Story of Kalivihar Slum: Cuttack Relocation

Nayana, the Mahila Milan leader is also a member of the Slum Development Association (SDA) and is well known for her work with slum dwellers. She is often approached by the authorities for conducting any survey in slums, is informed about new schemes and programs for the urban poor in Cuttack and also gives her opinion / ideas in favour of slum dwellers development. This is her report to MM monthly review. Kali Vihar is a settlement on Irrigation land situated along the riverbank with 164 families living there. Nayana’s settlement, Kali Vihar is to be relocated soon, but there is story behind it as to how they succeeded in getting houses for their community. This is a settlement where Mahila Milan has had a presence supporting the residents through various activities. Kali Vihar is located along the riverbank on a flood prone area, the city of Cuttack has tried several times to evict this settlement but were unsuccessful. Finally, they decided to relocate Kali Vihar to a place called Dhabereshwar 15 kilometres away from their present location. They will be allotted a plot size of 15X15 and given Rs  50,000 cash ( US$ 600).

The residents visited the site to find out there are no basic services in place, no transport facility, no means of communication, no livelihood options, no access roads, only water and a temporary community toilet was in place. There were no livelihood options in or around the site as most of the women currently work as house helpers. After visiting this site, Mahila Milan along with the communities and SDA members took an appointment of the collector to explain to him reasons why these communities should not be relocated there. The rationale was simple:  with no job opportunities they would be forced to come back and settle in the city. But the collector said, they would have to move. 

They then went to Cuttack Development Authority and explained the full situation, they got the same response from the CDA the rationale being “there is no other place”  they can be relocated to.  They were also informed that the Cuttack Development Authority planned relocation for 14 slums living along the coast in the Ring Road area under the Jaga Mission[1]. Nayana, said, even we are slum dwellers and have a right to live and be relocated in a well-developed place, so then why not consider our settlement along with those 14 slums? Giving it a thought, the CDA consulted with the Cuttack Municipal Commissioner who then sent their verification team to Kali Vihar to do an assessment. Later it was decided to consider Kali Vihar as well for relocation at Trishulia, 4 kms away from the current location. 

700 units of size 364 sq.ft has been constructed by the CDA at Trishulia. 7 buildings of 4 floors each having 120 flats are already complete, more are under construction. The area is well developed with schools, hospital is under construction, security has been provided, is a gated community, markets, bus stands are close by. There are private residential buildings and industrial areas where these women can get work easily as narrated by Nayana. The total cost of the units is 9,50,000 of which community contribution is 1.50,000. A down payment of 20,000 must be made by the communities, thereafter for the balance either they will be supported by the CDA to open bank accounts so that the EMI is deducted automatically for the balance amount from their bank accounts or a team from the bank will manually collect from the families once relocated. 

While 135 opted for the first one; 29 families agreed to move to Dhabereshwar. the reason for choosing the second site, was one, they would get money and secondly, they say they can accommodate bigger families if they grow incrementally making some adjustments and changes to the design of the unit. But there are consequences of this that they might lose their livelihood and will not be able to travel back to the original place to continue with their jobs because of the distance and lack of transport facility. Also, Dhabereshwar is not a well developed site with least facilities and hence gives no opportunity for them for livelihood or other activities. Nayana, has been explaining to them the benefits of shifting into ready buildings, but they are unable to change their minds. They also say, they will not be able to make the downpayment now will be able to take a loan and repay back. 

Families that agreed to move into buildings say they are in a position to pay 2000/month towards repayment as they already managed to get new jobs for themselves as laborers, cleaners, security guards for the new bus stand that is coming up. Again, this was possible because of Mahila Milan and SDA members as they were approached by the contractor and municipality to get them people to work at the bus stand. They will be paid 12,000 a month, some of them also got work as cooks in the Ahar Kendra at the bus stand. They will continue to work even post relocation. 

What should the next urgent action and follow up should be ?

  1. Informing the communities on necessary documentation required for relocation – Ration card, voter ID card etc.
  2. Supporting them in the process of forming housing cooperatives and registering them
  3. Talking to them on the post-relocation challenges
  4. Listing other relocation colonies /slums to be relocated to follow a similar pattern.

Insights and explanations 

  1. Why allowing communities to choose is critical yet has many known and unknown consequences.
  2. All cities will have such plans, and once some alternative is proposed, only strong networks can negotiate with well developed collectively created representations. 
  3. More organisation is essential, cooperatives must be formed, borrowing and lending systems have to be developed from now. 
  4. As has been seen in many other projects follow up is critical what gets developed in this project has value for the city and all other federations. 
  5. This reflects how large disaster linked large projects will produce displacements and have to be areas for interventions for community organisations.
  6. How can MM and NSDF develop proposals and protocols. 

[1] What is the JAGA mission- Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission (OHLM) -JAGA aims to transform slums into livebale habitat thus providing all necessary infrastructure and services as is provided to other sections of the society. 

Kenya Federation mobilises to prevent & negotiate alternatives to evictions in Nairobi



We, the Kenya SDI Alliance, appreciate the solidarity and support from everyone on the fight against forced evictions. The Kibera demolition caught most of us flat footed despite ongoing efforts and negotiations between the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, residents of Kibera, members of Muungano wa Wanavijiji living in in Kibera, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, the National Land Commission and other rights based NGOs.  As of today, these organizations have gone to court to seek justice for the affected persons.

As soon as Kibera was demolished, other eviction notices were issued to settlements located under power lines, within riparian reserves, and along railway lines. Yesterday, the Kenyan federation held an urgent meeting  and resolved to do the following;

  • Identify all settlements under threat on maps. This began yesterday and established that the following areas are under eviction threats: Makongeni, Kaloleni, Mbotela, Dandora, Deep Sea, Mukuru, Mathare and Kamae, with 4 areas having been marked for evictions tomorrow.
  • Mobilize and conduct rapid enumerations. A federation team is working to establish contacts with residents, create awareness on the need to resist the forced evictions, and train community members to conduct rapid enumerations.  The team is also mobilizing residents of the affected areas and federation members from all settlements for a protest march on 8th August 2018. Slum dwellers will use this peaceful march to deliver a petition to the Cabinet Executive Secretary in charge of Roads, Infrastructure and Housing as well as the County Government.
  • Campaign Slogan. The team has developed a campaign slogan #StopForcedEvictionsNow and is asking people to use this to bring awareness to these events. The Kenya Know Your City TV team will spearhead a week-long social media campaign, raising awareness and calling on government to engage the community to seek alternatives . This will be supported by a media campaign on both mainstream and community media.
  • Upward engagement and networking. The Kenya SDI Alliance is working with Katiba Institute, Kituo Cha Sheria, Haki Jamii and Amnesty International. The organizations are meeting frequently and hopes to meet with government officials in the next week in order to negotiate alternatives. This work will be largely supported Muungano wa Wanavijiji with support from Amnesty International.


We seek the support of everyone on this matter.

According to Ezekiel Rema, the founding Muungano Chairman, “…let us now bring back our advocacy tools from where they are gathering dust to STOP FORCED EVICTIONS NOW!”


Kampala Communities Collect Data to Break City’s Implementation Impasse

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Photo: On the left, the site of an eviction in Kisenyi, Kampala, contrasted with congested living conditions in Kisenyi on the right. 

By Skye Dobson, ACTogether Uganda

Images of women and children desperately splashing water on their faces to alleviate the sting of teargas in Kasokoso slum (just outside of Kampala) have been splashed on the front pages of Uganda’s newspapers this month. News broadcasts have been dominated by footage of riot police loading young men into pickups, residents setting up roadblocks of fire, and a Mayor being beaten and eventually having his car set alight by infuriated slum residents. The cause of this chaos? Land disputes: disputes that evoke a passionate and intricate set of political and cultural sentiments in Uganda and have resulted in a seemingly intractable impasse – crippling planning and development initiatives.

In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, land tenure arrangements are among the most complex in the world: intensified by one of the highest rates of urbanization (approaching 6%). Attempts by the Ugandan government to administer land have typically relied upon formal cadastral systems, which have been powerless to disentangle the webs of layered and competing land tenure arrangements. Proposed developments all over the city have stalled, completely crippled by seemingly unresolvable land wrangles.

As Kampala city moves into a new era of administration – as a result of the establishment of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in 2010 (which established the Authority to administer Kampala on behalf of the central government, replacing the former Kampala City Council), it remains to be seen how it will address the present impasse. Officials in the KCCA express unwavering commitment to developing the city in accordance with the recently formulated Kampala Master Plan, but – as is common with such city plans  – implementation strategies are about as clear as the vision of those doused in teargas.

There is an undeniable need to generate some order in Kampala, where planning dysfunction threatens the livelihoods of the rich and poor alike. And, while the author works for an organization supporting the rights of slum dwellers, this is not a paper that will simply argue the right of slum dwellers to stay and leave it at that. Such arguments cannot and should not be enough to satisfy either the government or the slum dwellers. Posturing on the part of rights groups, planners, and politicians is doing nothing to alleviate the fundamental challenges that perpetuate the acute poverty faced by the majority of Kampala’s residents. Instead, Kampala needs creative implementation strategies based on up-to-date data, authentic and informed citizen participation, and negotiation that accepts compromise will be needed from all sides.

The National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) has been at the center of a collection of actors – including Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Cities Alliance, and UN-Habitat’s Global Land Tools Network (GTLN) – trying to forge such strategies in Uganda. The efforts are only just beginning, but perhaps hold promise for an approach to planning that has a greater grounding in reality and fosters a much higher likelihood of implementation. As a member of the SDI network, slum dwellers in the NSDFU utilize tools such as profiling, enumeration, and mapping to organize their communities and catalyze informed negotiation and partnership with government toward inclusive urban development. Here I focus on three potential components of the strategy being developed.

The first relates to the information required to plan. There has been no census in Uganda since 2002. The budget has not allowed it to take place for the past two years as scheduled. Thus, development plans are formulated on the basis of data that is over 11 years old. Any resident of Kampala can tell you that their city is not the same city it was a decade ago. The prevalence of multiple and overlapping land claims – particularly as it relates to Kibanda occupants (those who have rights to the land, in addition to those of the land owner) mean the majority of land tenure claims are not documented. As a result, many claims to tenure are not visible until threatened residents express these claims through protest – often violently.

The first component of the strategy, therefore, acknowledges that up-to-date data on the city and the tenure claims of its residents is required to understand actual on-the-ground realities. NSDFU has conducted citywide enumerations in 5 municipalities in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development (MoLHUD) with support from Cities Alliance’s Land, Sites, and Citizenship program. It has also piloted the Social Tenure Domain Model tool developed by the Global Land Tools Network (GTLN) and subsequently incorporated the tool into the profiling and enumeration work being rolled out in 14 municipalities. These experiences have informed the Kampala profiling process completed in November 2013, which gathered essential planning data on all 58-slum settlements in the capital.

Currently, the NSDFU and its support NGO, ACTogether, are preparing the preliminary findings from the citywide slum profiling of Kampala conducted by the NSDFU in November 2013. The profiling covered 58 slum settlements covering each of the five divisions of Kampala. Information is gathered through focus group meetings with local leaders and the community in each slum settlement. During these meetings a detailed questionnaire is administered by slum dwellers in the NSDFU. The initial findings are unprecedented, suggesting extreme levels of inequality and exclusion across Kampala. Nearly 70% of slum settlements in the city of Kampala have faced eviction threat, with 1.5 million slum residents currently facing high threat of eviction. More detail on these findings is presented below and includes statistics on land ownership and threat of eviction.

Initial findings suggest that 55% of land in slums is privately owned (Division breakdown: Rubaga 33%, Nakawa 80%, Makindye 30%, Kampala Central 66%, Kawempe 64%); 21% is held under customary ownership (Division breakdown: Rubaga 33%, Nakawa 0%, Makindye 9%, Kampala Central 28%, Kawempe 34%); 12% is owned by the Kingdom (Division breakdown: Rubaga 26%, Nakawa 3%, Makindye 31%, Kampala Central 0%, Kawempe 1%); and 7% is owned by the municipality (Division breakdown: Rubaga 8%, Nakawa 10%, Makindye 10%, Kampala Central 6%, Kawempe less than 1%).

Sixty-nine percent of slum settlements have faced eviction threats, according to residents (Division breakdown: Rubaga 46%, Nakawa 60%, Makindye 88%, Kampala Central 57%, Kawempe 69%). Of the 58 slum settlements surveyed, 52% presently face the threat of eviction (Division breakdown: Rubaga 15%, Nakawa 60%, Makindye 88%, Kampala Central 29%, Kawempe 69%), and 25% of these are report the seriousness of the threat to be high (Division breakdown: Rubaga 15%, Nakawa 60%, Makindye 88%, Kampala Central 29%, Kawempe 69%).

The 32 settlements facing a high eviction threat contain approximately 1.5 million residents (Division breakdown: Rubaga 524,000, Nakawa 148,000, Makindye 633,000, Kampala Central 14,400, Kawempe 171,500).

Once verified, this information will be critical to NSDFU as it seeks to expand implementation of the strategy outlined above in Kampala and for developing a concrete partnership with KCCA – specifically as it relates to the impending formulation of detailed development plans for the capital.

The second component recognizes that this information, this data, should not simply inform a consultant preparing a development plan or the physical planning department of the KCCA. In matters of land, communities need to trust and understand the data available if it is to guide planning. The urban poor have a deep distrust of the information cited by government, which they perceive to have historically been used to crush their rights and demands. Conversely, when communities drive the data gathering process, it sets in motion a discussion with authorities that is based on information the community owns. When they begin the negotiation process, they are able to do more than demand a right to stay: they begin a discussion on strategies for a way forward for upgrading based on concrete information. Politicization and manipulation of urban poor communities by politicians, developers, and even fellow community members has proven an equally significant impediment to urban land management. This component recognizes that equipping a wider base of citizens with actual information can help to counter the tendency for rumor and mistruths to drive the discussion.

The third component, then, relates to negotiation and partnership. It is clear technocrats cannot implement their development plans without community buy-in – unless they plan to use force to evict all those opposed to their plans. The community, likewise, will not benefit from continued haphazard, un-guided developments, which threaten the safety and viability of their settlements. Neither party benefit from the present state of affairs, which is characterized by both sides shouting and neither listening. The technocrats will only – perhaps justifiably – listen to the community if it can answer the question: What is your alternative? The community, meanwhile, will only listen to the technocrats if they agree to listen.

We are already finding that the present requirements for planning approvals will need to be adapted to fit the local land tenure realities if development plans are to have any chance of implementation on the land occupied by the majority of Kampala’s residents. We will keep you updated as the profiling information is analyzed, verified, and utilized by the NSDFU.