Tanzania Profiling Exchange Report

Collecting information about urban poor populations has not been a serious, systematic priority of national governments or cities throughout the developing world. Such censuses, when undertaken, are often conducted in frequencies too sparse to accurately track the rapid growth of slum areas or informal settlements.  Often by the time the data is analyzed and made available to the public and city governments, it is already outdated and its usefulness as a planning tool diminished. Of even greater concern is the total exclusion of many informal settlements from the city’s planning agenda. Their tenuous relationship with local authorities makes them invisible to infrastructure plans.  This is exacerbated by spiraling costs, which makes retrofitting very expensive.  The end result is that high costs are used to justify why cities fail to install water, sewerage and drainage facilities or plan land use for slum areas.The SDI rituals of settlement profiling and community led enumeration have long been utilized by slum dweller communities to provide an up-to-date, accurate on the ground account of conditions in these slum areas. In order to achieve this SDI has continued to urge strong member affiliates to support upcoming affiliates attain set milestones. In the month of May the Kenyan affiliate had the opportunity to support its East African Counterpart, Tanzania build its profiling capacities. Below is a link to the activity report  http://www.mediafire.com/view/3ueb9eo1geuz8ai/tanzania_report.pdf

Sierra Leone Profiling Report

On the 7th of June, 2014, the Kenya SDI affiliate  team  traveled to Sierra Leone of a profiling mission. The team  had a joint meeting with the CODOHSAPA, FEDURP and representatives from the Ministry of Lands at the CODOHSAPA offices. The purposes of the meeting was deliberating on the preparations made, settlements mobilized for data collection, the approach to be adopted, finalizing on the work plan and the data needs. CODOHSAPA’s mission is to create space and opportunity through facilitation for the transformation of lives of poor people in deprived communities. This mission is pursued through the following programme thrust: settlement planning and upgrading; environmental sanitation and management; livelihood and reproductive health support; capacity building and empowerment; advocacy and governance; and, research and communications.FEDURP is the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor with a mission to mobilize the poor in deprived communities to actively and meaningfully participate in their own development initiatives and processes. FEDURP’s philosophy is based on three pillars: collecting people through group mobilization; collecting money through daily and periodic savings; and, collecting information through settlement profiling, mapping and enumeration. This is justified that these three elements: people, money and information are key resources for negotiating and lobbying.

Below is the detailed profiling report   http://www.mediafire.com/view/kyeei6ep5fx2av1/SIERRA_LEONE_REPORT.pdf

IMAGING COMMUNITY SANITATION RICH PICTURES

 

By Shadrack Mbaka and Grace Watetu

The world may be a fast paced environment that sustains life, but one thing remains clear; as communities, citizens and professionals tend to innovate ways of disposing shit, more so on the need to develop facilities that manage shit! Yes shit- there is every reason to support people, especially urban poor communities to get adequate access to decent sanitation infrastructure and facilities, however, the most important challenge, is how to get these facilities connected to the sewer grids, addressing issues for spaces as a result of the dense populations existing in informal settlements and lastly social and technical planning of the sanitation investments, do they emanate from communities or are they imposed on them?

The past six months has seen Muungano wa Wanavijiji (federation of Kenyan Slum dwellers) holistically engage in intense city wide profiles in five counties, namely; Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Machakos and Makueni. Data analysis points out that 90 per cent of informal settlements in these cities prioritized sanitation as a key element that these communities are facing as a major challenge that ought to be addressed.

Kisumu, through the federation is just one of the fifteen counties that have come out to utilize the city wide profile report to begin searching for long-term solutions to sanitation in informal settlements. Sanitation is a societal problem that warrants cooperation between stakeholders with communities at the helm of strategy development. In this journey, communities have partnered with the County Government of Kisumu, Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (KIWASCO), Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Muungano Support Trust and Engineers without boarders-UCL to begin brainstorming on possible solutions.

A courtesy call to the Excellency Governor of Kisumu Jack Ranguma by the project teams

A courtesy call to the Excellency Governor of Kisumu Jack Ranguma by the project teams

Community Planning, Unraveled!

Community participation in projects unravels the capacities of communities to plan and define solutions for their own problems. One such communities are; Nyalenda and Kibos informal settlements in Kisumu County. The key starting point was to begin looking at cost friendly sanitation designs that address their issues. It is at this point that Engineers without boarders took up the initiative to take both through a community led design rich picture session, with regards to sanitation project development that would later turn out into design, Muungano wa Wanavijiji then was responsible for social mobilization and awareness creation, MuST supported in planning and partnership linkage while the county government of Kisumu supported with the secure of possible project sites in Nyalenda and Kibos settlements respectively.

Affordable designs mean sustainable designs. In order to address the issue of sustainability both communal designs proposed the inclusion of sanitation blocks with toilets and bathrooms, laundry components, water tanks and taps, a community hall (resource centre) and flexible spaces that would be used for warehousing and rental to private businesses. These ideas then beg the question, how affordable would be the designs to the urban poor in Nyalenda and Kibos settlements. In the course of continuous feed backing processes between the community, engineers without boarders and Muungano, ewb-ucl embarked on research on affordable designs that could include all the communities’ dreams.

Community presenting a sanitation rich picture

Community presenting a sanitation rich picture

 

 

DSC05373

One key proposal made to the community is the use of shipping containers as an architectural proposal to drive down the cost of construction.

Alexa Bruce

Alexa Bruce

Alexa Bruce the outgoing president of engineers without boarders-UCL explains, “Recycling shipping containers has been popular for a while in Europe and there are some amazing innovative designs made out of containers. In Africa, this all still very new, however in South Africa there are a number of examples of successful projects that have used shipping containers for low-income housing and sanitation blocks. We were instantly taken by the idea and convinced that shipping containers would be an innovative and appropriate solution.”The technical; teams from MuST and ewb-ucl shared the proposal with the communities in Nyalenda and Kibos whom welcomed the idea of using the container as a structural outlook owing to the affordability of the containers as it drives down the cost of construction.

Shit collection and Management

The community did not only reflect and dream about the designs but also the collection system of the sanitation blocks already designed. The selected project sites for both Nyalenda and Kibos seem a little bit way of from the main sewer lines, thus making the option of connecting to the sewer a lesser considerable plan. Based on previous geological reports and media reports it was suspected that both Nyalenda and Kibos sites would offer a formidable challenge to the project as a result of high water table, which would also make the option of septic tank a risky affair due to the high risks of ground water reservoirs.

Nyalenda Sanitation Site

Nyalenda Sanitation Site

 

The sanitation block in Kibos intends to serve communities in the local market

 

According to Devung Patel a civil engineer student and a member of ewb-ucl, “water tables can vary significantly within a short distance however and our information and data on the issue is at quite a low resolution. To make sure we decided to dig a hole on both sites to observe the depth of the water tables and the soil conditions on site. The water table in Kibos is low enough that a septic tank and soak pit provides good primary treatment of the waste without contaminating groundwater and would not need to be emptied at a frequency that is unrealistic for the community to manage.”

Testing the water table in Kibos

Testing the water table in Kibos

This project aims to promote the creation of accessible and affordable sanitation solutions in informal settlements in Kenya. In cooperation with local partner organizations, Muungano Support Trust has been lobbying on a local, national and international level to encourage local authorities to create or improve their social infrastructure policy in order to ensure access to social housing with potable water and sewerage facilities for the urban poor. In Kisumu, the collaboration with local water company and the county government involved activities directed at forming a social sanitation and housing policy fund that has two focal points: finance creation for improvement of housing and sanitation development, and capacities improvement of communities.

In reference to the Nyalenda scenario, the community is yet to make a sound choice between going the septic or the sewer way. And as a way of figuring out the most suitable option, Muungano wa Wanavijiji has begun the initiative of lobbying the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company to support Nyalenda proposed project connect to the main sewer line which is approximately 2.5 Km away from the proposed site. According to KIWASCO’s’ head of Commercial division Frank David explains, “the company has been able to connect about 10 per cent of the city to the main sewer, a situation that the company expects to address by improving this number to about 20 per cent in the next couple of years and is for this reason that our pro poor division is working closely with communities living in the informal settlements to formalize infrastructure serving slum dwellers for them to enjoy better services.”

Erickson Sunday, Federation Leaders in a discussion with the Kibos Community

Erickson Sunday, Federation Leaders in a discussion with the Kibos Community

Feed back!

Muungano believes that the information reservoir exploited from communities must be taken back to communities as a way of encouraging communities to heed ownership of the pieces of information to foster discussions and predominantly effect change. Nyalenda hosted the first meeting to scrutinize the designs they had proposed on a rich picture. With the support of Engineers without borders, the community was given back the proposed designs accompanied with detailed explanations of every design components based on the prescribed community priorities.

Floor-plan-Kibos

 

Floor-plan-Nyalenda

Cost being an important facet of any development, ewb-ucl introduced the concept of shipping container architecture. The designs were given back to the community organized in small groups, the aim being that each member would voice his or her opinion of the draft designs. Finally the consensus was reached at a larger forum on; the uses of flexible space, where they wanted the sanitation block located in relation to the street, and what the laundry facility should include and also enhance the business models offering sustainability to the project. A similar process was also repeated encompassing the Kibos Community. In his scrutiny of the designs, the Nyalenda B member of the County Assembly James Were acknowledged that the designs reflected the interests of the community and thanked ewb, MUST and the County government spending time with the communities and yielding such results. He also reiterated that he will support the Nyalenda community secure the land for the project.

DSC05797

DSC05791DSC057843d-Kibos

The entire conceptualization and operationalisation of the community process was indeed unique and accommodative in developing a community concept design. It is the belief of the federation that such a process will be building blocks for other communities to steadfast develop solutions to problems or challenges identified by them. The Communities from Nyalenda and Kibos, with the designs already in their vaults, are now more than ready to effect the project, with resource mobilization already taking shape through savings, partnership building with stakeholders and seeking opportunities for resource mobilization.

The team is currently working hard to incorporate the communities’ feedback into the designs, as the final design will be handed over to the community on 22nd July 2014.

 

Muungano Partners with Engineers without Borders UCL on Sanitation

Alexa Bruce, Nairobi (http://ewbucl.org/blog/kenya)

So, as the blogging season begins for EWB UCL, with all of our teams heading off to their respective destinations, I contribute here on behalf of our Kenya Project with Muungano Support Trust. Before I delve into the excitement of all the activity that has been going on, I will begin with an overview of the project and its objectives for those who are not familiar with the project to date.

Project Overview

Muungano Support Trust (MuST) is the technical secretariat to Muungano wa Wanavijiji, a settlement based federation of slum dwellers across 300 informal settlements, representing thousands of urban dwellers in Kenya. ‘Muungano, a movement of the urban poor was formed by slum dwellers to address the challenges of forced eviction, with a keen interest of addressing matters of secure tenure and livelihoods of the poor communities’. In a new collaboration for this academic year, EWB UCL is partnering with MuST to engage in a participatory design process of a community sanitation facility in two locations: Kisumu and Naivasha. Through a series of participatory workshops over the month that will be spent in Kenya, the EWB UCL team will work on the design of the facilities through an iterative process, incorporating the desires, aspirations and feedback of the communities into the design following each meeting with them. The Federation, through their savings scheme, along with the local WASCO, will then be responsible for funding and implementing the construction of the sanitation facility.

In the second week of June 2014, I took the opportunity to stop over in Kenya for a few days, ahead of the arrival of the rest of the team at the end of July, and travel to Kisumu with MuST for a stakeholder meeting with the various parties involved in the project.

A news clipping on the state of sanitation in Kisumu

A news clipping on the state of sanitation in Kisumu

Firstly, it was such an amazing trip. MuST were very hospitable and it was an extremely interesting crash course in getting to know the organisation. As much as you do your research online and have conversations over Skype, this was the kind of insight one can only get by travelling for 6 hours in a car with the Secretariat’s Director, Irene Karanja and our contact and Programme Manager, Leonard Kigen. We travelled up to Kisumu where representatives from the federation were gathered (the National Chairman, the Treasurer, The Secretary and others) as well as community leaders from the slum we will be working with in Nyalenda. Also there was a representative from the local WASCO, who will be co-funding the sanitation facility (along with money from the communities savings schemes), and the locally elected county council representative for Nyalenda. Upon arrival, a member of the federation handed us a clipping from the newspaper of that day, and how timely it was, affirming the relevance of the project in our eyes. The article discusses the appalling state of the slums sanitation facilities and describes how “when it rains, the waste from the latrines floods most of the houses”.

The meeting involved introductions and how each was involved in bringing the project where it is today. The work described by Muungano to establish sanitation as a priority for the community was also important context to the project. Following this was an outline of the expectations of each of the representative parties with regards to the project. It was in this meeting that I was introduced to the unique and powerful way in which every member of the Federation greets one another and introduces him or herself. The member of Muungano begins by interlocking his/her fingers and declares, ‘Muungano (unity/federation)’, in response, other Muungano members chime ‘nguvu yetu (is our strength!)’. This initial call is followed by any combination, of all or none, of the following:

‘Akiba…. Mashinani! (savings at the grassroots)';

‘Pesa zutu…. uamuzi wetu! (our money, our decision!)';

‘Ardhi na makao…. Haki yetu! (land and shelter is our right!)'; 

‘Uoga…. Umasikini milele! (fear/cowardice will make us poor forever!)';

‘Umoja…. Silaha ya maskini! (unity/organisation is the weapon of the poor!)';

‘Chingli!… Chingli! (Shillings/our savings)’

‘Chingli!… Chingli Chingli!!

‘Chingli!… Chingli Chingli Chingli!!!

There was something very striking about a chorus of people answering in unison to the greeting of their peers. It reminds me of the exhilaration and power that one feels witnessing the call and answer of a Samba band, perfectly in sync. A strange parallel to make I know, but hopefully some of you out there have either played in one or witnessed this and can understand where I am coming from. To everyone else, I am probably making no sense!

A group photo of the Nyalenda Community, Muungano Federation, EWB UCL and MUST

A group photo of the Nyalenda Community, Muungano Federation, EWB UCL and MUST

Also at the meeting were representatives from a nearby informal settlement called Kibos. This community has emulated the Muungano model by mobilising themselves putting a savings scheme in place. A sanitation block was built in their slum but it collapsed before it had even been used and is now in a state of disrepair. They informed us that they had mobilised their community and that we absolutely had to go and visit the site as the community was waiting for us. We travelled to the site where the community was in fact waiting for us and another similar introductory meeting ensued. The meeting was mostly in Swahili so I only got brief translations from Irene, but the community was essentially expressing their desire and readiness to engage with a similar process to the project in Nyalenda. They were ready and waiting with their site and wanted to know when we would come back. Our capacity to engage with Kibos in a similar process, as well as with the other two communities we are committed to, is something we at EWB UCL are in the process of discussing.

Erickson Sunday, Federation Leaders in a discussion with the Kibos Community

Erickson Sunday, Federation Leaders in a discussion with the Kibos Community

We got a call late in the afternoon from the locally elected county representative who had been present at our previous stakeholder meeting in Nyalenda, informing us he had managed to secure a last minute audience with the County Governor. We therefore travelled to the government building in Kisumu CBD for the meeting with ‘his excellency’. Everyone was excited as this was a big break for Muungano but the last minute nature of the meeting left little room for nerves. In the meeting that followed the various members of MuST and the federation introduced themselves (of course in the true call and answer style of Muungano) and essentially pitched Muungano to the Governor. He liked what he heard. He stated he had never quite witnessed a greeting like it and was struck by how ‘those who appear to have nothing have something’. He followed his own pitch as to what his vision for Nyalenda is (Nyalenda is notorious for its appalling sanitation and general services as you can tell from the press coverage shown above! and so is the focus of his 3 year development plan). It was inspiring if perhaps a little ambitious and idealistic. I felt his intentions were true and he often reiterated that he does not wish to evict the residents of Nyalenda as is feared because this would encourage informal settlement to move elsewhere, merely shifting the problem rather than solving it. His views seemed to align with that of Muungano and a fruitful relationship is likely to develop. Most importantly for us, he committed to providing the land for the sanitation facility in Nyalenda. Here are a couple of photos of the group with the County Governor.

The delegation that paid H.E. Jack Ranguma a courtesy call were MuST Executive Director Irene Karanja and Chief Finanace Officer Leonard Kigen,, EWB UCL, President Alexa Bruce, MWW-SDI Kenya National Chairperson Rahid Mutua,National Treasurer Fatuma Saleh and National Executive Member Erickson Sunday and Nyalenda B Ward Manager Bernard Nyadida

 

ewb4

The team then met with the community leaders to establish a preliminary itinerary and walk around the four potential sites for the sanitation block. Some photos of the sites are shown below.  That’s it for now but keep an eye out for our next blog at the beginning of July when the project gets fully underway!

 

Nyalenda Sanitation Site

Nyalenda Sanitation Site

 

 

ewb7

BETTER HYGIENE, IMPROVED SANITATION INFRASTRUCTURE BEGINS WITH I-“AFFIRMATION”

By Shadrack Mbaka

“Our goal has remained constant: to work step-by-step with the community through the long-term process of addressing Food Safety, and to a larger extent food security. Our job is to ensure that the people living in our informal settlements are not being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of food contamination as a result of a dented sanitation infrastructure. “-Edwin Simiyu (during a stakeholder consultative project forum in Mathare)

Nairobi is home to approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in about 200 settlements distributed across the city suburbs. This figure therefore represents about 60% of the Nairobi population, which unfortunately occupying just 6% of the total land.

Mathare settlement Aerial view

Dilapidated Infrastructure

In a recent food security (Safety) study conducted in three major informal settlements, namely; Mukuru, Kibera and Mathare it is evident that these informal settlements lack basic services, including sanitation, and are directly associated with joblessness, low-income levels among the urban poor, and insecurity and in order to match up to what the environment has offered them, urban poor communities have turned to a myriad of strategies, based on the harsh conditions of living in informal settlements, so as to improve their livelihoods and household food security, including urban agriculture. However, given the lack of formal sanitation services in most of these informal settlements, residents are frequently exposed to a number of environmental risks, including biological and chemical contaminants.

Dilapidated Infrastructure, Mathare-Bondeni

Dilapidated Infrastructure, Mathare-Bondeni

In the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, some households practice urban agriculture called sack gardening, or vertical gardening, where groceries such as kale are planted into large sacks filled with soil. Given the nature of farming in slum environments, farmers and consumers of this produce in Mathare are exposed to environmental contaminants due to the lack of formal sanitation systems. The study was conducted in collaboration with Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Muungano Support Trust, International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED), The Buttler Development Planning Unit and the Informal Sector Food Vendors associations in Mathare, Kibera and Mukuru.

Data Collection by the Community

Data Collection by the Community

Community led Balloon Mapping Exercise

Community led Balloon Mapping Exercise

Food Vending in the informality

Majority of the food vendors are located in environments characterized by open drains, open sewers, heaps of garbage and along dusty roads in the urban informal settlements, this is so because it is a basic display marketing strategy to attract customers living in the respective slums. The open drains are chaotic in that solid wastes are disposed in them; this results in blocked and smelly open drains. The blocked and smelly drains attract insects such as flies and disease carrying vectors; thus the possibility of causing diseases and illnesses when they get into contact with food. Major drains are used as places of waste disposal which results in flooding due to clogging when it rains. The open drains also act as breeding sites for mosquitoes and other diseases causing vectors which could result in malaria outbreaks. Open sewers produce bad odor and attract insects which cause food contamination. The heaps of garbage are another nuisance which attracts insects and rodents such as rats. Rats on the other hand get into food resulting in food contamination and spread of diseases.

Making of fries, Mukuru

Making of fries, Mukuru

Fish Vending, Kibera

Fish Vending, Kibera

In the cause of the study, there have been reported cases of food contamination/food being unsafe whose symptoms included diarrhea, stomachaches and vomiting. There were also reported diseases outbreak of especially cholera, typhoid and diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common killer disease especially among children below the age of 5years. The causes of these cases of food contamination were dirty selling environments characterized by open drains, open sewers and heaps of garbage, inadequate water, poor hygiene by food vendors and lack of storage facilities.

Is Food really affordable to low income earners?

The ever skyrocketing costs of food has pushed desperate communities into extreme poverty rendering them incapable of feeding their families or paying for basic services such as health care, rent, and school fees. In urban informal settlements, lack of security tenure makes the average standard of living more unbearable, with no means of growing their own food, slum dwellers are entirely reliant on what they are able to buy at their local markets, at times on credit. Kenya’s severe drought in the last two years has crippled the nation’s food production and driven the prices of available food supplies even higher. A majority of the poorest slum residents can now only afford one meal a day. The rising costs of food are forcing the poor households to make tough choices: Often a time they are forced to choose between doing what it takes to put one meal a day on the table and paying fees to keep their children in school or paying for medicine and health care. For single-parent families (single mother headed households), conditions are precarious indeed. Besides rising rates of malnutrition in children fewer than five, are forced into day care centres and the long-term impact of children being pulled out of school, one of the consequences of the urban food crisis are increasing numbers of women and young girls seeking an income as sex workers.

Remedying the Situation

In a positive attitude change; based on the data gathered by IIED, Development Planning Unit and Muungano Support Trust the findings were shared with the respective communities in Mathare, Kibera and Mukuru. The findings offered the communities an opportunity to have self introspection of how best they will override the systems of detrimental sanitation and food safety systems. One of the key action points so far is for the communities to reach out to one another to set a “gospel” on the need to boost food safety and improve the hygiene conditions in informal settlements. As rightly in the words of Mbatia, a Mathare based youth Environmental activist, “Unity is strength, hence it gives us the power to conserve our environment, since it us who consume what we consume and throw away the care of what damage it risks our society, we have seen before and we continue to see today that most of our garbage end up in our rivers, hence in a spirited to keep our residential areas it is important to join hands as a community and work together with other stake holders such as the Nairobi City County Government to make it a reality.”

Poor garbage disposal

Poor garbage disposal

Chief  Ombati speaks to one to Kibera residents during the Kibera Food vendors Association stakeholder's meeting in Laini Saba, Kibera

Chief Ombati speaks to one to Kibera residents during the Kibera Food vendors Association stakeholder’s meeting in Laini Saba, Kibera

Secondly, these communities have lined up a series of joint cleanup activities in Mathare, Huruma, Kibera and Mukuru. As the communities in these informal settlements embark on a new season of work to continue the cleanup of the respective settlements, it has been worth taking a few moments to review all of the work that has been done in the community over the past half decade, and what they are doing to ensure the continued health and safety of citizens. The Muungano affiliated Food Vendors Association remains firmly committed to taking actions that help protect public health and restore the ecological integrity of the food sources, land and water and sanitation infrastructure in the community.

“Our objective is to target low income areas so as to steadily change behavior by virtue of creating awareness on food safety and sanitation which would result to cleaner, safer and healthier environment for families to live in and grow,” Said Julia Wacera of Bondeni Food Vendors Association, Mathare.

Lastly, the communities have begun changing the personal hostilities they have about seasoned environmental stake holders, such as the revered Nairobi City Council ( now under the Nairobi County Government), who have been accused of being unscrupulous in distorting the communities in exchange for poor services. The Communities have brought onboard the NCC as a partner in the planned cleanup exercises. The youth too, within the organized and registered youth groups have the vital role to be the environmental conservatives of the informal settlements, by being the trusted waste managers and disposal agents, while the local administrations, Community Organising Trainers, Community Health Workers; Community Based organizations play the pivotal role of sensitization and awareness creation in the informal settlements.

Kiandutu Community-student planning teams forum

By Grace Watetu (MUST)

May 2014|This past month a membership of the Kiandutu informal settlement situated in Thika Sub-county of the larger Kiambu County had the opportunity to attend a day’s joint urban planning studio workshop held at the School of the Built Environment (ADD), University of Nairobi. The university is one of the collaborative partners in the academia and the urban development sector.The forum offered a free willed- ambiance of community-student cordial working spirit.

Kiandutu Community attend a studio session at the School of the Built Environment, University of Nairobi(Source CURI)

Kiandutu Community attend a studio session at the School of the Built Environment, University of Nairobi(Source CURI)

 

There were 14 community members in attendance, the 6 students and other studio coordinators from MuST and CURI (Centre for Urban Research and Innovation). The dean of Students School of the Built Environment and chairman of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning University of Nairobi were among the invited guests. The dean of students was amused by the ongoing studio and requested to be engaged whenever possible. He also wished to see the output of the studio; he promised to attend the final presentation. The chairman of the department highlighted that; seeing such activities/partnerships taking place is his joy. This is because it’s one of the major objectives of the curriculum, as drawn to influence the objectivity of the current crop of urban planners churned out by institutions of learning. The existing constitution advocates for participation; community involvement in planning for their own settlement was therefore very encouraging.

The student team presented the data they had collected from the questionnaires, focused group discussions and mapping. The community was therefore able to verify whether the information was correct and also gave socio-technical input of important issues that were left out regarding sanitation. The issues arising from the presentation included: inadequate sanitation facilities in all the villages studies, lacking drainage infrastructure, lacking solid waste disposal points and also lack of water for washing hands at the sanitation blocks which are the main issues covered in the studio. Other issues were lack of management of the sanitation blocks especially the communal ones provided by the Municipal Council of Thika. They also reported that it was difficult to access sanitation facilities at night due to lack of lighting in the sanitation facilities as well as along the streets. The congestion of the structures limit the extent to which the flood lights can illuminate; thus incidences of very dark narrow streets.

Steps of Studio Engagement

Steps of Studio Engagement

 

UON student Presenting some of the findings

UON student Presenting some of the findings

In an epitome, the studio coordinator Mr. Charles Dadu Karisa (CURI) highlighted possible proposals from the community contributions. The forum indicated that various models of possible ways of improvement would be presented to the community and the best alternative would be selected. This could include case studies from countries such as India. It efforts to expose more communities to various sanitation and waste management models, Muungano wa Wanavijiji with support from Muungano Support Trust have organized an Exchange programme to India depicting the following areas as key learning points; Environmental management framework, Sanitation improvement through environmental design and Sustainability approaches. This year’s studio is based on cluster classified aspect. The pilot two clusters were selected – Biashara and Molo-, where SDI/MuST are piloting one sanitation project in each and are close to the proposed trunk sewer hence a possibility of future large scale sewerage connections.

Community-Student Planning discussion Panel

Community-Student Planning discussion Panel

Also in the spirit of partnership building and continuous linkage, the federation has reached out to the County Government of Kiambu who have played a significant role in the site planning and regularization of the community led sanitation project currently taking shape in Biashara and Molo Villages of Kiandutu.The theme of the Thika urban planning studio is titled ‘An integrated sanitation studio for Kiandutu Settlement, Thika. In 2011/2012, Muungano wa Wanvijiji, Muungano Support Trust and The University of Nairobi did a collaborative enumeration & Mapping and Survey, respectively, and what really came out strongly in post data sets were issues of sanitation. In this process the types of data collected included: demographic characteristics, social-economic characteristics, infrastructural infrastructure, water and sanitation. Emphatically the community agreed on their commitment to prioritize the mirror effect of the challenges posed by lack of adequate sanitation in Kiandutu 11 villages.

Apart from the advocacy advantage the enumeration process highlighted the various problems experienced by the community which include poor sanitation, poor accessibility and congested and substandard housing. It is therefore as a result of this that Muungano wa wanavijiji and Muungano support trust identified the need for provision of sanitation facilities. The sanitation facilities however would not just be for sanitation purposes but also to boost the livelihoods of the residents through other activities being incorporated. The studio is to come up with a platform for guiding sanitation provision which incorporates accessibility, community life, water provision and the local economy. Sanitation includes solid waste, drainage and sanitation facilities (bathrooms and toilets). Sanitation influences the cleanliness and even livelihoods of settlements; is the backbone of clean environments affecting both public health and the economy. The studio focus has been to identify the challenges the community is facing regarding solid waste, drainage and sanitation facilities.

The proposed Integrated Kiandutu Sanitation Model currently under the studio’s planning microscope aims at creating understanding and community ownership of the integrated sanitation model, which has been arrived at after extensive discussions between the community, stakeholders and the federation. To this end the role of CURI and MUST is to support the Kiandutu communities actualize the recommendations of these discussions.

Community-Student engagement.

Community-Student engagement.

In part through the concept of community social organizing and mobilization the federation key point areas are basically how the sanitation project intends to build on Integrated community spaces: what are the other tenure uses, concrete designs, possible community benefits to be accrued, ownership and Space integration, well designed and built sanitation facilities, community facilities, solid waste management, expansion of roads to accommodate drainage and more so re blocking.

 

REEMPHASIZING COMMUNITY ADVOCACY BASED ON CITY WIDE PROFILES

Monday, 26th May 2014, Muungano wa Wanavijiji held a one day workshop under the theme of: REEMPHASIZING COMMUNITY ADVOCACY BASED ON CITY WIDE PROFILES. This workshop gave different community teams an opportunity to discuss some of the issues arising from the Nairobi City Wide profile that will enable the federation build on its advocacy strategies to address the urban planning deficits of the urban poor.

Community city led profiles are a considerate way of building an understanding of the people in a geographical area or specific community of interest or identifying some of the gaps and opportunities in a settlement set up. By virtue of this understanding, communities are opened up to the development of community engagement plan, which influences who the key stakeholder groups are and how a project develops.

A community profiling team at work in Nakuru County

A community profiling team at work in Nakuru County

DSC01776 (FILEminimizer)

Settlement profiles demonstrate the existing scenario of a community: the settlement history, social and economic characteristics, how active people are (the savings groups and networks used) and what social and infrastructure services are provided.

SDI community-led profiling serves as a key tool and asset in lobbying and advocacy as well as it offers a platform for engagement between slum dwellers and their government and other development partners. In the context of urban informality, on a city scale, the Muungano wa Wanavijiji community led profiles serve as validated source of information about settlement history, social and physical conditions in informal. These settlement based city wide compounded data has continued to be a key mobilization tool since the urban poor communities have embraced the data as an asset for the poor in their engagements and notable negotiations around access to land, access to services and demands for inclusive planning and housing, as well as increasingly around livelihood options.

City wide profile sharing forum in Machakos County

City wide profile sharing forum in Machakos County

DSC04673

Henry Otunge one of the community profile team member expresses his perspectives, “ Nairobi City is growing fast as a result of the rural – urban migration and with the meager sources of income, Many Kenyans have to contend with the “informality complex” of the city and this is one of the reason that the people’s movement-Muungano wa Wanavijiji has embarked on building and strengthening informal settlements to mould resilient communities that will vouch for the inclusion of the urban poor to evoke the much needed formal change in the informal settlements.” Access to better and affordable housing, water and sanitation remains an essential priority for most residents.

To this point in time; the Kenyan Federation of the Urban Poor, Muungano wa Wanavijiji have conducted intense city wide profiles in Nairobi, Machakos, Makueni, Kisumu and Nakuru. The profiles have created a greater picture of informal settlements in these cities, pin pointing on the key infrastructural deficiencies. The reports also detail the key community priorities that ought to be actualized by formulating a planning and service delivery strategy to the urban poor.

The Kenyan federation of the urban poor has initiated a lobbying and advocacy strategy based on a rationale, that intends to focus on community needs and priorities as documented in respective city wide profile reports. The decision to formulate decisive advocacy strategy is based on systematic review of documented evidence that urban poor communities in these settlements have an understanding and experience of their environmental dwellings. The aim is to draw national and county attention to the most critical emerging issues at settlement and county levels of governance. Muungano wa Wanavijiji is also particular on how best the urban communities, who actually participated in the collection of data, use and share citywide profiles information with various stakeholders community, national and county governments, strategic donor agencies and more so the academia.

Strategic Advocacy Workshop bringing together communities in three sub-counties of Nairobi(Southern, Eastern and Central) held in Nairobi.

Strategic Advocacy Workshop bringing together communities in three sub-counties of Nairobi(Southern, Eastern and Central) held in Nairobi.

At the federation’s Nairobi City level, comprising of Nairobi Southern, Nairobi Eastern and Nairobi Central sub-county advocacy meeting, held at the Muungano House resolved that there are indeed great fundamental opportunities for data sharing, which intends to involve aspects of community participation in urban planning and slum upgrading. This platform of engagement with government is also expected to roll out in Kisumu, Machakos, Makueni and Nakuru. With due regards some of the key priority areas for the communities to address are;

Security of Tenure

Security of tenure is the cornerstone of the right to adequate housing. It protects people against arbitrary forced eviction, harassment and other threats. Residents of informal settlements and communities without legal security of tenure live in a constant state of uncertainty, which keeps them from investing time, effort or money into their homes. Providing security of tenure is therefore key to successful slum upgrading strategies. For example, robust advocacy intervention among communities, NGOs and FBOs, in the case of Kambi Moto led to land acquisition and approval by the local authorities after the communities presented their plans.

Service delivery

Better and adequate housing obviously requires access to basic services such as clean water, electricity, sanitation, food security and storage, waste disposal, site drainage and emergency services. Technical standards are a key issue to be addressed in this context. If technical improvements are not made within the range of the target group’s ability to pay, they can lead to displacement of the lowest income groups in the community. Therefore technical standards of housing may need to be reduced, at least in the short-term.

Affordable Housing

Housing must be affordable for everyone. One of the key challenges in slum upgrading is ensuring that improvements do not lead to increased housing costs and therefore displacement. However, fulfilling human rights in the context of slum upgrading does not mean, that State or local authorities are under the obligation to provide free services. On the contrary, some slum upgrading approaches have relied nearly exclusively on the target group’s resources (for example, slum upgrading projects organized by slum residents in Kambi Moto and Kahawa Soweto). Ensuring successful slum upgrading requires constant attention to the budgets of the affected communities and the charges and prices associated with the project.

Upgrading of the urban environment of low- income settlements encompasses a variety of components. The main issues are political will from the authorities, land tenure, financing and institutional arrangements, including how stakeholders, particularly the marginalized and vulnerable, can participate in decision-making processes. It is important that the political will to carry out an upgrading process comes from an idea of improving the standing of a community, rather than a desire to rid an area of an ‘eyesore’. Successful slum upgrading is a long-term process rather than a political project; it must be supported by all stakeholders despite conflicting interests.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 434 other followers

%d bloggers like this: