Shelter in peri-urban areas informal settlement, Kenya
Over one third of urban households in Kenya live in informal settlements, lacking basic infrastructure and urban services. There is a general consensus that the environmental and health implications of these settlements are devastating. In view of this, concerted efforts are directed to informal settlements to salvage the lives of the residents, majority of whom are poor. This study investigates housing problems In informal settlements. In this respect, Gichagi in formal settlements was selected for a detailed surved. Both primary and secondary data was collected and analyzed. A household questionnaire was administration to a sample of 54 households. Discussions, interviews and observation of salient features In the settlement formed the main methods of data collection. The study observes the housing situation in Gichagi to be grossly precarious and concludes that there is a wide scope for improvement. Many factors have combined to frustrate decent housing in the settlement. The most significant of these include lack and/or inadequate household Incomes. low educational levels of residents and lack of municipal/government/NGOs support in terms of infrastructural facilities/services provision and or upgrading. The absence of community mobilization and sensitization also towards decent housing from these agencies influenced the housing situation in Gichagi. The study puts forward a number of recommendations to improve the housing situation in the settlement. The first is to raise household incomes through the promotion of income generating activities. To this end the study proposes the organization of residents in groups for purposes of undertaking business ventures and negotiating for :financial assistance. NGOs,local authority and the central government should take a leading role in effecting this. Furthermore, there is need to mobilize and sensitize the community towards house improvement. The deployment of community development workers in the settlement will enhance this goal. The local authority could also provide incentives to private organizations/individuals to invest in infrastructural facilities in the settlement. In addition, settlement upgrading initiated in 1991 should be pursued to its logical conclusion. In this respect, the local authority should revise its policies to attract private investors. Other recommendations zero on building capacities of residents to undertake income generating activities, to improve their income status. This by no doubt, has great implications on the possible nature and extent of housing improvement in the settlement.