The supreme governing body of SDI is the Council of Federations, which includes all “mature” federations in the network. The definition of a mature federation is any federation that has achieved national or citywide scale and have worked with governments to secure and develop land for the urban poor. As of June 2011, there are 14 mature federations within the SDI network. They are: Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The Council meets once a year and sets the agenda for the board of SDI.
The board is made up of representatives of slum dweller federations and their NGO partners from amongst the mature federation countries. The majority of the board comes from slum communities. They are:
- Farouk Braimah is the director of People's Dialogue Ghana, the support NGO for the Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor
- Joyce Lungu is a leader of the Zambian Homeless People’s Federation.
- Emily Mohohlo is a leader of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor in South Africa.
- Joseph Muturi is a national leader of Muungano wa wanavijiji in Kenya
- Sarah Nandudu is a leader of the National Slum Dweller Federation of Uganda
- Mpatsho Njunga is the president of the Malawian Homeless People’s Federation.
- Sheela Patel is the chair of the SDI board, as well as the founder and director of SPARC, NGO support to the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan in India.
The coordinators of SDI oversee the implementation of board decisions. Like the board, the majority of these coordinators are from SDI-affiliated federations. They are:
- Jockin Arputham, president of SDI, and president of the National Slum Dwellers Federation in India.
- Joel Bolnick, founder of the Community Organisation Resource Centre in South Africa, and coordinator for the secretariat of SDI.
- Celine d’Cruz, a founder of SPARC in India.
- Sonia Fadrigo, a national coordinator of the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines.
- Rose Molokoane, deputy president of SDI, and a national coordinator of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor in South Africa.
- Davious Muvindhi, a national coordinator of the Zimbabwean Homeless People’s Federation.
The secretariat of SDI is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the network, including administration of the Urban Poor Fund International (UPFI), research and documentation, and international exchanges. There are currently 10 staff members of the secretariat. The head office of the secretariat is in Cape Town, South Africa, though some members of staff are located elsewhere in Africa and Europe.
- Wilma Adams, administration and finance
- Annie Beukes, programme officer
- Joel Bolnick, manager
- Benjamin Bradlow, deputy manager
- Mara Forbes, programme officer
- Nico Keijzer, monitoring and evaluation (The Hague, Netherlands)
- Ariana K. MacPherson, programme officer
- Jack Makau, research and documentation (Nairobi, Kenya)
- Gertrude Mazvimazi, administration and finance
- Tairah Safter, administration and finance
- Noah Schermbrucker, programme officer
- Caroline Walker, programme officer