people living in self-organized settlements to be change  agents in transforming their lives through advocating for governance structures which engage the people in  development. While the initial membership of Kutoka Network was mainly drawn from Catholic Parishes and  organizations working in the self-organized settlements, these have since grown into partnerships with civil  society organizations beyond the Catholic institutions.  

Since its inception, Kutoka has successfully organized many activities on governance and human rights. Most  of these activities have been funded by different partners such as Misereor, Catholic Agency for Overseas  Development (CAFOD), Concern Worldwide, and National Government through the Office of Prime Minister,  Cordaid, and United Nations through the Safer Cities Programme among others. Kutoka Network believes in  the values of Equity, Justice and Dignity.  

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 their communities2

Vision statement: A dignified life for people living in self-organized settlements.  

Mission: Empowering people living in self-organized settlements towards economic and social  transformation to live a dignified life. 

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 Christian faiths in advocating for the rights of the people as  enshrined in the Bill of Rights (Chapter 4), Constitution of Kenya (2010). The 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; and Peace building and reconciliation initiatives after 2007/2008 Post election  violence among others. 

Core Values 

  1. a) Participation: People have a right to be heard on matters that affect their well-being – so we are morally  obligated to listen, and help others raise their voices. We are committed to ensuring that the community  has a voice in development and policy initiatives that affect them. 
  2. b) Inclusivity, Diversity and Non-discrimination: As an organization, we respect and embrace diversity  in all its forms, and we wish to create an inclusive culture where everyone thrives. As a national  organization, we firmly believe that diversity enhances our ability to innovate and improve our stakeholder  engagement and performance. 
  3. c) Dignity and Integrity: Dignity creates respect and Integrity creates trust. As an organization, collectively,  it’s our most valuable asset. Individually, it’s the constant choice to infuse every action with honesty,  fairness, and respect for clients and colleagues alike. 
  4. d) Solidarity: We believe it is possible to create change at scale when we act in solidarity with the people  experiencing poverty and injustice.  
  5. e) Accountability and Transparency: Power and resources must be used with integrity and responsibility. It is only through accountable governance that human rights can be protected and enjoyed by all. Our  own accountability to communities and other allies nationally and internationally, including donors, is key  to the success of our work 
  6. f) Social Justice: As Kutoka Network, we will work to advocate with the oppressed, the marginalized, and  anyone who needs his/her voice amplified. We aim to provide information, collaboration opportunities,  and other resources within our means to people and organizations seeking equality, justice and dignity. 
  7. g) Team work: The strength of our team does not only lie in our combined experience and expertise but  also our ability to trust each other, no matter what the circumstances. We know that our best work is not  produced by individuals but by groups of individuals and communities working in solidarity and building  synergies with each other.


Kutoka network has been working tirelessly in addressing the needs of people in the urban informal  settlements since its inception. Over the years, the network has been guided by its core thematic areas in  implementation of various programmes. These thematic programmes entailed:  

Human Rights: Governance, advocacy, peace building, social justice and reconciliation 

Gender :Leadership, mentorship and entrepreneurial support  

Capacity development: Sports and talents development and employment creation

Livelihood: opportunity scanning, linkages, financial literacy and record keeping, entrepreneurship  training and support and inter-faith economic justice  

Media : Training of community journalists to document their significant change stories, advocacy and  lobbying, development of I.E.C materials and positive use of social media  

Inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue series: inter-faith perspectives to social justice-prophetic  mission of the church and inter-faith collaboration.  

Environment and Climate Change: Decommissioning of Dandora dumpsite, solid waste management,  promotion of hygiene and sanitation in SOSs). 

Through these thematic programme areas, the network has initiated several key projects that have been of  success for the target communities living in informal settlements within the urban setting. The following are  some examples of projects implemented by the Network that had profound benefits to the communities: 

3 UN-HABITAT and Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP).pdf  

4https://www.fsinplatform.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/IPC_Kenya_Acute_Food_Insecurity_2020AugDec_Urban.pdf 5 https://theconversation.com/nairobis-slum-residents-pay-a-high-price-for-low-quality-services-104063

  1. A) Social Justice, Reconciliation and Advocacy Project 

The church is known to be the conscience of a society. It is therefore incumbent upon the church leadership  to play a leading role in reconstructing the society in order to ensure that every individual and institution  contribute towards building just communities where every human being irrespective of the social, economic  or political limitations celebrate their humanity and feel part and parcel of being God’s children. Further, the  enactment of the new constitution in 2010 which provided for a two-tier system of devolved governance, an  expanded bill of rights which provided for compulsory public participation in decision making at both national  and county governments and an elaborate chapter on lands and the environment re-shaped the way we  approached or social justice, peace building and reconciliation programming. The end of Millennium  Development Goals (MDGs) and the launch of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have also had a  positive impact on our programming as our future activities will be aligned to realization of specific SDGs. 

It is in this regard that Kutoka Network initiated the Social Justice, Reconciliation and Advocacy Project.  Some of the key achievement for the project include: 

  • Development of newsletter, sports, peace building and reconciliation barazas which helped to unite the  various villages especially around 2007 and 2013 general elections which minimized violence.
  •  A total of 22 groups had participated in the project activities with a total of 528 participants. Most of them  attended more than one activity.  
  • The project engaged with ward administrators who represent the governors at the grassroots level and  the chiefs who represent the president at the same level. However, the political leadership didn’t engage  with the project as planned. This is a gap that the new project is seeking to fill. 
  • The project formed 3 out of the 5 monitoring groups: Korogocho, Kibra and Mukuru. 
  •  A mapping of devolved funds in each of the project target areas was undertaken. Most of the target  beneficiaries who attended the devolved funds awareness sessions demonstrated low level of  understanding of the devolved funds in each of the respective areas. Some of them complained that  fidelity to elected political leaders prevented them from asking questions around governance since they  were considered as the enemies of the leaders particularly at ward and parliamentary levels.
  •  The project conducted consultations meeting with paralegals that were trained during the last project. 
  •  The project conducted a 2-day paralegal training with 36 paralegals. The project is also continuing with  its collaboration with the Korogocho Justice Centre to refer cases regarding access to justice.
  •  The project developed the website with pins which indicate projects in each of the wards.  
  1. B) Public Interest Groups (PIGs) 

The project achievements entailed: the formation of PIGs in Korogocho, Kibra, Mathare, Dandora, Kayole  and Mukuru; the formation of Dandora Dumpsite Consortium: COPA-K; Kutoka Network; and Ufanisi Centre;  and building new partnerships with democracy and access to justice actors: Lands Coalition, shadow  reporting to COESCRs. The project activities and stories of change included: Evidence Based advocacy  through research; Technical and Financial Support to Community Organizing Initiatives e.g. USA, MPI etc.;  Telling the stories of change through information dissemination, traditional and contemporary media  platforms e.g. Newspapers and Online among other areas.  

Further during the project implementation the following Lessons were learnt 

  • Building of critical constituencies for impactful advocacy and human rights  
  • Community led mechanisms for information validation and sharing  
  • Effective MEARRL mechanisms which consolidate multi-stakeholders approach to measuring  achievements 
  • Building the institutional and technical capacity of the PIGs to embrace evidence based to devolved funds  advocacy 
  • Building on the strategic goodwill and political support both at county and national levels
  1. C) Participatory Governance and Entrenching Good Governance 

The project aimed at transforming unequal power relations through strengthening institutional and  organizational systems in the community which influence participation as well as to promote and encourage  inclusion and participation in governance by youth, women and the easily marginalized groups in Nairobi. 

The specific objectives of the project included creation of public awareness on devolved government, the role  of public in the devolved government and checks and balances to ensure the letter and spirit of the  constitution is adhered to; and creation of a safe and secure environment through peace by transforming  structures which perpetuate injustices and inequalities. To achieve these objectives the project carried out  the following activities: networking, seminars/workshop, dialogue, conferences, road shows/processions,  focused group discussion, mobilization, lobbying, media, sports events, and courtesy calls. 

At the end the project was able to achieve the following results: 

  • Inclusion and Participation of Community in Local Governance in Nairobi. 
  • Equitable and sustainable development through participatory democracy and good governance. 
  •  Due processes followed in setting up devolved funds committee and monitoring and evaluation  frameworks developed to check identification, implementation and hand over of the projects.
  •  Public able to know and monitor corruption and promote honesty, integrity and quality service 
  1. D) Public / Civic education – Enhancing the Knowledge of Wakaazi (residents) 

The project entailed: enhancing the Knowledge of Wakaazi (residents) in five self-organized settlements to  engage with their leaders and make them more responsive. The five settlements in Nairobi included  Korogocho, Kayole, Dandora, Mathare, Mukuru and Kibera.  

The activities of the project involved: 

  • Conducting awareness raising workshop in each of the five-project target self-organized settlements on  monitoring of public funded projects with at least 30 participants in each workshop. 150 wakaazi taken  through leadership awareness sessions and become more responsive to monitoring public funded  projects and influencing development within their electoral wards.  
  • Convening a leader’s leadership consultative meeting in each of the target self-organized settlements  with at least 30 representatives of key stakeholders. 
  • Conducting a baseline and end-line social audits of publicly funded projects from the target self-organized  settlements. 
  1. E) Sauti Kutoka Ghetto  

Sauti Kutoka Ghetto was a weekly Radio show that was aired every Wednesday at 7.30PM on Radio Waumini, the Catholic Radio station in Kenya. Each programme has a relevant theme in the areas of human  rights, advocacy and lobbying for implementation of policies and programmes which impact positively on the  livelihoods of urban slum dwellers. A team of trained community reporters were tasked to gather and report  news from different slums. The program hoped created an even bigger impact in the lives of the people it  stands for; the slum people.  

Key issues noted during the project include: 

  • To advocate for children’s rights to quality and affordable basic primary education through formal and  non-formal structures 
  • Education is becoming part and parcel of our news agenda, being agenda 2 of the Millennium  development Goals more and more people are appreciating discussions and issues based on education
  •  More listeners are getting in touch with us by communicating and sharing their opinion on the radio show.  We are already in touch with the ministry of education and the Nairobi City education department that we  hope can help get more contacts with the policy makers

Mashinani Campaigns are still in progress and we are getting more and more parishes that want to join us  in the campaign we are also engaging other key stakeholders in education, like the educationalists: University  lecturers and Educational forums like FAWE to be part and parcel of our education campaign. The project  constituted a committee of 12 community representatives to mobilize the community on issues relating to  urban slums education. 

  1. F) Social Audits Project 

The goal of the project was to undertake on-going social audits of public funds in Nairobi and hold leaders  accountable to the public over management of the funds. This project’s theory of change (ToC) is informed  by Kutoka Network’s history of working with communities to enhance their access to justice and hold public  leaders accountable to them. The project ToC is premised on the fact that IF communities in SOSs are  enlightened and made aware of their role in participating in development THEN they will be empowered to  demand transparency and accountability in the management of public funds and THUS lead to improved  development and service provision to the people living in SOSs BECAUSE equitable development is a  fundamental human right. 

The project trained 15 community social auditors (CSAs) per project area who were in charge of undertaking  social audits within their regions. The social audit approach was preferred in this project because it allowed  for trained community social auditors (CSAs) to spearhead the process using a scorecard with relevant  indicators, which respond to the communities’ concerns regarding management of public funds. The issues  from the community were generated through a participatory process such as conducting Focus Group  Discussions (FGDs) in communities. Issues, which commonly emerge, are converted into indicators, which  were used as a basis of developing data collection tools. Data collected from the communities were subjected  to a validation by the leaders through holding Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with relevant public officers  such National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO), governors, relevant CECMs, MCAs and leaders  of various devolved funds committees. A final report was produced after issues from the communities and  the team undertaking the social audits (CSAs) has verified leaders.  


Over the past several years the organization has been able to make great changes in the organizational level  especially within the communities within the informal settlements. The following were identified as key  organizational achievements made: 

Dandora dump site consortium, comprising of St. John’s sport Society (SSS), COPA Kenya, and  Ufanisi Centre

Build new partners with democracy and access to justice and non- state actors;

Evidence based advocacy through research e.g. Dandora dumpsite social mapping, baseline survey  on devolved funds 2019 and 2021.  

Accessing awareness on devolved funds identification of public funded project with a view of  accessing the viability, status etc. 

Small assessment of the perception survey of the BBI; 

Technical and financial support to Public Interest Group [PIG]’s in 6 target areas i.e., Dandora,  Korogocho, Mukuru, Kibera, Mathare, and Kayole; 

Telling stories of change through trained community journalists based in the 6 target project locations.  These are alternative media platforms. Some of the direct beneficiaries of community journalism have  been employed in major media organizations while others have been employed as communication  and public relations (PR) professionals.