Preparation of Slum Initiative, Freetown
Actual Completion Date
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
A key lesson learned is that strong commitment from the Central Government, especially in small post-conflict countries with centralized administration and resources, is essential. This catalyzes support by lower levels of government.
Following the end of the armed conflict in Sierra Leone, slums and informal settlements in the country are on the increase. Sierra Leone has not adopted a national approach to the issue of slums and informal settlements. However, the new, democratically elected Government is keen to initiate the process of formulating a strategy, which would translate into a road map and lead the interventions related to urban slums. The Government is also interested to develop national policies to guide the approach to issues of slum and informal settlements, such as rights and access to land and services. This preparatory grant aims to enable policy makers and engage stakeholders for developing a proposal for strategy formulation to tackle the issues related to informal settlements.
The objectives of the preparatory initiative include: (i) commencing the process of strategy formulation and engaging stakeholders and policy makers in discussion on slum issues; (ii) identifying systemic issues as underlying causes for slum development and expansion; (iii) developing a slum and informal settlements strategy outline focused at measures for slum prevention and slum upgrading of selected areas to improve immediate living conditions; (iv) making preparatory activities for the next phase which is expected to produce a full-fledged strategy and a detailed road-map of activities.
1) Stocktaking, analyses of available information, consultations with city dwellers, policy makers, technicians, and planning agencies. The views of all stakeholders will be sought through participatory meetings, sessions and interviews; using the available information (social-economic, state of physical infrastructure, government priorities, etc) to understand the underlying causes behind the pattern of slum development 2) Develop a slum and informal settlements strategy outline validated at a workshop with stakeholders 3) The next steps for the formulation and adoption of a full-fledged strategy document with detailed road map will be prescribed and preparatory activities will be made, to include: (a) a list of studies/technical inputs/data that need to be undertaken/collected to guide the strategy formulation process; (b) application for funding from the Cities Alliance will be drafted; (c) an equitable approach in allocating a budget envelope among communities for physical slum upgrades will be developed.
Expected Impacts and Results
The process to develop a strategy outline facilitated the Government’s commitment to formulate a full-fledged slum and informal settlements strategy, which would translate into a road map and lead the interventions related to slums. By the end of the Slum Initiative (3 workshops and related events), the Government seemed to have accepted that slum dwellers should participate in the process of designing the future skyline of Freetown; and reversely - that sidelining them would set up the implementation of the master plan for a failure. Developing a strategy outline supported by key stakeholders as a result of an open, consultative approach was an indicator signaling a successfully implemented activity.