A Voice For the Voiceless


The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

A Hotbed of Innovation

Christy Gillmore | PostedJuly 19th, 2010 | Africa

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When most people hear the word slum, they imagine a place unsuitable for humans to live, raw sewage running down the streets, flying toilets, and tiny homes with rusty roofs crammed together. These images are all true, as can be seen any time one googles “urban slum photos.” What people don’t imagine is a “hotbed of innovation,” which was how a youth from Kibera described his home in a video he made for a TED talk, broadcast live from Oxford on July 15th, 2010. For those unfamiliar with TED- Technology, Entertainment, Design- the nonprofit is dedicated to the spread of cutting edge ideas, holding various conferences featuring talks by some of the most innovative people today. Chris Anderson, TED curator, gave a talk on the phenomenon of Internet video in the proliferation of new ideas, showing the video made by local Kibera youth. After the video, the camera cut to the audience in Nairobi watching the broadcast, of which I was lucky enough to be a member.

 How I became familiar with all this was the discovery of a new movie made about Kibera, in Kibera, with local actors and local musicians. It’s called Togetherness Supreme, and it has been screening in the Nairobi slums for the past few months. It is not yet available on DVD, as the makers have been submitting it to film festivals worldwide. I contacted the producer, Mercy Murugi, who graciously screened it for a group of about 20 people. The film is based on the true story of a man who got involved in the 2007 Kenyan election and the post-election violence that followed. It captures life in Kibera and Kenya- everything from ethnic tension, corruption, and the woes of street life to love, loyalty, and the vibrant culture of the slums. Truly a unique film and one to look out for in the U.S. soon!


Huge crowd watching Togetherness Supreme photos, from Togetherness Supreme facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/togethernesssupreme?v=photos
Huge crowd watching Togetherness Supreme photos, from Togetherness Supreme facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/togethernesssupreme?v=photos

Togetherness Supreme was produced by Hot Sun Films, started by director Nathan Collett. Hot Sun Films/Foundation also created the Kibera Film School, which trains youth from Kibera each year in film and television production. One initiative of the school is Kibera TV which produces local news reports for online viewing, providing stories difficult to find in the mainstream media. There are similar initiatives, such as Kibera News Network, started by Map Kibera, a project for Kiberans to create a digital map of the currently unmapped area.

 Trailer for Togetherness Supreme:


Projects like these are just a tiny glimpse of what is going on in the people’s settlements of Nairobi, and all over the world. Though Hakijamii is not directly involved in these technologies, the concept of creating awareness and promoting human rights through local agents is the same. Pamoja- together- through community efforts like these, positive change can happen.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “A Hotbed of Innovation”

  1. Dear Christy,
    thanks for the excellent and informative post. We appreciate your support. We are developing a contact list of people around the world who want to show TOGETHERNESS SUPREME later this year and next. They can email info@hotsunfoundation.org for more information. THANKS again!

  2. eric schiller says:

    Hi Christy,

    Thanks for this. I haver also been impressed with the creative activity that can take place in the slums, even under the most excruciating conditions.

    Best to you and Louie,

    Eric and Fran

  3. Mary Virginia says:

    Please keep everyone posted about what film festivals pick up ‘Togetherness Supreme’ or when we can start looking for it stateside!

  4. Mercy Murugi says:


    You can join the Togetherness Supreme
    Facebook page for updates – http://www.facebook.com/togethernesssupreme
    Follow on twitter – @togethernessis

    Mercy M, Producer

Leave a Reply

Security Code:

Fellow: Christy Gillmore

Hakijamii in Kenya


advocacy aid cbo community based organization Dandora dump development economic justice environment eviction forced eviction forced evictions garissa gini coefficient Hakijamii human rights inequality informal settlements injustice Kasarani Kenya kenya railways Kibera Korogocho land rights Nairobi Nairobi Peoples Settlement Network ngazi ya chini npsn people's settlements relocation relocation action plan resettlement rift valley railways slum upgrading social justice Soweto Forum substandard housing task force theater UN-HABITAT urban gardening urban slum urban slums world bank world social forum




2013 Fellows


Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies


Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows


Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman


Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer


Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher

2011 Fellows


Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James


Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson


Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang

2010 Fellows


Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa


Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid


Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado

2009 Fellows


Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys


Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch