Namibia’s First Community Planning Studio: Preparing for Slum Upgrading in Freedom Square, Gobabis


*Cross posted from the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia blog** 

Students and community members share their experiences on the site analysis exercise in Freedom Square Informal Settlement in Gobabis.

The planning for the Freedom Square informal settlement came about as a result of an exchange that took place in March 2012 to Cape Town and Stellenbosch with Municipal councillors and officials from three local authorities (Gobabis, Grootfontein and Keetmanshoop) to learn about how communities and local authorities use enumeration and mapping information collected by the community to upgrade and plan their settlements. Following the exchange, the municipality proposed the re-blocking of the Freedom Square informal settlement in collaboration with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG). The exercise was sped up by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the municipality and SDFN-NHAG on 15 August 2013. With the assistance of SDI and the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), the re-blocking exercise involved the Land Management and Architecture Departments of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) based on the MoU signed between PoN and the SDFN-NHAG in February 2012. 

The exercise started off with feedback by residents on data collected and structures mapped through the Community Land Information Programme (CLIP) that was carried out between February and June 2012 in the settlement, with the support of NHAG and HabitAfrica, assisted by the Spanish Cooperation.

With assistance from the community and guidance from the lecturers and NHAG staff, the students carried out the site evaluation – community members teamed up with the students visiting each structure in the nine blocks, employing local knowledge to clarify the use of structures, accessing of services in and outside the settlement and explain the way of life of residents in the blocks.

Feedback on the exercise was given to the community and the municipality. The importance of community participation in the whole exercise was echoed and appreciated by many of the students, who were able to get a better understanding of the cultural dimensions of site planning and settlement layout through an insider’s perception.


The students gave us their cooperation, we worked well together and through the whole exercise I improved on how to do mapping in the community. (Ludwina, CLIP team member from Block 4),

The site analysis brought light to how I see my surroundings. I learned how to use a GPS as we were doing the mapping. I also got to see which areas are suitable to build my house on and which aren’t, in order to avoid flooding, during the rainy season. (Loraine, Community member Block 5)

The students gave us cooperation during the mapping exercise, usually we just hear of GPS, but don’t know how to use one, through the exercise I learned how a GPS works. By using the GPS we learned that we can update our information of the people that moved. (Rufus from Block 2)

Maria gave feedback on the layout to the community and was very excited about the whole process “it was a wonderful weekend, we showed the students everything in our block, and I learned more about the water flow“. Diana added that in block three, working with the students they mapped out the unsafe areas, which gave more light on the dangers in the area.


Nina from Block 6 had this to say, “Through the exercise I learned more about my community and their needs, members in my community who did not join the exercise were very grateful that I assisted the students. I learned about the different trees in the community , and that we should not cut the protected trees. It was a wonderful experience; I had the opportunity to see my house on the aerial photograph. The people in our block are very excited and ready to start saving, we have already selected a tree under which we will have our meeting on Saturday”.

Eunice a student from PoN: ‘’Awesome!  During the exercise I learned that it is important to strengthen the community, this experience helped me have a different perspective on informal settlement residents, that they have a willingness to see change in their surroundings.

Hilaria: Previously believed that working with the community is difficult, the exercise showed me that it’s an easy process and a planner’s job should not be desk bound. I hope to work in more informal settlements.

Janine: It was fun, I loved the experience, the community was eager and willing to participate in the exercise. The elder people in the community were among the ones committed, I believe it was that they have hope for a better environment, as they have been living in the area for a long time. Through this exercise more community members I have observed are starting saving groups. As a future town planner, the experience showed me the importance of community participation in planning.

Adriano observed that using the local vernacular helps open participation and that the community do want to stay in a planned settlement.
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Laina: People here are in need of water, toilets and clear roads for vehicular access, this exercise gave me a clear picture on how to plan for informal settlements.

Martha: Advocacy planning, I believe, works better when consulting the community , bottom up planning is better than the conventional planning approach , as planners get to know the needs of the community and plan according to their priorities.

Sacky: The whole exercise confirmed my career choice as a future town planner; this showed me the benefits that may come out of a planning exercise, and it can change the lives of the community for the better.

Eva: There is always the belief that informal settlers are not willing to participate in their own development. This exercise showed me a different picture, as there were community members who actively participated, I call them the brave hearts, as we worked the whole day and they stayed with us until the end. Planning from the office is not as important as planning from within the community.

Gerson: Am very interested in seeing the final outcome of the exercise and hope to come back.

Participation of municipal officials  

Municipal officials were present during the preparation meetings and the activities during the weekend.   Two dedicated meetings with the officials took place, one on Friday before the studio started and one following the activities in the community.  Mr Mbala, the new Strategic Executive for Local Economic Development, Urban Planning and Health indicated that the Council should not continuously resettle communities from one location to the other, but should aim for proper planning which can result in secure tenure for the residents.

The urgent issues identified by the community include waste in open spaces  and the need for more  water taps.  The officials are looking into addressing these issues with the community. The community, students and other stakeholders will participate in the layout planning and re-blocking studios during the first six months of next year. 

Towards the Urban Poor Development Goals: Setting Milestones for a Sustainable Post-MDG Development Agenda


Global discussions and serious reflections on development goal setting post-2015 have begun.  To some degree the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been able to inject socially responsible goal setting into national budgeting processes. They have also served as a strong rhetorical tool for justifying the allocation and transparency of resources for ends that improve human needs. Notwithstanding these tangential impacts, they have not been able to affect the institutions that make these decisions in the first place.

Against this backdrop, SDI affiliates have identified clear and strong commitments to address urban poverty that they would like to see as part of the next MDGs:

  1. Governments must enable the production of mixed land use and habitat where the rich and poor live and work within the same geographies. It is critical that the future growth of cities is planned around this principle.
  2. Where people are already living in informal settlements, security of tenure must be ensured, so as to reduce the persistent man-made crisis of forced eviction.
  3. Informally settled communities, through capacitated community organizations, must be included in the design and execution of investment by state authorities. This means that state authorities must demonstrate willingness and capacity to enter into meaningful partnerships with community organizations to address challenges faced by cities.
  4. The role and contribution that women play in cities and especially in low-income slums must be recognized. Development goals must support women-led community organizations of the poor.
  5. Adequate access to finance for upgrading basic services and infrastructure must be ensured, especially in invisible and marginalized informal settlements. This will not only ensure equity but will prepare communities for climate change and mitigate against disasters.
  6. There must be a commitment to economic policy-making that prioritizes the availability of life-affirming jobs (eg. accessible, decent wages, predictable schedule, bargaining and organizational rights). Cities in which everyone works with a realistic expectation of social mobility and basic dignity, will grow and remain peaceful.

From Theory to Action

The post-2015 goals must be rooted in a sober acknowledgement of social and economic trends, in particular the rapid urbanization of countries in the developing world. The experience of networks like SDI and other groupings of grassroots communities that interact with governmental institutions points to one key lesson: The increasing voice of the poor in decisions around finance, design, and project implementation are essential institutional innovations for almost all the issues with which the current set of MDGs have been concerned.

We would like to see the post-2015 development framework highlight the material inequities that face the poor with respect to the range of basic human needs. This needs to be situated in a broader framework that challenges governments to make the space for the influential inclusion of the poor. This cannot just be rhetorical. For example, with respect to urbanization, by prioritizing discussions around access to land in cities, slum dwellers will necessarily dialogue with the key actors in the politics of urban development. Land, which is not mentioned in the current MDG framework, needs to be central to the post-2015 approach if we are to begin to adequately address fundamental factors and impacts of rapid urbanization.

The current message of “poverty eradication” implies that governments just need to allocate more resources to addressing poverty and “perform better.” But the need for inclusion of the poor in decision-making processes is integral to lasting efforts to address inequalities, marginalization and social exclusion. One particularly fruitful approach has been the establishment of citywide funds for informal settlement upgrading that are managed jointly between local government authorities and citywide networks of community organizations in informal settlements in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Uganda, and South Africa. These have increased the influence of the shack-dwelling poor in ways that address not just MDGs related to improvement of life in slums, but also access to water, sanitation, and gender equality.

Giving Meaning to “Participation” and “Inclusion”

Frequent calls for greater “participation” are generally watered down to mean either a) consultation with ordinary people and communities on projects and programs that have already been conceived by large actors in government and the private sector, or b) the ability of communities to hold such actors accountable for promises after they have been made.

The next global development framework must be clear about what we actually mean by “inclusion” and “participation,”. Investing in community organization capacity and partnerships between communities and local government can be an effective means of achieving inclusive governance capacity.

The key is not to dictate specific policies and interventions for every country. Rather, the key is to articulate specific principles of institutional inclusion, as well as specific material outcomes. SDI’s experience is that when a framework of partnership between state institutions and community organizations is a pre-requisite for delivery, then it is much easier to develop mechanisms for delivery that are sustainable over the long term. These may play out differently across countries, especially in terms of the specific institutional designs that emerge from such a framework. However, the basic principles of inclusion and investment in community processes can be universalized. 

Resilience to Crisis

A new framework addressing resilience should recognize both the causes of crises to begin with, and the most impactful approaches to resilience. With respect to the causes of crises, there are primarily man-made reasons for crises that are both environmental and political in nature.

The first problem is that the urban poor generally lack security of tenure, and are pushed into marginal areas of cities. They are therefore subject to the crises of eviction, flooding, and fire. The new framework should make it clear that in order to lessen the human impact of large natural incidents, governments need to make well-located land available to the poor.

The Urban Poor Development Goals: A Global Compact for Development

A global compact for inclusive urban growth — the Urban Poor Development Goals — is needed to achieve development and reduce vulnerability. There are four elements:

  1. Inclusive institution building. State institutions reformed or created to embed partnerships with community organizations, especially at the city level to drive decision-making about programs and financial allocations for development of urban infrastructure. 
  2. Inclusive land management. Well-located land made available to the urban poor, who constitute the majority in most cities in the developing world. This should ensure zero forced evictions, and grant security of tenure so as to make investment in infrastructure viable for both local government and slum dweller communities.
  3. Inclusive urban infrastructure. Water, sanitation, electricity, and transport infrastructure that services the poor so as to achieve zero-open defecation cities globally within 10 years, electricity for all, and 100% improvement in life-affirming job opportunities over 10 years.
  4. Inclusive community development. Programmatic investment by national and local authorities in capacity building of community organizations so as to continue to deepen the inclusive development agenda highlighted in the first three elements.

Global development forums tend to have a “same-y” feel to them, because they involve similar actors making similar discussion points. The number one priority for all public forums aimed at building consensus around a new framework should be to put the voices of the poor center stage. A global compact will be strengthened through the empowerment of these voices, so that development does not remain something done by the rich for the poor, but to affirm both the voices and needs of the poor.

For more on these topics, check out SDI’s 2012 / 2013 Annual Report. 


Resilience & Sustainability from the Bottom Up: Building Partnerships for Scale & Impact

Enumerations in Cape Town

By Sheela Patel, Chair of the SDI Board and Co-Founder & Director, SPARC

For actors and institutions concerned with the economic and social well-being of humanity, urban development is increasingly recognized as the major lacuna of fighting poverty, managing climate change, and generating inclusive growth. Within our network, we are transitioning to a new scale of activities and beginning to get recognition in our cities, countries, and at the global level for what we do. As an institutional form focused on altering the developmental calculus such that the informal poor can achieve greater voice and influence in formal decision-making, we are tasked with navigating the tensions associated with increased institutionalization and formalization. We are in a position where, as an institutional form, we are able to speak to major development debates, as seen through the eyes of the grassroots urban poor federations that comprise our network.

Change is a crucial and foundational aspect of ongoing influences that impact a neighborhood, city, nation and now our planet. Some changes we can plan for and embrace. Others we can imagine, but communities on the ground need space and time to reflect on the impact on their lives and produce a response. Still others come without any warning. The changes that emerge from what communities seek to do and aspire for have been negotiated for acknowledgement and inclusion into policy, and our work over the past year clearly reflects the projects and partnerships that reflect the progress made. SDI now increasingly seeks to develop capacity to anticipate the impact of global and externally promoted developments, to ensure that its affiliates and their memberships understand and develop confidence to respond rather than react to them, and to ensure that they can participate in discussions around these issues.

So how do we create a balance that retains focus on what can be done by civil society and by our own institutional interventions, while external support of often oppositional currents of change continues? How do we accommodate planetary challenges and national issues within our perspective without allowing them to drown our focus on creating voice, choice and space for the urban poor in cities? Clearly the choice is between reacting or responding to expand our vision, capacity and reflections on these processes as we engage communities of the urban poor and their city government for local action with a global perspective.

In the context of continuing to build and refine the strategic orientation of our network, it is worth reflecting on the oft-used and misunderstood concept of “sustainability.” We need to clearly understand the implications of what we do and where it will take us. In development-linked discussions there is a big debate on how institutional sustainability is defined. The prevalent, simplistic assumption is that if you have financial sustainability all else will follow. There is no question that financial independence and sustainability have value in and of themselves. However, such a singular focus is a denial of the complex environment in which organizations working on issues of poverty operate.

Formal institutions seem decades away from creating real inclusion of informal urban dwellers and all rhetoric of inclusion has to be constantly tested. The innovative precedents needed to make this process operational are few and far between. Even those financial institutions that exist are in a hurry to demonstrate sustainable models in time frames that are not suited for the task at hand.

We in SDI are of the opinion that the development institutions and projects owned and managed by the poor are viewed as investments in strategies to provide voice, outreach, scale and impact in addressing poverty. If viewed from a lens of research and development for addressing urban poverty, SDI and similar organizations become learning centers for the larger community. There are few strategies, and even fewer systems, that encourage the poor to seek investments from the state. Clear linkages between what is good for the poor, and strategies that have both local prospects for achieving scale and potential to be globally transferable, are in short supply.

What we do and with whom we interact to create solutions has huge significance for plotting the development agenda more broadly than just in our own network. The quest to refine and develop our strategic approaches in our cities and countries merits investment as a priority, far and above the notion of simply becoming financially self-sufficient. At some point we may no longer have financial support from traditional development aid institutions, and will be forced to develop alternative strategies. We are already preparing ourselves internally for this possibility. The fear is that this may limit our ability to set precedents, take risks and innovate while building internal governance structures and management skills that will work not only for us but inform policy and practice for a sector that, to a significant degree, still needs to be built from scratch. This requires continued exploration of both the successes and fruitful failures on our road of experimentation for building voice, influence and knowledge of, by, and for the poor in our cities.


For more about SDI’s strategies for developing institutional sustainability and building voice and influence through partnerships at the city, national and global level, read our 2012-2013 Annual Report. 

Community Savings for Urban Change: Building a Women’s Leadership for Slum Upgrading

Harare, Zimbabwe

Savings groups form the basis of collective action in urban poor communities. The establishment of community savings is a core ritual of the urban poor federation building process, and the central participation of women in community savings significantly improves the quality of the process and the probability of sustainable change. Community savings schemes help meet the needs of low-income urban dwellers and create the foundation for building urban poor federations that provide their savers with more influence and scope for action.

By being members of small daily savings groups, women with the lowest and least stable incomes are able to create a consolidated voice to help bring about the changes they seek in their city. They also realize their capacity to influence and change the nature of leadership from individual to collective, within and between communities, and thus effect even greater change. This is the essence of the federation-building model in SDI: it is by addressing the needs and aspirations of the city’s poorest women that the rest of the community begins to see meaning in coming together. 

Sheila Magare of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation recounts the effects of community savings in her life and her community:

“…I started getting small loans as well from the group to improve my vending business and I repaid the loans. I then joined other members of the group and got a big loan and we started a collective business of buying and selling snacks from our vegetable markets. This was a huge success and we never looked back. The profits from the business we used to buy building materials for houses even though we were landless. We used our savings booklets as evidence of the capacity of the poor to save and to collectively build their own houses. Armed with our savings records we engaged the City of Harare to allocate us land to build houses. The officials were surprised by how much we had saved. We earned their respect. In turn they changed their conditions for registering on the Municipal waiting list for accommodation… Even though it took us 5 years the City eventually allocated us land to build houses.

Using the same method we started talking to national government ministers as well. Our message was simple – that we were slum dwellers but we were not hopeless. We wanted government to change the policies that make it difficult for the poor to live decently in towns. We wanted the government to give us money to add to our savings. That way more poor people can have decent homes and safe water to drink and proper toilets. Mayors and government ministers in Zimbabwe now know me by name because, with other federation leaders we never get tired of fighting for other poor families.” 

In addition to community savings, members of many savings groups also save towards a national fund. This is a fund that is used to leverage the savings of the urban poor to support larger investments in slum upgrading. As savings groups come together (or “federate”) at the settlement, city and national level, they begin to look beyond the needs of their savings group alone to the needs of the federation and the urban poor at large. In the same way, committees found at the level of the local savings group are replicated at network, regional, and national levels. This enables the generation of a self-governing national movement that is rooted in the hopes, aspirations, and challenges of its members.   

Both functions reinforce each other. The savings and loans systems at the group level prepare communities for much bigger loans and project management demands when upgrading is undertaken. Federation savings groups see savings as uniting the community and building collective capacity to address larger issues with a wider impact beyond a particular group. Traditional savings associations work to the benefit of the members of the group. Within the federations, however, savings groups serve as building blocks for community institutions that in turn enable them to address and invest resources in issues that affect the entire community or city, stretching beyond those of livelihoods alone. 

The development of the city-level federation is inextricably linked to the federating of the savings groups. The city-level federation grows out of the networking and institutional structures that arise from the coming together of savings groups in the same settlement or network, regional, and national level. In Uganda, this process started in Kampala and Jinja regions, and then spread to other areas through community learning exchanges.

Leaders groomed at the saving group level that demonstrate their capacity and dedication have the opportunity to rise to positions of leadership at higher levels, where they can provide mentoring to the citywide agenda that is firmly rooted in the ideals of the savings groups. In this way, the voices of the poor are taken from savings group level meetings to network-level meetings, and from there are able to inform the city agenda. Thus, the city federation is driven from the bottom, not the top. Network, regional and national level meetings are critical to maintaining this bottom-driven process. These, rather than projects, are what make the savings groups feel part of a larger process, a larger agenda, a movement. 

One example of this is in Jinja, Uganda, where there are 42 savings groups across the city. These savings groups come together as six networks, each network having eight program facilitators – 60% of whom are women. The program facilitators (for issue-based committees on evictions, health, loaning, auditing, etc.) come together to form the regional council. The regional council provides a space where representatives of the savings groups are able to come together to plan and strategize. Facilitators are chosen for the capacity and accountability they have demonstrated in their savings groups. Five representatives from the Regional Council – three of whom are women – sit on the National Executive Council – the space for national planning rooted in the struggles and ideals of the savings groups. 


Check out SDI’s 2012 / 2013 Annual Report to read more about how community savings impacts urban change through organized communities and strong women leadership. 

Social Accountability in the Context of Urbanization

UNDP Report

Across the Global South, slum dweller federations are enabling partnerships for both delivery and accountability in cities. UNDP’s recent paper, Reflections on Social Accountability: Catalyzing democratic governance to accelerate progress towards the Millenium Development Goals (July 2013) highlights some of these efforts, and the critical role of social accountability initiatives in improving service delivery and making policy and planning processes more inclusive.

In Chapter 2, Social Accountability in the context of urbanization, David Satterthwaite (IIED) and Sheela Patel (Chair of the SDI Board and Director of SPARC), explore the relevance of social accountability mechanisms for addressing challenges posed by the dramatic increase in urbanization. The chapter documents how urban residents and the organizations in which they engage have held government agencies to account for their policies, investment priorities and expenditures. It also reviews how such efforts have influenced what infrastructure and services urban residents receive, especially those related to the achievement of the MDGs. This includes their influence on how government decisions are made and implemented, how government funding is allocated and how diverging (and often conflicting) interests are reconciled in accordance with the rule of law. 

The chapter highlights two key challenges for the urban poor in holding government agencies to account for their policies, investment priorities and expenditures. First, a large percentage of low-income urban dwellers are seen as ‘illegal’ by their local governments because their homes and communities are located on land that is often characterized by some element of illegality (occupied land, illegal land use, or buildings that violate regulations). As a result, local government bodies may not be permitted, and often do not feel obligated, to provide these communities with access to infrastructure and services. Second, many living in these informal settelements have no official documentation or lack the documentation necessary to access government, or even private, services – from health care to schooling to opening a bank account or voting. This chapter pays significant attention to these critical challenges, highlighting “the ways in which people living in informal settlements have sought to overcome the structural constraints on their ability to exercise their voice,” (39). In this section, the authors focus on SDI-affiliated grassroots organizations’ that have managed to develop positive relationships with their governments in order to form partnerships that allow the urban poor communities to co-produce infrastructure and service solutions, placing them in a position to hold their governments accountable. 

In India, the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), Mahila Milan, and SPARC pursuit solutions to their memebers’ needs and challenges by showing local (and other) governments their capacity to partner on building and upgrading of housing; designing, building and managing community toilets; and supporting the formation of community-police partnerships – or police panchayats – that serve slum communities. Today, the Indian SDI Alliance has co-produced thousands of community toilets and housing units with the Indian government, and developed relationships that allow them to hold their governments responsible to the people they serve. Another example, from Naga City in the Philippines, shows how a small drainage project enabled the forging of a relationship between the local urban poor federation, the city government and the World Bank. And in Harare, Zimbabwe, the local urban poor federation, support NGO, and city government are in the final stages of negotiation around the creation of a citywide upgrading fund. This practical financial instrument is reflective of the patnership between the Zimbabwean SDI alliance and the city, creating shared political and financial responsibility for slum upgrading. This is yet another clear example of how a voice of the urban poor can negotiate changes that have the potential for citywide impact in a manner beneficial to the poor and more contextualized in “on the ground” circumstances.

Read the full paper here, and read more about SDI’s partnerships with governments in India, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, and more in our 2012-2013 Annual Report


From Mumbai to the World: Building a Slum Dweller Movement

Mumbai, India

By Jockin Arputham, President, SDI and National Slum Dwellers Federation of India (NSDF)

It is sometimes hard to imagine that it is 28 years since the National Slum Dweller Federation of India (NSDF) linked up with Mahila Milan and SPARC to negotiate solutions to demolitions of hutments on the pavements of Byculla in Mumbai.

Little did we know at the time that we were giving birth to a new social movement that was going to spread across the globe.

Over the years the process of savings, enumerating, mapping and negotiating, started by 536 women pavement dwellers, has resulted in security of tenure for hundreds of thousands of families in thirty-four countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

In the meantime most of the women founders of the global movement have continued to live in their hutments on the pavements of Mumbai. Finally in November 2012 the founders of Mahila Milan – and SDI – began to move into their own homes. 

The day they moved was a day to remember.  What a sight it was to watch all the households pack their belongings onto trucks or buses and then leave in a colorful procession of vehicles from Byculla to Mankhurd. As they made their way through the city they passed many communities associated with the National Slum Dwellers Federation where crowds of Federation members stood under banners, waving and shouting. It was wonderful to dream that this procession, after passing through Mumbai, would continue through India and then circumnavigate the globe, knowing that in over 20,000 informal settlements they would receive the same welcome from crowds of Federation members who either knew them personally and loved them, or had heard about their amazing struggle from their friends and family.

The women of Milan Nagar live in “pukka” houses now, but as long as there are slum dwellers without secure tenure, access to services and improved housing, their work is not done. 

Read about SDI’s work to build this movement from informal settlement communities throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America in our 2012-13 Annual Report.

To read more about the work of Mahila Milan, NSDF and SPARC, refer to the Indian Alliance’s page on our website, or these articles: 

“Slum/Shack Dwellers International: Foundations to Treetops,” by Sheela Patel, Sundar Burra & Celine D’Cruz 

“Beyond evictions in a global city: People-managed resettlement in Mumbai,” by Sheela Patel, Celine D’Cruz & Sundar Burra

“Developing new approaches for people-centred development,” By Jockin Arputham

“SPARC and its work with the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan, India,” By Sheela Patel 

“The work of SPARC, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan,” By Sheela Patel & Diana Mitlin

“Towards a pro-poor framework for slum upgradign in Mumbai, India,” By Sundar Burra 


SDI Announces 2012 / 13 Annual Report

SDI Annual Report 2012 / 13

SDI is pleased to annouce our 2012/13 Annual Report, a reflection on SDI’s continued growth over the past year. 

This report includes an executive summary from the SDI Secretariat, a discussion and proposal of A People’s Urban Agenda, including milestones for post-MDG sustainable urban development. We also take a close look at the citywide impact of SDI’s projects and processes, exploring work done around community savings for urban change, citywide solutions to water and sanitation, and refining informal settlement mapping, profiling, and household enumeration processes. In relation to these important milestones, the report includes a discussion of the various engagements that have lead to important partnerships with governments at the city and national level, multi and bi-lateral aid agencies, private sector and other key actors in the urban development sector. 

As Sheela Patel, chair of the SDI Board, states, “This report is a landmark exploration of both the successes and fruitful failures on our road of experimentation for building voice, influence and knowledge of, by, and for the poor in our cities.” 

To read the full report, click here.