24: The Day Huruma Slums Got Secure Land Tenure

A backstory inspired by the TV drama, “24”. 

 

Charity Ngilu, Lands Cabinet Secretary Visits Huruma

Charity Ngilu, Lands Cabinet Secretary Visits Huruma

 

muungano-women-3

By Jack Makau, SDI Secretariat

3:56 PM Friday 30th January 2015

Jane Weru, Director of Kenya slum dwellers financing facility, Akiba Mashinani Trust gets a call on a number she does not know. The caller says “this is Charity Ngilu”. It is Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Land, Housing and Urban Development. “With me I have the former vice president of Spain, who is in Kenya on an official visit.” “She is interested to meet with grassroots women in Kenya and I remember your Muungano women with head scarves coming to see me in my office”. “I’d like her to meet with them tomorrow.” Jane says a visit can be easily arranged and the date is set.

4:21 PM

Rashid Mutua, Chair of the Kenya slum dwellers federation, Muungano Wa Wanavijiji meets Jane Weru at the federation offices. With him are the leaders of a greenfields housing project to house 2300 slum families. They have an appointment to meet the head of the slum improvement program of the National Youth Service (NYS), a para-military division of government that undertakes development projects.  NYS want to use the land set aside for the greenfields project to put up a camp for their engineering battalion. The battalion will put in infrastructure that benefits the Mukuru slums where the greenfields project is located. On their side, the greenfields project leaders want a letter recognizing the use of their land from NYS. Continue reading

YOUTH: Young. Organised. United. Talented. Hardworking.

Cross Posted from http://www.sdinet.org/blog

Thursday, 12 February 2015

By Skye Dobson, SDI Secretariat

“Poor people have me. Rich people don’t need me. If you eat me you’ll die. I am worse than a demon. Who am I?”

This was the riddle Rogers, a youth member of the South African SDI Alliance posed to youth from across South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and India at the opening of a peer-to-peer exchange held in Cape Town, South Africa for youth activists last week. He put his phone on the table and said that whoever solved the riddle in 3 minutes would get the phone. To honor the riddle, I will tell you the answer at the end of the blog.

Unfortunately the phone deal has expired.

“As a girl, I’m always told things happen because of fate. But it’s the things I do, not luck, that determine my fate. So we must forget about fate, and move forward.”

Shikha, India 

The exchange was inspired by the youth activism of Prayasam, an Indian organization founded in 1999 to enable children to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. When Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), an international network of slum dweller federations in 33 countries, learned of Prayasam’s work and the shared strategies used to organize communities to profile and map their settlements as a starting point for negotiations with authorities, it was agreed that the two organizations would do well to promote peer-to-peer learning between youth members and other youth groups trying to make change in their settlements. With support from Sundance Films, SDI, Prayasam, The Community Organization Resource Centre (COURC), and SDI hosted a 6-day learning exchange for youth from informal settlements in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and India.

“I taught myself how to share and how to love. The River of Life showed me you can solve your problems as a group.”

Lucky, South Africa

A River of Life exercise on the first day – led by the Prayasam youth – kicked off the exchange and supported reflection by the youth on the highs and lows of their lives and their goals for the next three years. The youth drew and presented their personal rivers to the group. The stories were touching, referencing hardships such as the death of family and friends, early pregnancies, gang membership, and lost opportunities owing to a lack of financial resources. On the high points of their rivers, however, they explained the pride experienced when they got into or performed well at school, found spiritual direction, became members of youth groups, and took part in exchanges with other youth both locally and abroad. While their highs and lows were described in individual terms, it was fascinating to note that their aspirations for the future were almost entirely group-centered. The youth spoke of wishing to bring their communities together, of wanting to empower their peers, about increasing the membership and impact of their youth groups, of setting a good example to children, and of advocating for the rights of the young and the disadvantaged.  This exercise set the stage for the youth to engage each other more openly. Instead of the standard introductions of formally structured peer-to-peer learning, these introductions stripped the process down to authentic fundamentals: Who am I? Why am I here? How did I get here? It was clear that the process was as much about answering these questions for oneself as it was about sharing it with others.

“The film showed that you’re never too young to make change.”

Sefiso, South Africa

A key inspiration for the youth exchange was a film called The Revolutionary Optimists, which follows Amlan (founder and Director of Prayasam) and three of the children he works with, as they become agents of change in their communities. The film not only captures the incredible work of Prayasm’s children, but the realities of life in Indian slums.  On the second day the youth were able to see the film at a community center in Langa as well another from Uganda, The Boda Boda Thieves, which captures some of the realities of life in Uganda’s slums. The feedback from the youth was thoughtful and insightful. They were quick with their praise for the Indian youth and concluded that one is never to young to make change in his/her community. They expressed the similarities they saw between conditions in India and their own countries – particularly related to poor sanitation, teenage pregnancy, and child labor. They joked of the celebrities in their midst! From The Boda Boda Thieves film they concluded youth must be very careful when it comes to peer pressure and a desire to get money quickly. They all had stories about youth who had succumbed to peer pressure and “gangsterism” and they made references to the contributing factors. They discussed the importance of reaching out to parents so that they can support their children to join youth groups and take part in productive afterschool activities as an alternative.

“Statistics might be different from experiences.”

Sibo, South Africa (Sizakuyenza)

A unifying strategy across many of the groups is the collection of data by youth in order to plan for change and negotiate with other actors – often the State – to implement solutions. Both Prayasam and SDI affiliates profile slum settlements, but their approaches are slightly different and the youth were able to share and reflect on each others strategies, achievements, and challenges. In the spirit of Learning-by-Doing, the youth went to a settlement in Nginalendlovu in Khayelitsha anda settlement profiling exercise which was facilitated by community members and supporting professionals in the South African SDI Alliance. Half the group used GPS devices to map the boundary of the settlement, while the other half conducted the socio-economic profile with the local community, while trying to squeeze into all available shade under the awnings of shacks. Rogers, a youth member from Kwazulu Natal administered the questionnaire with infectious enthusiasm and finesse.

Community members were guided to discuss and generate information on their settlement, from the origin of its name, to issues of tenure security and services, to the biggest challenges facing the community. From the discussions it was clear that the community is unsure of the land ownership, but that rumors of Church ownership circulate. They say they face eviction threats, but that they have no intention of moving anywhere so don’t bother themselves with it too much. They expressed major concerns with water supply, flooding, and crime, but they were unanimous that the biggest threat to their community at present comes from rats. One gentleman explained that his cat was eaten by a rat and that children are attacked and one child’s hand was bitten off. It is important to note that a problem with rats was not amongst the check boxes on the questionnaire. This highlighted Rogers’ skill as a profiler and the need to allow sufficient time for communities to make less structured contributions throughout the profiling process. The community was eager for the compiled information to be returned to them and the discussion about their issues to continue so that they can begin to generate solutions.

“…everything in nature has its own reason.”

Rogers, South Africa

The reflections from one of the youth on his visit to Path Out of Poverty (POP) on Goedgedacht Farm visit were so poignant. Through a long term, holistic, programme, POP builds confidence and skills in rural youth and offers opportunities for self advancement and for making a real contribution to their own communities. Rogers said he was “blown away by POP” and that he learned “everything in nature has its own reason. You can learn from nature if you’re patient. If you watch it, it will teach you.” One could argue the same is true for these youth, who clearly have so much to teach the world about their realities and how they believe change is possible. Within them, like nature, the solutions can be found for many of the world’s ills. Salim, one of the Indian youth, said the way poems and song are used to “manage the kids” at the Goedgedacht Farm will really help him to strengthen his leadership at the preschool in his community, while Kamalika from Saldanha was inspired to go back to her community and work with small children.

“They come in wrecked and leave as a piece of art”

Sibo, South Africa

On Wednesday the youth visited Sizakuyenza to see youth projects, including a recycling project, health services, and a women’s home called House of Smiles. The local federation designed Sizakuyenza to serve as a basket of services for the federation saving groups and their wider communities. The recycling initiative (Solid Waste Network) provides employment for youth and supports the municipality to keep the area clean. Many of the youth from South Africa and the youth from India were particularly interested in the waste project, as they have plans to operate waste management businesses of their own.

At House of Smiles the youth asked many questions about the women who live in the shelter and whether they were safe from their husbands once inside. They were interested to hear about the close relationship the center maintains with the police and the confidence they place in them. Many of the youth harbor suspicions about police, but the House of Smiles team has developed a close working relationship with them, which makes their premises and inhabitants feel secure.

In the afternoon a youth choir by Ubuhle Bendalo, a youth group of about 90 members based in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. The group meets most days after school and uses the performing arts to develop each other’s artistic skills and address challenges in their community. The song, dance, and poetry were moving and had a number in the audience trying to blink away tears. The youth in Makhaza work hand-in-hand with the local police to fight crime and youth participation in gangs. A police officer gave testimony that the settlement has been transformed by the presence of the group. For SIkha, from Prayasam, the afternoon with Ubuhle Bendalo was the highlight of the week – she was infected by the group’s vibrancy and wanted to take that energy and vibrancy back home.

“At first I was not about to swim. I don’t know how to. But when I heard those guys explaining, I decided to try.”

Allan, Uganda

Thursday was a day of physical exertion! The day began with some training at the Future Champs Boxing Gym in Philippi and ended with surfing in Muizenberg. The two events highlighted the powerful role sports can play in the process of team and community building, the humbling and unifying effects of learning something new, and the power of fun in managing some of the stresses of daily life. Manish, from Prayasam, was inspired to take some of the tools of the Future Champs (boxing) and Waves of Change (surfing) programs back to the Sports Academy he is part of in India.  Many of the youth had not seen the ocean before. Many could not swim. Yet, they surfed! They laughed in the “salty water” with their faces plastered with white sunscreen and fearlessly took on the challenge.

“And to those who sent me here: I will make you proud.”

Sifiso, South Africa

On the final day of the exchange the youth had a reflection on the week and all agreed they had become family. With sincerity they told each other how much they would miss being together and pledged to stay in touch and provide continuous support via social media as much as they can.

And the answer to the riddle? It’s “nothing”. Poor people have me. Rich people don’t need me. If you eat me you’ll die. I am worse than a demon. Nothing.

Though the riddle was a whole lot of fun, the week’s exchange made it very clear that poor people don’t have “nothing” at all. Though poor, the youth showed they have authenticity, compassion, innovation, and commitment to improving their own lives and those of their communities. Exchanges such as these will inspire changes within individuals and communities in ways we cannot possibly predict. But, this is the exact strategy (as much as it sits at odds with increasingly logframe and indicator obsessed NGOs): Bring the people together and let them create new knowledge, develop their own insights, reaffirm their own value, develop new strategies, and then figure out how to implement.

“I am not the same person I was before I came here.”

Patrick, Kenya

 

 

 

Deepening Citywide Participation in Mombasa, Kenya

By Edwin Simiyu

Introduction

Muungano’s 668 community savings groups are distributed across 11 town and cities in Kenya. In 2014 the federation undertook a citywide profiling of all slums in 6 of those cities.  One of the main goals of this exercise was expand the engagement the federation has with city authorities, from a slum case level to recognizing and planning for all settlements within cities.

In Kenya’s second city, Mombasa, the citywide engagement had a different entry point.  Early in 2014, the County Government of Mombasa announced intention to develop a Strategic Integrated Urban Develop Plan (SIUDP). The plan would draw in technical support from JICA and private sector consultants. However a precursor to the plan was that the county government was required to present a spatial analysis of the current situation of the city.

Recognizing the unique skill set of mapping human settlement and infrastructure within cities – the County Government requested the support of the federation’s support professionals to develop the city spatial analysis. Edwin Simiyu, a trained surveyor, with five years experience in slum mapping with the federation was seconded by the federation to the county government for a six months period.

A significant impact of Edwin’s secondment has been the recognition of slums as part of the city’s fabric. Previously absent from city zonal plans of land use, slums are now included as a zoning category known as High Density Low-Income areas. Edwin presents the experiences and outputs of his 2014 secondment with the city government below. 

Background Information

The Mombasa County is located in the South Eastern part of the Coastal region of Kenya. It covers an area of 229.9 Km2 excluding 65 Km2 of water mass which is 200 nautical miles inside the Indian Ocean.  It borders Kilifi County to the North, Kwale County to the South West and the Indian Ocean to the East. Administratively, the county is divided into six sub-counties, namely: Mvita, Nyali, Changamwe, Jomvu, Kisauni, and Likoni, and thirty county assembly wards. These are further sub-divided into twenty locations and thirty-five sub-locations.

Population distribution and settlement patterns in the county are influenced by proximity to vital social and physical infrastructure networks such as roads, housing, water, and electricity. Other factors that influence settlement patterns include accessibility to employment opportunities and security. The total population of the county in 2009 was 939,370 persons of which 486,924 are male and 452,446 female. It was projected to be 1,052,802 in 2012 and will rise to 1,273,049 persons by 2017.

In the county, 65.6 per cent of all houses are stone walled while those made of brick walls stand at 7.5 per cent.  Corrugated roofing accounts for 69 per cent of all roofing materials while tiles make up 9.7 per cent of all the houses in the county.  Most of the mud-walled houses are found in the slum areas where they are temporarily built.  In these areas land ownership is not guaranteed, as most of the residents live on land owned by absentee landlords.

Land ownership is a very important factor in the socio-economic development of the county. As of July 2013 only 30 per cent of the residents had title deeds to their land. The county experiences very high incidences of landlessnes, leading to a large number of squatters. Currently, the county has identified a number of issues which it believes affect the 99 informal settlements found within the county.  They include: indiscriminate solid waste disposal, poor road conditions, inadequate water supply, pollution (land, air, and water), inadequate housing units, poor waste water disposal, and inadequate sanitation facilities (e.g. public toilets, waste receptors, waste disposal sites).

Mombasa City Zoning Process

The Mombasa City Zoning process is intended to achieve a Zonal Plan – the spatial framework guiding development of land for the county. The Zonal Plan defines standards and regulations for development of various land uses in the identified zones for 15 years from the date of inception. In this way, it provides guidelines for development proposals, applications, and approval, and is a tool to control development across the county. Therefore, the process provides a framework of

plan implementation, organization and administration structure requirement, and resources needed to implement the plan. With the help of the Kenyan Federation, Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the County Government of Mombasa also intends to use this zoning process to come up with development proposals for the high density low income settlements as well as the effective participation of these key stakeholders in the Strategic Integrated Urban Development Plan.

The Planning Area covers the entire County of Mombasa and it divides Mombasa County into Four Main Zones namely:

1)    Mainland North Zone

2)    Mainland West Zone

3)    Mainland South Zone and

4)    Island Zone

The four zones are further subdivided into sub zones to enable administrative of development control and enforcement.

The expected outputs of the planning exercise include:

  • A situational analysis of the current socio-economic, physical, environmental and cultural characteristics of the Mombasa City;
  • A widely accepted vision for the town’s development;
  • A detailed structure plan depicting specific land use and zoning regulations (code);
  • Sector strategies including transportation, investment/economic, settlement/housing environmental management, disaster management and cultural heritage preservation plan;
  • An implementation matrix with associated realistic costs and responsibilities for implementation of agreed sector wise prioritized programs.

The team started with a situational analysis to establish the situation on the ground. Based on the existing land use maps as well as the data obtained from the rates office, the existing land use situation was captured and presented spatially (as illustrated in figures 2 and 3 below.) This was essential in order to compare with the actual situation on the ground once the reconnaissance surveys are carried out. One observation from the existing land use maps is that a number of areas were categorized as deferred land when in reality this does not exist. Most of these areas are in fact slum areas.

Fig. 2: Existing land uses based on payment of rates. 

Fig. 3: Existing land uses based on inception report (2014)

Field Visits

After the situational analysis was conducted the next step was to conduct a reconnaissance survey, and subsequent transect surveys of the city and its environs. The transect surveys were meant to confirm the situational analysis, appreciate the city, identify data that might have been missed in the situational analysis, and acquire data for the zoning planning process.

Edwin designed a questionnaire using the Epicollect Plus application, which was used to capture the identified data sets in the field in order to guide the zoning process. During this reconnaissance phase, the GPS coordinates of the informal settlements were also acquired so as to assist in delineating the location of these settlements on the map so that they also form part of the planning process. A total of 16 informal settlements in Mombasa North were captured during the process.  The sample database for these settlements is shown in the table 4 below.

Table 4: Informal settlements in Mombasa North 

Based on the data collected, a fresh situational analysis was conducted to bring out the actual existing situation on the ground. Land is critical to the economic, social, and cultural development of the county. Because land is a scarce inelastic resource, there is a need to establish the right use in the interest of the community members being planned for. Land is therefore the main interest of a planning process, as all planning interventions must have a spatial dimension. A critical assessment of the land use structure of the area was necessary in order to facilitate the decision making of the various future proposals for land use in the County Government of Mombasa. An assessment of land use in this area assisted in identifying the potential for future development, planning activities, and creation of a land information system that will guide the development controls within the county. Through discussion with the team members, the planning department will adopt STDM (Social Tenure Domain Model) as the principal land information system that will anchor the zoning plan. Based on the analyses of the data collected, figure 4 shows the updated land use map for Mombasa North.

Fig. 4: Updated current land use analysis for the Mombasa North section. 

As is evidenced in figure 4, agricultural land occupies a 40 per cent of the total land of Mombasa North. However, most of this agricultural land has started being transformed to residential uses. About 15 percent of the land is occupied by informal settlements, which have been represented on the map as HDLI (High density low income settlements) and HDMI (High density medium income settlements). Some of the settlements have been identified for formalization of tenure; these include: Kilimanjaro, Mkomani, Shanzu Majaoni, Ziwa la Ng’ombe and Utange Giriama.

The rate of residential development in agricultural areas is moving very quickly. Large parcels of land located in the northern part of Mombasa North are being subdivided in order to make space for residential development. In addition, development along the major roads and along the ocean is moving very fast towards commercial. These developments are evidenced by the building of major chain supermarkets and luxurious hotels along the Mombasa Malindi road as well as Nyali part of Mombasa North. Therefore, the team came to a general agreement to designate Mombasa North section as a mainly residential and commercial area.

The urban form and character which the settlements in the area are taking is indicative of spontaneity and informality.  The growth of the urban areas was not planned and has not been provided with services essential for sustainable urbanization. Private developers are also undertaking unregulated development.  The zonal plan will play a great role in regulating matters to avoid the situation moving further into irregulality. As the city intends to move in this direction, the participation of the Kenyan Federation in the process ensures the following key principles are achieved: the need to build upon existing community assets and strengths; use of infrastructure planning as an entry-point to address other related issues; and ensuring meaningful participation & community ownership.

Fig. 5: Draft proposed zones for Mombasa North 

Conclusion

This report has summarized the work accomplished so far for zoning the City of Mombasa. The planning was phased out in four sections of Mombasa North, Mombasa West, Mombasa Island and Mombasa South. The draft for Mombasa North is expected to undergo review this month as the work for the remaining three sections is also undertaken. All the drafts should be ready before the end of January 2015 so that stakeholders consultative forums can be conducted during the month of February and the Zoning Plan can be concluded by March 2015. The work reflected here is the result of our successful collaborative planning efforts between the Kenyan Federation and the County Government of Mombasa, aimed at improving the lives and living conditions of slum dwellers in Mombasa County and all slum dwellers in Kenya. The partnership has already started looking into proposals for addressing the housing issues in informal settlements. The Federation is already in discussion to invite the Minister for Lands, Housing and Planning (Hon. Francis Thoya) together with other senior county officials to a learning exchange on housing. This is intended to finalize the discussions that have been started on the development of a housing model that will be used for addressing the housing challenges in informal settlements in Mombasa County.

Based on the information available, the Federation has also started building a database of all the tenure patterns in the informal settlements as this is key in guiding the planning proposals that can be projected for Mombasa County’s informal settlements. This tenure analysis involves boundary mapping of all the informal settlements, overlaying them with the survey maps for the County to understand which settlement lies on which parcels of land. This will then be tied with the ownership information to achieve this tenure analysis. In essence, the work has just started and since there is the will, then the way is definitely there.

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Muungano and Partners Launch a New Report on Improving Access to Justice and Services in Mukuru

 

By Alice Sverdlik and Shadrack Mbaka

Access to Justice and Services in Informal Settlement Report Launch                                                                               Access to Justice and Services in Informal Settlements Report Launch

On 5th February, Muungano and its financial wing Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) hosted a well-attended event to publicise findings from a recent report on Mukuru, one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements. Over 160 guests attended the launch meeting at the Boma Hotel, Nairobi, including Muungano members, civil society groups, government officials, and development partners. The research in Mukuru was jointlyconducted by AMT, city planners at the University of Nairobi, legal and finance professors at Strathmore University, and lawyers at the Katiba Institute. This consortium partnered closely with residents throughout a multi-stage research process, which was supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from 2013-2015. Continue reading

Improving Access to Justice and Basic Services in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi

Executive Summary

Introduction and Study Setting
An innovative research project has created an array of holistic strategies to support tenure security, equitable access to services, and justice for residents of Nairobi’s informal settlements. The study was spearheaded by an interdisciplinary team comprised of city planners at the University of Nairobi, pro-poor financial strategists at Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), legal and finance professors at Strathmore University, and lawyers at the Katiba Institute. Supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from 2012-2014, these researchers combined surveys, interviews, focus groups, and spatial data gathered in Mukuru with a desk review of best practices from Kenyan or other cities. Based on these detailed findings, the team has developed a set of financial, legal, and planning proposals that can benefit households in Mukuru and other informal settlements. Its recommendations will have wider relevance for Kenya’s urban development policies and will contribute to broader debates about improving well-being among the urban poor, helping to fulfill the promise of equitable development in Kenya’s Constitution and devolution reforms.

Over the multi-stage research project, the team partnered closely with residents to develop a thorough situation analysis and to propose future interventions in Mukuru. In the situation analysis, researchers explored the relations between settlement types and service provision as well as examined alternative models of service delivery. Findings helped to reveal key links between meagre services, insecure land tenure, and unjust governance institutions in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Going beyond analysing slums’ land tenure and service delivery, the final report has explored the potential of applying public interest-oriented legal, planning, and financial tools to strengthen the legitimacy and accountability of public authorities in the areas of governance, security, and justice. This modelling report has offered a range of policy-relevant recommendations such as inclusive slum upgrading initiatives, pro-poor financial strategies, and supportive legal frameworks in Mukuru (see below for detailed findings and proposals). Continue reading

Muungano Launches Kiandutu Ablution Block

 

Molo Sanitation Ablution Block

The idea behind community led sanitation units is in most cases dual – the units would provide much needed sanitation services and access to infrastructure and services. Approval of the project development plans by the Kiambu county government for construction was a partial acceptance or acknowledgement of the tenure rights of the residents.

Settlement enumeration and mapping exercise undertaken in 2011 showed that the settlement had 8,449 households with approximately 17,000 residents. Albeit the community census was done to support community claims on secure tenure, it identified sanitation as a priority issue. Over 56 per cent of the population was estimated to have resulted to open defecation. As anticipated the sanitation blocks required and acquired planning and building approvals from the Kiambu County government – which was a major milestone in the land tenure advocacy strategy.

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Government to recognize secure tenure for Slum dwellers

No title(26)

The need to secure tenure for slum dwellers in public land has been a process propagated by Muungano wa Wanavijiji since the establishment of the social movement, 16 years ago. The initiative to engage government on the regularization of tenure may soon pay off.Lands, housing and Urban development Cabinet secretary, Charity Ngilu while on a project visit to Huruma, community led slum upgrading model on Saturday 31st January 2015, said that title deeds will soon be issued to slum dweller communities in Nairobi and other major towns ,who occupy land considered to be public lands especially those that lack ownership wrangles. Continue reading

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