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Collaborating with Nairobi County and County Administrators – SPA Informal Settlements Project

Strathmore University Finance team, under the IDRC research 1042: Unlocking the Poverty Penalty and Up-scaling the Respect for Rights in Kenya’s Informal Settlements recently held meetings, in collaboration with the Nairobi City County.

Presentations to the chiefs, sub county commissioners and Ward administrators from areas falling under the recently declared Special Planning Area (SPA), were made outlining research conducted to highlight the need for this areas to enjoy proper planning for future dwellings.

The 550 acres covering Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Mukuru Kwa Reuben and Viwandani was declared an SPA through a gazette notice on 17 March 2017. This sets in motion a 2 year timeline for proper planning of the slum area dwellings. The SPA covers four wards: Imara Daima, Kwa Reuben, Kwa Njenga and Viwandani, in three sub counties – Starehe, Makadara and Embakasi South and two constituencies– Makadara and Embakasi South.

The meeting, organized by the Nairobi County Director of Housing – Marion Rono, sensitized the local leaders on research findings that contributed to the areas becoming SPA’s. The research revealed that there is a staggering poverty penalty in Mukuru. Slum residents pay more for services that are inferior to those provided in Nairobis formal housing estates. For instance a family in the slum pays 172% more for water compared with a family living in a formal estate.  Cartels often control these slums, charging extortionate rates for access to essential services and threatening residents with violent evictions and forced demolitions.

The research seeks to impact the communities, by working closely with the slum dwellers at the centre of information gathering and reporting; as well as offering knowledge support to the county governments charged with the responsibility of enacting changes envisioned for better livelihoods.