The Importance of Knowing your Neighbour – Nyumba Kumi

Do you know your neighbor? Even better, does your neighbor know you? Would you feel comfortable approaching your neighbor for a cup of sugar? Physical neighborly bonds are not as strong as they once were as our lives become busier and influenced by virtual communities that are online. A Kenyan majority deems the “Nyumba Kumi” initiative as nosiness. But knowing your neighbors is pretty handy!

Having friendly neighbors improves neighborhood security and makes things easier for everyone. Wouldn’t it be nice to know somebody was watching over your property when you’re on holiday or down in your rural home? You might also discover it means you can share backyard equipment like cloth hanging lines, childcare, recipes, movies or transport.

Most homeowners report that because they know their neighbors, they are confident their neighbors will do something if they see anything suspicious around their home. FACT – it’s easier to help or ask for help from neighbors we know. In a medical or other emergency, a friend even 10 minutes away can be a friend too far. That’s why taking the time to meet your neighbors can be time well spent.

Do not wait until a disaster or emergency strikes to meet your neighbors. It’s often true that many of us meet our neighbors in less than ideal circumstances. At times such as these we often experience a strong sense of community. We band together to deal with a crisis, a natural disaster, or help one another in difficult times.

Neighborliness is a valuable part of everyone’s life, and though modern life may be making community difficult to maintain, with the right supports we can enjoy its benefits. We leave for work before dawn and get back home after 9.00 pm sometimes but we should try.

We don’t have to be best friends, but there are compelling reasons to know your neighbors..OUR CHILDREN’S SAFETY. Children are curious, free spirited and warm. They naturally want to be in the company of other children within the neighborhood. Children thrive on friendships and peer to peer interactions. As a parent you feel safer knowing where your child is in the neighborhood.

Here are a few simple tips to start with:

  1. Say hello. (At the parking lot, at the gate, at your doors when both of you are struggling with the keys).
  2. Go pick your child personally from the neighbor’s house. Do not send the nanny or yell through the window/balcony.
  3. Attend neighborhood meetings. Physical presence is important, don’t be the mysterious neighbor.
  4. Be active on virtual neighborhood groups. WhatsApp groups if well moderated have become popular in neighborhoods because not everyone has the luxury or capability of physical presence. They are also a good tool for updates in between meetings.
  5. Be proactive. There is no shame in going over and saying hi to the new neighbors, or introducing yourself.

The Simba-Safe Kenya YouTube Channel has a video link on the importance of knowing your neighbors IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Neighborliness is about getting to know the people who live close to you by bringing new and familiar faces together. Getting to know your neighbours can make the difference between merely occupying a house and living in a neighborhood of friends.


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