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Nairobi, 2 May 13

The involvement of slum dwellers as partners and not beneficiaries was identified as one of the main recommendations that help to empower communities as well as strengthen the effectiveness of participatory slum upgrading processes.

The recommendation was advanced by participants attending a side event on participatory slum upgrading that took place during UN-Habitat’s 24th Governing Council Session that was held in Nairobi last month.

The recommendation proposed a shift of engagement where slum dwellers are seen as partners as opposed to the more traditional perspective of seeing them as beneficiaries. ‘I am happy to take note of the remarks made by Uganda’s Commissioner for Urban Development which called for the need to engage slum dwellers as partners and not beneficiaries in the slum upgrading process. Engaging slum dwellers as partners also ensures their empowerment,” said Mr. Justus Mlaba representing the Uganda Human Settlement Network.

Mr. Sipliant from Cameroon  and Mr. Samuel Mabala from Uganda explained how slum dwellers are being engaged in slum upgrading interventions that uses a three pronged approach which includes an assessment of needs, action planning and implementation of interventions. Participating in consultations, research and action planning are some of the processes that slum dwellers take part in.

“This meeting is an important avenue through which the sharing of experiences and lessons learned in slum upgrading can be exchanged amongst partners.  Replication and the building of capacities through training are other important aspects that need to be taken into consideration,” said Sanne Willems, the European Union’s delegation representative to the meeting in her welcoming remarks.  When summarizing his presentation, Mr. Franz Marré of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany mentioned the necessity of paying greater focus on cross-sectoral issues and the need to undertake proper planning and integration of slum dwellers participation when rolling out interventions.

Earlier in the day, Slum Dwellers International also signed a working agreement with UN Habitat that will promote and strengthen working relations on issues affecting slum dwellers. The meeting provided a platform for partners to share participatory approaches in slum upgrading that are being promoted at global level and national levels. The Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat is partnering with UN Habitat, European Commission, National and Local Governments to promote participatory approaches in slum upgrading.

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