The Framework and Action Plan from the discussions and recommendations of the Stakeholder Forum held on 7th September 2016 can now be downloaded City-Park-Forum-Report-2017.06.6-.pdf (20 downloads) .
The Forum was organized by Friends of City Park (FoCP) in conjunction with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and the Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) and supported by several corporate and individual sponsors. It was attended by 242 stakeholders and 81 institutions drawn from government, civil society, youth organisations, academic institutions, national and international agencies.
In summary the outcomes from the 6 Workshops are described below:
City Park is a key biodiversity site in the city, hosting about a thousand different species of animals, insects and plants. It holds valuable parts of Kenya’s history, including cemeteries designated for War Veterans and the Goan and Jewish communities, and the final resting place for Kenya’s second Vice President and renowned African Art collector, Joseph Murumbi, and freedom fighter and human rights activist Pio Gama Pinto. The bandstand and maze (mtego wa panya) are treasured memories for city residents.
An education and awareness campaign is now needed to refresh the image of City Park as a place of possibility and fun, and develop a sense of ownership among neighbouring communities and visitors.
Erecting a boundary fence would help protect the park’s natural and cultural diversity.
These two outcomes were also proposed by the other workshops.
There was hot discussion on whether entry fees should be introduced to raise funds to manage the Park. It was noted that charging entry fees would make it inaccessible to a large segment of Nairobi’s population who could not afford to pay. The overwhelming majority was against entry fees and passionate to maintain the Park as a free space for all, particularly due to the scarcity of open space in Nairobi, and the fact that City Park contained sites of Kenyan history. Implementing entry fees would also be logistically complicated due to the high number of pedestrian commuters (estimated at 4,000) crossing the Park twice daily, and the market activities near the Park. The consensus was that the Park should remain free. In order to be inclusive, the Park should cater for the needs of the aged, the young, women, men, people living with disability, the poor and the well to do.
With free entry, other funding sources would need to be developed, such as fees for parking and special amenities, and developing activities and events to support the Park. Such funds need to be ring-fenced for Park use only.
Land grabbing and encroachment have been a constant threat in the last 30 years. Thirty hectares of the Park had already been lost. Participants called for all government stakeholders to work together to ensure the gazetted land is protected in perpetuity and a single title deed for the entire Park is secured.
Beyond fencing and effective management, public awareness and increasing the number of activities within the Park were seen to be the best way to protect public spaces. Social and psychological boundaries are often more effective than physical boundaries.
People feared visiting the park because they felt it was not safe. Demarcation of boundaries and entry points would allow better management of the flow of people through the Park. A perimeter fence and improved security, maintenance and lighting would make the park more attractive to visitors.
Improved signage showing different parts of the Park, notifications with emergency contacts in case of danger and a map of the Park would help users navigate the Park with ease and promote a sense of security.
In order to improve the cleanliness of the Park, development of an effective waste management system was proposed. Suggestions included the use of tamper proof recycling bins, and eco solutions like planting of papyrus in the river to filter polluted water, and turning plant waste from the market and park upkeep into valuable compost.
Stakeholders could come together for a monthly clean-up day that could include fun day activities like live music, etc. Eventually the public would be sensitized to the 7 Rs: reduce, recycle, reuse, respect, refuse, rethink, repair
Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the management of the Park need to be clarified. The Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) is the day-to-day manager; the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) are responsible for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and historical sites; and Friends of City Park (FoCP) seek to conserve the Park and improve its amenities.
A Legal Entity that would include NCCG, NMK, FoCP and other stakeholders was proposed during the Forum. This will take time to be developed. Meanwhile, it is expected that the goodwill and momentum generated by the Forum will enable the NCCG, NMK, FoCP and the community to work together to improve and protect City Park.
The Report was compiled by Bettina Ng’weno, Seeta Shah, Baldip Khan, Sylvia Ochanda
Download the report City-Park-Forum-Report-2017.06.6-.pdf (20 downloads)