Botswana delegation attend slum upgrading orientation workshop in NairobiNairobi, 18 November 2015-- An orientation workshop was held last week at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi to train the Botswana Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) country team on its various aspects.

The workshop was well attended by representatives from both the national and local government and the participants were taken through the PSUP approach as well as the various tools applied in the implementation of the Participatory Urban Profiling and the Participatory Programme Document Formulation and Action Planning.

UN-Habitat Director of the Programme Division, Mr. Alioune Badiane, said the workshop would provide a good opportunity to debate the challenges and opportunities that come with urban development in Botswana and ways of implementing slum upgrading and prevention in the country. Mr. Badiane pointed out that improving the lives of slum dwellers resulted in a domino effect that led to the increased overall prosperity of a city. “A participatory citywide approach to slum upgrading is critical”, he said.

Botswana delegation attend slum upgrading orientation workshop in Nairobi_1The need to focus beyond physical infrastructure

In his speech, the Botswana permanent representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat Mr. John Moreti talked of the need to focus beyond physical infrastructure and look at national rules and regulations, financial and planning systems and develop national policies to address the emerging issues of slums. “Botswana’s towns and cities are experiencing acute water shortages exacerbated by climate,” he pointed out, linking these challenges to the two Sustainable Development Goals related to water and climate change.

The Director of Lands and Housing at the Ministry of Lands and Housing in Botswana, Mrs. Eunice Mmono, explained that the issue of slums and slum upgrading was still manageable in the country, but she emphasized on the need for preventive action to be taken before the situation got out of control.

“This workshop has communicated the importance of community participation at all levels beginning from inception and monitoring to implementation and execution is very necessary. Moreover, the participatory model and Results Based Management model, has the potential to provide solutions to a the many programmes being implemented by the Botswana Government, such as the poverty eradication programmes and low income housing schemes. In addition, engaging communities through participatory planning will lead to better results’’ noted the Francistown City Council Town Clerk, Mr. Lebuile Israel, in his remarks.

A Multi-Use Resource Center in Kibera’s Soweto East Village

As part of the training workshop, the delegation visited the Kibera slums in Nairobi and some of the various slum upgrading projects being implemented there by PSUP and the Kenya Government. The Kibera slums are famed for being the largest urban slum in Africa, with a population of 250,000. As one if its project targeting the urban poor, PSUP supported the construction of a Multi-Use Resource Center in Kibera’s Soweto East Village.

Participants got a chance to view the Multi-Use Resource Center which contains a Tele-Health clinic that provides medical services to the local community, a communal space for social gatherings, ICT skills training for youth and elementary school children, a day-care center, a cyber café and is connected to an on-site police post established through the assistance of a local Member of Parliament and the Kenya Police, a service which has significantly increased security in the area.

The delegation also visited the site of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme’s housing development, that is currently being implemented by the Government of Kenya as well as the Railway Slum Upgrading Project implemented by the Kenya Railways Authority with the support of Shack Dwellers International. The field trip provoked debate on issues affecting slum residents and provided valuable insights into slum upgrading that could be replicated in other countries.

“The finalization of the urban profiling process in Botswana will provide a good baseline for measuring progress in the achievement of SDG target 11.1 on tackling of slums. It is encouraging to learn that Botswana is taking on board an inclusive involving women and youth as well as respect for human rights” stated the Director of the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa, Prof. Oyebanji  Oyeyinka.