Our vision is of ‘inclusive cities’—by which we mean cities and towns where low-income communities have adequate housing and services, and can live in dignity.
The Muungano alliance represents the combined force of 3 organisations:
1. Social movement: Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan federation of slum dwellers
2. Fund: Akiba Mashinani Trust, the Kenyan urban poor fund
3. Support NGO: SDI Kenya, an NGO providing professional and technical support to the federation
Together, we work for slums to be improved and integrated into the city fabric. We work to influence changes in practice and policy – especially national policy for urban development. We negotiate, design, and deliver real improvements to people's lives. And we work with partners in academia, government, and civil society. We know that our unity is our strength.
We believe that slum communities should be at the centre of city and national development. Slums and slum residents are not an anomaly or problem, they are a vital part of the city and how it functions. Muungano volunteer to improve their settlements – challenging the idea that slum residents are only passive beneficiaries of city plans and development projects. Instead, Muungano offer to invest their own resources and help guide city investments, so that the social fabric of their communities is not lost in the changes made necessary by urban development.
The alliance has a central office in Nairobi and is affiliated with SDI, the biggest grassroots movement in the world.
Muungano wa wanavijiji means 'united slum dwellers' in Kiswahili. Muungano is the Kenyan federation of slum dwellers and urban poor people. Muungano is made up of local groups from cities and towns across Kenya; a network of community-based organisations, organised groups, informal markets, squatters, and urban poor people.
Around 100,000 people in nearly 1000 groups, together we fight for the land and housing rights of many millions in Kenya.
Muungano seeks to improve the quality of life of slum dwellers and urban poor people in Kenya through a process of policy advocacy and through dialogue with central and local government, civil society, and private sector organizations. By and large, the federation proactively engages its members in savings groups.
Muungano is structured as a federation of around 1000 slum-based groups located throughout Kenya. In its entirety it has more than 100,000 members. As a national federation, the movement is centrally facilitated by a set of national leaders who are drawn from the settlement groups and networks in the counties where Muungano works.
Each slum group is autonomous and seeks to catalyze community efforts in its settlements towards improving living conditions. Some slum settlements have one group; others will have a number of groups. As well as working for their settlements, the groups share a methodology and open themselves up to exchanging ideas and solidarity with other slum groups elsewhere in their towns, across counties, and beyond national borders.
Slum groups concern themselves with a broad range of issues which are specific to their settlements. Muungano federates around and supports groups on issues that affect their entire settlements—such as securing rights to the lands they occupy, or improving housing and delivery of services like water, sanitation and electricity. In doing this, groups are not a proxy for their communities, but a catalyst for residents' collective action.
The diverse interests of slum communities are reflected in the groups' membership and in the wider civil society movement that surrounds it, and which includes owners of slum shacks and their tenants, businesses, schools, health centers, and religious establishments. Muungano aims for social diversity: members are women and men, youth and adults, and of different ethnicities and religions.
Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) is a housing development and finance agency which was established in 2003 by Muungano wa Wanavijiji. It operates across nine counties in Kenya. Through community-led processes, AMT provides urban and rural low income communities with access to finance, and with technical solutions for affordable housing and basic services.
AMT builds the capacities of community organizations to undertake all aspects of financial intermediation, helping to reach low income people with suitable, high quality financial and related services that can be sustained. In this way, low income communities develop strong financial systems and improve their livelihood security, and people are helped to gain self-sufficiency, dignity, and economic stability. Read more about AMT >
Slum Dwellers International Kenya (SDI Kenya) is a small non-profit organisation that provides core technical and professional support to Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan federation. SDI Kenya acts as a secretariat for the federation, making connections to formal agents, such as city and central government institutions, and to other development partners. In the past, the role performed by SDI Kenya within the Muungano Alliance was carried out by two other organisations: Pamoja Trust, from 2000–2010; and Muungano Support Trust (MuST), from 2010–2014.