Reaching out to the community through data return: Report from the Mukuru SPA Water, Sanitation and Energy consortium
Hard on the heels of last month's Mukuru SPA blog, Akiba Mashinani Trust project officer Patrick Njoroge reports back from the 'pre-consultation meetings' with Mukuru residents that have been held over the last couple of weeks by the SPA's Water Sanitation and Energy Consortium
The Water, Sanitation and Energy consortium is one of the 7 sectoral consortiums* under the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA). It is led by the Nairobi City County government’s Department of Environment, Water and Energy, and is supported by several non-governmental organizations—namely Caritas, Akiba Mashinani Trust, Kiwash, Sanergy, Oxfam, and Umande Trust.
This consortium is mandated to establish the prevailing situation in the planning area (which encompasses the three areas of Mukuru kwa Reuben, Mukuru kwa Njenga, and Viwandani) in terms of its water, sanitation and energy. The consortium is doing this by:
- conducting theme-specific research;
- identifying gaps in the existing literature and information; and
- preparing a sectoral situation analysis report.
Key to all of this, the consortium also has a community consultation mandate: to sit with the residents of Mukuru, and hear and gather their views on how they want the water, sanitation, and energy provision in their neighbourhoods to be transformed. These views will then be adopted into revised sectoral plans, and finally harmonized—together with the community views collected by the other 6 SPA sectoral consortiums—to create an ‘integrated development plan’ for Mukuru.
The SPA process is designed to be community driven, and participation of the community is a requisite. The Kenyan Constitution makes the County governments responsible for ensuring this right to participate in decision-making on matters affecting citizens is observed. But crucially, in order to ensure that the community contributes to such participation forums from an informed perspective, it’s important for them to properly understand their situation.
"An average of 234 households in Mukuru share one public water tap" (Mukuru SPA profile)
The Muungano Alliance—led by Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the Kenyan federation of slum dwellers, with its support institutions SDI Kenya and Akiba Mashinani Trust—has undertaken in-depth research into the water, sanitation, and energy situation in Mukuru, aiming to really understand the situation and then communicate this to Mukuru residents.
From the situation analysis, we were able to capture several elements, including;
- How many water points exist in Mukuru and where they are located.
- What is the cost of water for Mukuru’s residents and businesses.
- What the water infrastructure looks like in Mukuru.
- Who runs the water businesses which provide water to Mukuru.
- What is Mukuru’s water poverty penalty?
- How many toilets exist in Mukuru, and their type (yard toilet, public or private toilets).
- What is Mukuru’s sanitation poverty penalty?
- The nature of electricity connections in Mukuru, and whether these are formal or informal.
- The types of the cooking stoves people use in their houses.
- What is Mukuru’s energy poverty penalty?
What is the poverty penalty?
This is the concept that the poor pay more for a given good or service as a direct result of their poverty. There is a large body of research over many years providing evidence of this. We define the poverty penalty as “the relatively higher cost paid by the poor, when compared to the non-poor”. This can take two forms: a ‘price penalty’ where a poor person pays an above-average price per unit of the facility, product, or service; or a ‘quality penalty’ where the provision of a facility, product, or service of low quality is still offered at a price similar to that of higher-quality. It is difficult to consistently measure quality penalties on basic services, and for this reason the analysis described here is limited to the price penalty faced by Mukuru residents. Read more>
The above are some of elements which the Muungano alliance wanted to unearth through its research — and we consider that it is important for the community to understand these aspects of their settlement before they sit down with the consortium to give their views through the SPA community consultation process.
To this end, the Water, Sanitation and Energy consortium met representatives from each of the village* clusters (into which the planning process has divided the huge Mukuru slum belt), in two sessions in August 2018. Meeting participants were taken through the SPA process, the structure of participation, and the situation analysis on water, sanitation and energy in Mukuru, as described above. After the meetings, cluster representatives and community mobilizers were given handouts of the summarized situation analysis, and charged with conveying the information these contained throughout the sub-clusters for which they were responsible. In addition, the village cluster representatives were tasked with overseeing the selection of representatives to sit in the consultative forums on water, sanitation and energy.
The meeting helped to deepen the communities’ understanding of the SPA, as well as to dispel rumours and propaganda that are being spread by those agents opposed to the success of the SPA (since slum communities have many competing interests positioning to capture the benefits of land regularization).
The Water, Sanitation and Energy consortium will hold two more feedback meetings with these groups to understand how the messages in the meetings and handouts described above have been conveyed by the representatives to their wider communities, and to hear back what the comments, opinions, and questions have been emanating from the discussions within the community. Through these later feedback meetings the community will also provide to the consortium the lists of people they would like to participate in the first round of formal consultative planning meetings.
More coverage on this blog as the Mukuru SPA process continues!
*Plus 1 crosscutting communication, community mobilisation and coordination consortium
**A Kenyan term for informal neighbourhood