Drawing from its extensive experience in building inclusive governance capacity, promoting adequate housing, and improvement of living standards for people living in slums through implementing slum upgrading projects, UN-Habitat has consolidated an integrated, in-situ citywide approach to slum upgrading and prevention in its Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP).

PSUP, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States is funded by the European Commission (EC) and is operational in 35 countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. More than 160 cities are currently participating in the programme which has been implemented by UN-Habitat since inception in 2008. PSUP implements participatory in-situ slum upgrading by mainstreaming the human-rights based approach which acknowledges the right to adequate housing into participatory decision-making processes at the grassroots level.

In Kenya, more than 15,000 households have benefited from implementation of the PSUP in Mtwapa Township of Kilifi County, with specific focus on improving livelihoods of the most vulnerable members of the community through sustainable funding models that address issues affecting women, girls and children. By adopting Community Managed Funds (CMF) model, PSUP has catalyzed empowerment of women and girls as a solid foundation for building capacity at the community level. The CMF allocates 10 percent of the slum upgrading budget to neighbourhood upgrading projects that are conceptualized and implemented by the communities themselves.

The PSUP project in Mtwapa has delivered the following tangible benefits to women living in the slums:

  • Enhancement of women representation in the decision making process by allocating representative slots in Community Development Committees (CDCs) to slum women, thereby ensuring that women related needs are prioritized in the slum upgrading process. 45 percent of all representation slots are held by women.
  • The time spent by women on collecting water from central stand pipes has been reduced from an average of 30 minutes to 10 minutes, while the distance covered to the nearest standpipe has been reduced to a maximum of 150 meters for all households through installation of 5 additional freshwater kiosks at regular intervals through the project area.
  • Security of tenure for women-headed households has been enhanced in Majengo and Mzamabarauni settlements of Mtwapa through a participatory land regularization programme that aims to guarantee security of tenure for residents.
  • Through an inclusive participatory planning process that has prioritized women’s issues, a neighbourhood security plan focusing on enhancing safety for women and girls in public spaces has been approved.
  • A women entrepreneurship and skills training center has been established to equip unemployed young mothers with the basic skills necessary to start and sustain income generating activities has benefited over 140 women.
  • The most vulnerable households, the majority of them headed by women, were given priority in allocation of Community Managed Funds for local economic development and service provision. Out of 7 CMF projects approved, 4 were for women only groups.

A women headed households group (Mungu Pamoja Nasi) comprising mostly of widowed women, submitted a proposal for funding to increase storage capacity for potable water and purchase handcarts to distribute the water to households in the Majengo settlement. As the group was already in the water vending business, they submitted a community benefit sharing proposal in which the increased water storage capacity would result in direct benefits to the community through improved access for water all households at rates lower than prevailing commercial rates for standard 20 litre cans. Distributing wate using handcarts enables households to access higher volumes of water than the women would normally carry. A minimal fee charged for door-to-door delivery is used to maintain the handarts and provide fulltime employment to more than 10 youths. The project has enjoyed high acceptability by the community and other stakeholders.

Learn more about PSUP:

Contact Kerstin Sommer, PSUP Manager, Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch, UN-Habitat.  Kerstin.Sommer@unhabitat.org.