A t the 2023 Gobeshona Conference, we engaged in a conversation with members of the Mukuru community, and the organizations and local government officials that supported their efforts, to learn more about how they worked together to overcome the formidable challenges that they faced while developing the Mukuru People’s Plan.

Starting in 2017, residents of Mukuru — one of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya — undertook an ambitious, ground-breaking participatory upgrading process known as the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA).

The innovative, locally led informal settlement upgrading strategies pioneered in Mukuru offer exciting and important lessons for inclusive and integrated planning, as well as for enhancing the climate resilience of the urban poor. These strategies were developed on the basis of deep processes of trial, error and learning led by the Muungano Alliance — an association comprised of the Kenyan urban poor federation Muungano wa Wanavijiji (MWW), the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) and Slum Dwellers International-Kenya (SDI-K) — in collaboration with urban poor networks across Africa, Asia and beyond.

The Global Center on Adaptation teamed up with the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) and the residents of Mukuru to produce Locally Led Planning: A Guide for Building Climate Resilience in Urban Informal Settlements. Launched by H.E. Rachel Ruto, First Lady of Kenya, on 9th December 2022, the Guide captures lessons and practices from the groundbreaking work implemented by the community and local government in Mukuru.

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