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Title:Unity is a Weapon of the Poor: Nairobi Slum Dwellers Cooperatively Save for Housing Developments
Author(s):Belford, Abbie
Contributor(s):Greenlee, Andrew
Abstract:This research examines case studies from January 2013 of slum dwellers living in Nairobi’s Huruma and Kibera slums. Using interview data and site visits, the research answers the following questions related to Kenya’s slum upgrading initiatives and the importance of financial institutions in housing provision: 1) Why are financial institutions important for slum upgrading?; 2) What are the perceptions of government-led and community-led upgrading projects?; and 3) How does participation in a savings scheme influence preferences for in situ slum upgrading or relocation? Analysis suggests that resident participation in a cooperative savings scheme like the Muungano wa Wanavijiji model positively influences residents perceptions of the abounding opportunities in in situ upgrading as well as voluntary relocation away from their home and familiar surroundings. These speculative conclusions can guide the future of slum upgrading and relocation in Kenya. Grounded in Nairobi’s 2010 constitution, the new devolved government system that will provide individual counties with access and control of public money, and the increasing influence of the federation of slum dwellers, Nairobi residents have hope that the slums will soon be history. In the meantime, residents must lobby for government policy change and empower themselves through group savings to collectively improve their living conditions. This research has wide reaching applicability, even to developed countries facing housing problems. The United States should specifically re-examine its low-income housing policies in light of the findings that participation in group savings helps residents to make smoother transitions and perceive relocation more positively than individuals saving alone for housing improvements or moves outside of the city center.
Issue Date:2013
Series/Report:MUP Capstone
Sponsor:Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-07-20

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