Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP)

Home > Projects > Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP)

KENSUP has the goal of improving the livelihood of 5.3 million slum dwellers in Kenya by 2020. The programme was initiated in 2001, and by 2003 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Kenya and UN-HABITAT outlining a strategy for project implementation.

Project partners include:

The implementation of the KENSUP falls under the Government of Kenya, the Local Authorities and UN-HABITAT.  An Inter-Agency Steering Committee with members from each organization was set up for approval of policy decisions, giving policy direction and reporting to the Head of State. KENSUP is financially supported by UN-HABITAT and estimated cost of implementation is 884 billion Kenyan shillings (USD 13 billion).

In Nairobi, KENSUP engages in community mobilization, preparation of town development plans, improvement of physical shelter, provision of infrastructure and amenities, solid waste management, creation of income generating activities, micro finance lending, HIV/AIDS concerns, and conflict prevention.

Here is a recent update on progress by Greg Scruggs for Citiscope.


UN-HABITAT KENSUP strategy document

37 thoughts on “Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP)

  1. Gone through your comments, they are fascinating, I am a masters student at Kenyatta University, doing a research thesis on ‘slum upgrading and its impact on household sanitation practices in kibera, anybody who would like to collaborate with me and share ideas, much welcome, will disseminate my findings, will be helpful to some of you


  2. We are having a project under the banner of Slums Community Development Network Kenya—Greening Eastlands in Nairobi area. Kindly find it good to join hands together and write to me via email- or make a phone a phone call on +2547227135814. Our website will be available for further information in less than a month. Regards Jack


  3. poverty and corruption are big issues of our time and mostly in developing nations. I am a student at kenyatta unuversity and I have been looking at the rate at which slums are growing. Kensup did not hit the slum dwellers well. They took the programme to belong to the government as their participation was minimal.
    If we are raedy to combat this corruption as a menace in the 21st century should be tackled in al dimensions. Another thing is public participation and creation of awareness on the harm caused by imporpr disposal of watse products.


  4. Currently involved in Kibera lighting but would reccomend intense training in making them aware on the importance of environment preservation inorder to reduce if not cutting unnecessary disposal.Have interracted with Kibera residents for sometime now and understand what they need inorder to change their environment for better.If contacted I can volunteer in pumbing positive awareness unto them.Thanking you in advance.


  5. I am an architecture student from the Technical University of Kenya, I participated in one of your programmes at Dandora of identifying Open Public Spaces and another programme aiming at cleaning up the area that hosts the country’s largest waste disposal site in Kenya. The residents are already aware of the programmes and they are actively participating in them especially the cleanup. I request if there can be funding to help in reducing the garbage disposed st the site and how the already disposed waste can be re-used.
    Thanks in advance


    • Dear Gideon,
      Thanks for writing. You are absolutely correct that one way to reduce the Dandora dump site is to do more recycling. Currently, as you are aware many very poor Nairobians already do recycling and because this is done informally part of the business is controlled by cartel like organisations. A re-organisation of this business might need to start at a city/neighborhood level where separation and recycling is done at source and current workers in the system get better jobs and respect. Overall, a city like Nairobi should not have a dumpsite but a properly managed landfill and recycling program-but how to get there is the key problem. So before any funding comes in, there needs to be a real plan that citizens can get behind and push for. Studies exist on this problem and also some plans in the works to move Dandora dumpsite but I think there needs to be some more thinking and action. What intermediary solutions exist to improve things now especially for the long suffering residents around Dandora is very important. Thanks for your thoughts on this and your participation in thinking about solutions. Please keep in touch and we welcome guest blogs on important subjects like this!


      • Today 2017 still almost nothing is happening at the Dandora dumpsite.
        I believe the problem is the transitioning process by the Government and the organizations on site.
        we need to engage more on the subject and have a good political will on the same.
        Am ready to volunteer in having a good political will.


  6. I am an Architecture grad-student in Florida, i was born and raised in Kenya so i have an undying desire to help where i can. I am currently working on a sustainable- eco-friendly, affordable way to transform slum areas using architecture and design creating modular drawings for homes that can be built as replacements for existing structures. I would love to get in touch with some of the people working on the current Kensup project. If you could give me any leads or advise me on how to go further i would really appreciate it.


    • Hi Chani,
      Thanks for your message. Your work looks very interesting. We recommend as a next step working directly with local people in slums on design based on need. Slum dynamics are very complex and unless you build trust from engagement as well as truly understand what they want upgraded you are pretty much guaranteed to fail. And I haven;t even raised the point about land tenure-who has the authority to upgrade what remains contentious. We are sorry that we cannot help you connect to KENSUP. You should connect with them directly when you are in Kenya. You may also be very interested in Kounkuey Design Initiative Keep in touch.


    • hi chani
      i read your post and decided to contact you. am currently working on slum improvement trying to develop an architectural framework for slum improvement. am looking at design, materials and construction method to reduce cost and time. this is just to open up communication to see how you can assist.

      arc ben iwuagwu


  7. Good afternoon
    I live in a slum near donholm.. its not that big.. but day in day out i wonder what i can do to those people and improve their livelihood.. most esp to stop drug abuse.
    Please help me. help them…
    JANE 0711960018


    • Hi Jane, i was reading through the comments and i saw yours. so i was inquiring if you got any help in your mission because i am also interested in transforming kawangware but i didnt know how to start. would you kindly share your thoughts on how you went about with yours?


  8. Pingback: Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi, Kenya |The Grid | Global Site Plans

    • One of the biggest factor is the tension between slum landlords and tenants. Many landlords got their access to land through political connections and are not strictly legal-hence they are not required to provide adequate services to tenants or follow any codes (the existing building code is also inappropriate). Thus, landlords who are often politically powerful are usually against slum upgrading. Currently, they make good money with little expected in return. The Kenyan government also sits on good land that could be developed into social housing and fails to assert its right to public land on behalf of the Kenyan people, especially the poor. Thus, in my view poor land management and governance is at the root of the issue.


  9. Some of the houses in the slums have been taken over by evil cartels to segregate certain individuals or persons of particular descent from the houses. Some of the main tactics employed include highly inflated rents for some people. For example I’m paying 2,300 for Mabati house near Busaa dens where the income of those around me is below the amount. l always live with the threat of abrupt increment or eviction should the rent delay by a few days and want it in full always. They are asking me for sh. 5,000 rent for the new block houses, an amount apparently beyond the income of those already in the houses, deliberately to keep me from them.. This is an explosive situation in the making and needs immediate intervention to save those of us who do not belong to their cult.


    • Sadly, this is typical of what happens with “upgrading”- original inhabitants tend to be pushed out. The problem is that the government does not regulate or use its power over landlords-many who accessed land irregularly or illegally- to protect the poor and encourage sufficient housing so that rental prices drop. You have my very deepest sympathies. At heart what needs to change is how the government manages land.


  10. l live in Mariguini Mabati house and l’m paying 2k rent plus 300 for stima as they threaten to increse both anytime. SOS


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