Enhancing the Resilience of Slum Communities to Overcome the Covid-19 Crisis

by James Tayler
Youth training in the fabrication of hand washing facilities (People’s Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia)






Since last year, SDI has partnered with Cities Alliance to support federations in 16 countries across Africa and Asia who have been working tirelessly to respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic in their communities. The article below, originally published by Cities Alliance, captures some of the key outcomes of this work so far, including diverse responses to communities’ immediate needs and community-driven efforts to provide reliable data on informal settlements for building back better. 

The pandemic has exposed the gross inequalities present in cities, particularly in developing countries, and the urgent need for development assistance that reaches the most vulnerable. Investing in the resilience-building efforts of local organizations is vital to responding effectively to the crisis. The initiative launched by Cities Alliance last year, in response to Covid-19 in informal settlements, demonstrates the central role that organized communities of the urban poor play.  

The main component of the initiative is a partnership with Slum Dwellers International (SDI), to support community-led humanitarian assistance and resilience-building targeting the most vulnerable. Slum dweller federations affiliated with SDI are in the driver’s seat of implementation. They are drawing on a long history of community organizing and partnership with local authorities to ensure an inclusive response and recovery effort in informal settlements. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is the funding partner of the initiative.

Some of the key outcomes respond to the most immediate needs of the local communities, including: