International Development Planning Review

Urban livelihoods and institutions: towards matching institutions for the poor in Nairobi's informal settlements

International Development Planning Review (2011), 33, (2), 111–146.

Abstract

The current debates on livelihoods, social capital and chronic poverty suggest a shift from an actor-oriented perspective of 'agency' towards a realistic structural approach of 'habitus' with more emphasis on human and material assets. This article analyses the extent to which households in Nairobi's informal settlements are able to move out of poverty, reduce vulnerability and gain influence, and discusses sufficiency of current institutions. Ten percent of households in the sample from a low-income area are classified as non-poor through operating business-oriented household micro-enterprises. Four percent are able to move out of poverty through migration to non-slum areas for economic prospects. Vulnerability is especially reduced through ambitions of gaining the highest level of education, renting urban structures, running household micro-enterprises and ownership of tools and machines, and by characteristics of life cycle and head of household. However, the majority of urban poor depend heavily on social, organisational and political relations, while gaining influence is limited to implementation level. Potentially, poverty reduction could be achieved through current institutions for private sector and business development and employment, when combined with interventions in relevant (technical, vocational and soft) skills, knowledge and product innovation.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

ALDER, G. (1995), 'Tackling poverty In Nairobi's informal settlements: developing an institutional strategy', Environment and Urbanisation, 7, 85–107. Tackling poverty In Nairobi's informal settlements: developing an institutional strategy Environment and Urbanisation 7 85 107 Google Scholar

AGWANDA, A. O., BOCQUIER, P., KHASAKHALA, A. and OWUOR, S. (2004), The Effect of Economic Crisis on Youth Precariousness in Nairobi. An Analysis of Itinerary to Adulthood of Three Generations of Men and Women (DIAL, WP 4), Paris, DIAL. Google Scholar

AMIS, P. (1999), Urban Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction (Theme Paper 2, Urban Governance, Partnership and Poverty), London, DFID. Google Scholar

APHRC (african population and health research centre) (2002), Population and Health Dynamics in Nairobi's Informal Settlements, Nairobi, African Population and Health Research Centre. Google Scholar

BAUD, I. S. A., SHRIDHARAN, N. and PFEFFER, K. (2008), 'Mapping urban poverty for local governance in an Indian mega-city: the case of Delhi', Urban Studies, 7, 1385–412. Mapping urban poverty for local governance in an Indian mega-city: the case of Delhi Urban Studies 7 1385 412 Google Scholar

BAUMANN, P. (2000), Sustainable Livelihoods and Political Capital: Arguments and Evidence from Decentralisation and Natural Resource Management in India (Working Paper 136), London, ODI. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

BEALL, J. (2001), 'Valuing social resources or capitalising on them? Limits to pro-poor urban governance in nine cities of the south', International Planning Studies, 4, 357–75. Valuing social resources or capitalising on them? Limits to pro-poor urban governance in nine cities of the south International Planning Studies 4 357 75 Google Scholar

BEALL, J. and KANJI, N. (1999), Households, Livelihoods and Urban Poverty (Theme Paper 3, Urban Governance, Partnership and Poverty), London, DFID. Google Scholar

BEBBINGTON, A. (2006), Social Movements and the Politicization of Chronic Poverty Policy (WP 63), Manchester, CPRC. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

BIRD, K., KAMAU, P. and ODHIAMBO, W. (2007), Trade Policy and Poverty Linkages in Kenya, Nairobi, ODI/KIPPRA/IDS. Trade Policy and Poverty Linkages in Kenya Google Scholar

CCN (city council of nairobi) (2005), Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy: Concept Paper, Nairobi, City Council of Nairobi, City Planning Department, Ministry of Local Government/ Ministry of Lands, December. Google Scholar

CCN (city council of nairobi) (2006), Strategic Plan 2006–2010, Nairobi, City Council of Nairobi. Google Scholar

CHAMBERS, R. and CONWAY, G. (1992), Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century (University of Sussex, IDS Discussion Paper 296), Brighton, IDS. Google Scholar

CHANT, S. H. and CAMPLING, J. (1997), Women-headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World, Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Google Scholar

CLEAVER, F. (2005), 'The inequality of social capital and the reproduction of chronic poverty', World Development, 6, 893–906. The inequality of social capital and the reproduction of chronic poverty World Development 6 893 906 Google Scholar

COLEMAN, J. (1988), 'Social capital in the creation of human capital', American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95–120. Social capital in the creation of human capital American Journal of Sociology 94 95 120 Google Scholar

DE HAAN, L. J. (2007), 'Studies in African livelihoods: current issues and future prospects', in P. Chabal; U. Engel and L. J. de Haan (eds), African Alternatives, Leiden, Brill, 9–72. Google Scholar

DE HAAN, L. J. and ZOOMERS, A. (2005), 'Exploring the frontiers of livelihood research', Development and Change, 1, 289–302. Exploring the frontiers of livelihood research Development and Change 1 289 302 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

DEVAS, N., AMIS, P., BEALL, J., GRANT, U., MITLIN, D., RAKODI, C., SATTERTHWAITE, D. (2001), Urban Governance and Poverty: Lessons from a Study of Ten Cities in the South, Birmingham, IDD, School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham. Urban Governance and Poverty: Lessons from a Study of Ten Cities in the South Google Scholar

ELLIS, F. (2000), Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries Google Scholar

FRASER, E., THRIKELL, A. and MCKAY, A. (2003), Tapping into Existing Social Capital: Rich Networks, Poor Connections, Research Findings, Policy Implications, User Guide, London/Colombo/Burban, Social Development Direct (SDD), Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID) and SINANI KwaZulu-Natal Programme for Survivors of Violence. Google Scholar

GAVENTA, J. (2007), 'Foreword', in A. Cornwall and V. S. Coelho (eds), Spaces for Change: The Politics of Participation in New Democratic Arenas, London and New York: Zed Books. Foreword Spaces for Change: The Politics of Participation in New Democratic Arenas Google Scholar

GOK (GOVERNMENT OF KENYA) (2001), 1999 Population and Housing Census, Volumes 1 and 2, Nairobi, CBS. Google Scholar

GOK (GOVERNMENT OF KENYA) (2003), Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Where are the Poor. From Districts to Locations, Vol. 1, Nairobi, CBS. Google Scholar

GOK (GOVERNMENT OF KENYA) (2006), Economic Survey 2006, Nairobi, The Government Printer. Google Scholar

GOK (GOVERNMENT OF KENYA) (2009), Sessional Paper No. 3 of 2009 on National Land Policy, August 2009, Nairobi, Ministry of Lands. Google Scholar

GONZALEZ DE LA ROCHA, M. (1994), The Resources of Poverty: Women and Survival in a Mexican City, Cambridge, Blackwell. The Resources of Poverty: Women and Survival in a Mexican City Google Scholar

GONZALEZ DE LA ROCHA, M. (2007), 'The construction of the myth of survival', Development and Change, 1, 45–66. The construction of the myth of survival Development and Change 1 45 66 Google Scholar

GRANOVETTER, M. (1973), 'The strength of weak ties', American Journal of Sociology, 6, 1350–80. The strength of weak ties American Journal of Sociology 6 1350 80 Google Scholar

GREEN, M. and HULME, D. (2005), 'From correlates and characteristics to causes: thinking about poverty from a chronic poverty perspective', World Development, 6, 867–79. From correlates and characteristics to causes: thinking about poverty from a chronic poverty perspective World Development 6 867 79 Google Scholar

GROOTAERT, C. (1998), Social Capital: the Missing Link? (Social Capital Initiative, Working Paper 3), Washington, DC, World Bank. Google Scholar

GULYANI, S. (2006), Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi's Slums (Report No. 36347-KE), Nairobi, World Bank, Water and Urban Unit 1, African Region. Google Scholar

GULYANI, S. and TALUKDAR, D. (2008), 'Slum real estate: the low-quality high-price puzzle in Nairobi's slum rental market and implications for theory and practice', World Development, 10, 1916–37. Slum real estate: the low-quality high-price puzzle in Nairobi's slum rental market and implications for theory and practice World Development 10 1916 37 Google Scholar

HARRIS, J. (2002), Depoliticising Development: The World Bank and Social Capital, London, Anthem Press. Depoliticising Development: The World Bank and Social Capital Google Scholar

HENDRIKS, B. (2010), 'City-wide governance networks in Nairobi: contributions to political rights, influence and service delivery for poor and middle-class citizens?' Habitat International, 1, 59–77. City-wide governance networks in Nairobi: contributions to political rights, influence and service delivery for poor and middle-class citizens? Habitat International 1 59 77 Google Scholar

K'AKUMU, O. A. and OLIMA, W. H. A. (2007), 'The dynamics and implicatiions of residential segregation in Nairobi', Habitat International, 1, 87–99. The dynamics and implicatiions of residential segregation in Nairobi Habitat International 1 87 99 Google Scholar

KHRC (KENYA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION) (2004), Manufacturing of Poverty: The Untold Story of EPZs in Kenya, Nairobi, KHRC. Google Scholar

KING, K. (1996), Jua Kali Kenya: Change and Development in an Informal Economy 1970–1995, London, James Currey. Google Scholar

KIPPRA (2009), Kenya Economic Report 2009. Building a Globally Competitive Economy, Nairobi, KIPPRA. Google Scholar

KOBIA, S. (1991), 'Foreward', in NCCK (The National Council of Churches of Kenya) Nairobi Demolitions: What Next?. Google Scholar

LONG, N. (2001), Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives, London, Routledge. Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives Google Scholar

MACHADO, A. F. and RIBES, R. P. (2008), Do Changes in the Labour Market Take Families out of Poverty? Determinants of Exiting Poverty In Brasilian Metropolitan Regions (IPC Working Paper, 44), New York, UNDP. Google Scholar

MACHARIA, K. (2003), Migration in Kenya and Its Impact on the Labour Market (paper prepared for Conference on African Migration in Comparative Perspective, Johannesburg, South Africa), 4–7 June. Google Scholar

MANDA, D. K. and SEN, K. (2004), 'The labour market effects of globalisation in Kenya', Journal of International Development, 1, 29–43. The labour market effects of globalisation in Kenya Journal of International Development 1 29 43 Google Scholar

MCCORMICK, D., KAMAU, P. and LIGULU, P. (2006), 'Post-multifibre arrangement analysis of the textile and garment sectors in Kenya', IDS Bulletin, 1, 80–88. Post-multifibre arrangement analysis of the textile and garment sectors in Kenya IDS Bulletin 1 80 88 Google Scholar

MEERTENS, D. (2000), The Nostalgic Future: Terror, Displacement and Gender in Colombia, Amsterdam, CEDLA. The Nostalgic Future: Terror, Displacement and Gender in Colombia Google Scholar

MEIKLE, S. (2002), 'The urban context and poor people', in Rakodi and Lloyd Jones (eds), 37–51. The urban context and poor people 37 51 Google Scholar

MOSER, C. (1998), 'The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies', World Development, 1, 1–19. The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies World Development 1 1 19 Google Scholar

NGAU, M. (1994), A Survey of Household Welfare, Income Status and Survival Strategies in Mathare Valley, Nairobi, GTZ/Kenyatta University. A Survey of Household Welfare, Income Status and Survival Strategies in Mathare Valley Google Scholar

NGAU, P. (1995), Informal Settlements in Nairobi: A Baseline Survey of Slums and Informal Settlements and Inventory of NGOs and CBO Activities, Nairobi, University of Nairobi. Informal Settlements in Nairobi: A Baseline Survey of Slums and Informal Settlements and Inventory of NGOs and CBO Activities Google Scholar

NORTH, D. (1990), Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance Google Scholar

ODHIAMBO, W. and MANDA, D. K. (2003), Urban Poverty and Labour Force Participation in Kenya (paper presented at the World Bank Urban Research Symposium, Washington D.C.), 15–17 December. Google Scholar

OWUSU, F. (2007), 'Conceptualising livelihood strategies in African cities: planning and development implications of multiple livelihood strategies', Journal of Planning Education and Research, 4, 450–65. Conceptualising livelihood strategies in African cities: planning and development implications of multiple livelihood strategies Journal of Planning Education and Research 4 450 65 Google Scholar

PHELPS, N., STILLWELL, J. and WANJIRU, R. (2009), 'Broken chain? AGOA and foreign direct investment in the Kenyan clothing industry', World Development, 2, 314–25. Broken chain? AGOA and foreign direct investment in the Kenyan clothing industry World Development 2 314 25 Google Scholar

POLLIN, R., GITHINJI, M. and HEINTZ, J. (2007), An Employment-Targeted Economic Perspective for Kenya, Amherst/Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)/UNDP International Poverty Centre in Brasilia (IPC). Google Scholar

PORTES, A. (1998), 'Social capital: its origins and applications in modern sociology', Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24. Social capital: its origins and applications in modern sociology Annual Review of Sociology 24 1 24 Google Scholar

PORTES, A. and SENSENBRENNER, J. (1993), 'Embeddedness and immigration: notes on the social determinants of economic action', American Journal of Sociology, 6, 1320–50. Embeddedness and immigration: notes on the social determinants of economic action American Journal of Sociology 6 1320 50 Google Scholar

PUTNAM, R. (1993), Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy Google Scholar

RAKODI, C. (1993), 'Planning for whom?' In N. Devas and C. Rakodi (eds), Managing Fast Growing Cities; New Approaches to Urban Planning and Management in the Deveoping World, Harlow, Longman. Planning for whom? Managing Fast Growing Cities; New Approaches to Urban Planning and Management in the Deveoping World Google Scholar

RAKODI, C. (1999), Urban Governance, Partnership and Poverty: An Overview of the Research Issues, theme paper 8 for ESCOR Commissioned Research on Urban Development, University of Birmingham, Urban Governance, Partnership and Poverty Programme. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

RAKODI, C. and LLOYD-JONES, T. (eds) (2002), Urban Livelihoods. A People-Centred Approach to Reducing Poverty, London, Earthscan. Urban Livelihoods. A People-Centred Approach to Reducing Poverty Google Scholar

SCHUURMAN, F. (2003), 'Social capital: the politico-emancipatory potential of a disputed concept', Third World Quarterly, 6, 991–1010. Social capital: the politico-emancipatory potential of a disputed concept Third World Quarterly 6 991 1010 Google Scholar

SID (SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT) (2004), Pulling Apart: Facts and Figures on Inequality in Kenya, Nairobi, Society for International Development. Google Scholar

SÖDERBOM, M., TEAL, F. and WAMBUGU, A. (2005), 'Unobserved heterogeneity and the relations between earning and firm size: evidence from two developing countries', Economic Letters, 2, 153–59. Unobserved heterogeneity and the relations between earning and firm size: evidence from two developing countries Economic Letters 2 153 59 Google Scholar

SZRETER, S. (2002), 'The state of social capital: bringing back in power, politics and history', Theory and Society, 5, 573–621. The state of social capital: bringing back in power, politics and history Theory and Society 5 573 621 Google Scholar

TACOLI, C. (1998), Bridging the Divide. Rural-Urban Interactions and Livelihood Strategies, Gatekeeper Series 77, London, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Gatekeeper Series 77, London, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme, International Institute for Environment and Development Bridging the Divide. Rural-Urban Interactions and Livelihood Strategies Google Scholar

TACOLI, C. (1999), Rural–Urban Interactions (Supplementary Theme Paper), Birmingham, Urban Governance, Partnership and Poverty Programme, University of Birmingham. Google Scholar

TACOLI, C. (2002), Changing Rural–Urban Interactions in Sub-Saharan Africa and Their Impact on Livelihoods: A Summary (Working Paper 7 on Rural–Urban Interactions and Livelihood Strategies), London, IIED. Google Scholar

TITECA, K. and VERVISCH, T. (2008), 'The dynamics of social capital and community associations in Uganda: linking capital and its consequences', World Development, 11, 2205–22. The dynamics of social capital and community associations in Uganda: linking capital and its consequences World Development 11 2205 22 Google Scholar

UN-HABITAT (2006), Ticking Time Bombs: Low Income Settlements, UN-Habitat Globalisation and Urban Culture, Nairobi, UN-Habitat. Google Scholar

UNDP (united nations development programme) (2005), Linking Industrialisation with Human Development (Fourth National Human Development Report for Kenya), Nairobi, UNDP. Google Scholar

VERREST, H. (2007), Home-Based Economic Activities and Caribbean Urban Livelihoods: Vulnerability, Ambition and Impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press. Home-Based Economic Activities and Caribbean Urban Livelihoods: Vulnerability, Ambition and Impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain Google Scholar

WOOLCOCK, M. and NARAYAN, D. (2000), 'Implications for development theory, research and policy', World Bank Research Observer, 2, 225–49. Google Scholar

WORLD BANK (2008), Kenya Poverty and Inequality Assessment, Volume 1: Synthesis Report (Report No. 44190-KE), Nairobi, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, African Region. Google Scholar

ZULU, E. M., KONSEIGA, A., DARTEH, E. and MBERU, B. (2006), Migration and Urbanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Nairobi City, Kenya, Nairobi, APHRC. Migration and Urbanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case of Nairobi City, Kenya Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Hendriks, Bob