Emphasising Ecosystems, Elevating People (3EP): Planning for “Rivers and People” in the Nairobi River Regeneration Initiative (NRRI)

Implemented by Kounkuey Design Initiative, Inc. (KDI) in partnership with ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center & UN Habitat


In partnership with UN-Habitat, Nairobi City County, and ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Centre, this project aims at rediscovering and regenerating Nairobi’s natural assets throughout Nairobi’s river system with a focus on the Ngong River Basin to reduce climate risks, increase biodiversity, and enhance resident’s climate change and socio-economic resilience. The project connects to city-wide river regeneration initiatives and structures the driving consortia for the Ngong River Basin where several underserved, highly vulnerable, unplanned settlements are located close to the river. The project demonstrates how Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) principles can be incorporated at different scales of participatory planning from the neighbourhood to the city. The project seeks to catalyse and integrate river basin assessments and multi-stakeholder visioning, move to the collaborative production of ‘Rivers + People’ plans with the residents of informal settlements (to support integrated development planning), and implement community-driven climate adaptations to generate evidence on the application of EbA in river regeneration. The project will build capacity in Kenya and across the East African region on the application of EbA in urban river basins and sustainable development.

Project start date: December 2022

Duration: 24 months

Cohort: 2nd (September 2021 cutoff)

Award: US$249,694

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Project Status

Over the first six months of the project, two capacity building workshops on the use of EbA and NbS for river regeneration and management have been held. In addition, the process to co-develop a joint vision for the future of the Ngong River Basin has been initiated which has involved bringing together local, and national government, civil society organisations, academia, and residents living along the Ngong River among other interested parties. At the scale of three Nexus Neighbourhoods (major informal settlements along the Ngong River), Rivers + People plans are planned to be co-developed whereas the process in Mukuru is currently underway and the implementation of a community-driven climate adaptation intervention generating evidence on the application of EbA in river regeneration is about to start. Lastly, KDI together with UN-Habitat are carrying out an assessment of the entire Ngong River Basin supporting and informing the advancement of the overall project and other ongoing initiatives aiming at regenerating the Ngong River. 

Header Image: © KDI; Footer Image: © UNEP

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