Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA) Community Mobilisation


Nairobi, Kenya


4.4 million1

Growth Rate


Key Stakeholders

  • Informal Residents

  • Whole Community

Informal Residents Whole Community

Other Stakeholders

  • Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs

  • International NGOs

  • City Authorities

  • Other Service Providers

  • State / Federal Actors

  • Academia

  • Private Sector

  • Local Small Business

  • Professional Associations

  • Donors

Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs International NGOs City Authorities Other Service Providers State ; Federal Actors Academia Private Sector Local Small Business Professional Associations Donors

Relevant SDGS

  • 1 No Poverty
  • 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 17 Partnerships for the Goals


City and Sector

City and Sector





Large-scale mobilisation for a community-wide consultation process for all residents to participate in the planning process for one of the largest ever informal settlement upgrading projects – Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA), Nairobi.


  • Around 70% of Nairobi’s residents live in single-room units in informal settlements and tenements.3

  • Only about 10% of Kenya’s population can afford a formal house of US$10,000.3

  • Nairobi’s poorest residents also pay far more for lower-quality water, sanitation, and electricity than households in formal neighborhoods. For instance, in Mukuru, households pay 172% more than the formal water utility tariff for small amounts of very low-quality water, and also 45-142% more for electricity.4

  • Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA) is one of the largest ever informal settlement upgrading projects, to transform one of the largest ‘slum’ areas of Nairobi – 650 acres and 138,000 homes, businesses and other institutions – into a healthy, functioning neighbourhood.5


In this interview, Joe Muturi, national leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the national federation of slum dwellers in Kenya, and Chair of Slum Dwellers International, tells us about the special challenges and opportunities with the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA), one of the largest ever in situ settlement upgrade processes.

Muturi tells us about Muungano’s role in mobilising a community consultation process representing more than 100,000 households, with more than 5,000 people participating in community planning forums, and how this experience has been a game changer in deepening how cities consult with communities and engage with slum dwellers on urban planning.

Muungano is disruptive in a good way to change how power relations within the political class, the decision-makers at City Hall engage with slum dwellers…as key stakeholders in matters of the city.

Joe Muturi

National leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji and Chair of Slum Dwellers International

Key Programme Activities

  • Community engagement

  • Data/technology

  • Community media

  • Community infrastructure

  • Research

  • Improved service delivery

  • Stakeholder co-ordination, network-building

  • Technical support

Key Outcomes

Since 2018, this approach has:

  • Recruited a team of 450 data collectors, with ~70% representing women and youth for settlement profiling, training and community exchange activities, thereby generating a new group of local change-makers.6


  • Organised 100,561 households in Mukuru, into 1,000 sub-clusters of 100 households each, in turn grouped into 13 segments representing a geographical neighbourhood and demographic participation unit in the Mukuru Integrated Development Plan.6


  • Supported community planning consultations and validation processes for five of the seven themes in the Plan at either segment or sub-cluster level. A total of 5,370 people participated in community planning forums.6 This resulted in the inclusion of 15 upgrade and 26 new proposals for social infrastructure.6

  • The Mukuru Integrated Development Plan has the President’s backing for implementation. New roads and sewers are connecting Mukuru to the rest of Nairobi, the area now has free, clean water and the Cabinet of Kenya has approved the construction of 13,000 new houses. Because of Mukuru, two more slum areas of Nairobi, Kibera and Mathare, have now also been declared as SPAs.


Innovation Report     2020