Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee and trainers after the pre-installation training.

Community Data Meeting with KPSPIN committee at Anwa Junior Academy

Simplified representation of the Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) illustrating the interconnection of the four KPSP sites selected for the pilot phase of the Living Data Hubs project

Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee and trainers after the pre-installation training.

Community Data Meeting with KPSPIN committee at Anwa Junior Academy

living data hubs

Living Data Hubs (LDH)—a joint project between KDI, TunapandaNet, and the Civic Data Design Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—partners with residents of informal settlements to co-create community-based Wi-Fi hot-spots.

Model of Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) Network design and implementation as envisioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and TunapandaNET

Much of Sub-Saharan Africa’s urban population lives in informal settlements, often lacking basic social services. Access to internet in these settlements is also limited, posing challenges to community building, climate resilience, and entrepreneurship.

Residents of Kibera, Kenya—the continent’s largest informal settlement—have long struggled with this gap in infrastructure. Internet service remains inconsistent and unreliable, complicating everything from communication within and among communities to local research and data collection. While Kibera has been a locus of considerable attention from international NGOs and academics, data has generally been gathered about residents of Kibera, rather than with and for them.
Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee interacting with networking equipment during the interactive pre-installation training.

LDH began with a request for proposals from community-based organizations (CBOS) in the Kibera Public Space Project network. Our team conducted multiple meetings and training workshops with the CBOs to develop shared goals of internet usage and data collection.

This participatory approach catalyzes economic growth for community members, as they develop technical capabilities, digital literacy skills, and marketable backgrounds in network management.
TunapandaNET network engineer installing an outdoor networking device at Kibera Public Space 11 site, VUMA.

Collaborating with Nairobi-based programmers, we developed a captive portal for users to access the network and an administrative portal for the CBOs to manage it. The captive portal has an option for users to fill out a survey and gain a period of free internet usage.

Unlike standard models of internet network development, LDH builds community-based knowledge, employing training workshops that enable full residential control and management of LDH’s internet and data system.
A futuristic representation of information flow for the entire Kibera Public Space Project network in Kibera

Currently in its pilot phase, LDH has already improved internet access in Kibera. To date, we have installed the wireless-mesh system at four KPSP community hubs, with plans to expand the network across Kibera. We are currently testing the network’s suitability to function as a host for Wi-Fi-enabled environmental sensors, such as air quality sensors.

Because of its replicable toolkit and model, LDH is distinctly scalable, and has the potential to expand internet access in informal settlements throughout Africa and around the world.