SDI welcomes Joseph Muturi as new Chair


SDI is excited to announce an important milestone in our organisation.  In May 2020, Joseph Muturi assumed the role of Chair of the SDI Management Committee, succeeding Sheela Patel, who served as SDI Board Chair for decades.

SDI wishes to thank the members of the outgoing SDI Board for their hard work and dedication. We would not be the global network that we are today without the tenacity, determination, and passion of these leaders. In particular, we would like to acknowledge and thank Sheela Patel, former Board Chair and co-founder of the SDI network, for her decades of tireless effort opening doors and creating space for the voice of the urban poor to be heard by global leaders and decision makers and for the role she has had in mentoring our federation leaders to take the reins in this next chapter of SDI’s growth as a network of and for the urban poor.

Sheela is succeeded in her role as Chair of SDI by Joseph Muturi, a social activist and leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the national federation of slum dwellers in Kenya. Joseph joined Muungano in 1998 after demolitions and forced evictions in Nairobi’s Toi market. Since then, Joseph has assisted communities in Kenya and across the SDI network to build consensus on strategy, budgeting, planning, and actual implementation of slum upgrading projects. One of these is the precedent setting Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA) project in Nairobi. The Mukuru SPA sets in motion one of the largest informal settlement upgrading projects ever, aiming to transform a slum area of 650 acres into a healthy, functioning neighbourhood, improving the lives of people who live there.

Additionally, Joseph has been instrumental in building federations in East and West Africa and has established partnerships with government and key stakeholders for Muungano and for the SDI network. He has been a member of SDI’s global advocacy team

We are excited to welcome Joseph as the incoming Chair of SDI and look forward to the energy we know he brings to this role. We are confident in Joseph’s commitment to creating inclusive and resilient cities where organised communities of the urban poor have their rightful seat at the table and play an active and collaborative role – together with government and urban decision makers – in the improvement of their lives.

We look forward to working together with Joseph and rest of the Management Committee to continue the critical work SDI exists for: fighting evictions, negotiating with government for improved policies and practice on the ground, and lobbying the global urban development sector for meaningful inclusion of the voice of the urban poor in global development agendas – all the while supporting each other to instil the values of accountability, transparency, collaboration, and trust across our network.