Charles Kenny – In Praise of Slums. Why millions of people choose to live in urban squalor

Foreign Policy – September/October 2012

There is something viscerally repulsive about urban poverty: the stench of open sewers, the choking smoke of smoldering trash heaps, the pools of fetid drinking water filmed with the rainbow color of chemical spills. It makes poverty in the countryside seem almost Arcadian by comparison. The rural poor may lack nutrition, health care, education, and infrastructure; still, they do the backbreaking work of tending farms in settings that not only are more bucolic, but also represent the condition of most of humanity for most of history. With life so squalid in urban slums, why would anyone want to move there?

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From The Web –

africa-check-logoAfrica Check is a non-partisan organisation that exists to fact-check claims made in the public arena, impartially and fairly, and publish the results. We also aim to spread the culture and enable the practice of fact-checking among the wider journalistic community.

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Each working day the Africa Check editor meets with colleagues to assess claims made in the public domain in South Africa and sift suggestions sent in by visitors to the site. We focus on claims that touch on the three broad areas of interest identified by the site and that may have significant impact if unchecked. And we strive to ensure that, over time, we check all the main sides in any debate.
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Time to say Goodbye. Again.

You are cordially invited to read the following notes – but please accept: though reading the reflections is hopefully at times entertaining, the notes are not easy to comprehend, presenting thoughts as they are: interconnected, being a complex structure that cannot be easily deconstructed without doing damage to the overall existence. It had been the easy ways of looking at history that allowed the total demonisation of Zarathustra – in the postscript you will see the reasoning behind this reference. Having said this, you should allow the postscript to be a postscript, as I would otherwise made it myself a Prologue or a Prolegomena.

Looking once back, aiming on a huge leap forward – or: Luhmann’s Strawberry Cake

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children. – Pablo Picasso

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Sam Odia – Social Housing – The South African Model (II) September, 25, 2012. Good things may be in the offing in the housing sector if some of the signs we are witnessing are anything to go by. First of all, following several months of hard work, on the 14th of December 2011 the Federal Executive Council (FEC) officially adopted the revised National Housing and Urban Development Policies as official policies of the Federal Government. The new housing policy whose prime objective is to “ensure that all Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing in healthy environment with infrastructural services at affordable cost, with secure tenure” dedicates a whole chapter to the social housing sector, specifying its target as those in the no-income, low-income and lower-mid-income groups – an upper limit that is defined as not exceeding 4 times the national minimum wage (presently N18,000) or, N72,000 per month.

But the adoption of the new policy is not all that is brewing in the housing sector. A separate bill, privately sponsored by Senator Benedict Ayade (Cross River North) ‘to provide a Social Housing Scheme in Nigeria…’ has gone through first and second readings and will, hopefully become law before the year runs out. The sponsorship of this bill deserves the commendation of all and sundry who yearn to see housing made affordable to ordinary people in this country. The proposed social housing scheme, whose main objectives include the significant improvement of the well-being of the poor & needy, will provide a window of opportunity for governments at all levels to demonstrate their commitment to the provision of housing as a social responsibility to the citizenry; it will also seek to unlock benefits to the economy in the realm of wealth creation and employment generation.

Read more: Sam Odia -Affordable Housing in South Africa II

Read also: Sam Odia – Nigeria: Social Housing – The South African Model III


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United Nations – Slum Survivors

United Nations, New York – Worldwide, more than a billion people live in slums. As many as one million of them in the Kenyan slum of Kibera. Slum Survivors tells the stories of a few of them and charts their remarkable courage in the face of extreme poverty.

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The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa

The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) is the housing finance division of FinMark Trust, a non-profit trust with a mission of ‘making financial markets work for the poor’. The vision of CAHF is to be a primary source of information and debate relating to affordable housing finance in Africa, with a special focus on the SADC region. Our work covers three main areas: understanding the housing asset, innovation in housing finance, and monitoring housing sector performance. As a way to promote housing finance sector development in Africa, CAHF regularly commissions research studies; hosts forums; strategy and discussion sessions and workshops; and participates in local and international conferences and debates on housing finance. As a result, the Centre has become a credible source of information, thought leadership, and a point of contact for housing finance practitioners in both the public, private and NGO sectors, including private companies, donor agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders across the African continent. The Centre also provides strategic and secretarial support to the African Union for Housing Finance.

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