What you need to know:
- The funds will be a life jacket for residents who are among the hardest hit groups by spillover effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, with hundreds of thousands losing their jobs forcing some to take a haven in their rural areas.
- The World Bank says it has developed criteria to determine eligible settlements to maximise the impact of the funds.
Residents of informal settlements are set for a facelift after Kenya received Sh16.2 billion from the International Development Association (IDA) for improvement of urban settings.
This came after the Washington, DC‑based institution was given the go ahead by the World Bank on Friday to extend the $150 million credit to Kenya to improve living conditions for slum dwellers.
This is set to boost efforts of the second phase of the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Project (KISIP2) to improve living conditions of over 1.7 million residents.
The funds will be a life jacket for residents who are among the hardest hit groups by spillover effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, with hundreds of thousands losing their jobs forcing some to take a haven in their rural areas.
The first phase of the World Bank-funded project ended in May and benefited 14 counties, with the second phase is expected to benefit all 47 counties.
“Rapid urbanisation and an increasing share of the poor living in urban areas has outpaced services and infrastructure provision, and this project will contribute to reducing this infrastructure and services gap,” said World Bank Operations Manager and acting country director for Kenya, Camille Lampart Nuamah.
She added: “The project will also cushion urban informal settlement residents who depend on daily earnings against the negative socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The money will be directed towards enhancing security in the settlements, as well as upgrading of infrastructure for basic services such as water, roads and sanitation. The funds will also be used to support livelihoods and increase community engagement in the fight against the virus.
Clean and safe water
Improvement of infrastructure under KISIP2 will help residents access clean and safe water, mobility within the settlements and better the resilience of the communities in instances of disasters.
It is also aimed at increasing the connectivity of dwellers to socio-economic opportunities and reducing crime during the night through installation high light masts and sprouting economic activities.
“In the short-run, the works related to upgrading roads will provide an important source of employment opportunities for unskilled, informal and vulnerable workers disproportionately affected by the economic impact of Covid-19,” said Sheila Kamunyori, who is the World Bank’s senior urban specialist and task team leader. “The World Bank is keen to continue supporting the government’s effort to the ongoing Kazi Mtaani programme in the subsequent phases to reach up to 200,000 youth across all 47 counties,” she added.
The project is set to be implemented through collaboration of institutions both at the national and county levels.
The World Bank says it has developed criteria to determine eligible settlements to maximise the impact of the funds.
The agency, however, says that counties with eligible settlements for the project will be expected to demonstrate readiness to implement the plan.