Slum dwellers are part of the urban populace, with the same democratic rights to environmental health and basic living conditions as all residents. These rights are often limited by a government’s ability to realise them.

The process of realising the rights of slum dwellers hinges on their capacity to engage actively with the government. It is a question of creating a space where slum dwellers and the government can engage in a dialogue about slums and upgrading their communities.

Through dialogue, the parties can begin to lay out their rights and responsibilities and design programmes that communities are able to respond to. This is an important part of the process; if communities don’t understand their responsibilities or a slum upgrading programme is beyond the reach of the slum dwellers, the programme has a much lower chance of success.

Cities Alliance has always embraced the concept of the inclusive city in our activities. We focus on building up the types of networks that the urban poor need to engage with other role players, federations of the poor, and workers.   

In recent years, we have moved towards a more nuanced approach to citizenship. In addition to addressing the issue through activities aimed at governance and planning, we have broadened our approach to include a stronger gender and youth focus by engaging with organisations that specialise in these areas.