Conference Report: Exploring Strategies for Citywide Slum Upgrading

by James Tayler

Kisenyi, Kampala

From 8 to 10 August 2011, ACTogether Uganda, Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), and the Uganda Slum Dwellers Federation hosted a conference at Fairway Hotel, Kampala. To read the full conference report, click here.

The conference marked the beginning of SDI’s conference series on strategies for upgrading large informal settlements under siege in five cities across Africa, namely: Accra, Cape Town, Harare, Kampala and Nairobi. Through undertaking precedent-setting, people-driven pilot projects, this project aims to create centers of urban learning within the international slum dweller community. These focus cities will be catalysts for scalable strategies for city-wide upgrading that keep communities of the urban poor at their center.

The program is being matched by a significant financial contribution from SDI, which is envisaged to leverage partnerships with governments and additional commitment to urban upgrading at scale.

Uganda was chosen to host the first in the series of conferences to be held in each of the focus cities. The three-day event brought together over 100 delegates including members of slum dwellers federations from the participating cities, representatives from support NGOs and local government partners.

Early on, emphasis was placed upon the need for the conference series to be a forum for learning, sharing, and – most importantly – action. The organizers explained that from the conference, concrete actions and projects are expected. SDI urged Federations to initiate projects that have an impact upon policy and institutional arrangements in the selected cities.

SDI’s president, Mr. Jockin Arputham, was in attendance at the conference. He stressed the need for more action than talk and informed the delegates that specific work plans would be formulated during the course of the conference. These plans are to be reviewed at the next conference, providing a tool for peer-driven monitoring and evaluation to take place, in order to promote greater learning within the SDI network.

To read the full conference report, please click here. Also, please check the Settlements Under Siege section of the SDI blog for updates on the progress of each federation toward the stated objectives and projects, and for reports from future conferences in the series.