Kibera slums in Nairobi, during a visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) in 2007
© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe The Kibera Slum in Nairobi is becoming the site of "the world's longest toilet queue" this weekend, organisers of a World Water Day event in Kenya promise.On Saturday, the Kenya-based African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) plans to organise the giant toilet queue in the Nairobi slum to get media focus on the dire sanitation situation for poor Kenyans. According to an ANEW release, the Kibera event "is part of a global campaign led by End EndWaterPoverty and Freshwater Action Network among others." The toilet queue is arranged in connection with World Water Day on 22 March, as "a crucial moment in the fight against the global sanitation and water crisis that is killing 4000 children every single day."
The World's Longest Toilet Queue is "a mass mobilisation event and Guinness World Record attempt bringing together thousands of campaigners from across the world to demand real change" at an upcoming water and sanitation meeting in Washington, according to the organisers.
At the Washington meeting next month, politicians from across the globe are gathering to discuss "what they need to do to fulfil some of the most basic rights of the world's citizens – access to a safe toilet and clean water," according to ANEW. The organisers want politicians to have the large Kibera toilet queue in mind when discussing future action.
The Kibera world record attempt will be challenged by parallel events around the world. "There will be thousands of Queues taking place all over the world from 20-22 March," organisers say, urging people to join queue near them. "So go ahead and make a stand for sanitation and water," ANEW campaign leaders urge.
Africa's largest slum
The crowded Kibera slums of Nairobi are described as Africa's largest slum with around 1 million inhabitants. It is also the most densely populated area in Africa, hosting over a quarter of the Kenyan capital's population on less than 1 percent of the city's total area.
Several initiatives have been made to upgrade the enormous slum, including projects to improve sanitation. But the mere size of the problem and the high population have resulted in little progress. Also, government plans to clear the Kibera slum and resettle its inhabitants have halted major investments in this unregulated residence area.