Initial findings of the Kampala Federation's citywide profile are unprecedented, suggesting extreme levels of inequality & exclusion across the city. Nearly 70% of slum settlements have faced eviction threat, with 1.5 million slum residents currently facing high threat of eviction. This kind of data changes the city's engagement with urban poor communities, informing creative implementation strategies for city development. Read More
Back in April, we posted an article about women and sanitation in Nairobi's slums. Recently, we revisited the interviews with the women of Mukuru kwa Reuben to give you a first-hand account of their experiences and opinions on living conditions in the slums. Check the blog to hear the interviews. Read More
Read about SDI & Santa Fe Institute's global slum profiling project, which aims to aggregate & analyse the roughly 7,000 federation profiles collected over the past 20 years in more than 15 countries across the global south. The objective is to yield a "science of slums" powerful enough to leverage citywide & global sustainable developmental appeal for ‘slum data’. Read More
At the global level, SDI is increasingly serving as a platform for organised urban poor constituencies to speak directly with decision-makers in major international organisations and forums. The aim and impact of these interactions is to strengthen the local processes through which federations form and build citywide alliances. Read More
The link between “hard” outcomes & “soft” processes is the chief driver of urban development today. In an age of quickening city growth, the SDI network has pioneered strategies that speak to the main challenges faced in linking processes and outcomes, challenges we have come to understand through three major themes: finance, planning, & politics. Read More
Savings groups form the basis of collective action in urban poor communities, and the central participation of women significantly improves the quality of the process & the probability of sustainable change. Community savings schemes help meet the needs of low-income urban dwellers & create the foundation for urban poor federations that provide savers with more influence & scope for action. Read More
Latest Blog Posts
Informal settlements remain excluded in the citywide planning agenda. The result is that high costs are used to justify why cities fail to install water, sewerage & drainage facilities or plan land use for slum areas. To address this, the Kenyan federation of slum dwellers generates accurate data on informal settlements to influence planning & decision making processes & build inclusive cities. Read More...
SDI reporting procedures need to capture tangible city-changing outputs that flow from community centred processes, demonstrating the impact made through engagements & partnerships. These include: community participation in planning & decision-making, leveraging of resources, impacting of policy & resource flows, formal MoU's with government, and scalable slum upgrading projects. Read More...
Sanitation provision has a key role to play in creating the political & legislative conditions for well-located land to be made available to the urban poor. The work of the urban poor in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, India demonstrates explicitly that sanitation is not just about toilets. It speaks to issues of equitable access and tenure security. Read More...
Students and community members share their experiences on the site analysis exercise in Freedom Square Informal Settlement in Gobabis. The importance of community participation in the whole exercise was echoed and appreciated by many of the students, who were able to get a better understanding of the cultural dimensions of site planning and settlement layout through an insider’s perception. Read More...
For actors and institutions concerned with the economic and social well-being of humanity, urban development is increasingly recognized as the major lacuna of fighting poverty, managing climate change, and generating inclusive growth. Within our network, we are transitioning to a new scale of activities and beginning to get recognition in our cities, countries, and at the global level for what we do. Read More...
It is hard to imagine that it is 28 years since the National Slum Dweller Federation of India (NSDF) linked up with Mahila Milan & SPARC to negotiate solutions to demolitions of hutments on the pavements of Byculla in Mumbai. Little did we know that we were giving birth to a new social movement that was to spread across the globe. Read More...
Slum Dwellers International is a platform where governments and slum dwellers engage as partners in urban development. Together they co-produce cities that include the poor.
SDI Board Member and executive director of Kenyan support NGO Jane Weru speaks about her work in Kenya and recent award from The Rockefeller Foundation.
After a community-wide enumeration, backyard shack dwellers in Manenberg (Cape Town, South Africa) unite around savings schemes and mobilize for land.
Sheela Patel, director of SPARC India, discusses the process of community-driven in situ slum upgrading in the city of Pune, in Maharashtra, India.
The Community Land Information Programme (CLIP) allows for mobilization around knowledge and information, providing leverage in negotiating with government to improve living conditions.
A brief profile of Dharavi, one of the largest informal settlements in the world, situated in the city of Mumbai, India.
How can organized communities make meaningful contributions to the struggle for inclusive cities? Slum Dwellers International highlights key rituals to engage in this process.
Key protocols for informal settlement upgrading, as seen in the work of national urban poor federations of Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI).
Community members in Jinja settlement initiate a community-wide enumeration, halting evictions and allowing the community to negotiate with local government for nearby land.
The Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation unites people to living conditions through community-driven savings schemes, enumerations, exchanges and training.
Members of Peoples Dialogue Ghana in the settlement of Old Fadama unite around savings schemes and engage with local government to stave off eviction.
Facing threat of eviction, members of the SDI alliance in Tanzania saved money collectively and negotiated with government for land.
The Homeless Peoples' Federation Philippines (HPFPI) uses savings and community-driven processes as tools to address challenges faced by the urban poor.
Garbage collectors (zabaleem) in Cairo, Egypt recycle and trade roughly 80% of collected waste. Recently, this decades-old resource recovery system has come under threat.
After a fire in March 2009, the community of Joe Slovo rebuilt hundreds of shacks in their settlement, uniting residents and catalyzing a city-wide upgrading process.
Settlements Under Siege
“Getting to the toilet at night is very difficult,” says Doris, “We come to the bush, and it is very risky. If you do not come with two or three people, it is a rape case that will never be reported. As women we are in a very, very risky place...” Residents of Mukuru, a belt of slums home to ± 1 million people, have been under threat of eviction for years. Because the settlement sits on private land it is outside the orbit of government’s jurisdiction for infrastructure improvements, meaning quality of life is exceptionally hard. SDI traveled to Mukuru to speak to women there; to find out how they are taking the matter into their own hands. Read More
Federations at Work
Spotlight on Slum Upgrading
The community of Kinawataka, Kampala, took it upon themselves to upgrade living standards in their neighbourhood. They formed a federation, and enlisted members to work & save together towards common goals. After enumerating & mapping structures, surveying the slum's demographics, they had enough to make informed decisions. Federation leaders decided that it was imperative that a public sanitation facility be built to service the 900+ families living without sanitation. Read more about this process here! Read More
Spotlight on Community Planning
Community-driven settlement profiling, enumerations, & mapping are practices that SDI federations have developed over decades. They are valuable tools in negotiating for equitable resource flows from the public & private sector to urban poor communities. At a workshop in Nairobi, federations from Africa & Asia discussed the purposes, systems & impact of profiling. By creating a “slum dweller perspective” on city planning processes, federations are equipped with the necessary tools to become co-producers of the urban future. Read More