Information is [Em]Power[ment]

by James Tayler

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By Sharon Mudondo, National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda from Nakawa

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.01.04 PM”In selecting the settlements to profile, my team and I looked for those areas that we considered slums. For areas to qualify as slums, we would look at unplanned settlements, areas with open and poorly maintained drainage systems, over populated and congested areas. We identified all slum areas in each division because we wanted to do a city-wide profile.

Profile activities included meeting leaders in the slum settlements to sensitize them on the need for the profile exercise. These leaders, if convinced would then call other representation in their communities to answer the profile tool. In our profiling team, we had to include a mobilization person who would answer questions about the federation and how one can join our movement whenever asked.

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I believe the report generated from this exercise is very comprehensive and can be used to change how things are in the informal settlements in terms of service delivery. I participated in the verification exercise too and people were eager at that time to be given the full report. Now that it is out, I know it will change things to the better. The priority areas identified in the profile questionnaire show which areas to be tackled; it is now easy for Nakawa to lobby for what they want and it is easy to see which development suits where in a certain settlement.

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My most interesting experience during the profiles was how I learnt many things happening in my division. During the Butabika profiles for instance, it rained so heavily that most areas in the slum were flooded. We could not get where to sit and yet during the profile, we realized that the place was home to very many households residing in the area. I also learn a lot, I am empowered in the area of collecting data and I can speak about the importance of community profiles with confidence.”

This piece is an excerpt from the Know Your City handbook, available here