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Entered into: Africa Challenge

Karibuni Center – SIDAREC Youth Media Lab and Library for Mukuru Kwa Njenga

Located in the heart of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, the facility of SIDAREC will provide
educational training and after school programs for the surrounding community. Its goal is to empower and to mobilize the local youth and to bring forward positive changes based on their skills and talents.

Therefore, a community center will be developed on the present site: Karibuni Center.

This center will enable the people from Mukuru Kwa Njenga to use modern technologies in an learning environment, encouraging social interaction. The joined media lab and library will hence serve a staff of 7 and about 250 youth.

Some of the already existing buildings (Gathering Hall, Health's Clinic) are integrated in the proposed concept in order to make use of available resources. Their shapes and functions are adapted according to the main ideas of the new designed Karibuni Center. This will enable the further exploration of the already developed and well implemented structures of the SIDAREC Organisation.

The design of the new Karibuni Center has been conceived as follows:

Health Center

Formerly situated in the back of the site the Health Center is now placed in the front area of the Karibuni Center and is thus more accessable in generall, allowing for adequate medical care.

Internet Cafe and Radio station

The already existing Gathering Hall has been minimized and is hosting a low-cost internet cafe, a copyshop as well as a local radio station. Worldwide communication is therefore made possible through access to internet and phones. The profits resulting of these services will support the Center in covering running costs.


Free access to books and knowledge will be offered by the Library. The inventory of books, presently stored in a container, are now displayed in shelves and easy to find. Workspaces and a sitting area are inviting to an atmosphere of curiosity and exploration.

Computer Training Center

This area provides the opportunity for computer lessons, meetings and informal meetings

Reception and Cafe

Since the backside of the reception will be used as a cafe, the main function of this building is to serve as a meeting point, providing the opportunity of exchange and communication.

The cafe disposes of cooking facilities and is therefore able to offer food and drinks at the same time. Multiple tables are displayed on the veranda and are offering a place to linger.


The particular buildings, each one foreseen with its individual function, are bonded by a large roof with various inclination angles. This roof symbolises the interfearance of the various aspects of which a community is composed off. The visitor enters a veranda which links the main aspects of live in the 21. Century such as knowledge, technology, community, sustainability and globalisation.

During hot weather as well as during the rainy season the roof will provide the visitor with a protected area, enabling the community to flourish independantly from outside weather conditions. Two palm trees and the comfortable cafe interior are creating a harmonic and creative atmosphere.

Sports and cultural events

Sport and cultural events will take place at the site's heart. The basketballcourt can equally be used as a small soccer- and volleyball field. The small amphitheater is arranged in the middle of the Karibuni Center, designed in a typical amphitheater shape and thus reflecting the circular form of the surrounding buildings.

Covered stands for spectators and viewers of sport events are provided through the Daycare’s and Gathering Hall’s canopies.

Day Care

The former Health Clinic converts into a Day Care. This will allow young mothers involved in the SIDARECS training programs to entrust their children in qualified care.


The collection and treatment of rainwater is an important asset to the new Karibuni Center, allowing for a sustainable usage of the much needed resource water. Treated water can be used as washing water, in the toilet flush as well as for general irrigation. An ecosan system is foreseen in addition, using urin and feaces as fertilizer and irrigation. Furthermore a biogas plant transforms biomass to electricity. Taking the present incenerator into consideration as an excellent start it’s function will be upgraded by adding a district heating plant. This will allow the exploitation of the Center’s accruing waste by producing energy.

Taking advantage of the immense solarpower available in Kenya there might be a possibility of installing fotovoltaics in the future, should the Center’s financial situation allow to do so.

The main building material used on site is a local one, cement stabilized soil blocks (SSB). These SSBs are usually produced by the locals themselves, often by women organisations. The non load-bearing walls are made out of stabilised soil as such in combination with empty bottles. The supporting structure of the roof is wooden, covered with corrugated sheets. The foundation of the wooden veranda is made out of used car tires which are filled with soil.

Karibu means welcome - everybody should feel invited to visit the Karibuni Center and to join the youth of Mukuru.

Building Materials

stabilised soil Blocks

stabilised soil as such

empty bottles


corrugated sheets

car tires



Sponsored by


Competition Details

The competition entry ID for this project is 1792.

Project Details

PROJECT LEAD: Karibuni Center
LOCATION: Nairobi, Kenya
START DATE: September 09, 2007
CURRENT PHASE: Design development
COST: $150000 USD (Estimated)
PROJECT TYPE: Community Center