Report of DeLoG in DiaLoGue - Transforming DLG: G for Gender #4 - Barriers to Women’s Participation in Informal Urban Settlements

During the fourth session of the DeLoG in DiaLoGue series, experts presented practical tools to support inclusive urban development planning and how women and girls as changemakers and local leaders tackle challenges in informal urban settlements.

DeLoG in DiaLoGue – Transforming DLG: G for Gender is a series of informal expert conversations focused on gender transformative approaches. Each session is dedicated to one member and partner to showcase their approach. In the last session Dorothee Segiet and Laura Hartmann from GIZ as well Maëlle Salzinger from ECDPM talked about  risks and benefits of digitalisation for women’s political participation at the local level. On the fourth session on 25th October, we invited Elin Andersdotter Fabre from UN-Habitat, Jane Wairutu from Shack Dwellers International Kenya as well as Dorice Moseti from Muungano wa Wanavijij, a social movement of 'slum' residents and urban poor people in Kenya, which is fostering partnerships with local governments and supports improving the conditions in informal urban settlements based on a community-led approach.

The event took place during the 2022 Urban October, held under the theme ‘Mind the Gap. Leave No One and No Place Behind’ and focused on barriers and challenges women and girls living in informal settlements face. Elin Andersdotter Fabre presented  the ‘Her City Programme’ in Kenya, which aims to support urban development from a girl’s and women’s perspective and guides urban actors to implement projects through a step-by-step methodology.

Developed during the last two years, the ‘Her City Toolbox’ is a digitally accessible platform and consists of tools like checklists, agendas, surveys, apps and interactive maps. The Programme is based on an intersectional perspective, including, the youth, refugees, minorities, the LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities. Watch Elin Fabre's input here.

Jane Wairutu, Project Manager at Slum Dwellers International – Kenya, gave insights about  the women’s daily life in informal settlements. Often, women face gender-based discrimination and violence, and  lack the access and resources to participate in community meetings, where the agenda is often set by men. Due to childcare and other duties, women cannot actively participate in urban development efforts , especially because access to basic services like schools, daycare centers. Watch Jane Wairutu's input here.

Finally, Dorice Moseti, Community Leader from Mukuru Kwa Rueben, presented the women and sanitation campaign in Mukuru, one of the largest urban informal settlements in Kenya. The Mukuru settlement is based on private land close to an industrial area. Basic services like access to water, sanitation facilities and roads are lacking. Dorice Moseti has championed the rights of women to access basic sanitation in her community where she mobilised over 15,000 women to protest against the lack of proper sanitation in their residents. Watch Dorice Moseti's input here.

During the follow-up discussion, the speakers explained how the COVID-19 pandemic changed their work. Even though the number of people taking part in meetings had to be reduced, most vulnerable community members like women, pregnant girls and elderly got support. Also a digitisation push was observed with increased data collection by communities with the support of SDI, which helped making the case for improved service delivery and helped authorities in Kenya to monitor developments in informal settlements during the pandemic.