Lusaka – Slum upgrading

Slum upgrading in Lusaka

70 % of the population of the capital of Zambia, Lusaka, lives in slums where basic services are scanty. Given that Lusaka has approximately 1,4 million inhabitants we are talking about almost 1 million people. The most acute problems are in water and sanitation. Mangiza Chongo, one of the project leaders that works at the Lusaka Municipality Housing and Social Services division points out that “ Water is now a bit better as there have been some efforts to solve at least the most pressing issues but sanitation has been a lot more difficult to improve due to high cost of infrastructure. Currently, residents in Kanyama use pit latrines as they are not connected to the city’s sewer system. Another problematic area is solid waste management and this is partly explained by the fact that paying for solid waste management is not mandatory and therefore many residents do not pay even though the fee is very low. Clearly these kinds of settlements that have just grown organically should be replanned. The most effective way of doing this would be to demolish and rebuild some areas. But given the high compensation amounts stipulated by World bank standards this is almost impossible. Finding new ways of building houses at reduced costs is part of the solution but the main thing is to change the mindset of people and create incentives for contributing to a better functioning living area. Lusaka has 37 slums and the project is targeting Kanyama in the first phase, which has an estimated population of 370,000 people, . The aim is to be able to replicate this slum upgrading program in more slums of Lusaka in the future. The project identified priority areas of intervention through community consultations and listed them as follows: replanning, improvement of security of tenure, water and sanitation, access roads and drainages, waste management and activities supporting local economic development.
Today several scattered projects target some areas of slum upgrading but there is no coordinated approach. One of the main targets of the project is to map and coordinate the projects that are already in place so that the efforts can become coordinated and so the problems that are not targeted are identified. Right now the problems and available resources are also being identified and listed with the help of the Ministry of Local Government. Slum upgrading should be seen both as a strategy for solving current problems and for preventing further social and economic problems.
Chongo Mangiza and Mwiche Mudala from the Lusaka City Council are working with part of the slum upgrading process in Lusaka as part of their change project in the International Training Program “Municipal Financing Supporting Local Development and Local Democracy” which is jointly run by the International Center for Local Democracy and UNCDF. The change project hopes to identify sources of finance for the priority intervention areas.