Expert-led vs. participatory development – What can we learn from the Kenyan slum upgrading programmes?

Authors: Ráhel Czirják*, Pallas Athene Geopolitical Foundation
Topics: Urban Geography, Africa, Development
Keywords: slum upgrading, participatory planning, Kenya, Kibera, Kitale
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Muses, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Slum upgrading has become a highly relevant issue on the fastest urbanizing continent, Africa, where more than half of the urban population (56%) live in slums – due to the urbanization crisis existing in the developing world. In connection with upgrading two development types can be differentiated based on the stakeholders, participating in the development process: on the one hand there is the conventional, expert-led development, when a professional developer – as an external participant who isn’t affected by the difficulties directly – explores the problems and works out the solution. This is the most common method in international development cooperation practice – despite that inclusion and partnership have become key words in the developmental discourse. On the other hand, however, the participatory, or community development operates with the active attendance of people directly affected by the problems: the slum dwellers articulate their problems and work out solutions with the assistance, and coordination of the facilitator. In my paper I compare the two types of development through two slum development programmes in Kenya – the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme in Kibera, as an instance of expert-led development, and the BiP:PUP project in Kitale to demonstrate the participatory development. Through the conclusion of the analysis, my aim is to enhance the efficiency of the international development cooperations.

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