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Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities:

Examining the Basic Urban Services Strategy in Embu, Kenya

Jennifer Lenhart Sustainability Strategist Malmö City Environment Department, formally associated to UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya [email protected]


Climate change aggravates existing environmental, social and economic challenges in impoverished urban communities. As one mechanism of support, UN-Habitat incorporates basic urban services (BUS) to mobilise urban residents via community empowerment. BUS strategies include equity and financing for adaptation, capacity-building, infrastructure support and environmental protection. A critical component is the role of social networks. This research examines a BUS pilot-project as a mechanism to address climate vulnerability in Dallas, Kenya. It addresses how social networks can activate local adaptations in impoverished communities ­ the existing social structure providing a platform to climate transmit knowledge. In such a case, the role of community financing is imperative, as it captures attention, secures a network structure and creates a sense of empowerment.

Key Words: Climate Change, Urban Slums, Local Government, Basic Urban Services, Poverty Alleviation Community Based Organisation, Social Networks, Community Based Adaptation, Climate Communication, Community Financing and Small-Scale Loans

Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009


Climate change impacts natural and built environments, aggravating existing environmental, social and economic challenges (UN-Habitat, 2008). Further, the most impoverished sections of a city are often most at risk to climate change impacts, because of the lack of adaptive capacity or representation in governance structures. Often the urban poor are not seen as a critical element of a city's economy, but perceived to hold back a city's success, viewed as part of the problem and consequently less integrated in decision-making or climate adaptation plans (Satterthwaite et al., 2007). Official urban policies can actually increase poor people's exposure to climate shocks, rather than reduce them (ibid). Conversely, to support urban adaptation to climate change, community representatives should be included in decision-making processes to understand and influence local climate actions ­ in terms of both information dissemination and how to improve and adapt infrastructure and lifestyle behaviours. As one possible suggestion to facilitate local climate adaptation and provide a platform to assist local capacity building in impoverished communities, UN-Habitat incorporates basic urban services (BUS) programmes to mobilize impoverished urban residents via community empowerment. BUS strategies include equity and financing for adaptation (small-scale loans executed within community based organizations, CBOs); capacitybuilding and infrastructure support for slum-upgrading; as well as local environmental protection. A critical component is the creation or utilization of (existing) social networks to manage such schemes. This research examines one such BUS implementation as a mechanism to address climate change vulnerability in an in informal urban settlement. Dallas Slum in Embu, Kenya has a population of approximately 18,000 with most residents living in semi-permanent structures, ill-prepared for climate change. The village was founded in 1963 when Muslim elders from across Kenya settled in Embu, but were denied secure land tenure as they were not of the local tribe. During national land allocation in 1965, local citizens decided the Muslim minority should vacate the occupied land. Faced with this, the community collaborated to raise funds for a small portion of land which was sub-divided and allocated to its members, the Dallas Muslim Village. Since, this community has maintained a common link to its shared history and this spirit of collaboration remains vital to the community's existence. It is this social-support structure in Dallas that is interesting in terms of how communities can learn to adapt to climate change and what mechanisms can be effective concerning climate communication and capacity building for local adaptation. As such, Dallas CBO was examined as an example of how social networks (in this case enforced by the BUS setup) can help mobilize impoverished communities to extend localized climate change actions. The existing social structure provides a platform by which to transmit knowledge concerning climate change at the grassroots level ­ particularly via a component of income-generation or income-support (here small-scale lending schemes). In this case, financial security is crucial, as impoverished communities will not address climate change if they only have enough means for daily survival.


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 Dallas has a proven willingness to work towards mutual benefits ­ its pre-existing social capital a reason for selection as a BUS site. The CBO structure provides a platform to transmit ideas, whilst increasing empowerment and community solidarity. Such grassroots responses supported by community engagement can extend local government accountability in support of pro-poor climate strategies. And while it appears that residents currently have limited awareness of climate change, the present social network creates an apt platform to mobilize local environmental defences to facilitate the climate change agenda. In conducting the research, Dallas CBO, local government officials and research institutions were interviewed to identify the effectiveness of the existing BUS strategy and how it can be expanded to incorporate climate communication and local adaptation strategies. A site visit examined the urban fabric as well as local infrastructure, existing environmental hazards, and to identify potential activities to address climate change adaptation linked to an improved financial security for the community. Primary figures are from UN-Habitat, acquired during a preliminary site-visit (together with fellow intern Paola Kim-Blanco) and also attained during a six month internship. Additional data was obtained during interviews and later research.


As concentrations of population, cities are sources of enterprise, support public infrastructure, stimulate evolving cultural practices and support the expansion of ideas and related policies, including good governance and public participation. In addition to the benefits of urban living, cities require vast areas of land, energy and natural resources, generating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and wastes influencing climate change and other global and local environmental challenges. Beyond contributions to climate change, cities are influenced by it ­ particularly as urban populations expand faster than cities are able to provide sufficient infrastructure or services (Huq et al., 2006). Climate change impacts natural and built environments, aggravating existing environmental, social and economic challenges in cities, especially in poorer urban communities. UN-Habitat estimates globally one billion reside in slums, of which 30 to 40% are located in areas prone to floods, landslides or other natural disasters ­ further exacerbated by climate change (2008). Further, much of the financing to support adaptive capacity often favour professionally designed projects that reinforce the poor as beneficiaries (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, 2008). Addressing climate change in vulnerable urban communities must be inclusive, peoplecentred and address constraints and challenges, as well as recognizing the inherent and often overlooked strengths (Mahadevia, 2001). Community-based adaptation (CBA) can help to build awareness and subsequent community resilience regarding the effects of climate change and also how to harness community perception and local knowledge strategies (Swalheim and Dodman, 2008). Important also, is the role of governance


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 structures, government support and appropriate communication strategies to facilitate CBA strategies in impoverished urban communities (Moser and Satterthwaite, 2008). First, to create a platform for urban residents to be part of the process: via a component of information dissemination to facilitate vulnerable communities to understand related environmental challenges. Secondly, by utilizing social structures by which to raise a collective voice as to the sincere concerns and realities faced by various urban communities, especially in informal settlements and city slums. And third, to provide an avenue to engage citizen participation and citizen action within social networks and community-based organisations (CBOs) to understand, learn from and develop local or even traditional CBA strategies. Cities, through the process of engaging their citizenry, have the ability to create unique and effective solutions to curb localized environmental and social harms, engaging grassroots approaches catered to specific circumstances (Chakrabarti, 2001). But the question is how to create synergies and channel such movements or networks? How can we incorporate CBA strategies to create resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly urban communities that simultaneously promote social fulfilment and economic security, particularly in informal settlements? How can informal and institutionalized networks drive local strategies to prepare urban areas for climate change? Evidently climate change is not the only urban environmental challenge, but currently receives significant attention at global and local levels. Further, it highlights that we can not see any one environmental challenge separately, but instead they are interlinked ­ as plainly displayed in both social systems and in provision of services and infrastructure. UN-Habitat's basic urban services (BUS) strategy is one method by which to link the social structure to the physical provision of services. BUS strategies attempt to mobilize impoverished urban residents to improve living standards and environmental conditions by engaging community residents within a CBO structure, supported initially by seed funding by which to mobilise community interest. While not the first intention of BUS, the incorporation of community-financing schemes can help capture the interest and prolonged attention of an impoverished community. And when such loans are distributed within a CBO-structure, they can help stabilize an informal social network already existent within the community or help to initiate new networks ­ providing an apt means by which to capture attention and disseminate and exchange information related to specific environmental (or socioeconomic) challenges. A critical component here is the creation or strengthening of (existing) networks to manage such schemes, to spread environmental information and stimulate locallyappropriate CBA actions. In this example, financial security is central and holds attention, as impoverished communities will not address climate change or other environmental challenges if they only have enough means for daily survival.



Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 Dallas Slum is an informal community with significant socioeconomic and environmental challenges, including 1) a lack of proper sanitation; 2) perennial flooding; 3) high unemployment; and 4) urban poverty. Despite challenges, the community has a strong and united support structure based on its unique history, with an underlying willingness to work as a group to achieve mutual benefits (Umande Trust, 2007). Dallas Village was visited to address the effectiveness of the basic urban services (BUS) project and to analyse if BUS could later incorporate localised climate communication strategies or CBA activities. Preliminary interviews and observational analysis were conducted by Paola Kim-Blanco and Jennifer Lenhart. The case study visit included meetings with members of Dallas's CBO executive board and its community councillor, women from the Dallas Women and Youth Initiative (DWYI), as well as interviews and discussions with officials from Embu's local authority, including the district officer and the community councillor as well as KARI (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute) an environmental research institute with a research facility located in Embu. According to an interview in August 2008, Embu's District Officer, Mr. Phillip Kangathe, Dallas is a cosmopolitan community consisting of many tribes from across the Mt. Kenya region. Migrants first settled in Embu in the 1950s and 1960s when it was the administrative centre of the former British colonial regime. As numbers proved abundant it became difficult to access land. As such, the Matakari Muslims organized and applied for land jointly. This community was able to unite partially because of their strong link to each other based on their minority status in the region. (In Kenya, tribal and religious affiliations remain significant in terms of identity and land access, at least traditionally). According to Mr. Kangathe, this was a fundamental reason as to why Dallas was selected as a pilot BUS project (in addition to the poverty levels and obvious environmental burdens in the community). Consequently, in part due to Dallas's pre-existing social support structure, it was chosen as a pilot project to implement a BUS strategy. The project is supported by UN-Habitat and facilitated by Umande Trust, a Kenyan-based trust primarily assisting related water and sanitation projects. This strategy consists of three components: 1. Poverty alleviation (via a community finance lending scheme), 2. Housing improvement (Fabrication of bricks to facilitate more permanent buildings) 3. Flood Mitigation and Strom Water Drainage (Cleaning and improving the drainage of the wetland areas, and importantly improving the adaptation of the community to the influences of climate change) The municipality provides health facilities, schools, water, road access, and a dispensary, in part because of the proactive stance taken by Dallas's councillor, Ibrahim Swaleh according to Mr. Phillip Kangathe. Together with support from UN-Habitat and Umande Trust, the municipal council has offered to assist with infrastructural improvement (so called slum-upgrading). The municipality would like to see that the strong network and


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 community mobilization within Dallas encourages Embu's other informal settlements to follow Dallas's lead. Concerning the pilot BUS strategy, the first two components have already been implemented by Umande Trust. These include the implementation of the small lending scheme (to support the alleviation of poverty) as well as the fabrication of bricks in order to upgrade the building structures (current housing arrangements are of a more informal or temporary nature.) During the site visit in late August 2008, the third element related to the clean-up of the urban wetlands and alleviation of seasonal flooding of nearby homes, had so far been less addressed ­ as was discussed by interviewed residents and observed. In terms of awareness and community participation in CBA activities and local climate adaptation, this was perceived to (presently) be quite limited. However, according to observations and discussions with the community councillor, the social network enforced via the BUS strategy provides an apt platform by which to permeate information to the grass-root levels regarding climate impacts, raising awareness and building capacity for future adaptation strategies and action plans.

1. Dallas CBO and its role in facilitating the BUS project

Dallas Community Based Organization (Dallas CBO) is the umbrella organisation responsible for related community activities in Dallas, and functions with the support of an executive committee. Elected officials serve on the committee for three years on a voluntary basis. Dallas CBO has its own constitution, regulation and action plan and is accountable to the community during regular meetings and published reports. (In terms of the BUS implementation, reports are also sent to Umande Trust and sometimes also directly to UN-Habitat.) According to interviewed executive committee members, they are motivated to serve based on a responsibility to residents and a common identity, but also due to their shared religious affiliation. Although some committee members come from other religions, the Muslim faith serves as a common foundation facilitating group cohesion ­ in part due to its minority status. The current councillor of Dallas CBO is Ibrahim Swaleh. Before his position as councillor, Mr. Swaleh held previous positions as the finance chair and the environment chair. He is well respected and has been involved in the BUS strategy since the beginning ­ including the launch of the seed funding (women's savings groups) in February 2008. Mr. Swaleh encourages the development or enhancement of community sub-groups within the BUS framework and organizes bi-monthly meetings with community groups to discuss project progress, to uphold transparency, and ensure community empowerment and ownership. Mr. Swaleh also maintains communication to municipal officers, as well as Umande Trust and other stakeholders. Concerning its selection as a BUS pilot site, the executive committee recognizes that benefits are gradual and intended to bring long-term results. However, they also admit that the micro-credit scheme, as well as the fabrication of bricks to improve housing and


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 public infrastructure, have created more immediate and tangible results stirring community curiosity and generating project support ­ providing an interested audience and an apt platform to address climate change. The combination of short- and long-term activities has demonstrated that progress, in terms of living standards, is possible if they work together. In this regard, the executive committee identifies the following accomplishments of the BUS project: 1. Improved and more developed relationships among community members; 2. A platform to exchange differing viewpoints and learn from each other; 3. A linked benefit in which each of the three components of the BUS strategy strengthen the others, increasing its overall effectiveness; and 4. The inclusion of youth (as observers) creates community interaction and mentoring which can reduce peer pressure towards social delinquency or other hardships faced by improvised urban youth. An important result, thus far, is the enhanced dialogue amongst residents and the executive committee in terms of information dissemination and idea exchange to address socioeconomic and environmental challenges. For example, prior to the BUS pilotproject residents generally wanted to drain the two wetland areas that threaten the community with seasonal flooding. Now, after discussion with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and KARI (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute) in the context of the BUS setup, Dallas residents understand that maintaining the wetlands is beneficial in the long-term ­ potentially even acting as a possible climate control. Consequently, they have begun to understand the need to balance natural areas within the urban structure and to instead upgrade the environmental quality of the wetlands as opposed to removing them. And while Dallas is unique in terms of its strong community identity based on its distinctive history, the executive committee advocates that this model could be replicated in other villages so long as a similar executive board were to operate with transparency and accountability whilst engaging participation amongst community members. In its common activities Dallas CBO is broken into several smaller groups, of which the Dallas Women and Youth Initiative (DWYI) is discussed here. DWYI is broken into smaller sub-groups of women or youth who focus on a particular activity in terms of income generation or common interest (sub-divided often in terms of age, skills, location, or expectations). In support of the implementation of the BUS pilot project, DWYI has been organised in the following manner:


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009

BUS Leading Committee from Dallas CBO

Executive Committee consisting of a treasurer, secretary, chairman and vice-chairman address the three components within the Dallas BUS strategy which are managed by sub committees Savings Sub-committee Bricks Sub-committee Wetlands Sub-committee Different women groups within DWYI

Figure no 1: The structure within Dallas CBO to support the BUS project

Source: Based on conversations with the community, Umande Trust and Paola Kim-Blanco

2. DWYI and Daily Savings

With the support of UN-Habitat and via trainings conducted by Umande Trust, DWYI has become active in daily savings schemes. Participants (primarily women) contribute on a regular basis (daily or weekly) to build an individual `security deposit' granting them access to future loans. The internal organization is composed by women with shared interests. To facilitate group unity and friendship, the women foster initiatives such as `secret-friends' in addition to the daily saving activities within the merry-go round lending scheme set-up. (A merry-go-round is an informal scheme for borrowing and lending initiated by a group of people who come together and contribute an agreed amount of money from each member once a week or month. Each member has to save a small amount which is then handed over to a beneficiary. When all members in involved in the merry-go-round lending scheme have had their turn to receive the lump sum from contributing members, the cycle starts all over again.) Simple activities strengthen and enhance group cohesion amongst members stimulating a solid social network. The trust built amongst them is the platform for collaboration, consensus, and leadership. Most women involved in DWYI believe that the small-lending scheme has enabled them to improve living standards, support SME activities and mobilize a sense of empowerment amongst them as individuals and as community groups. Upon joining such community groups, the women have learned to save "a little by little" as stated in group discussion. As demonstrated by other studies, such initiatives benefit not only the women's groups or the individuals involved, but also their communities (Moser and Satterthwaite, 2008). Almost all of the women's groups in DWYI have enacted the merry-go-around scheme, which promotes community saving and provides an opportunity to receive a larger sum of money every so often. Some sub-groups within DWYI have used the funding to purchase common goods for their members, such as tools or dishes and cutlery, whilst 8

Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 others have invested to purchase land for community farming plots. Most women admit that the lending scheme has helped them to generate a vision of possibility as to what could be achieved, shifting their focus from daily survival towards where a possible direction for the community and their families in the future. Of course savings and credit form only the first layer of such a scheme. According to a workshop held on Community Finance in Asia in Africa, what is most important is not so much the financial support, but the psychological value ­ while such groups may form or become enhanced originally around community's savings, this then can generate greater confidence in terms of a CBO's management skills and other collective strengths (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, 2008). Consequently such a scheme can support their recognition that they are part of something and are important actors in their community's development process. It is in this perspective that the community councillor, Mr. Swaleh, wants the community and the women's groups to `own' both their right to develop the community as well to address local socioeconomic and environmental challenges ­ including addressing climate change and incorporating community based adaptation strategies. And while during the interview procedure, the overall awareness in terms of climate change and its impacts is low amongst Dallas residents and members of DWYI, there exists an opportunity to expand upon the established community link to incorporate CBA. Such a technique to relate community activities within a community finance scheme is well-researched, in terms of building social cohesion in such clusters. The NGO Development for Humane Action (DHA) combines micro-banking with skills training and social networking to build social capital and generate business opportunities for poor women (Moser and Satterthwaite, 2008). Consequently, in this case skills training could be in terms of climate communication and relevant CBA actions. Ibrahim Swaleh believes that the women's groups are an important facility by which to address local CBA strategies to incorporate climate change adaptation in Dallas. According to Mr. Swaleh women's groups can be more easily mobilised, because they are social and work well in a group structure as demonstrated by DWYI. More so, the councillor stated that women in Dallas are often traditionally less involved in a formalized work structure (and potentially have additional time to invest). They are enthusiastic about the long-term stability of Dallas, and passionate to create a platform to engage the community's youth. In general, Councillor Swaleh is satisfied with the current progress of the BUS project stating, "I believe we are going somewhere..." The community has responded positively, especially when members can tangibly witness project results ­ such as the production of bricks to improve infrastructure as well as seed-funding to support SME activities. Mr. Swaleh believes the BUS pilot project is effective in demonstrating the structure of community networking and is anxious to see it expand to new levels of engagement. Linking climate change communication and CBA activities could act as a next step.


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009

3. Challenges to the Seed-Funding Structure

In spite of the benefits of joining the DWYI small-scale lending schemes, challenges persist. Generally in interviews, women perceive that the money allocated to the microcredit mechanism is not sufficient. And while the seed funding is primarily intended to trigger small business improvements, and not large-scale investments such as the acquisition of land or house construction, the majority prefer to spend the loan surplus in the acquisition of land and houses, instead of SME activities. This consequently threatens the seed capital's integrity as it has not been able to increase at the same rate. Simultaneously, the desire to own property and housing in an already overcrowded urban area can lead to even greater congestion in Dallas. Unregulated and unplanned housing could exacerbate the community's vulnerability in terms of sanitation and health issues, stirring a heightened state of susceptibility and a weakened environmental condition. There is a need to mainstream common interests into a well-suited and wellcommunicated urban plan for Dallas. And while residents appear to be open to collaborate, it is imperative that information is transmitted to residents ­ utilising the already effective social networks, including Dallas CBO and DWYI. It is important that all stakeholder groups work together to help facilitate a better model for Dallas. Further, the integrity of the seed funding depends on sufficient communication as well as monitoring and enforcement to ensure that it remains a revolving fund which can create stronger benefits for a larger portion of the community.


Currently residents in Dallas, and in particular members of DWYI, have limited awareness concerning climate change or its predicted impacts, as was mentioned by the district officer and community councilor. Despite current awareness, there exists a potential to improve environmental defenses by working with the current structure as facilitated by the BUS strategy. In general, the local leadership has expressed its commitment and wiliness to support the women's groups, as they provide an apt social network by which to implement CSA activities, stating that DWYI sub-groups are enthusiastic, easy to mobilize and often eager to invest in community activities. An possible avenue by which to address climate change is to link information campaigns and possible adaptation action within this existing social network. Specifically, as community members are already formally linked within the current set-up to assist community-financing, this can provide a suitable configuration by which to facilitate climate communication and link environmental improvement projects. Important though, addressing climate change cannot only be about environmental services, but must highlight a component of an improved quality of life or a financial benefit. In this regard, Mr. Swaleh stated that citizens in Dallas will only "act" if or when they see money or a similar benefit is involved.


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009

The existing structure, supported by the BUS strategy retains interest from community members in part due to the community savings and credit scheme. This can simultaneously provide an avenue by which to disseminate information in terms of what climate change is, as well as the potential community-based adaptation items that DWYI as well as Dallas CBO could implement to improve the local environment and living standard. While such research is only in the beginning stages in Dallas, original discussions were held together with members of DWYI. An open dialogue with the women's groups demonstrated how linking environmental protection can actually facilitate cost-savings or income generation, whilst simultaneously facilitating CBA actions ­ generating so called win-win solutions. Such initial examples are listed below. See Figure 2. Food provision via Urban Agriculture (UA): UA supports local income generation whilst ensuring green areas in urban communities for climate adaptation. Investing in UA can provide access to fresh and local produce for Dallas residents and reduce daily living expenses. It improves urban food security and offers nutrition, ensures water perforation in dense urban communities and maintains open green spaces. While less relevant for residents who only have a minor ecological footprint, UA also reduces food miles and can be used as a pedagogical tool to inform the community about environmental services and the need to maintain a clean environment. Importantly, UA offers a source of income support (directly or indirectly) to vulnerable urban residents. Improved waste management services: While Dallas's emissions are minimal and the community should concentrate more so on climate adaptation as opposed to mitigation, segregating solid waste can facilitate improved waste management practices. Reusing and recycled waste reduces the need for raw materials and can support cost-savings within the community. Composting organic waste can improve urban soil quality and moisture content, concurrently improving the community's soil quality and the productivity UA. Particularly in dry months, better soil quality can ensure better agricultural returns. Reusing materials traditionally treated as waste: It is common in Dallas to openly burn plastic and other wastes, producing toxic gases inhaled by the community and in particular, children. Instead of openly burning plastics, such materials could be integrated into handicrafts (as a free raw material), providing for potential activities conducted by women's groups and improve Dallas's environmental condition. DWYI could then facilitate a cooperative by which to support the production and sales of such handicrafts, sold in either Nairobi or in various fair-trade gift boutiques in other cities. Biogas latrines: Umande Trust has already constructed several biogas latrines in various informal communities which improve management of liquid waste and sewage, reduce seepage and provide a free cooking fuel (methane generated). Currently seepage from pit-latrines is one of the challenges polluting the wetland areas in Dallas. Bio-latrines could help concentrate and manage sewage in the community in more appropriate


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009 faculties, which can help restore Dallas's natural environment. A side benefit is the creation of a free fuel source for cooking. Improving urban wetlands and the aesthetic appeal of Dallas: DWYI sub-groups could initiate activities, such as tree-planting, wetland restoration and related landscaping activities to improve the environmental quality of Dallas. This can also support further interacting whilst helping to regulate the urban climate and simultaneously provide potential sources of food or other resources, according to the community councilor Ibrahim Swaleh. Restoring natural water landscapes (including riverbeds, wetlands and marshlands) can improve the strength of natural services, increases habitat for urban biodiversity and provides natural protection against extreme weather events.

Build or utilize existing network or link by which to launch a new programme (Strength of social existing social structure) Include a component of financial stability by which to introduce the notion of long-term thinking and saving for the future

(As Examples)

Urban Agriculture: · Food security · Basic costs reduced · Local resources (less transport cost)

Introduce climate change Generate awareness concerning (global) climate change as well as how the community may have already experienced or witnessed (local) climate change impacts especially in urban areas and informal communities

Introduce the notion of Community-Based Adaptations (CBA) Address local strategies to address daily basic needs Importantly, specific actions (at local level) to combine climate adaptation with incomegenerating (or income support) activities (A component of financial security can attract attention amongst members of the CBO)

Waste Water Treatment: · Reduce contamination during flooding · Bio latrines: local energy capture · Improve condition of dams, fish habitat, recreation Waste Management: · Reduce waste burning · Use waste in handicrafts, recycling/reusing or other activities to create income Flood Control: · Harvest rainwater (saves expenses) · Maintain open areas for natural perforation (UA) · Work with town-plans · Tree planting, aquatic plants

CC Scenarios: · Rain patterns · Seasonal Flooding · Insects · Food cost, drought · Increased poverty

Figure no 2: Local strategies to improve living standards and CBA in Dallas

Source: Drafted by Jennifer Lenhart and Paola Kim-Blanco after a site-visit to Dallas


Empowering social networks to localize climate strategies in impoverished urban communities Fifth Urban Research Symposium 2009

1. Possibility for further research

As a disclaimer, most of the discussion included here linking climate communication and CBA strategies to Dallas's current BUS strategy is primarily theoretical. While an initial visit to the community was conducted, as well as interviews with key stakeholders from UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Umande Trust, Dallas local authorities, Dallas CBO and DWYI; they were done so on a preliminary basis for this report. The primary constraint which prohibited a proper implementation of the research with more concrete results was a lack of time availability and inability to revisit for repeated visits to measure progress (primarily due to a change in career and location). As such, the research discussed is more of a desk study. However, this case will be revisited during PhD studies to examine the role of social networks in promoting an environmental agenda in the urban fabric.


Asian Coalition for Housing Rights. (2008). "Community Finance: the news from Asia and Africa" International Institute for Environment and Development, (IIED) London. Chakrabarti, P. G. D. (May 2001). "Urban Crisis in India: New Initiatives for Sustainable Cities." Development in Practice. 11 (2 & 3): 260- 272. Huq, S. and Reid, H. "Community-Based Adaptation: A Vital Approach to the Threat Climate Change Poses to the Poor" IIED. London, 2007. Huq, S.; Reid, H. and Murray L. A. (2006) "Climate Change and Development Links" The Gatekeeper Series, IIED. London. Mahadevia, D. (May 2001) "Sustainable Urban Development in India: An Inclusive" Approach. Development in Practice. 11 (2 & 3): 242- 259. Moser, C. and Satterthwaite, D. (2008). Towards pro-poor adaptation to climate change in the urban centres of low and middle-income countries. IIED, London. Satterthwaite, D.; Huq, S.; Pelling, M.; Reid, H. and Romero-Lankao, P. (2007) "Adapting to Climate Change in Urban Areas: The Possibilities and Constraints in Low- and Middle-income Nations". IIED, London. Swalheim, S. and Dodman, D. (2008). "Building resilience: how the urban poor can drive climate adaptation." IIED, London. Umande Trust (2007). "Proposed Dallas Integrated Basic Urban Services Project". Proposal submitted to UN-Habitat by Umande Trust, Nairobi. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). (2008). State of the World's Cities 2008/2009. UN-Habitat, Nairobi. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). (2008). Cities and Climate Change Initiative. UN-Habitat, Nairobi.



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