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Kenya loses opportunity to save billions in slum upgrading

Posted by Lindy on February 25, 2011

Published on 21/02/2011

By Dann Okoth

The Government has squandered an opportunity to save billions of shillings and create employment for tens of thousands of youth in slum upgrading projects.

The country would have saved half the amount it spent in the project had it adopted the in situ slum upgrading system as suggested in the original Kenya Slum Upgrading Project report the Financial Journal can reveal. The in situ slum upgrading system entails a participatory approach between slum dwellers and developers

The State has earmarked Sh880 billion for slum upgrading projects across the country in a 15-year plan to replace slums with affordable housing, but experts say the cost would be far much less had the State involved slum dwellers in the construction process.

Accroding the a recent report, it would have been ten times cheaper, for instance, in Kibera slums, where 10,000 units would have been upgraded at a cost of only Sh1 billion. The project would have entailed using cheap but durable building materials and labour from the slum dwellers. What would have been  required of the Government was to service land (install water, electricity and road infrastructure).

Already the Government has spent a whopping Sh2 billion to relocate 1,000 households to the decanting site in Langata in phase one of the Kibera slum upgrading project co-funded by UN-Habitat, the government and other donors. The project is expected be completed in seven phases.

The government opted to go for corporate slum upgrading where they hoped to provide the slum dwellers with two bed-roomed flats.

The particiapatory approach was applied in estates like Dandora, Mathare 4A and Umoja where the government provided services land complete with road infrastructure, water and sewerage services, and electricity at very low cost to the exchequer.

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