Managing the Process of Relocation and Resettlement of Informal Settlements in Urban Areas: The Case of Kaburini Village Nairobi.


Nearly every industrializing country has faced the overwhelming demands for housing, employment, urban services and the problems of proliferating informal settlements.

Different interventions have been employed including relocation and resettlement, to deal with the problem of informal settlements, with little success as everywhere informal settlements are growing. The Millennium Development goal 7, Target 11 seeks to have the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers improved by the year 2020.  This may take the form of relocation and resettlement, especially when the settlement is in a hazardous location.  This study seeks, through the use of a case study, to develop a framework for managing the process of relocation and resettlement to ensure that those affected by the relocation and resettlement benefit from the exercise.

The research begins by reviewing literature on urbanization, informal settlements, relocation and resettlement of informal settlements obtained from library research, resource centers, government offices and the internet.  As an example of existing guidelines the World Bank relocation guidelines are reviewed and provide a basis for comparison.  Historical information on the case study has been obtained from library research and informed discussions with past and present Nairobi City Council Officers and Officers from the National Council of Churches of Kenya, who were in the forefront of the relocation and resettlement exercise.  Primary data on the case study and the resettlement site at Huruma is gathered through physical and social surveys, with the use of questionnaires, informal and informed discussions with the study subjects.  The main purpose of this is to obtain an overview of how the relocation and resettlement process was carried out, and to find out what is the current status of the relocates.

 Following an in depth analysis of the data obtain the main findings of the study reveal that there was no plan in place before relocation and resettlement of Kaburini Informal settlement started, nor were community involved in the decision making process resulting in unnecessary hardships for the community.  Little attention was paid to the social patterns and inter linkages within the community so as to minimize disruption in the new location, while issues of financing and costing of the project were not satisfactorily considered by the lead actor.  The study found that there was no laid down procedure for the relocation and resettlement of informal settlements and the institutional arrangements in place were not adequate resulting in the management of the process of relocation and resettlement not being carried out optimally.

Guidelines at both national and local level are proposed, with the main aim of ensuring relocatees benefit from the relocation and resettlement exercise.  At the national level policy guidelines propose that programmes be kept as small as possible, and the institutional arrangements in place take account of all possible actors, their roles and responsibilities being carefully spelt out.  A Resettlement Plan, where the components of the programme are noted should be drawn up, clearly requiring the participation of the community.  The financial aspects of the relocation and resettlement programme should be thoroughly investigated and agreed upon before commencement of the programme.

Local level guidelines propose that the institutional arrangements by the City Council of Nairobi’s Housing Development Department be strengthened with capacity building, increase of staff and equipment to enable better management of the relocation and resettlement process.  The resources set aside for relocation and resettlement are not adequate and there needs to be more interaction and partnerships with the private sector and civil society to bridge this gap.  The relocates should be provided with sufficient opportunities to create and build up new livelihoods at the resettlement site even as communities are encouraged to have a strong community organization that will serve the interests of the community and encourage community empowerment, self-help assistance which can be tapped and utilized for the betterment of the community.