What is the implementation process?
To scale up this approach from one courtyard to over 120 courtyards in the neighbourhood, DTL conceived an innovative gamification approach known as the Changing Faces Competition. In this approach, youth groups are challenged to compete against each other to see who will create the cleanest, greenest and safest public space in the area. The winners are assessed on the basis of BEFORE and AFTER photos taken over a three-month period. During the three-month-long competition, the youth initiate the transformations as volunteers. They are incentivized to identify income-generating opportunities within their courtyards and engage dialogue with the residents of the plots surrounding the space, asking them for monthly contributions for maintenance - after they demonstrate the impact of the transformations. Most of transformations initiated during the competition have been maintained beyond the competition due to identified income-generating opportunities. Moreover, DTL co-opted local youths who are influencers including renown hip-hop stars who grew up but left Dandora to engage with the youth and show them the long-term benefits of the intervention. The competition has run three successful editions from 2014 - 2016 and now in 2018, it is being scaled to the rest of Nairobi.
How has the initiative improved the living environment?
1. Physical transformation of public open spaces
- Changing Faces Competition has mobilized over 120 youth groups comprising over 3000 youths involved in transformation of 120 spaces.
- 37 spaces have undergone a significant transformation and been maintained constantly. Spaces have functional drainages and waste management system.
- The DTL staff monitors the state of places quarterly through a grading system.
2. Improvement of safety
- The insecurity in the neighbourhood has declined by more than 70% since the initiative has started (source: The Dandora Officer Commanding Police Station)
- A survey monitoring perception of safety among residents confirms the increased feeling of safety: 53% of respondents stated safety has improved a lot.
3. Enhanced Social Cohesion and a child-enabling environment
- Social activity at public spaces (including evening hours) has increased significantly over last three years.
- The environment in the neighborhood has become child-friendly: children can play in a safe and clean environment and new playgrounds have been created.
4. Change of the narratives
- Media and informal discussions with Nairobians have shifted from picturing Dandora as a "no-go-zone" to a "new Dandora". Dandora residents express the increasing sense of belonging to the community.
5. Scalable model
- The courtyard model was successfully scaled up to the entire neighbourhood. Groups from other neighbourhoods have expressed interest to implement the model in their areas.
- In 2018, DTL banded with other similarly minded organizations and stakeholders from across Nairobi to form the Public Space Network (PSN). PSN is now scaling up Changing Faces Competition to the entire Nairobi.