The Nubians trace their roots to the Nubian mountains in Sudan. Their ancestors came to Kenya with the British colonial army in the years before World War One. Since Kenyan independence, the Nubians have struggled to make their right to Kenyan citizenship a reality.
Nubian paralegals assist other members of their community with obtaining birth certificates, national ID cards, passports and death certificates in accordance with established legal procedures. Unlike many other ethnic groups in Kenya, Nubians tend to be subject to “vetting” by a committee made up of elders and government officials as part of the identity document application process. Vetting not only requires applicants to answer extensive questions on their origins and submit documents such as the birth certificates of parents and grandparents, but this extra legal process also causes significant time delays and monetary costs for Nubians.
Stories & Galleries
Securing Citizenship Rights in Kenya
Khadija is Nubian, 23 years old and a resident of Makina in Kibera. Before she could obtain birth certificates for her children she had to obtain an ID for herself. Before she could apply for an ID card she had find her school certificate.
Asinina is 20 years old and is a resident of Makina in Kibera. She needed a birth certificate for her little brother so he could go to senior school. To obtain that she first needed to apply for a death certificate for her late mother. To apply for the death certificate she needed to find her mother’s ID card.
Hamid is of Somali origin, but was adopted by Kenyan Nubian family. He is 22 years old and a resident of Makina in Kibera. To apply for an ID card he was asked to provide his birth certificate and school leaving certificate – which the government then lost.
Justice and Identity in Kibera
Meet the paralegals bringing justice one identity document at a time to the Kenyan Nubians living in Nairobi's largest informal settlement.
Issa is a 19 year-old Nubian and resident of Mako’ngeni in Kibera. He had an ID card, but needed a birth certificate to get a job. To get a birth certificate he had to find the birth certificates of his father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother.
Suleiman is 38 years old and lives in the Kambi Muru district of Kibera, Nairobi. He faced endless difficulties trying to find out how to apply for a second generation Kenyan national ID card. Without that ID, Suleiman knew he couldn’t be employed, couldn’t access a bank, or even use M-Pesa, the mobile-phone banking service.