UN-Habitat is assisting the Homa Bay County government in the improvement and transformation of Nyakwere open air market in Homa Bay, Kenya. Nyakwere open air market serves over 20,000 people in Wan’gchieng ward. Most of these people are subsistence farmers and small traders. People from neighboring counties such as Kisumu, Kisii, Migori, Kericho and Siaya benefit from the market.  Upgraded market is expected to trigger a ripple effect in the area by increasing economic activity and reducing the level of unemployment. The new market will also increase revenue the County Government is generating from it.

Infrastructure development, such as upgrading of local markets and public spaces and improving access to roads, is a vital component of local economic development. Development of local markets in rural market towns stimulates local economies because there is a strong positive correlation between good infrastructure, effective provision of public goods and overall economic expansion. Economic expansion is reflected by increased investments, land values and level of industrialization.

The construction work has provided over
short-term job opportunities for skilled and unskilled youth and women of the area.
people are currently using the makeshift market. Farmers in the region benefit the most. Another 500 people are benefiting indirectly including transporters, real estate owners, restaurant owners, and other service providers.
Land values have increased by at least
from averagely Kes 350, 000 to Kes 500, 000 per acre.

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Leaving no one and no place behind

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Public participation process has enabled a seamless relocation of over 1000 vendors from the construction site to the makeshift market. This is a great improvement from other projects that are normally challenged by resistance due to economic disadvantages that vendors experience during implementation. Members of the public, both women and men, formed a joint market development committee for coordinating the development, which they fully own and associate with.

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Vendors of both women and men equally benefit from the makeshift market. They will also equally benefit from the new market when complete.

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Youth, children and older persons, especially those in situations of particular risk of marginalization, such as girl child and female-headed households, are often excluded from access to housing, urban basic services, public spaces and infrastructure, and the overall benefits of urbanization. Young women and men have been a key focus of UN-Habitat’s work. The agency has successfully advocated for the role of youth as leaders in sustainable urban development, recognizing the guiding principle of the SDGs of “leaving no one behind,” and the New Urban Agenda vision of cities for all. 

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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Donors and partners

The success of work in any country, including Kenya, largely depends on successful partnerships with County Governments. In this project, UN-Habitat is working with Homa Bay County Government, amd Ministries of Transport Infratsructure, Housing and Urban Development and Land and Physical Planning.