SDI hosted its Annual Board Meeting and Secretariat sessions

SDI Board and Secretariat hosted a collection of meetings from 19-23 April 2022 at the SDI Secretariat in Cape Town.  

In attendance, SDI hosted its Board of Directors, which is chaired by Joseph Muturi, national leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan Slum Dweller Federation. The majority of Board members are slum dweller leaders, augmented by SDI-affiliated and independent professionals with expertise in key priority areas. 

[caption id="attachment_13468" align="aligncenter" width="660"] SDI’s Board and Secretariat hosted a series of sessions to reflect on the previous Strategic Period and the way forward. (BACK ROW) Charlton Ziervogel, Cher Petersen, David Sheridan, Ariana Karamallis, William Cobbett, Theresa Rodriguez, Austen Nenguke, James Tayler. (MIDDLE ROW) Martha Sibanda, Beth Chitekwe-Biti, Esperance Ayinkamiye, Tamara Merrill, Skye Dobson. (FRONT ROW) Anna Muller, Margaret Bayoh, Emily Mohohlo, Joseph Muturi, Mikkel Aagaard Harder, Xola Mteto. (PHOTO: James Tayler)[/caption]

Get to know our Board of Directors here. 

The introductory sessions spanned two days and served as an opportunity for the Board and Secretariat to reflect on SDI’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, the State of SDI today, how we got here, and our key priority areas moving forward. 

The sessions took a reflective and introspective look at the management of SDI’s Secretariat from 2018 to date and the tremendous progress made since the 2019 systems audit by Sida, one of SDI’s funding partners, highlighted major shortcomings in our internal controls and governance practices. As outlined previously, SDI immediately identified and took a number of critical actions and has spent the subsequent two years engaging in a process of comprehensive organisational turnaround to reactivate, rebuild and strengthen SDI’s Secretariat and governance structures. This week of meetings marked a critical juncture in this process as the first in-person meeting of the newly established SDI Board of Directors and the first meeting between the new board and its Secretariat. 

SDI’s Programmatic Work

The Board and Secretariat also reflected on the network’s programmatic work over the past two years and the Secretariat’s role in supporting affiliates in this regard. SDI affiliates presented impressive work on climate adaptation and resilience, Covid-19 recovery and response, youth inclusion, human settlements and slum upgrading. Additionally, the Secretariat presented a number of key pieces of work, including a comprehensive Communications Strategy, the development of a Youth Inclusion Framework and activities in a variety of global spaces including the Gobeshona Conference on Locally Led Adaptations (27 March – 1 April), COP26, and more. 

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Additional pieces of work presented during the week include efforts towards the development of a comprehensive Business Development Strategy prioritising the hiring of a business development manager, rebuilding funder relationships and diversifying the funder base, and plans for a participatory review of our 2018-22 Strategic Plan and development of a strategy for the 2023-27 period. We aim to conclude the review by the start of the fourth quarter of 2022, with the new plan adopted by the Board and Council in the first quarter of 2023. 

The week concluded with a Donor and Partners Meeting where SDI’s institutional strengthening and programmatic work over the past year was presented to our donors and partners by SDI Board members, Secretariat staff, and federation leaders. While most of the donors, partners and affiliates joined the meeting virtually, it still provided a critical opportunity for the SDI network and many of its key supporters to gather together to review the work done to date and chart a way forward to future support. This offered a critical moment for SDI in our efforts to continue building the trust of our donors and partners.   

To request more information of the minutes of these meetings, please email 

Welcoming SDI’s Board & Director

SDI is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Board of Directors and Director of the Secretariat: these are two key milestones in the reform and strengthening of SDI’s governance and operational capacity.

The Board of Directors is chaired by Joseph Muturi, national leader of Muunango wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan Slum Dweller Federation. The majority of Board members are slum dweller leaders, augmented by independent professionals with expertise in key priority areas. The Board of Directors is comprised of:

Joseph Muturi, Chair

Joseph Muturi is a national community leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan Slum Dweller Federation. Since joining the Federation in 1998, Joseph has played a central role in negotiating and implementing projects to strengthen the security of tenure and improved living conditions for urban poor communities in Kenya. Joseph has supported communities to build consensus on strategy, budgeting, planning, and implementation of projects. He has been instrumental in building national federations in East and West Africa and has established partnerships with government and key stakeholders, both for Muungano and the SDI network.

Anna Muller, Treasurer

Dr. Anna Muller is the National Coordinator of the Namibia Housing Action Group, a non-profit organisation supporting women-centred housing groups to obtain affordable land and housing. Anna has served on Namibia’s National Housing Advisory Committee and the Flexible Land Tenure Regulation Committee and has supported a collaborative process between the Federation and the Government to develop a national community-led informal settlement upgrading and partnership approach.

Emily Mohohlo, Secretary

Emily Mohohlo is a National Coordinator of the South African Federation of the Urban Poor. Since joining the Federation in 1987, Emily has been integral to the growth and development of the Federation across South Africa, supporting the mobilization of savings groups and the implementation of government partnerships to provide housing and basic services to informal settlements. She has been instrumental in the building of federations in neighbouring countries across Southern Africa.

Margaret Bayoh

Margaret Bayoh is a national leader of the Sierra Leone Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP). She has been a member of the Federation since its inception in 2008 and has played an integral role in its growth over the past thirteen years, serving in national leadership roles and representing the Federation at national, regional and international forums and events.

Theresa Carampatana

Theresa Carampatana is President of the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, of which she has been a member since 2010. In recent years, Theresa has led the Federation’s efforts to partner with Government to implement community-led slum upgrading efforts, including disaster risk reduction, Covid-19 relief and response efforts, and climate adaptation projects in slums and informal settlements across the Philippines.

William Cobbett

William (Billy) Cobbett is the former Director of Cities Alliance and served as the Director General for the South African National Department of Housing in Nelson Mandela’s Government of National Unity, overseeing the design and launch of South Africa’s first non-racial housing policy under Minister Joe Slovo. While at UN-Habitat, he designed and launched the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure. He served as Director of the Cities Alliance from 2006-2021.

Anne-Marie Rakhorst

Anne-Marie Rakhorst sits on the Board of Directors in an advisory role in her capacity as Chair of the Board of SDI Netherlands. Anne-Marie is an entrepreneur, investor and publicist in the field of sustainability. She is owner and initiator of the independent platform Previously Anne-Marie started up the successful company Search Ingenieursbureau. She has published various books on sustainable energy, entrepreneurship and sustainable investing.

The SDI Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Beth Chitekwe-Biti as Director of the SDI Secretariat. In this capacity, Beth will serve as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors.

Beth Chitekwe-Biti

Beth Chitekwe-Biti has been at the SDI Secretariat since 2019 where she served as the Deputy Director and Acting Managing Director. Beth was the Founding Director of the SDI Zimbabwe affiliate NGO, Dialogue on Shelter that works in alliance with the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation to advocate for secure tenure and inclusive human settlements. She played a pivotal role in the establishment of SDI processes in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana. Beth holds a planning degree from the University of Zimbabwe, a Postgraduate Certificate in Housing from the University College of London, and a PhD in Development Policy and Management from the University of Manchester.

Following these critical appointments, the Board of Directors and Secretariat are looking forward to taking decisive steps to re-build and strengthen SDI’s governance, management, and operational systems and structures.

These appointments are a critical milestone in the cultural and organisational transformation the SDI Network has initiated in order to achieve our vision ‘for resilient and inclusive cities that improve the lives of the urban poor’. We are confident that the Board, the Secretariat, and the newly established systems and policies now in place offer the network a clear and steady foundation for the re-building of the organisation and its institutions.

We thank you for your continued support and, as always, welcome any feedback or questions you may have.

Joseph Muturi
Chair of the SDI Board of Directors