Every day, every week, every month and every year, the numbers of slum dwellers increase in several parts of the world. The number is expected to continue growing unless there is a serious concerted efforts by all the stake holders.
Kenya’s capitol city of Nairobi has some of the dense unsanitary and insecure slums in the world. Among them are Kibra, Mathare Valley and Korogocho, just to mention a few. It is estimated that almost half of the city’s population live in slums and squatter settlements within the city, with little and inadequate clean water and sanitation. Housing conditions in these slums are deplorable and most residents have no form of secure tenure.
Kibra has been rated as one of the largest slums in the world, and the largest in Africa.
Challenges met in slums.
Challenges met are numerous. Most people lack money to buy food and other essential commodities, and rent houses. Access to all goods and services depends on having a cash income.
What are the causes of slums?
Slums come about because of, and perpetuated by a number of forces. Among these are rapid rural-to-urban migration, increasing urban poverty, inequality and insecure tenure – all contribute to the creation and continuation of slums. There are also homeless families, some because they have been evicted from other areas and some because they cannot afford any housing. And people escaping political conflicts – typically the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
Lack of secure tenure is a primary reason why slums persist. Slum dwellers have no ways and incentive to improve the surroundings. Secure tenure is a precondition for access to other economic and social opportunities.
Another big cause is poverty driven by failures of governance in states where public resources are squandered without accountability, and injustices and marginalization are on increase.
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