Mukuru Sinai Affordable Housing I & II

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Focus Areas: Housing

This project aims to improve conditions in Mukuru Sinai, Nairobi, by creating sustainable habitation for approximately two thousand (2,000) households and securing land tenure for approximately nine thousand (9,000) households currently living on State land. All development is taking place in established slum settlements. To date, four thousand two hundred (4,200) household water connections, forty-two (42) toilet blocks, and one hundred and twenty (120) housing units have been completed. The Muungano wa Wijiji and Akiba Mashanani Trust (AMT) alliance has managed to secure an option to purchase private land for these households. They have also secured the status of ‘special planning areas’ for development on state land, mobilized savings from potential project beneficiaries (approximately 20% of the land purchase price) as well as obtained commitments from government leaders to provide infrastructure. This project is larger than previous Alliance projects and involves planning, infrastructure and economic integration considerations. The land which was purchased is comparable in scale to land managed by professional developers. This project is precedent setting due to its securing the same concessions for private and state land and is designed to be replicable throughout Kenya.

It is an example of the progress the Alliance has made in recent years in creating the organisational basis for positive engagement between slum dwellers and government, and the political space for this engagement. Activity in Mukuru Sinai is an important step forward regarding increasing availability of options (responding to different needs and priorities), as it involves an intervention designed for those living on privately owned land. Discussions with the government are ongoing to alter legislation on low-income housing development.


SDI is aware of the problem with the Mukuru upgrading project. An organisation called Makao Bora Trust is contesting the AMT projects in Mukuru.

 The circumstances of the case, according to the Kenyan Alliance, is that Makao Bora Trust is an organisation formed by community leaders who were involved in developing the project and who retain project bank accounts. Makao Bora, however, is different from the community savings group which was, and remains, the vehicle to deliver the project. 

 Makao Bora has entered into agreements with, and received funds from, a Norwegian non profit towards developing a school on part of the land. This deviates from the housing development objective of the project and may be a major reason Makao Bora wants to get title to the land. 

 The Kenyan Alliance feels that Makao Bora is unable to demonstrate that they represent the project beneficiaries; that the beneficiaries still have US$20,000 outstanding in repayments to AMT; and that Makao Bora is not a legally recognized entity of the project. In short the Kenyan Alliance is not satisfied that Makao Bora represents the wishes of the two thousand three hundred (2,300) community members that have contributed to the project and feel that a lot of negotiation needs to be done before land title is transferred. This has occassioned a legal case being filed by Makao Bora to compel AMT, the Kenyan urban poor fund, to release the title to them. 

 At the same time an ongoing parallel discussion between the Kenya federation and Makao Bora seeking to find a compromise solution. 

 In the meantime, AMT does not wish to counter, what they regard as disinformation by Makao Bora. They do not have a fight with the community organisation but feel they have a responsibility to conduct themselves properly so that all stakeholders are satisfied with an eventual outcome. They expect that the legal case may precipitate a negotiation that will resolve the current disupte. 

 AMT is willing, however, to respond to specific queries about the actual  project. 

 At this point the Kenyan alliance does not feel that a specific intervention by SDI is required.


These funds consisted of two components: capital $ 349 795 ($324 732 + $25 063) and T/A $22 480. $324 732 of the capital was used by AMT as a bank guarantee for the actual purchase of the land. $25 063  of the capital was used to build a perimeter fence around the land. Because of the dispute around the land $324 732 of the capital remains with AMT. The technical assistance funds of $22 480 were used for pre-project planning, technical preparation and overheads for the Mukuru Housing project prior to the dispute and has been reported against. 




Location: Mukuru Sinai, Nairobi, Kenya
Irene Karanja (+254) 20 267 770 View Website
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Project information updated: 20 October 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project sees the Kenyan Alliance of Muungano Support Trust (MuST) and Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) respond to the need for improving conditions in Mukuru Sinai, in 2009.  Many slum dwellers in Nairobi live on private land meaning they lack tenure security and are vulnerable to eviction.  It is often difficult for residents to claim squatters’ rights because each household has to do so individually and there are costs involved.  An enumeration of households in Mukuru Sinai in Nairobi, found 25 000 households in the settlement.  The land on which these families are living is owned by a small number of land-owners including a private industrialist and established philanthropist (Mr. Chandaria), the Kenyan Commercial Bank (who acquired the land when a borrower defaulted), Kenya Railways and Mr Biwott (an ex minister in the Moi government). The development at Mukuru Sinai will be used to put pressure on these individuals and corporations to transfer their land to the present residents. Much land on which residents live in Mukuru Sinai is privately-owned.  Development in the settlement will put pressure on owners, a private industrialist and established philanthropist (Chandaria); the Kenyan Commercial Bank, Kenya Railways, and Mr Biwott (an ex minister in the Moi government), to transfer their land.  The Alliance has reason to hope that at least some land owners will do so.  

Funding Information



Implementing Partners

Muungano wa Wanavijiji

Akiba Mashinani Trust

Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs