Reformed Robber Who Won Dubai International Best Practices Award After Escaping Death Narrowly
Evans Otieno “Evanso”, or “Oti”, as he is popularly known, was on the wanted list of both the police and Dandora residents for a long time because of his thieving ways that left many of them phoneless.
According to his friend Charles Gachanga, “If he took your phone, you could never catch him. I’ve never seen a man so fast. He left many people in this ‘hood’ miserable after taking off with their phones”.
Otieno recounted to the Nation that he made the life-changing decision to quit the life of crime after he escaped death narrowly, only because of an unusual need to answer a call of nature.
When he was in the toilet, a crowd that had apparently been monitoring his crew’s movement cornered two of them and gave them a proper clobbering before setting them ablaze to death.
That is when he reached out to Gachanga, who had just founded the Dandora Transformative League (DTL), a group that was set to change the narrative of Dandora as Nairobi’s crime headquarters.
Both Gachanga and Otieno organized a group of youth in the estate who ditched crime and prostitution and started volunteering in the project, which seeks to clean up the environment.
In 2018, their DTL project won Ksh2.5 million at the Dubai International Best Practices Award, an initiative of UN-Habitat aimed at rewarding initiatives aimed at improving living environments.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif stated in her speech that the global body was proud of DTL.
“UN-Habitat is pleased to be associated with this initiative, which started with the Mustard Seed court in Dandora. From one court, it spread to the whole neighbourhood, and has now become a Nairobi-wide initiative. You have demonstrated the power of citizen-led urban regeneration, and how important it is to involve the community in rethinking the city, and reclaiming public spaces,” she stated.
“The initiative is very innovative and has demonstrated the power of citizen organising to solve some of the most urgent challenges and needs facing many cities today, including the need for safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, need for a clean environment, and livelihood opportunities,” she added.
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