Nairobi County Special Housing Fund: supporting its development through the analysis of secondary data

One in seven of the world’s population lives in informal settlements in towns and cities of the global South. Informal settlement upgrading is a more progressive and inclusive approach to addressing housing needs than relocation, but there are few examples of upgrading at scale particularly in Africa.

Resident in Nairobi

SDI Kenya and their partner agencies in the Muungano Alliance have secured the commitment of Nairobi County (the local government) to declare Mukuru a Special Planning Area (gazetted August 2017), and to work with them on introducing a Special Housing Fund to support investment in this neighbourhood.

There are currently just over 100,000 households living in this informal area proximate to the centre of Nairobi and adjacent to an industrial area. Considerable finance will be needed to upgrade this area, and local residents have an essential role to play in contributing to the costs of their own housing improvements.


This project seeks to analyse existing savings and housing loan data held by the partner agencies to understand the potential for the Nairobi County Special Housing Fund to develop an approach that is inclusive; it is a priority to ensure that no residents have to be relocated and that improvements are affordable to all.

This project is being carried out by Professor Diana Mitlin in collaboration with SDI Kenya, Muungano wa Wanavijiji and Akiba Mashinani Trust. It is funded by ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, Global Challenges Research Fund (NGO Data Fund). 


This project will:

  • Strengthen an innovative approach to informal settlement upgrading
  • Build expertise within Nairobi County
  • Contribute to the Presidential priority of affordable housing
  • Support the work of UN Habitat in informal settlement upgrading with appropriate finance. UN-Habitat are involved in a complementary effort to support the development of the Fund.
  • Support the social movement Muungano waWanavijij and AMT through analysing experiences of housing lending