Presented at the Pro-Poor Urban Development: China and Africa Workshop, Nairobi, 07/30/2012. The contiguous slums in Mukuru are situated on private lands or on contested public lands that are mostly unfit for human habitation. Because of their precarious tenure these settlements are often faced with the threat of eviction. Eviction threats emanate from private owners seeking to take possession of the lands for redevelopment or for sale as property prices rise. The constant threat of eviction, the high congestion and lack of basic services have pushed the residents of Mukuru to seek more humane living conditions.
In 2007, leaders of a small saving scheme of slum dwellers approached the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) asking for assistance to purchase a 23-acre parcel of land situated in Mukuru Kwa Njenga. The parcel of land was next to the slum dwellers’ settlement. The land belonged to a corporation called Milwhite Limited and the initial asking price was KSh104 million (US$1,235,000). In the initial meeting, AMT challenged the leaders to mobilize at least 2,000 members to save whatever they could afford on a daily basis in order to raise at least 20 percent of the purchase price i.e KSh20.8 Million (US$247,000).