Delegates from across east, central and southern Africa on Friday concluded a two-day UN-HABITAT workshop on providing the poor with decent, liveable housing through the Cities Without Slums Programme.
The highly successful event drew some 80 participants from the region. The programme is currently engaged in Kisumu (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lilongwe (Malawi), Maputo (Mozambique), and Durban (South Africa). Others are Arusha (Tanzania), Kampala (Uganda), Maseru (Lesotho) and Ndola (Zambia).
The programme was initiated in response to increasing urban poverty manifested in unplanned settlements, where between 40 to 60 percent of people lack adequate water, sanitation and roads.
During the workshop, country reports were presented with the participants being taken through on-going activities touching on main findings of the situation analyses, participatory workshops and action plans with special focus on Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
The Ethiopian delegation made a presentation on the challenges of community mobilization in Slum Upgrading in Addis Ababa. The Kenyan team presented a paper on the role of civil society and community organizations and their importance in slum upgrading. Uganda’s presentation focused on women and youth in slum upgrading.
Other briefings were from Lesotho (opportunities and challenges facing the shelter sector in Lesotho), Tanzania (the role of grassroots communities in slum upgrading) and Mozambique (experiences in engaging the government). There were also presentations from South Africa (upgrading strategies) and Malawi (the implications of title registration in informal settlements).
In a speech read on her behalf, UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said the challenge of slums was an enormous one adding that the agency, in association with the development partners, would support the programme implementers in their endeavours to address the issue.
"Your strategies may differ slightly, but your goal is the same: providing them with decent and well-serviced housing, but also, in the future, offering the poor alternatives to slums. Access to affordable, properly serviced and well located land is central to this process," Mrs. Tibaijuka said.
Mr. Farouk Tebbal, the chief of UN-HABITAT’s Shelter Branch, urged participants to learn from one other and to consolidate lessons on the most effective tools, approaches and processes in order to achieve the Cities Without Slums Goals. The meeting was also addressed by the director of UN-HABITAT’s Regional Office for Africa and Arab States (ROAAS), Mr. Alioune Badiane.