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Community federations and city upgrading: the work of Pamoja Trust and Muungano in Kenya

Jane Weru

Journal article

This paper describes the work of the Kenyan NGO Pamoja Trust and the urban poor federation in Kenya (Muungano wa Wanvijiji) in the informal settlements where a high proportion of Kenya’s urban population lives. This work centres on developing a consensus among the inhabitants of informal settlements around issues of land and structure entitlements, and building community capacity to address these, before negotiating with government for land and infrastructure. Building a consensus within informal settlements is particularly important in Kenya because of the conflicting priorities of landlords (the "structure owners") and their tenants. The paper describes the support provided for community-based savings schemes, "slum" enumerations and house modelling, which help build consensus among the inhabitants on upgrading and tenure, and develop community capacity to manage these. This also helps to build a critical mass of communities which seek to engage municipal authorities or national government while building internally the capacity of their leadership to work on a large scale. The paper also describes the housing programmes that are underway and the community-to-community exchange programmes through which the savings groups learn from each other and which help build an urban poor federation that can negotiate with the government and develop partnerships with it. This paper discusses how an international network of community federations seeds such processes and provides peer learning to the communities.

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Publication information

  • IIED code: G00472
  • Published: Apr 2004 - IIED
  • Area: Kenya
  • Theme: Participation
  • Source pub: Environment and Urbanization
  • Language: English

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Community federations and city upgrading: the work of Pamoja Trust and Muungano in Kenya. Weru, Jane Environment and Urbanization, Apr 2004; vol. 16: pp. 47-62