Garden City, Kenya’s first integrated residential, retail and office development today breaks ground on the first phase of an ongoing community service initiative to support Murema Primary School, including the construction of new toilet and wash rooms to assist towards improving the school’s dilapidated water and sanitation facilities.
Murema Primary School, located off Mwiki road and near Mwiki Shopping Centre, is a Nairobi City County-owned school, less than 5km from the 32 acre Garden City construction site and one of few public schools in the local area.
The school currently has just one pit latrine block shared by over 1800 boys and girls, which is severely short of appropriate facilities, has a damaged sewer pipe discharging effluence within the school compound, and inadequate water storage for basic hygiene.
With the help of the Project Architects, Triad, Garden City has developed a plan to upgrade the existing pit latrines and to construct two additional separate ablution blocks for boys and girls, rebuilding, renovating and expanding the school’s sanitation facilities in an effort to address the students’ basic needs, improve their surroundings and help them concentrate upon their studies.
In addition, Garden City has leveled the school playfield, which previously had a flood gulley cutting across it making it an unsafe area for children to play on, and is developing a football play area.
After breaking ground in 2012, the Garden City Management team met with Professor Edward Kairu, Director of Maji Na Ufanisi, and commissioned a report on the surrounding catchment area, to identify where Garden City might be able to use the core skills and resources of its partners (contractors, suppliers and consultants, including world class architects, and engineers) to make a difference to the local community, in both a practical and sustainable way.
At today’s ground breaking ceremony, Stuart Blandford, Director of Aspire and Development Director of Garden City, commented: “The creation of Garden City has been undertaken with a firm focus on sustainability. In addition to environmental sustainability, this focus also extends to creating significant positive and sustainable social impact amongst the surrounding communities.
We believe that, as well as the overall project impact of creating thousands of new jobs locally, the social benefits of upgrading facilities at Murema School are huge, and we hope that this demonstrates to other developers how the private sector can work effectively with the public sector to improve social infrastructure.”
Head Teacher at Murema Primary School, Mrs Mary Gikonyo was quick to add her approval of the project: “The preparation work that we have seen started, for example levelling the school’s playing field, has already transformed the children’s play time. All of us, both teachers and students, at Murema Primary School are delighted to be involved with Garden City’s local initiative. We are very excited to see the work progress in the coming months and to enjoy the real benefits of these major improvements.”
Koome Gikunda, Director of Real Estate for Actis, further commented: “Garden City is a market-leading development, in terms of scale, quality and vision, with sustainability principals at its core. As Garden City grows, we’d like the community around the development to grow with it. We are excited to support this local school project, sharing the skills and many disciplines that the Garden City project encompasses, in a meaningful and sustainable way.”
Professor Edward Kairu, Director of Maji Na Ufanisi said: “We were extremely pleased to be a part of Garden City’s Community Project from the start, and Maji Na Ufanisi has been asked to provide training to schoolchildren in hygiene and sanitation measures as an additional contribution. Basic water facilities and sanitation are vital to social improvement, so we see this as one very pragmatic way for the project to make a real difference to people’s lives in this area.”
The Garden City mixed-use project, situated between exit 7 and 8 on the Thika Road, is backed by sub-Saharan Africa’s most experienced real estate developer, Actis, responsible for the Junction Mall and Nairobi Business Park, with additional investment by CDC and the IFC. Phase one of construction is due to be completed on 28 May when the new Garden City Mall will open its doors to the public for the first time.
Phase one will also include 76 two and three bedroom apartments and duplexes, as well as a landscaped central park with open-air amphitheater for outdoor concerts, exhibitions and entertainment. The later phases, to include a multiplex cinema, additional residential and retail space plus a business hotel and c 20,000 sqm of office space, will then start to be delivered through 2016 and 2017.