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Slum areas set for Sh30b World Bank low-cost housing project

Real Estate

Informal settlement schemes (ISS) in the country host millions of Kenyans, who compared to their affluent counterparts, grapple with a shortage of crucial amenities.  

Fatuma Mohamed, a youth from the Majengo-Pumwani informal settlement scheme, laments deplorable living conditions and insecurity. 

Majengo is one of the oldest ISSs in Nairobi County, having been started by the colonial government to settle people working in the homes of colonial chiefs.

“Due to deplorable conditions, women and young girls are daily attacked by gangs, a situation precipitated by congestion and lack of decent houses and poor lighting in addition to bad roads,” says Fatuma.

“There is a lack of well-fixed sewer lines, leading to littering of the footpaths, with refuse exposing us to communicable diseases and other health hazards. Out of the attacks, victims suffer early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Successive governments have not extended resources to help change the situation. But Fatuma and other residents have a reason to smile following a partnership between the government and multilateral donors to upgrade 420 ISSs in the country through the construction of low-cost housing and the provision of crucial amenities in these areas.

“We are happy as the launch of affordable houses and provision of critical services will help in creating numerous job opportunities for the youth and guarantee decent living conditions,” said Fatuma.

Under the deal, the State Department of Housing and Urban Development negotiated for over Sh30 billion from multilateral donors to finance the construction of low-cost housing in over 400 informal settlement schemes in 33 counties in the country. The World Bank (WB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) will finance the construction of affordable housing and address the provision of infrastructure, water, lighting, and social inclusion.

The project to be implemented under the World Bank’s Second Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project (KISIP2) is expected to benefit 420 settlements, which are home to 1.4 million people. KISIP National Project Coordinator George Arwa confirmed the World Bank would spend $150 million (Sh24.1 billion) and the French Development Agency (AFD) 43 million Euros (Sh7.6 billion) respectively under the programme.

Mr Arwa said some Sh1.28 billion would go toward providing infrastructure and other amenities in 14 settlement schemes.

Some of the ISSs to benefit include Kiambiyu, Majengo-Pumwani, and Matopeni, Kayole.

“By enhancing tenure security and access to basic urban services, KISIP is significantly playing a role in formalising the informal settlements, which goes a long way in supporting both the national and county governments in planning the urban areas and thereby managing rapid urbanisation which is critical in the reduction of slums in the country,” said Mr Arwa in a phone interview.

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