The country is considered one of the most promising in Africa. The state in the heart of East Africa has undergone drastic political and economic changes - especially in the last ten years. Many people in the cities now have good opportunities for development and advancement. Construction is booming, especially in the metropolises of Nairobi and Mombasa. The economy is growing and with it a new middle class. These are well-trained young people with lucrative jobs and good incomes. Many people are drawn from the countryside to the city because they hope for better living conditions there. About a quarter of Kenya's population now lives in cities and towns, but many struggle after the leap into the big city and find themselves in the slums of the metropolises. Over half of Kenya's urban population now live in slums. These are millions of people who are still not able to benefit from the "African awakening”.

The government of Kenya has been undertaking considerable steps towards slum upgrading in several urban areas since 2004. It is also supported by civil society and faith-based organizations, and the private sector driven, multi storey tenements. Notable initiatives include the promotion of housing cooperative movements and in-situ slum upgrading with community involvement.

The adoption of the Kenya Constitution in 2010 promotes a decentralized system of governance and this has allowed for local consultation at the county government level. Water, sanitation and urban management are some of the devolved functions that are now handled locally. The Urban Areas Act 2013 has provided a legal framework to national and county governments to manage urban developments. The government has provided a consultative forum towards drafting the Kenya Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy that will guide various actors on slum upgrading and prevention.

PSUP Contributions and Achievements

Phase 3 of PSUP is being implemented in Mtwapa Township, Kilifi County. The County Government of Kilifi is coordinating the implementation at the local level, while the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development coordinates the programme nationally. The County Government of Kilifi has integrated the development programmes with the PSUP and has budgeted USD 150,000 towards the intervention projects in Mtwapa. The National government has contributed over USD 250,000 towards physical projects intended to improve the infrastructure for the residents. Using the PSUP approach to community participation in slum upgrading, the residents of Mtwapa formed Residents’ Committees through democratic elections, whereby broad representation was facilitated by inclusion of women, youth and people living with disabilities. Inclusion and participation of these community representatives is vital to the successful implementation of PSUP. The National and County Governments have included the residents in their consultation mechanism and project implementation through the Community Managed Funds (CMF). The CMF represents 10 per cent of the available funds being set aside for community prioritized and managed projects, thus improving the residents’ economic situation and entrepreneurial capacities.

To mobilize diverse groups into the project, an ICT based approach, dubbed e-Participation, was piloted in 2013 in partnership with Future Policy Modelling (FUPOL). The e-Participation relies on electronic media (blogs and social media) to mobilise the public and influence policy. The pilot Mtwapa-e-Participation is being used as a demonstration experience to expand this tool to the other 34 countries within the Africa, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) regions in which the PSUP is being implemented.