Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan Design: Kibera

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This project, which began in 2013, involves the development of a model for relocation. This thirty million dollar (US$30,000,000) World Bank funded program procured ten thousand (10,000) housing and business units for slum dwellers living along railway reserves in Nairobi. The project recorded gains in relation to the adoption of community participation in large informal settlement upgrading or resettlement. The project organised thirteen (13) affected communities, all located in one of the two largest informal settlements in Kenya - Mukuru kwa Njenga and Kibera - who reside along an eleven kilometer stretch of railway line around Shack/Slum Dwellers International's (SDI) savings model; developed data and sorted out project eligibility through community enumeration and undertook community planning to develop resettlement solutions.

The affected settlements in Kibera are Kianda, Gatwekera, Mashimoni, Laini Saba, Kisumu Ndogo and Soweto East. 

Location: Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya


The key deliverable was a relocation action plan (RAP) for slum dwellers living along railway lines in Nairobi. The RAP incorporated the provision of two storey conventional model housing, that would be permanent and decent. The houses varied in terms of area, with residential housing being seventeen (17) square meters and commercial houses being five (5) square meters. 

Community capacity:

Local training was conducted to familiarise community members with SDI enumeration techniques.


The scale of the project was quite large, involving ten thousand (10,000) families who live in a series of thirteen (13) settlements along an eleven (11) kilometer stretch of railway line. The total number of affected residential occupants in Kibera is three thousand and thirty-three (3,033) whilst the total number of affected business occupants in Kibera is two thousand seven hundred and seventy-five (2,775). An additional forty-three Kibera-based residential cum business occupants are also affected. 


This project demonstrated how Kenya deals with resettlement of informal communities faced with the threat of eviction. It enforces the global position that government should bear the costs of displacements. The principles used in the Relocation Action Plan (RAP) have been adopted in proposals made for the Evictions and Re-settlement Bill. The Kenyan Alliance was contracted to enumerate the project area and generate a list of beneficiaries of the resettlement, which meant that the federation had to produce high levels of accuracy, thereby strengthening their data management skills.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$127,000 for technical assistance. 

Resources Leveraged:

The RAP itself was leveraged to secure US$30,000,000 for the construction of the houses and businesses.

Costs recovered from community:

Community participation in this project was in the form of collecting enumeration data and generating a list to be used to resettle residents. No loans were disbursed towards this project. 

Irene Karanja +254 (0)20 267 770 View Website
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Project information updated: 17 November 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project sees the Kenyan Alliance of Muungano wa Wanavijiji and Muungano Support Trust (MuST) respond to a 2004 eviction notice issued by the Kenyan Government to all residents living on public contested spaces, namely road, railway, electricity, pipeline and riparian reserves. This meant that thousands of families were suddenly at risk of losing their shelter and livelihoods. The Alliance approached the Kenya Railways Corporation in order to negotiate alternative approaches to the evictions.  
Under this project, the Kenya SDI Alliance mobilised to negotiate for alternatives to eviction along various contested spaces across Kenya. This involved the following activities: verification of families to be resettled; establishment of gov't structures to address claims & disputes; data management for resettlement.


A relocation action plan. A large component of the work done was to:

• Verify the number of families to be reolcated by the State.

• Establish a grievance mechanism as well as governance structures to, first, recognise the specific claims made by diverse social groups, and second, to address claims and disputes. These structures would also hold government accountable for the promise of resettlement.

• Collect and manage data for the resettlement.

Community capacity:

Community members were trained so that they would be, firstly, familiar with SDI enumeration processes and techniques and secondly, so that they would be able to undertake the enumeration exercise themselves. The Federation's data management skills were strengthened in this project, allowing them to produce data which was highly accurate. To support this, seventeen (17) saving schemes were set up in Kibera.


The scale of this project is quite large and it demonstrates the Kenyan SDI alliance's capacity to undertake data collection at scale. The lessons learned from this project are applicable to approximately thirty percent (30%) of urban settlements in Kenya. These settlements are located on land that is not suitable for human settlement.


Muungano wa Wanavijiji and its affiliate organisations approached the Kenya Railways Corporation in order to negotiate for alternative approaches to the eviction of the ten thousand (10,000) families concerned. The government felt that the temporary solution submitted for these communities was too expensive, and contacted the local affiliate of SDI to discuss a permanent solution. The Ministry of Transport and Kenya Railways entered a concession agreement with the World Bank, which meant that observation of safety standard needed to be observed.

The project's impact has been the enforcement of the global position that Government must bear the cost of displacements. Furthermore, the principles adopted in the RAP have been adopted in proposals put forward ahead of the discussion of the Evictions and Settlement Bill, 2014


SDI Contributions:

The finance committed to this project (US$127,000) was in the form of technical assistance and not capital expenditures. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

A total of twenty-one savings schemes participated in the project; seventeen (17) savings schemes were set up in Kibera and four (4) saving scheme in Mukuru. Hpwever, the community did not have to contribute (financially) to the housing and businesses. Community participation in this project was in the form of profiling teh settlements and collecting enumeration data and generating a list to be used to resettle residents. No loans were disbursed towards this project. 

Economic and Social Rights Centre. (2012). Draft Eviction and Resettlement Guidelines and Draft Bill, 2012. [Online]. Available:
Republic of Kenya. (2012). Land Act, 2012 (Act No. 6 of 2012). [Online]. Available:
Republic of Kenya. (2012b). Land Registration Act, 2012 (Act No. 3 of 2012). [Online]. Available:
Republic of Kenya. (2012c). National Land Commission Act, 2012 (Act No. 5 of 2012). [Online]. Available:
Republic of Kenya. (2014). The Evictions and Resettlement Bill, 2014. [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Ford Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Homeless Peoples' Federation of Tanzania

Muungano wa Wanavijiji

Akiba Mashinani Trust

Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Rockefeller Foundation