Mavoko, situated some 20 km. southeast of the capital city Nairobi, is currently the fastest growing municipality in Kenya, as the capital city's industrial activities are expanding in the direction of Athi River along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway corridor. Real and perceived employment opportunities in this expanding industrial area have drawn people from all over the country without a commensurate housing development scheme in place. As a result, some 25 rapidly expanding informal settlements have emerged in and around Mavoko over recent years. UN-HABITAT is facilitating the Sustainable Neighbourhood Programme, funded by the Government of Finland, by linking slum upgrading activities with capacity-building and income generation through a self-help construction project relocating the slum dwellers to a piece of land in Athi River made available by the Government of Kenya. The Programme aims to strengthen the capacities of communities, the private sector and local authorities for the provision of housing, infrastructure and services. The process will be carried out with the full engagement of the residents of slums and informal settlements who will be empowered to be able to contribute ideas and resources for the achievement of strategies to improve their living conditions. The officials of the relevant public institutions will be capacitated to create an enabling environment for a people-driven, low-income settlement process, and to plan for the rapid population expansion of the Nairobi metropolitan region in the long-term. UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Government of Finland, will provide technical support to the programme. A Chief Technical Adviser provided by UN-HABITAT will lead the Sustainable Neighbourhood Programme technical support team, which will be responsible for the design of the programme in collaboration with the Government of Kenya. During the design phase, the support team will also identify beneficiaries from among the target group and capacitate the same to contribute to the realization of the programme's objectives as outlined in the programme document. Activities
- Institutional arrangements for implementation: Establishment of a team in UN-HABITAT led by a Chief Technical Adviser. The team includes a Programme Manager and a Community Mobilization Manager. The Programme is conceived as part of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP) and, therefore, technically and politically guided by the Joint Programme Planning Team created for KENSUP.
- Thematic clusters have been established to lead analysis and conceptualization of 8 agreed themes for the programme.
- Situation Analysis: This was the fist activity undertaken to establish the site conditions in Mavoko Municipality and the anticipated Nairobi metropolitan region development up to the year 2030.
- Social Mobilization: This has been going on to establish the situation of the inadequately housed in Mavoko, where there are about 25 informal settlements. It involves building a socio-economic profile of the target population, training community mobilizers and engaging stakeholders by sensitizing them about the programme.
- Planning and design: The agreement with the Government of Kenya is that under the programme, a master plan should be prepared for 100 hectares and that some 22 hectares will be detailed for the Sustainable Neighbourhood pilot Programme where a large share of the informal settlers will be relocated. Planning and design include:
- Digitized mapping;
- Layout design and introduction of new urban development aspects;
- Investigation of appropriate materials;
- Solution to services – water supply, sanitation; and
- Preparation of house-types.
- Mavoko Municipal Council has now incorporated slum upgrading and redevelopment in its development agenda and budgeting.
- Collaboration with the private sector is now being developed through their engagement as full partners in the programme.
- The Government of Finland funding is expected to leverage funding for construction, especially from the private sector and the Government, as well as seed funding for micro-credit for low-income, self-help housing.
- Communities are aware of the support they can get once they are organized. Local community saving schemes have been initiated.
- The programme is developing an under-developed, semi-arid area that would have in the future become a slum or squatter settlement.