Building Forward Better: Inclusive Livelihood Support in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements

Volume 52 Number 1
Published: March 25, 2021

For the large population living in Nairobi’s informal settlements, the long-term effects of Covid-19 pose a threat to livelihoods, health, and wellbeing. For those working in the informal sector, who are the lifeblood of the city, livelihoods have been severely supressed by Covid-19 restrictions such as curfews, pushing many into further poverty. This article draws on community data, meetings, and authors’ observations as community organisers, to explore the challenges posed by existing government responses from a community development perspective. We found that poor accountability structures and targeted income support only for the ‘most vulnerable’ exacerbates tensions, mistrust, and insecurity among already vulnerable communities. We draw on a rapid desk review of existing literature to argue that community-led enumeration to validate entitlement claims, improved accountability for distribution, and widening income support is required to build solidarity and improve the future resilience of these communities.

From Issue: Vol. 52 No. 1 (2021) | Building a Better World: The Crisis and Opportunity of Covid-19