Citywide Slum Upgrading: Blantyre, Malawi

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Focus Areas: Housing

The Blantyre Ten Cities Project, which began in 2011, involves a range of activities including housing construction, installation of water taps, water and sanitation loans, and the building of roads in ten (10) settlements. Houses constructed comprise of four rooms – two bedrooms, a sitting area, and a kitchen. 

Location: Blantyre, Malawi

Deliverables:

Construction of houses on five hundred and eleven (511) plots. Each four-roomed house consists of a sitting area (lounge), two (2) bedrooms, and external bathroom, ecosan toilet and a kitchen with an energy saving stove.

Profiling and enumeration is underway in all ten (10) settlements. 

Community capacity:

The Federation has seen an increased number of savings groups in Blantyre due to the project as mobilisation teams have combined savings in mobilisation. The communities have also been involved in meetings meant for savings sharing as well as house top-ups. Members convene meetings once every six (6) or twelve (12) months. In some cases meetings are held more frequently if an agreement is reached by the members. In these meetings they share their daily savings, which are used as indicated by the members. During such forums, the Federation members invite other community leaders and members to witness the sharing. This has enabled them to improve the level of savings within communities. 

Scale:

The project has already been scaled up locally with a new profiling system – focusing on clusters of households, being developed and used in settlements across Blantyre. 

Impact:

The Ten Cities project positions Blantyre as a learning centre for other cities in Malawi. Exchanges to the sites from Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Zomba are ongoing and informal settlement networks are becoming increasingly mobilized around slum upgrading. The project is linked to the Blantyre House Improvements project. It complements its activities.

Federation membership and savings have increased throughout the duration of the project and women have played a central role in assisting service delivery in slum settlements. The Federation worked with community leaders to establish these networks. Access to information on issues affecting those living in informal settlements has also improved.

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$180 000.00

Resources Leveraged:

Five hundred and eleven (511) plots have been leveraged from the Government for the construction of low-cost houses in Machinjiri. An additional plot of land has been temporarily allocated to the Federation by the Blantyre City Council (BCC). This plot will be used for composting biodegradable waste from the Limbe Market, which is the city's main and busiest market. 

The Malawi Alliance has alse leveraged resources from the Community Led Infrastructure Financing Facility (CLIFF) for housing, home improvements and sanitation projects. These funds will finance the above mentioned projects through a loan. These funds will also be used to build Machinjiri Housing Project and to undertake some home improvements in the city of Blantyre. 

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy has been in the form of land (see resources leveraged above) and capital. The Government, through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) has provided approximately eight million kwacha (US$29,629.00) to the Mchenga Fund for housing projects. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

None to date.

Patrick Chikoti patrickchikoti@gmail.com (+265) 1 756 781 View Website
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Project information updated: 25 January 2016

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The Malawian Alliance of The Federation of Rural and Urban Poor and the Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) initiated this project in 2011. The two (2) settlements participating in this project were selected by local leadership and the Blantyre City Council (BCC) because the communities felt that these were areas where they could have the most impact. The communities also felt that limited interventions had been made with regard to living conditions had been made in these areas. The Federation supported the community leaders in both settlements to establish informal settlement networks (ISN). The Federation used existing leadership structures to help them understand community-led upgrading and the role of the community in the process. The Federation also, through exchanges, capacitated the ISN in mobilizing its communities around slum upgrading. There has been various engagement with government in budget consultations, project selection, ISN support, and stakeholder meetings. 

Deliverables:

In addition to constructing housing and improving access to water and sanitation through the provision of loans the project aimed to provide learning for Federations, Local Councils, Government, and third sector organisations like non-governmnental organisations (NGOs). Relationships among these sectors have grown throughout the project.  The project has created a platform where communities and resource holding authorities are meeting and discussing issues affecting people living in the informal settlements. These activites help strengthen the citywide urban poor networks. 

Community capacity:

Communities have realised the spirit of self-reliance through savings. Members also divide into groups which organise fundraising functions for particular members. This has seen an increase in the amount of funds which members are able to collect and use for their laid out plans. This works on a rotation basis within the membership and has enabled members to acquire huge capital for businesses, home improvements and other projects without relying on financing facilities like Mchenga. 

The Blantyre City Council has worked with communities on enumeration exercises and designated four (4) staff members, as an Informal Settlement Unit (ISU) responsible for overseeing upgrading projects. The MLHUD and the Surveys Department have discussed mapping of clusters in the National Slum Upgrading Program. Plans are underway by the GoM to purchase satellite imagery for the City of Blantyre to be used for mapping informal settlements by the Federation in Blantyre City. 

Scale:

Initially, the project was to be undertaken in eight (8) settlements. However, this number was revised upwards and the project has been initiated in ten (10) settlements.

Challenges for the project and its scaling up include the lack of GIS maps and mapping expertise. This makes it difficult to organize slum mapping exercises. There have also been construction delays. For example, construction in the Machinjiri settlement has been delayed due to land disputes. Communities who used to farm on this land are attempting to get a court order to stop Federation development.

Impact:

The Federation facilitated the training of sixty (60) youths and thirty (30) community leaders. Their training equipped them with community enumeration skills. 

Blantyre is also evolving into a learning centre within Malawi. Twelve (12) exchange programmes have been undertaken between other cities and towns and Blantyre. Some of the cities which took part in the exchanges are Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu. Several districts around Blatyre participated in exchanges around issues of savings, leadership, reporting and Federation Systems Development. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$180 000.00. Of this amount US$115 000.00 went towards capital expenditure; US$50 000.00 was spent on Federation strengthening activities, and; US$15 000.00 went towards project linked technical assistance. 

Resources Leveraged:

The Government has allocated money to the Mchenga Fund. The Federation is also working with the Malawi Polytechnic in planning studios – the students assisting in designing the upgrading activities. Through the Alliance’s work on water and sanitation the Federation has partnered with the Blantyre Water Board to further development.

The project has shown the necessity for Federations to have working relationships with service providers in order to develop low income communities. The project has also seen a change in mindset for both the Alliance and the Government – changing focus from greenfield development to slum upgrading. The Federation has also proven that working relationships with service providers are critical in reaching out to the general low income communities in the city.

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was in the form of land and capital which was paid into the Mchenga Fund. The fund is Malawi’s Urban Poor Fund (UPF).

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

The capital disbursed for this project will ensure that funding for the first phase is revolved for years to come. Profiling of all beneficiaries as part of the process of loan application and qualification has proved useful in ensuring that beneficiaries qualify for loans and are able to repay them. Loan enforcement teams have also been established and supported to ensure that the Federation is following up on loans. The loan repayments are also part of the discussions during the Federation meetings.

Daily savings have increased by thirty percent (30%), while membership continues to grow. The Federation has mobilized communities to "save with a purpose." New groups have also undergone savings training. At the same time the Federation is thinking through how to mobilize enumerated settlements to save for community projects. The Federation has seen an increased number of savings groups in Blantyre due to the project as mobilisation teams have combined savings in mobilisation. 

Cities Alliance. (n.d.). The Community Led Infrastructure Financing Facility. [Online]. Available: http://www.citiesalliance.org/sites/citiesalliance.org/files/cliff-article%5B1%5D.pdf
 
Manda, M.A.Z. (2007). Mchenga - Urban Poor Housing Fund in Malawi. [Online]. Available: http://www.sdinet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/EU2007192Manda2.pdf.
 
Nyasa Times. (2013). Machinjiri Residents Demolish Project Houses. [Online]. Available: http://www.nyasatimes.com/2013/09/30/machinjiri-residents-demolish-project-houses/
 
UNHABITAT. (2011). Malawi: Blantyre Urban Profile. [Online]. Available: http://mirror.unhabitat.org/pmss/getElectronicVersion.aspx?nr=3172&alt=1.

Funding Information

Raised:

$180,000.00

Funding type:

Grant funding

Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Centre for Community Organisation & Development (CCODE)


Homeless People's Federation of Malawi


The Rockefeller Foundation