Farming made possible in Urban Slums, limitation of Space Not Withstanding

Innovative Urban Farming Techniques

Cities and towns are experiencing massive population growth and so are urban slums in Nairobi County. Food security is a huge problem in Kenya contributed by an ever-growing human population. Worryingly, food production has constantly failed to keep up with population growth. Growing food in urban areas is a viable option as a response to food insecurity and is popularly known as Urban Agriculture.

We at Ruben Centre have not been left behind thus are actively involved in training the Mukuru Slums community to adopt urban farming as a way of enabling the impoverished slums to readily produce their own food and as a way of easing food shortage in their households. We incorporate different techniques which include animal husbandry, urban gardens, among others. Switch TV visited Ruben Centre small urban farm and here is the interview.

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Who We Are

Ruben Centre is a non-profit, faith-based organization striving for an empowered and just Mukuru community by providing quality education, health, financial and social services to children and families in the area. Run by the Christian Brothers African Province, it is one of eight Christian Brothers project sites across Africa, and offers a vital source of community development programmes to the residents of one of the largest slums in Nairobi.

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Our Programs

Ruben Centre runs 27 different development programs, spread across 5 primary categories.

Ruben Medical Clinic Staff during a medical camp

Ruben Medical Clinic Staff during a medical camp


The Ruben Centre Health Clinic began in a tin shed in 1992 and was first started by a Japanese NGO – African Education Fund. After the Christian Brothers began administering the Centre, a new clinic was built and it opened in 2003. This new clinic offered much needed improvements and to date the clinic offers a range of services to residents of Mukuru Slums and beyond.

Ruben Primary School children during Day of the African Child Celebrations

Ruben Primary School children during Day of the African Child Celebrations


Ruben Centre’s strategic Objective one is To Improve Access to and provide Quality Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education to children in the slums of Mukuru. A.E.F Ruben Primary is a public sponsored school by the Christian Brothers - Australia.The school has a population of over 3,000 children with 58 teachers ;28 government teachers and 30 project teachers.

Empowering youth through skills in tailoring and dress making

Social & Economic Empowerment

Aims to provide livelihood opportunities to extremely vulnerable women and Youth in Mukuru Slums. It uses theoretical and hands-on skills training in different handcrafts to ensure professional, innovative, holistic and technical input that enhances their work opportunities and gives greater awareness around business development and management.

The Ruben Fm presenters during a Radio Talk show

The Ruben Fm presenters during a Radio Talk show

Advocacy & Networking

Advocacy and Networking is Ruben Centre’s fourth strategic direction in the five-year 2016-2020 strategic plan for Ruben Centre. This strategic objective is embedded in a wider advocacy and network of the Christian Brother’s strategic objective adopted in 2014 in Nairobi. Therefore Ruben Centre is achieving the objective for the Christian Brother’s, which is stated in their mission.

Ruben Centre leadership team during a two days workshop on strategic review

Ruben Centre leadership team during a two days workshop on strategic review

Organisational Capacity

With a focus in strengthened human, institutional ad infrastructure of Ruben Centre to effectively continue to respond to the needs of Mukuru Community by: Sustaining Capacity building opportunities including recruitment and retention of  staff in all departments and sections including proper succession  procedures to avoid any gaps left by staff who leave the organisation.



As the only Community Centre, and “one stop shop”  in Kwa Ruben our diversity of projects enables choice and change for people who are caught in the "poverty penalty”, and, whose vulnerability is more pronounced because of the lack of government/donor funded investment in this particular slum.  In fact, over the past two years, the slums of Mukuru have been highlighted in a number of international studies, and these indicated the negative impacts experienced by this community, because of the minimal attention or support received from the Kenya National and County Governments. 

3,000 +

Children access free primary education

A.E.F Ruben Primary School has continued to offer free-quality primary education to children in the Mukuru Slums and beyond. The school is a public-sponsored. Thousands of students have completed their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education at Ruben Centre. The school has 58 teachers: 30 project teachers paid by Christian Brothers and 28 government teachers. 50 children with disability are also accessing free education through the Ruben Centre Special Unit.

Over 30+

years of serving Mukuru Community

Ruben Centre was started in 1986 by a Mercy Sister, Sr. Mary Killeen who saw the need to start a primary school for children in the slums who did not have access to education. She Handed over the Centre to a Japaneese organisation ;African Education Fund (AEF) who started the first clinic in 1993. The Japanese handed over the organisation to Christian Brothers- Australia in 2000 and they are currently offering 29 programs tailored to empower the Mukuru community.

350 babies

delivered in less than six months

Our first class birthing unit is offering dignified, free, 24/7  maternity services to women in Mukuru who would rather have delivered at home by help of unqualified mid-wife while others would end up in illegal pharmacies operated by quacks offering illegal delivery services. We also have a stand-by ambulance to respond to emergencies that may occur during delivery. We have had over 59 cases Referred for specialized care in advanced facilities.


Freelancing On Global Platforms Graduation 2018

"Ruben Centre Freelancing on Global Platform course has helped me to build an online presence and make a living through..



Ruben Centre at Nairobi International Trade Fair 2018

agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy. The practice of innovative agriculture has gained importance due to the rising rate..


My Eight Weeks at Ruben- Laura Saldanha

I have been at The Ruben Centre for 8 weeks now. Coming from a Physiotherapy Private Practice in the Perth..


Director’s corner


Just be happy to make a financial difference to the Centre.

07TH Dec 2018

In January 2019 the Centre will begin the year with an operation deficit of US$ 250,000 . This is new territory for us. We can blame Trump for pulling the plug on USAID funded Orphan and vulnerable children program here (US $100,000 ) and other parts of Kenya, but he would most likely say it was ‘fake news’ and deny everything, so we can also blame the Centre Team for being too compassionate and just doing what has to be done to make a difference to the lives of the vulnerable here in the slum.

Also we can blame ridiculous things like the birthing unit that is designed to give the best possible start in life to wee babies of the slum, ( 80 of them in November ) or taking in too many kids into the school ( nearly 3,000 now) and needing too many teachers or maybe it is just hard economic times and having to pay US$ 21,000 so far for electricity in 2018 and finally maybe it is just foolishness in believing like Edmund Rice did that ‘ Providence Is Our Inheritance” and the money will come.

Let It Begin.. Heaven forbid !

Get Involved

You can become part of the Ruben Centre by getting involved with us in various ways. Ruben Centre welcomes people to join us by volunteering, donating to support our programs, signing up to become a Ruben Centre Champion or by visiting us to have a first hand experience of the work happening at Ruben Centre.


Be our Champion

We need champions (people, organisations, governments) who will work with us to create future opportunities and further the development opportunities for the Mukuru Community. You can do this by fundraising for our programs, linkages with possible donors and create awareness about our work to friends and social networks.


Volunteer with us

Are you a game changer? Are you looking for a place to volunteer your expertise in a Community Based Organisation in the heart of Mukuru Slums? Ruben Centre is looking for professional volunteers in areas of health, education, community development and areas of Organisational capacity to join us. You will get a fulfilling experience.



Our Programs are donor funded with our major donor being Edmund Rice Foundation Australia. We welcome individuals and organisations to donate towards Ruben Centre’s Different Programs. Your donation goes a long way to put a smile on the faces of the less privileged and the vulnerable people living in the slums of Mukuru.