Dandora is very well known all over Kenya; it is the biggest dump site of Africa where thousands of people select trash in very bad, unsafe, unhealthy and smelly conditions. The well-planned neighborhood has been slid down and became an informal settlement which suffers from the bad reputation of he dump site. For this team the questions were: How can Mustard Seeds Organization upscale the youth groups competition to improve the court yards? What are possibilities for linkages among these court yards that could - collectively - transform the reputation of some less popular neighborhoods?
Mustard Seeds CBO is a small organization that has existed since 2013. Last year they launched the ‘Changing Faces - Changing Minds Competition’. For this Lab,the team developed the project ‘Must Seed’: a strategy for gradually scaling up the model of Mustard Seeds Courtyard in Dandora. The strategy explores ways to develop this method of using competition to motivate change, creating enthusiasm along the way. They encourage to come up with initiatives for local youth to clean up and beautify their surroundings, starting with the courtyards where they live. The winning team receives a prize of 100,000 KSh (approx. $1000).
The courtyards are not only a physical space - they are also a model structure, a way of organizing the local community in manageable units. Through the Changing Faces challenge, the courtyards have taken on a role as social catalysts, where different groups in the neighborhood have different interests and different parts to play in the use and maintenance of the space: kids play, teenagers and adults can find jobs doing maintenance, as court guards, or even set up small businesses inside the courtyards.