Recently, as part of our strategic focus for the year 2018, we’ve embarked on several visits to existing and expanding urban slums, emerging slums in and around the Federal Capital Territory in a bid to understand the impact of urbanization in the FCT, development planning and urban poverty in the relation to slums.
Our objective is to understand the depth of urban poverty and why government tailored propoor interventions has not the altered the poverty compass in over four decades now.
Our methodology was to select a pilot urban slum (Mabushi village), a slum settlement in the heart of the federal capital territory with all the indices of a slum. We embedded ten (10) trained young individuals with ethnographic research skills, relationship and psychological human analysis skills, photo—documentary skills into the slum without altering the natural sequence of the slum life.
Our team of researchers lived in the slum, and experienced all the phases of life by seeking for jobs in the day and bustling with the people at night. This approach helped our team bond naturally with the people and their acceptance by the people opened up space to probe into the personal lives of the people they had contact with, shared in the pains and celebrated their little successes over life daily struggles.
With a sense of awareness by our team in the slum, they were able to guide the to guide the locales into organizing themselves and seeking to harness their social capital into solving their most pressing needs through a platform tagged “Local solution Lab”. The local solution lab facilitated by our team members who were not embedded into the slum created a sharing opportunity for both the young and old to discuss freely about their shared problems and interest ( this is something that seldom happens, as only the council of chiefs hold meetings and then announces their resolutions to the people).
The identified prioritized needs and solutions became a charter of demand for the people, a tool with which they now will use to engage with political candidates who come seeking for votes and attempting to lure some youths into nefarious acts.
Our overarching goal is to expose our findings to government, policymakers and development partners on proactive sustainable pro-poor interventions that will have meaningful impact on the economic status of urban poor, build sustainable business in slums; operated by slum dwellers and also create a learning system through which young people in slums can acquire trainings that can change/break the cycle of poverty that envelops them.