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YMCA holds conference for inclusive approach towards urban planning

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

 As a means of ensuring that people living in the urban areas live in a decent and comfortable settlement, the Young Christian Men Association thrsough their livelihood British Council Hall on Wednesday the 9th November 2011 on the theme “towards a pro-poor agenda for change: adopting an inclusive approach to city and urban planning”. The two day conference on urban planning for especially communities in slum areas like Kroo Bay was witnessed by many stakeholders including the Environment Protection Agency, the disaster management department of the Office of National Security, Ministry of Lands, Federation of Urban and Rural Poor etc.

 

This is a typical slum dwelling community in Kroo Bay

The theme of the conference was to bring together relevant stakeholders including city development planners to discuss the challenges and development initiatives of slum communities with the intent of developing action plans that will be implemented to effect pro-poor policies and practices on slum transformation and development. In his overview, Francis Reffle said the purpose of the conference is to discuss and highlight government’s responsibility to bringing about the realization of participatory city and urban planning recognizing the voice of the urban poor in planning, adoption of indigenous technology with an intent of promoting sustainable environment and social and affordable housing scheme, ensuring that government adopt relocation procedures as an option to forced eviction and ensuring normal circumstances where authorities should adopt an in situ  upgrading processes as a priority option for relocation.

According to Mr. Reffle, the journey for decent homes for the people in slums started four years back when YMCA started implementing a four year project titled “transforming young people’s lives in Kroo Bay and Dwazark” with a thrust of bringing about a demonstrable improvement in the lives of vulnerable young people and their families living in urban slums focusing on young people as catalysts for community development.  He added that the process has catalyzed into a huge opportunity of working with slum dwellers, informal settlers and the rural people as champion of their transformational development process.

He stated that all these efforts are geared towards addressing the challenges of lands and housing as a critical sector in the development agenda albeit ignored by successive governments adding that people must not forget that lands and housing are fundamentally social, political and livelihood issues which the United Nations considers as a human right issues in the international covenant on Economic, social rights which states that “everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living for himself/herself and his/her family including adequate housing as well as continuous improvement of his/her living conditions”.

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