The United Nations agency, UN-Habitat has initiated a programme to build about 8,000 units in Mavoko, Machakos County. The KSh. 20 billion project is geared towards resettling about 40,000 slum dwellers from the Nairobi metro area.

“UN-Habitat is developing a strategy to support affordable housing project under the Big Four agenda. We plan to put up between 6,000 and 8,000 affordable housing units for the urban poor on a 55-acre piece of land in Machakos County,” said Dr Chiramba, UN-Habitat’s head of housing projects in the region.

He was speaking at a media briefing ahead of the UN-Habitat Assembly to be held in the country for the first time, from the 27th to 31st of May at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi. The assembly will be the first major intergovernmental conference to be held on urban development issues in Nairobi with a focus on how to better implement the New Urban Agenda adopted in 2016 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

More than 2,000 delegates are expected from all parts of the globe, including heads of state and ministers, 168 mayors and governors, 378 NGOs, 261 private-sector players, 26 foundations, and 300 from academia and several UN agencies.

The assembly will have more than 70 exhibitors showcase their best innovations on improved urban planning, sanitation, housing and public transport et cetera. According to UN-Habitat, the number of slum dwellers in Kenya has risen to 6.4 million or 56% of the country’s total urban population despite past slum upgrading programs.

“Our objective is to create neighbourhoods of affordable, low-cost and good-quality housing for inhabitants relocated from informal settlements,” said Dr Chiramba.

Groundbreaking for the Mavoko project is set to take place in five months’ time. The project will be built on land donated by UN body, UN-Habitat is working on the project’s financing. Dr. Chiramba said they have identified some possible beneficiaries who are members of Saccos in informal settlements.