Social economic constraints of the slum upgrading programme in Nairobi
Kaseve, Celestine N
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Slum upgrading is a concept coined by major development stakeholders in slum areas within different cities. These stakeholders include governments, Donor agencies, Non-governmental organizations, individual developers, corporate bodies and parastatals. The main objective of slum upgrading is to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers by providing better houses, improved access to water, sewerage, drainage, solid waste management systems as well as access to schools, health facilities and other social amenities. Since the 1960s, cities in developing countries have been faced by increased rate of urbanization which has resulted to increased poverty levels. Uncontrolled mushrooming of slums was the result. The slums are occupied by squatters and are unplanned, due to their unplanned nature; provision of basic services is quite difficult. As a result, slum dwellers live in deplorable conditions with limited access to water, sanitation, lighting and other basic services. Governments have tried to handle the issues of slums in different ways; slum upgrading is one way of dealing with slums with the hopes of slowly eliminating them by constructing better houses and moving the slum dwellers into the newly constructed houses. The study took the form of a descriptive survey. The target population comprised of the residents of Mathare 4a and Kibera Soweto East slums in Nairobi. Purposive sampling was used to select key informants whereas random sampling was used to select respondents from the two slums. A questionnaire was administered, key informant and focus group discussion guides were used to collect primary data .An observation checklist was used by the researcher to record information which was relevant to the study. The study also used secondary data gathered from relevant literature to build up the findings of the study. The study findings established that 95% of the slum dwellers preferred to live in stone built houses for comfort and security reasons. It was also established that the slum dwellers have access to basic services although the sources of these services are either illegal or informal. Those in the upgraded houses have access to basic services but can hardly access social amenities. 75.2% of the slum dwellers expect to get title deeds to the upgraded houses after they move in. Only 35% of the respondents were involved in the slum upgrading programme as the rest were not properly sensitized on it thus they ignored it. The major social economic challenges facing the slum upgrading programme were identified as: - lack of social amenities, poor sensitization of the slum dwellers on the programme, high rent for the upgraded houses, resistance of slum dwellers to move to the upgraded houses, land tenure and insecurity. The researcher recommends that the government takes the first step in ensuring that the expectations of the slum dwellers are met. That the implementers should seek to actively involve slum dwellers in the programme for purposes of ownership and sustainability of the programme. The researcher further recommends proper sensitization of the slum dwellers on the goals of the programme, their roles in the programme and the expected outcomes of the programme, reduce mis-conceptions on the programme. The government should ensure that the programme is implemented within the stipulated period and that all necessary facilities are put in place before moving slum dwellers to the upgraded houses.