Kisumu to host international conference on adequate and affordable housing.

By Dickson Odhiambo

KISUMU City is set to host an International Conference on adequate and affordable housing next month. The Conference which is set to kick off on March 19 to 21 is expected to attract about 200 participants both locally and internationally. Addressing the press in Kisumu today, Grass root Trust Coordinator Lawrence Apiyo said decent shelter is fundamental to physical and psychological well-being and the social stability of communities hence has necessitated the move to have the international conference.

Apiyo says it has a central importance to quality of life and human dignity with considerable economic, social, cultural significance. The Coordinator says the Conference is informed by the following trends namely; Global and local instruments that emphasize the importance of the right to adequate housing, Sustainable Development Goal number 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable “

He says others include Kenyan Constitution 2010 article 43(1-b) “Every Person has a right to accessible and adequate housing and to a reasonable standard of sanitation”

Lawrence Apiyo
The Co-ordinator

This places the mandate of the County Governments in Schedule four (4) number eight (8) (c) with the national government providing policy direction and the social pillar of Kenya Vision 2030 provision of adequate housing is given prominence .

  • This include The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 recognizes the right to adequate housing as an important component of the right to adequate standard of living
  • The human right to adequate housing
  • housing is the right of every woman, man, youth and child
  • to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity

He adds that the inexorable urbanization of the developing world is creating a massive shortage of adequate and affordable housing, especially for low income families. Lack of housing options for the growing urban population continues to drive ever increasing numbers into informal shelter.

“The country must, therefore, plan for high quality urban livelihoods for most of her people by that date. The 2030 vision for housing and urbanization is “an adequately and decently-housed nation in a sustainable environment.

This will be attained through better development of and access to affordable and adequate housing, enhanced access to adequate finance for developers and buyers, pursuit of targeted key reforms to unlock the potential of the housing sector, initiation of a nationwide urban planning and development campaign, starting with Kenya’s major cities and towns”, the statement adds.

The Government of Kenya, under its five year (2017-2022) development agenda also known as the Big4 Agenda, outlines “Affordable Housing”.

Agenda 6 (six) of the Kisumu Governor; Provide decent housing in inclusive towns, semi-urban centers and villages;

The progressive realization of this agenda 4 - Affordable housing requires a systematic engagements at two levels namely:-

Local level engagement of the Civil Society organizations (NGOs, Grassroots Communities, Faith Based organizations etc.). This Enables communities and the public at large to provide their input and ownership of the process.

National Level engagement with the National Government which is strengthened by the devolved systems of Government.

This greater need has informed Grassroots Trust for Community Organizations in Kenya (GRACTO-K) initiative to organize an international housing conference in Kisumu.

The initiative brings together key players including the County Government of Kisumu, City council of Kisumu, Civil Societies and international development partners and experts working in housing and urban development

Overall goal is to ensure that the Organizations dealing with housing and urban development in Kisumu and other cities of Kenya, improve engagement with National and County housing on policies focusing on the lowest income groups and thus contributing to the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing.

Some of the objectives of the conference is to identify obstacles or factors hindering realization of affordable housing and implementable or mitigating strategies adopted at the Conference Share experiences and challenges and discuss the sector trends forging joint interventions.

Others include to offer a medium for networking and cooperation across sectors in matters related to the right to adequate and affordable housing with a theme on Adequate and Affordable Housing for all

The conference proceedings are expected to Provide implementable/mitigating strategies adopted at the conference as well as Formulating a best practice in the provision of affordable housing in specific in the implementation of Sustainable development goal 11 and NUA that can be replicated in other Cities in developing Countries.

The other is to Place Kenyan and Kisumu City in particular ahead of other African cities and towns in implementing the sustainable development goals especially goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda and leading in meeting the international standards on adequate and affordable housing.

Local housing initiatives by the National and County governments and people’s cooperative housing initiatives, grassroots organizations and networks of those organizations improve their knowledge and Skills about possible affordable housing development strategies.

The other is to establish a stakeholder platform that progresses matters housing at County and National Levels.

Other partners in the organization of the conference include Transparency International, Kenya Female Advisory Organization, Community Empowerment and Media Initiative, Transform empowerment for Action Initiative {TEAM}, KINGA, DANIDA CARE, COPA-K, CEA-Media Africa among others.