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Travelling exhibition on urban slums' resilience to climate change

To build the capacity of urban slum communities to identify and articulate their needs.

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Written by


Problem I would like to solve: - - Lack of knowledge about climate change (i.e. ability to make connections between climate change and its challenges). - Lack of opportunity & freedom to identify and articulate their needs. - Limited opportunities for women and youth to become leaders in climate change. - Difficulties for climate change actors in urban slums to develop a common identity and cohesion on climate change. - The moribund nature of many climate change actors who are over academic and divorced from their communities. Travelling exhibition: How it work - A lightweight portable panels on stories of resilience to climate change will be collaboratively designed by urban slum communities, actors and volunteers. Working collaboratively will act as a capacity building tool, create a community of practitioners, deepen professional respect and working trust and strengthen their identities and cohesion. - The exhibition will be organic in nature and will travel from one slum to another. As it visits different slums it will acquire new layers of voice, knowledge and experience. Women and youth will be invited to contribute to the exhibition. - The exhibition will make participants imagine their own situations and will be called upon to think of projects, structures and modes of communication to help them cope with such challenges just in case it happens to them. - Active engagement and dialogue will be the core of this project.


- School children between the ages of 6-16 - their voices, experiences and contribution will be incorporated. - Women and youth in urban slums- their voices, experiences and contribution will be incorporated. - Climate change actors in urban slums - strengthen their networks, identities and cohesion. - Government representatives, civil society organizations and community leaders - strengthen collaboration and networking Nairobi, Kenya


- The exhibition will be a flexible tool able to stand in small villages in the urban slums, outdoor locations (for example footpaths, parking yards, dumping sites, charcoal selling booths) as well as in community spaces. - Travelling exhibition is economical &will reach large audiences which cannot be reached through publications. - The exhibition will have a strong bottom-up approach to climate change. It will focus on urban slum families, communities and their basic lifestyles (e.g. mode of transport, types of fuels they use in their homes, waste disposal) and how these affects climate change. The exhibition will therefore aid in making connections between climate change and their basic lifestyles. How the idea will take into account other challenges - As the exhibition travels from one slum to another, all relevant actors will be invited to sit down together and discuss. This will help develop a common identity and cohesion among urban slum communities, governments & actors on climate change. - The exhibition will make participants imagine their own situations and will be inspired to think of projects, structures and mode of communication to help them cope with such challenges. - Dialogue sessions will provide opportunities for freedom of expression of opinions that will enable difficult subjects to be discussed thus promoting more awareness on climate change. - Dialogue sessions will also foster listening, empathy and understanding of multiple perspectives and experiences with a clear purpose of finding a solution to challenges of climate change.


  • Yes, for two or more years


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years


  • Yes


I teach peace studies at Tangaza University College. I am also the Coordinator, Community Peace Museums Foundation (CPMHF).


Join the conversation:

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Hi Mukami, thanks much for your advice. We intend to make our project a collaborative initiative, practical, and community grounded. We shall recognize all actors and stakeholders in our journey.

Best wishes,

Photo of Mukami Mathai

Timothy, you have addressed a very important issue, that is, sensitizing the urban slum residents on climate change, and its effects. Most are not aware that some of the things they do have dire effects on the environment. During these traveling exhibitions, I suggest that the sessions are practical and recognize individuals or groups that have addressed the effects of climate change.

Information is power.

All the best,

Photo of hue

Hi Timothy,

It is an excellent idea. Although people in urban slums are not fully aware of climate change, they have witnessed how climate has changed over the years since they were young or how it is different from the past and so affects their live. Therefore, to help them recognize impact of climate change and deeply understand the content of the exhibition rather than theory, I think during or after the exhibition, encouraging them tell or share their own stories about climate change that they has witnessed as well as how it has impacted their live with others is a further effective activity.

Wishing you the bests,

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Hi Hue. Thanks much for your helpful ideas. I am in agreement with your ideas. I hope as the project advances, participants will have an opportunity to share their own stories and even role play their stories and experiences.

Thanks once again,


Photo of Karn Shah

Hi Timothy,

This is a truly excellent way of educating about the effects of climate change and building awareness of resilience methods. I think you're approaching it the right way - involving the community directly, helping them think through the problem and arriving at solutions that suit them. Storytelling and visual aides are a great way on creating interest in climate change, especially amongst children and where literacy is an issue. It's a low-cost, scalable idea that can have a great impact. The format you suggest can be used to generate discussion on a variety of topics related to climate change resilience, propose ideas that have been tried and tested in other places and help the community make an informed decision.

Please refer to one of our ideas - education through traditional storytelling ( - that looks at using traditional stories/fables that can be harnessed to provide information on climate change impacts and resilience options. Another idea related to yours is

All the best,

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Dear Karn,

Thank you very much for your compliment. Thanks also for the links. Your projects is indeed transformative and there is a lot we can learn from one another. It by telling stories that we become makers of history rather than objects of it. I would love to be part of your team so that we can build each others idea.

Wishing you the best,


Photo of Matt Siebert

To build on your idea, Timothy, can the informational panels and discussion include a game for participants to play? In such a game, people could be challenged to put the information conveyed to use. This use is intended to get the information and concepts to 'stick.'

How might we build this exhibition around a holistic model where people are
- informed,
- told stories around the problem (severe weather events from the Philippines, US, Pakistan, Ethiopia, etc),
- share their stories of how change is affecting them,
- and then given an experience to ground the learning and/or develop new paths forward for their community.

I like your idea, and I feel it might develop strongly with a clear presentation from talk through to action. Might we also plan the travel of this exhibit to make not one, but as many as three visits through the same communities to promote it more than once?

I would really like a chance to try this out in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where personal interaction is important and a combination of urban slums and nomadic communities live in the same conditions.

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Hi Matt Siebert. Thanks very much for your good ideas which I totally agree with. There will be games and other activities to accompany the exhibition. This will not only aid in getting the information and concepts 'stick' but will increase understanding, respect and cooperation between communities and will strengthen the community's identity and cohesion.

Some of the activities I am thinking about include asking participants to go round the slums and identify practices that contribute to climate change. Participants can capture this practices through visual and digital materials and these could be added to the exhibition. Participants are then to report back to the group for reflection.

Participants can then role play these practices and try to connect this to climate change. This can be reinforced by sharing stories around the problems of severe weather events (or watch videos & documentaries) and experiences of how the changes are affecting them. The participants can then take an action and develop a road map for their communities. .

I believe we (the team) can refine this and build a model that can be replicated in other parts of the world. I would love to see this being implemented in Afghanistan and Pakistan so that we share and learn from the experiences.

Photo of Sarah Basemera

Hi Timothy, would love to be apart of your team to help build more on this idea, are there any matrials you will leave behind for particiapnts to follow, and how can you engage the people to become trainers as well so that the team doesnot have to be torn apart with traininging.

Photo of Timothy Gachanga

Hi Sarah. You are welcome. Thanks for the good question. We shall work collaboratively and in the process of working together, the community will be empowered to become trainers as well. The key idea here is strengthening networks and vesting ownership of the project to the community. This is a guarantee that the project will be sustainable at the community level.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Timothy, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.