Saturday, January 16, 2010

Informal Settlements in Blantyre, Malawi

Blantyre City Assembly’s Planning Department was kind enough to grant us an interview and settlement tour on very short notice.  The most striking aspect of informal settlements in Malawi is recognition by the current government and progressive efforts to upgrade the settlements.

Squatters on government land have an opportunity to gain ownership under a lease agreement and title deed. The length of the lease depends upon the quality of the structure, varying from 33, 66 or 99 years, as judged by an inspector. The goal is to gain land tenure security so that citizens can use the value to get loans.

by Nels Nelson by Nels Nelson

Upgrading pilot project, Mbayani settlement viewed from nearby hill, upgraded main road

The government wants to improve infrastructure, provide access roads, water, electricity, hospitals, schools, waste management, and sewers within informal settlements.  In Malawi’s new multi-party democracy, an inclusive policy for informal settlement dwellers may be a political move to remain popular with all levels of society.  The first slum upgrading project in Blantyre is in Mbayani, the oldest settlement from around 1954. In 2008 a paved access road was built into the area and up the hill to a new government school.

by Nels Nelson by Nels Nelson

urban agriculture on every possible piece of land

by Nels Nelson by Nels Nelson

this gentleman has a house with a view over the settlement and community pit latrines in his backyard

by Nels Nelson by Nels Nelson

Brian from the City Assembly leads Eline through the settlement, the upgraded road is the main artery for life in the settlement

To learn more, seek the Situation Analysis of Informal Settlements. Blantyre City Assembly. Prepared under ‘Cities without slums initiative’ (UN Habitat). 2005. Survey analysis by CCODE consultants.