‘ Building’ Social Capital and Solidarity amongst the  Urban Poor An Exploration of the role of Organisations of the Urban...
Why is Social Capital important in Urban Environments Local officials? NGOs? ? Resources Information Who should represent ...
Kisumu, Kenya (Associated Press)
<ul><li>Many self-help groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>women’s, youths, mixed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community Based Organisa...
Makika Local Network, Kisumu, Kenya
Two Organisations of the Urban Poor Neighbourhood Planning Associations (NPA) Slum Dwellers Federation (SDF) Sources: Focu...
Neighbourhood Planning Associations <ul><li>Formed by NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Outward looking </li></ul><ul><li>Even distri...
Neighbourhood Planning Associations <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Limits to growth,  </li></ul><ul><li>How much are they ...
Slum Dwellers Federation <ul><li>Flexible and dynamic  </li></ul><ul><li>Better at linking existing SC </li></ul><ul><li>E...
Slum Dwellers Federation <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Not an even representation </li></ul><ul><li>Risk strengthening th...
Both Organisations <ul><li>Exclude those who are the poorest (membership, contributions to savings and loaning etc.) </li>...
Discussion <ul><li>Understand existing Social Capital (SC) </li></ul><ul><li>Aim to strengthen existing SC with inclusivit...
<ul><li>Organisations of the Urban Poor can be significant actors in ‘building’ the social capital of the Urban Poor </li>...
<ul><li>“ the successes of participation within  contemporary development policy and practice have depended upon them bein...
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Can Organisations of the Urban Poor be Significant Actors in 'building' Social Capital?

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In 2005 Sattherthwaite and D’Cruz made the bold assertion that ‘Perhaps the most significant initiative today in urban areas of Africa and Asia in addressing poverty… is the work of organizations and federations formed and run by the urban poor or homeless’. With growing numbers of NGOs in urban areas, as well as pressure on governments to increase citizen involvement in decision-making, large-scale Organisations of the Urban Poor (OUPs) are becoming recognised as potentially important civil society actors in urban decision-making and implementation. Urban poor federations such as Slum Dwellers International (SDI) have spread rapidly through the developing world, while at the same time NGOs have begun supporting umbrella groups as longer-term representatives of the urban poor.

In Kisumu (one of the fastest growing cities in Kenya and focus of the 2007 post-election violence), both SDI and NGO supported groups are operating in several wards of the city, attempting to perform similar functions of representation and coordination in the community. However, there are differences both in their supporting organisations, and in the way the groups themselves are structured and function internally. For example, while NGO supported groups may be seen as less antagonistic, and therefore perhaps better able to connect to local state actors, they may also be more constrained by the same overarching structures of donor aid and financing that has been found to limit the NGOs which support them. So how representative are they? Do they increase solidarity? And how do they influence, or are they influenced by external actors? This paper presents early findings from research into the Horizontal and Vertical Social Capital of SDI and NGO supported umbrella groups in Kisumu in order to understand how effective these groups are in their intended role as bridges between external partners and the community.

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Can Organisations of the Urban Poor be Significant Actors in 'building' Social Capital?

  1. 1. ‘ Building’ Social Capital and Solidarity amongst the Urban Poor An Exploration of the role of Organisations of the Urban Poor (OUPs) in Kisumu, Kenya Caroline Cage London South Bank University
  2. 2. Why is Social Capital important in Urban Environments Local officials? NGOs? ? Resources Information Who should represent the Urban Poor? The poor themselves?
  3. 3. Kisumu, Kenya (Associated Press)
  4. 4. <ul><li>Many self-help groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>women’s, youths, mixed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community Based Organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Microfinance organisations </li></ul>Social Capital in Kisumu’s slum areas is dynamic Source: Interviews with representatives of the Social Services Department (responsible for registering groups in Kisumu), NGO representatives and informal conversations with group members within and outside OUPs
  5. 5. Makika Local Network, Kisumu, Kenya
  6. 6. Two Organisations of the Urban Poor Neighbourhood Planning Associations (NPA) Slum Dwellers Federation (SDF) Sources: Focus group sessions with OUP higher and lower level groups. In-depth interviews with members of smaller lower level groups. Observations in the field. Interviews with government officials and NGOs working in the two areas
  7. 7. Neighbourhood Planning Associations <ul><li>Formed by NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Outward looking </li></ul><ul><li>Even distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Officially registered and connected to local officials </li></ul>
  8. 8. Neighbourhood Planning Associations <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Limits to growth, </li></ul><ul><li>How much are they reliant on, guided or controlled by external actors? </li></ul><ul><li>Long term goals are hard to sustain </li></ul>
  9. 9. Slum Dwellers Federation <ul><li>Flexible and dynamic </li></ul><ul><li>Better at linking existing SC </li></ul><ul><li>Empower marginalised members </li></ul><ul><li>Short term goals build solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Long term goals and investment in the group build cohesion </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate representatives? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Slum Dwellers Federation <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Not an even representation </li></ul><ul><li>Risk strengthening the networks of elites? </li></ul><ul><li>Less well connected to local stakeholders / structures </li></ul><ul><li>Still dependent on external support (financial management, representation, links to external partners) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Both Organisations <ul><li>Exclude those who are the poorest (membership, contributions to savings and loaning etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Have issues with poor participation at the umbrella group level </li></ul><ul><li>Are dependent on external support </li></ul>
  12. 12. Discussion <ul><li>Understand existing Social Capital (SC) </li></ul><ul><li>Aim to strengthen existing SC with inclusivity </li></ul><ul><li>Economic empowerment and shared resources can strengthen SC </li></ul><ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen the SC for who? </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible for who? </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled by who? </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term bonding SC / long-term goals </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Organisations of the Urban Poor can be significant actors in ‘building’ the social capital of the Urban Poor </li></ul><ul><li>But both organisations in this study… </li></ul><ul><li>Are still dependent on external support </li></ul><ul><li>And both exclude some of the most vulnerable </li></ul><ul><li>Until structural societal inequalities are changed can Organisations of the Urban Poor be sustainable and inclusive without support? </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ the successes of participation within contemporary development policy and practice have depended upon them being part of a broader project that is at once political and radical. By this we mean a project that seeks to directly challenge existing power relations rather than simply work around them for more technically efficient service delivery” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hickey and Mohan, 2005) </li></ul>The pursuit of “ participation as citizenship ”

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