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A Rapid Urban Diagnostic and Proposed Intervention Strategy for DIG in Mombasa, Kenya
By Mark Hildebrand & Brian Holst

A. Executive Summary B. Mombasa: An Urban Profile C. Overview of Organizations and Urbis Activities in Mombasa D. Proposed Capacity Building Strategy E. Potential Challenges and Opportunities of Implementing Urbis in Mombasa F. Conclusion

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A. Executive Summary

he city of Mombasa has enormous unrealized potential with one of the best deepwater harbors in eastern Africa and a central location on a beautiful coastal strip. Despite these attributes, and notwithstanding a healthy tourism industry, Mombasas economy has stagnated to the extent that decaying infrastructure and widespread poverty characterize the city today. Over one-third of the citys population lives below the poverty line and virtually all of the urban poor live in unplanned settlements spread across the city. In order to help cities such as Mombasa, and given a national economy that had been improving until the recent post-election strife, the government of Kenya has taken steps to ensure more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth. This includes, notably, funding for local development that currently represents USD 6 million per annum for Mombasa, with further increases anticipated over the coming years. While local authorities and civil society organizations have limited capacity to prioritize needs and to steward these funds effectively in favor of the urban poor, the Urbis diagnostic showed that a critical mass of Mombasas NGOs and CBOs currently harbor a collective resolve to strengthen the engagement of local communities in this process. These circumstances, we believe, provide a promising opportunity for investing in the capacity of Mombasas civil society organizations and for potentially increasing the influence of the urban poor in decisions over the use of the allocated funds. ****** As Kenyas second largest city, Mombasa suffered greatly during the nations economic downturn of the 1990s. The site of some of the most violent politically instigated clashes during the countrys 1997 elections, the city has been slow to capture the benefits of the nations economic recovery, which began in 2002. As the economy rebounded over the last several years, the government of Kenya instituted a decentralization policy that attempted to include the participation of the urban poor in decisions at the local level. A principal objective of this new policy has been to enhance transparency and accountability for public service delivery, ensuring that funds flow to the local level and are programmed with the active participation of local communities.



As these devolved funding mechanisms are relatively new and since communities are not always well organized, the level of community involvement has fallen short of expectations. Consequently, there is much room and a broadly shared interest to strengthen the capacity of concerned NGOs and of the poor urban communities engaged in these efforts.

B. Mombasa: An Urban Profile

1. bAsIC COUnTrY demOgrAPhICs And mACrOeCOnOmIC PrOfILe Kenya is located in eastern Africa and is bordered by the Indian Ocean and Somalia on the east, Tanzania on the south-west, Uganda on the west, and Ethiopia on the north. The country has a population of 36.9 million people and is growing at an annual rate of 2.8%.1 In 1999, about a third of the population was urban. The urban population is projected to rise to 50% by 2015.2 During the 19891999 inter-censual period, the countrys urban population more than doubled, increasing from 3.88 million to 9.90 million. Population projections suggest that Nairobi, the capital city, was home to nearly three million people in 2006, and that Mombasa, the second largest city, housed a little over 800,000 people. Mombasa has been a maritime trading center since the 11th century and over time has attracted a diverse stream of migrants. It was Kenyas first capital city, later losing that status to Nairobi. It is the principal port for Kenya and several other countries in the hinterland. With a per capita income of USD 460 (USD 1,050 in terms of purchasing power parity)3, Kenya is classified by the World Bank as a low-income country.4 In 2004, its gross national income was USD 15 billion.5 Macroeconomic indicators show that the economy performed well in the early decades after independence in 1963, with an average growth rate of 6.8% per year in the 1960s and 6.0% in the 1970s. Economic growth slowed substantially during the next two decades, turning negative in 2000. The average annual growth rate over the period 19972002 was a low 1.5%.6

CIA World Fact Book. Retrieved 1/28/08 from print/ke.html. 2 UN-HABITAT. (2007). History of Urbanization and Proliferation of Slums in Kenya. Twenty-first Session of the Governing Council. 3 World Bank. (2005). World Development Report 2006. 4 Retrieved 1/28/08 from 5 World Bank. (2005). World Development Report 2006. 6 "Background Note: Kenya." US Department of State. 2008.



The economy rebounded in 2002, largely because of improved macroeconomic management. GDP growth rose to 5.7% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006, exceeding the average for African countries.7 Sectors that have done well include agriculture, transportation, communications, manufacturing, construction and tourism. Mombasas economy has stagnated in recent decades, failing to take full advantage of the towns strategic location as a port city and important tourist destination. Local mismanagement and marginalization by the central government8 are two of the reasons that may account for Mombasas underperformance. 2. sOCIO-POLITICAL COnTexT A unitary central government governs Kenya. Executive power is vested in the president, vice president and the cabinet. The president appoints both the vice president and the cabinet. The unicameral national assembly is comprised of 210 elected members, each with a maximum tenure of five years. Mombasa is managed by a municipal authority, the Mombasa Municipal Council (hereinafter, the MMC). The town is the headquarters of the Coast Province, one of eight such administrative regions in the country. It is also the headquarters of Mombasa District, an administrative sub-unit of the province. The district boundaries the same as those of the municipal authority. The MMC governs through two arms: the policy (or political) arm and the executive (or administrative) arm. The policy arm is responsible for all policy making in the council while the executive arm is the implementing organ of the council. The policy arm consists of 26 elected councilors representing each of the 26 wards or election areas. In addition, political parties appoint eight councilors. Councilors are elected every five years during the countrys general elections. The councilors then elect a mayor from their ranks. The role of mayor is, however, largely ceremonial. The town clerk, who is the chief executive, heads the executive arm. The executive arm is further divided into eleven departments: those of the town clerk, human resources, town treasurer, public health, engineering, housing and social services, housing development, town planning, education, inspectorate and en-

Obwocha, Hon. Henry O. "Economic Survey 2007 Launch." Ministry of Planning and National Development. 28 May 2007. Rakodi, Carole, et al. (April 2000). Poverty and Political Conflict in Mombasa. Environment and Urbanization, 12(1), 153170. 9 Municipal Council of Mombasa Draft Strategic Plan: 20062010 (October 2006).
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vironment. Each of these departments (except for the town clerks department) has a corresponding committee chaired by a councilor.9 The legislation governing local authority function is the Local Government Act (LGA).10 The Act and its subsequent amendments provide for administrative and legal powers, functions and responsibilities of local authorities. It also provides for sources of revenue to finance the councils functions. Local authorities collect revenue from internal sources consisting of a variety of taxes, fees and charges. They further receive resources from the central government through the Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF), which has been operational since the 1999/2000 fiscal year. The services provided by local authorities include the maintenance of access roads, the establishment and maintenance of public markets and bus parks, as well as the maintenance of housing and social welfare programs.11 3. UrbAn COndITIOns And PrevAILIng UrbAn dYnAmICs In mOmbAsA A. Demographics The 1999 population census showed that Mombasa had a population of just over 665,000 people. This population grew to 745,000 in 2002 and 828,000 in 2006. As in the other principal towns in Kenya, the natural increase of the existing population rather than rural-urban migration drives most of this growth. Estimates from the recent Kenya Household and Budget Survey12 show that 37.6% of Mombasas households fall below the poverty line13, hardly an improvement over the 38.3% recorded in the Welfare Monitoring Survey of 1997. These poverty indicators contrast sharply with those for Nairobi where the proportion below the poverty line dropped from 50.2% in 1997 to 21.3%14 in 2006. Poverty appears more entrenched among women-headed households with 48.8% of this group below the poverty line. A recent participatory forum15 identified the following as priority issues in Mombasa slums (and thus as potential Urbis priority focus areas):

Cap 265 of the Laws of Kenya. Draft report for the World Bank UNHABITAT Rapid Urban Study Profile Conducted in September 2007. 12 National Bureau of Statistics (2007) and Kenya Integrated Household and Budget Survey (KIHBS). 13 The urban income poverty line in KIHBS was defined as KSh 2,913 per person per month, or about USD 44. 14 This is a provisional figure from the Kenya Integrated Household and Budget Survey and should be treated with caution as results from the survey are yet to be published. 15 Stakeholder forum in September 2007 organized as part of the preparation of an urban profile for Mombasa for the World Bank, as an input into their economic and sector work (ESW) on Kenya.
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Providing basic services such as health, water and sanitation; Capacitating community groups; Improving infrastructure such as roads to promote business activities; Planning and the regularization of land tenure; and Providing cost-effective housing options affordable by the poor. B. Economic activities of the urban poor Disadvantaged by lower levels of education, training, and a lack of access to labor markets, the poor in Mombasa tend to engage in casual or unskilled work16 in formal enterprises, or in informal activities such as retail trade, food or fruit vending and domestic work. Specifically, a participatory poverty assessment17 revealed that youth activities are concentrated in tourism, recycling (scavenging for food and items that can be resold) and drug peddling. The urban poor also work on construction cites, as porters in markets and in urban agriculture. Secondary data shows that women are disproportionately concentrated in the informal sector (56% compared to 41% of men). Even so, men dominate the more lucrative activities in the informal sector, such as handicrafts sales, manufacturing, renting out of rooms, and water vending. Women are engaged mainly in selling foodstuffs, brewing and selling illicit liquor. Poor people who engage in the above activities face many challenges. Specifically, the challenges include lack of access to credit, cumbersome and bureaucratic licensing requirements, taxation in the form of bribe payments, and a lack of appropriate business sites, premises and services.18 C. Where do the urban poor live? Virtually all of the urban poor, well over a third of Mombasas total population, live in more than 55 slums19 across the city.20 The poor face stark living condi-

16 Rakodi, Carole, et al. (April 2000). Poverty and Political Conflict in Mombasa. Environment and Urbanization, 12(1), 153170. 17 African Medical Relief Fund (AMREF), Office of the Vice President and the Ministry of Planning and National Development. (1997). The Second Participatory Assessment StudyKenya (Vol 1). Mombasa. 18 Rakodi, Carole, et al. (April 2000). Poverty and Political Conflict in Mombasa. Environment and Urbanization, 12(1), 153170. 19 Boyd, G. (2001). Guidelines for a Poverty Focused Service. Report prepared as part of PAMNUP. 20 Whereas the poor are concentrated in slums, not everybody who lives there is poor. Indeed, close to half of Mombasas total population lives in informal settlements.



tions in these settlements. A recent survey21 showed that 73% of respondents draw their water from water kiosks (and pay exorbitant prices in the process), 58% use pit latrines, and 54% dump rubbish in open areas and drains. Although there are diverse land ownership patterns in slum areas, tenure is often insecure, thereby leaving residents with little incentive to invest in their dwellings. D. Planning and development in urban settings Kenya has traditionally been a centralized state although the need for decentralization has come to the fore in recent years. To understand the official planning and development practices for public and private sector development projects in Mombasa, it is important to first identify the institutional channels through which resources flow from the center to the local level. There are at least four different channels for official planning and development, which tend to overlap and lack coordination. The central government system, consisting of sector line ministries funded by the national budget. The local government system, funded by local revenues and the Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF). The constituency system, consisting of various funds, including the HIV/ AIDS fund, the Bursary Fund, the Road Fund, and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) created in 2003/2004. The private sector/NGO system, funded by partners channeling resources directly to local communities bypassing the government's planning and budgeting systems. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF), established in 2003 through the CDF Act (2003), is the latest strand of the constituency system," and an important channel for transferring government funds to the local level. CDF consists of an equivalent of 2.5% of all ordinary government revenue, but parliament recently passed a motion adjusting this allocation to 7.5%. The fund is divided among the 210 constituencies in the country, with 75% of the fund allocated equally and 25% based on poverty levels. Mombasa has four such constituencies: Mvita, Changamwe, Likoni and Kisauni.

Citizens report Card on Urban Water, Sanitation and Solid waste Services in Kenya: Summary of Results from Mombasa. (2006).



The Treasury directly disburses CDF funds to the residents of a constituency through the Constituency Development Committee (CDC), which is presided over by the local member of parliament (MP). Both the CDC and the LATF funds are designed to be programmed with the active participation of local communities and to reflect their priorities. It is estimated that CDF constitutes almost 20% of total government transfers to the district level and that CDF has overtaken the Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF) in terms of the volume of funds, although LATF is the governments principal channel for fiscal transfers to local authorities. 4. regULATIOn And PrACTICes And TheIr reLevAnCe TO The POOr A. Planning Several laws relate to planning and urban management in Kenya. These include the Physical Planning Act Cap 286, Local Government Act Cap 265, Public Health Act, the Building Code enacted in 1968 and the revised version commonly referred to as Code Ninety-Five. The objective of a substantial part of this legislation is to improve access to housing and to ensure a healthy physical environment. The land ownership system found in Mombasa especially hampers planning and urban management efforts. The majority of land in Mombasa district is held under a freehold form of ownership. Privately owned land is let to tenants-at-will," many of whom have for generations rented the land upon which their temporary houses are built. Since the 1920s, this system has been recognized, facilitated and, in theory, regulated by the local authority through a system of village layouts. This system of ownership complicates planning efforts since spatial planning, infrastructure development and provision of public facilities are only possible with the consent of the landowners, many of whom are absentee landlords living elsewhere in the country and even overseas.22 Moreover, the lack of a current physical development plan makes it difficult for municipal authorities to devise strategies for managing slum areas.23

Supra at note 4. The last plan for Mombasa was prepared in 1926 and has not been properly updated since. Efforts are underway to prepare a new physical plan.
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resOUrCe ALLOCATIOn TO dIsTrICTs, 2004/052005/06, KenYAn shILLIngs (Ksh) mILLIOns

Program fund Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Local authority Transfer Fund (LaTF) Kenya Roads Board (Constituencies & districts) National aIDS Control Council Constituency Bursary Fund Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) Central Government (Recurrent & Development) TOTAL 2004/05 5,600 4,000 3,720 2,280 770 228 13,210 29,808 2005/06 7,246 5,584 8,900 3,786 800 583 15,852 42,751

Source: 2004/05 and 05/06 Report of Task force on Harmonisation and Strengthening of the District and Constituency Development, 2005. LaTF allocations to mombasa were KSh 273.7 million (USD 4.1 million) in 2005/2006 and KSh 215.7 million (USD 3.3 million) a year earlier. CDF allocations to mombasa currently exceed USD two million a year, and are expected to triple as devolution gathers pace. The following table shows CDF allocations for the last three years.

reCenT Cdf ALLOCATIOns TO mOmbAsAs fOUr COnsTITUenCIes: Ksh

Constituency Changamwe Kisauni Likoni mvita 2005/2006 27,826,211 28,826,211 26,836,229 26,427,013 2006/2007 38,675,681 39,933,413 37,176,659 36,360,408 2007/2008 38,914,543 40,160,083 37,406,281 36,584,989

Source: 2004/05 and 05/06 Report of Task force on Harmonisation and Strengthening of the District and Constituency Development, 2005. Combined, LaTF and CDF allocations to mombasa currently amount to around USD 6 million annually. If urban poor communities were to engage fully in the programming of these funds, as intended by government policy, these investments could have dramatic impacts on urban poverty reduction.



B. Security of tenure The land tenure arrangements prevalent in informal settlements in Mombasa include: Unofficial allocation of government land to private individuals (usually done by the provincial administration or politicians); Temporary occupation of private land with permission from the landowner; Land originally occupied under customary tenure on which adjudication and issue of title is completed or in progress; Land temporarily allocated to specific groups of people, such as customary owners displaced by government projects, and occupied by their descendants. Temporary tenure is accompanied by restrictions on house improvement; and Tenancy-at-will in privately owned areas, some with approved layouts (this is the most prevalent form of occupation in informal settlements in Mombasa). Many of the owners are absent and construction increasingly utilizes permanent materials, although prohibited by regulations.24 Recently, the government has drafted a national land policy and has set aside funds to purchase land on which to settle squatters. These measures, if pursued vigorously, might redress some of the more pressing land issues. C. Regulations relating to carrying out of commercial activities The MMC regulates the licensing of informal trading activities. Under Section 148 of the Local Government Act, the local authority is empowered to determine the cost of any business licenses issued. Traders are not consulted on the fee structure and the imposition of fees is left largely to the discretion of the council. Under Section 165 of the Act, the councils can also cancel or refuse to grant business licenses. Stakeholders are not involved in this process, and the discretionary nature of this provision means that the council licensing procedure is devoid of any security guarantees.25 The citys bylaws authorize street trading, although another bylaw, the general nuisance law, allows the authorities to close down traders activities on the basis

Supra at note 3. Moyi, E. and Njirani, P. (December 2005). Misallocation of Workspaces for MSE: Some Lessons and Models. Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research Analysis (KIPPRA), Discussion Paper No 53.
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that they create a general nuisance in public spaces.26 Thus, even if traders have paid the licensing fee (payable either daily or annually), reports indicate that in practice the traders are still subject to harassment by council askaris in the form of forced relocations, confiscation of property (which is invariably not recovered by the traders) and imposition of fines. Some traders also claim to be subject to extortion by the council askaris in the form of payment of bribes to allow them to continue to trade. D. Allocation of trading spaces The responsibility for providing land and workspaces rests with the local authority. This role has, however, been weakened by a lack of clear policies and a weak institutional framework. Further, the continued perception of informal economic activities as temporary in nature has meant that the poor have been excluded from urban planning policymaking. As a result, most informal economic activities take place in the absence of a supportive physical infrastructure, including land, workspaces and sanitary facilities. Consequently, most informal trading takes place on illegal sites such as pavements and on road reserves. E. Rule of law and transparency Parliament has passed several pieces of legislation seeking to enhance transparency and accountability of public service delivery. The first of these, the LATF Act27, requires the participation of stakeholders in reviewing performance and setting service delivery priorities as a prerequisite for the council to access LATF funds. This has encouraged greater stakeholder participation and has provided an important opportunity for citizens to influence local service delivery. It also potentially increases the level of accountability of councilors for performance while in office. Furthermore, it can result in improved fiscal management at the council, including the production of audited accounts. The process, however, suffers from low implementation rates and limited stakeholder capacity, which has meant that stakeholders are often not adequately equipped to effectively participate in the process and hold the council to account. Second, the Procurement Act28 has resulted in greater transparency by requiring that councils advertise large tenders for procuring goods and services in the national daily newspapers. Reports suggest, however, that despite improvements, the process is still prone to abuse and procurement remains one of the
Kamunyori, Sheila Wanjiru. (2007). A Growing Space for Dialogue: The Case of Street Vending in Nairobis Central Business District, unpublished masters thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, Department of Urban Studies and Planning. 27 Local Authority Transfer Fund Act No. 8 of 1998. 28 Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.



areas cited as being the most vulnerable to a lack of transparency. As stated previously, the Local Government Act29 is the law that governs the functions of local authorities. Primary among the complaints is that the Act confers on the minister for local government (MLG) substantial powers regarding the control of various functions of local authorities and their general operations, including staff recruitment, deployment, promotion and dismissal, and financial management matters such as capital development plans, budget, procurement and staffing plans approval. The effect of this is that the central government executive is granted considerable powers to influence the dayto-day decisions of the local authorities, sometimes at the expense of local residents. The result is that the scope of local participation in setting priorities regarding planning, budgeting and expenditure monitoring is reduced, thereby discouraging citizens from playing a significant role in local governance, development and service provision.30 F. Role and influence of the poor in official civic planning The Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP) is the main vehicle for public participation in urban planning. The LASDAP process was designed to promote community involvement in the planning, budgeting, implementation and evaluation of local development and service delivery programs and was conceived to promote local ownership and to enhance the sustainability of projects funded through LATF. Investigations in both Mombasa and other towns, however, show that LASDAP has been politicized, and the projects generated do not necessarily represent community priorities. An important concern is the disconnect between national-level programming and planning practices at council and community levels. There is also limited continuity in the monitoring of council compliance with community interests and priorities. Although a LASDAP monitoring committee exists, it requires training to become more effective. A number of NGOs and CBOs are involved in monitoring council performance, especially through the LASDAP monitoring committee. G. Capacity building and assistance to the poor The MMC has embarked on the following projects intended to address poverty and vulnerability among Mombasa residents:

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Cap 265 of the Laws of Kenya. Supra at note 3.



Organization of street families and commercial sex workers and facilitation in the formation of CBOs to address the formers concerns; Formation of committees of peer educators that support community groups on capacity building; Rehabilitation of the old Mwembe Tayari market that burned down in 2002 in order to accommodate hawkers and street traders. The MMC has also partnered with donors on the following projects: Settlement upgrading in Ziwa la Ngombe in partnership with UN-Habitat, Ministry of Housing, and Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme; LASDAP projects on water supply (Kaloleni and Mwembe Tayari), education (classrooms at Utange, Mtopanga, and Bangladesh), market (Majengo) and drainage (Magongo Wayani); Collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and the European Union to establish work sites and trade zones for hawkers and other small businesses; and Collaboration with the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association to allow beach operators to sell their merchandise in designated lanes. This represents an effort to end the long-standing conflicts between beach operators and hotel owners over the latters encroachment on private hotel property to selling their wares.31 5. PrIvATe seCTOr InvOLvemenT In ALLevIATIng POverTY By generating employment, the private sector contributes substantially to poverty reduction. The private services and manufacturing sectors play a critical role in employment generation. The services sector consists of: (a) community, social and personal services, (b) wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels and (c) financial services. In the financial sector, recent investigations indicate that microfinance institu-

Morris, Aron. (5 November 2007).Beach Operators and Hoteliers Agree on Access Roads. Business Daily Newspaper, 1.



tions (MFIs) have generally relaxed lending conditions, widely accepting proxy collateral such as chattels, shares, stocks, guarantors and purchase references. These institutions have gone out of their way to be more responsive to their client needs, and to familiarize low-income customers with banking and business practices. For example, K-REP Bank, one of the key microfinance institutions in Mombasa (and in the country), extends credit to both men and women without reference to the status of the household head. About 70% of the members of groups that have borrowed are women. By supporting the informal sector, MFIs continue to make an important contribution to poverty reduction in Mombasa. 6. mAIn UrbAn ChALLenges A. Governance Like other Kenyan cities, Mombasa faces significant governance challenges. Foremost in this regard is the inability so far by elected leaders in the municipal council to develop an effective vision and strategy for dealing with urban poverty, stakeholder engagement, and consolidating accountability and transparency to improve service delivery. Moreover, city governance is complicated by fragmented and overlapping responsibilities among service providers like the municipal council, the water utility, sector ministries, and the devolved funds that fall outside the municipal councils remit, such as the CDF and the Road Fund. B. Local economic development The city seems to lack a coherent framework for promoting local economic development (LED), resulting in its inability to take advantage of its strategic location in eastern Africa. LED has no local champion in Mombasa, and historically both the municipal council and the chamber of commerce have had a limited capacity to promote the local economy. Although the municipal council has recently prepared a strategic plan that addresses the Mombasa economy, to be driven primarily by the tourism sector, the government lacks the capacity to implement this plan. C. Infrastructure and shelter Mombasa faces major infrastructure deficits. Citywide infrastructure challenges notably include the following: Less than 33% of daily demand for water is met;32 Only 15% of the population is served by the sewer system; and

Source: National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, Mombasa.



Only 30% of the 600700 tons of solid waste generated per day is collected. In poor urban neighborhoods, the infrastructure issues include: 73% of the poor buy their water from kiosks, paying exorbitant prices; 58% use pit latrines; 54% dump rubbish in open areas and drains; and With limited political will to secure the property rights of the poor, housing conditions remain unimproved and precarious. 7. CAPACITY bUILdIng The city also faces serious capacity constraints, especially within the municipal council and civil society organizations. The municipal council has been unable to develop a coherent strategy for promoting local economic development and reducing poverty. Despite the governments aim to tie levels of funding with stakeholder participation more effectively, citizens groups are not adequately empowered to participate in these processes and thereby contribute to the development of community-based poverty reduction strategies. NGOs and CBOs in the city, although actively working with communities, do not have adequate capacity and find it difficult to address all but the most pressing com-

emPLOYmenT In mOmbAsA bY IndUsTrY (nO.)

Industry agriculture and forestry mining and quarrying manufacturing Electricity and water Construction Wholesale & Retail trade, Restaurants & Hotels Transport and Communication Finance, Insurance, Real estate and Business services Community, Social and Personal Services Source: Statistical abstract 2006 2004 909 1,319 33,492 1,808 6,862 24,265 32,648 13,304 52,887 2005 905 1,324 33,891 1,815 6,666 24,897 34,118 14,582 53,549



munity needs, particularly in the poorest communities where social capital is the weakest. At the same time, despite a high level of commitment, their ability to engage with the municipal council has, for the most part, been sporadic and uncoordinated.

C. Overview of Organizations and Urbis Activities in Mombasa

he Urbis team met with eleven key NGOs and CBOs working directly with Mombasas urban poor and disadvantaged. Eight of these are local Mombasa-based organizations, most of which operate as CBOs; two are national NGOs; and one is an international NGO. In Kenya, NGOs are normally defined as organizations whose reach extends beyond their immediate community area and which must be registered nationally with the NGO council. The membership and operations of CBOs are largely limited to a particular community and must be registered locally with the Department of Social Services (under the Ministry of Sports, Gender, Culture and Social Services). 1. OrgAnIzATIOns wOrKIng wITh The UrbAn POOr For the purposes of the Urbis program, the assessment team identified the following six organizations as urban innovators: Coast Development Lobby Group (CDLG): A democracy and governance advocacy CBO. Ujamma Center: A Mombasa-based advocacy NGO working with Coast Province CBOs. Likoni Development Group (Likodep): A lobbying and advocacy CBO working in Likoni. Ilishe Trust: An umbrella organization of Coast Province CBOs working on civic awareness to strengthen governance and reduce poverty. Kisauni Land Lobby Group: A lobby group CBO focused on land tenure in Kisauni. Kituo Cha Sheria: A legal aid and community advocacy national NGO working countrywide to promote justice and equity.



Further, the assessment team also determined that the following organizations have specialized skills and knowledge that could be available as a resource to the Urbis program. ActionAid International Kenya (AAIK): An international NGO that has been working in Kenya for over 35 years, AAIK focuses on building the capacity of local NGOs and CBOs to engage civil society in policy advocacy and grassroots action. AAIK approaches poverty as an injustice, endeavoring to eradicate poverty by identifying its root causes and then focusing on empowering the poor and their organizations to influence policies, laws and institutions in their favor; to claim their rights from the state; and to find solutions to their own problems. AAIKs program in the Coast Province has been run out of its Mombasa office for the last eight years (its policy is to remain in one location for no more than ten years). The organizations focus in Mombasa has been on building the capacity of local NGOs and CBOs, including efforts to strengthen community participation in the programming and accountability mechanisms for devolved funds such as LATF, CDF and the HIV/AIDS fund. Since AAIK helped to incubate CDLG, Likodep, and the now defunct Coast NGO Forum and is currently providing capacity building support to a number of other local organizations, the Mombasa Urbis program will greatly benefit from drawing on the lessons learned from its experience. Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK): APDK is a national NGO registered in 1958 with branches throughout the country. The organizations mission is to work with disabled persons to empower them socially and economically to become fully integrated members of their communities. Elected committee members govern the organization. The Mombasa branch of APDK has two core programs, the medical rehabilitation program and the economic rehabilitation program. The medical rehabilitation program involves outreach rehabilitation through mobile clinics, training and production of supportive devices such as wheelchairs sold at subsidized prices. The economic rehabilitation program consists of two segments: two community workshops located in the Bombolulu and Likoni areas, and a microfinance program that has been disbursing loans since 1999. Combined, the two workshops employ over 300 disabled persons and are revenue-producing. The microfinance program has over 200 clients currently servicing loans. The organization also receives donor funding from ActionAid Kenya and the Tridland Foundation, among others. Husiko La Pwani: Husiko La Pwani is a network of support groups founded in 2004 for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Coast Province. The groups activities include the establishment of a voluntary counseling and testing clinic on its premises, the formation of support groups throughout the Coast Region,



the carrying out of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and the establishment of a resource center. The network also carries out income generating programs among its members. The network is comprised of over 26 groups in Mombasa district (representing each of the 26 wards in the district). Its principal funding comes from ActionAid, but it has also received support from the National AIDS Council in the form of training and provision of educational materials. The Urbis team also considered the St. Veronica Cooperative and Youth Agenda for Peace and Development during the assessment. The team, however, determined that these organizations objectives and activities, while worthwhile, fell outside of the scope of the Urbis program. 2. UrbAn InnOvATOrs Based on an upcoming program design and planning mission, the Mombasa Urbis program will consider the following CBOs and NGOs as potential partners in a citywide capacity building strategy. A. Coast Development Lobby Group (CDLG) The Coast Development Lobby Group (CDLG) is a democracy and governance advocacy organization that promotes improved governance through increased citizen participation for more transparent and accountable systems. Registered in 2003 as a CBO, it is currently formalizing its registration as an NGO. CDLGs substantive area of focus is advocacy for transparency and accountability in the management of devolved funds, particularly the Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF). The organization also serves a watchdog function in assessing, monitoring, and evaluating LATF-funded development projects derived from community priorities and implemented in accordance with the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP). CDLG also provides capacity building for community groups and creates networks in order to integrate community participation in development activities. CDLGs current activities and roles include: Implementation of a program on strengthening community accountability support structures to participate effectively in the management of LATFfunded projects through the LASDAP process, funded under USAIDs Kenya Civil Society Strengthening program. Consortium member and advocacy partner with Ilishe Trust, Ujamaa Center and others in implementation of the Citizens Report Card on Water and Sanitation in Mombasa, funded by the World Bank.



Coalition member with other CBOs and NGOs in Mombasa on the 90 Days Campaign to demand the release of the report of the Task Force on Landless and Squatters compiled by the government in December 2005, but still not released; funded by Kituo Cha Sheria. CDLG is a membership organization that draws members from all 26 wards in the Mombasa district. The communities it works with include squatters, street families, the disabled, street traders and people living with HIV/AIDS. CDLGs governance structure includes a general assembly, an executive committee and a board of directors. Fifty-six ward representatives (two from each ward) and 13 elected executive committee members comprise the general assembly. It normally meets monthly and it elects the new officials annually, including the executive committee and board of directors. CDLG has a secretariat of two full-time employees. CDLG relies entirely on donor funding. Its current activities are funded through the USAID Kenya Civil Society Strengthening Program grant for strengthening community structures to monitor LATF in Mombasa district (KSh 2.6 million) and, recently, it has benefited from support from ActionAid and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, among others. Despite CDLGs strategic focus and commendable record working in partnership with other CBOs and NGOs in Mombasa to engage local communities in programming LATF funds and holding local government accountable to deliver results, the organization is currently facing a number of challenges. The CDLG Organizational Capacity Assessment Report (May 2007), which was carried out by Pact Kenya and financed by USAID, elaborates these challenges in some detail. This report also clearly identifies CDLGs capacity building requirements and prospects for sustainability. B. Ujamma Center Registered as an NGO in 2001, the Ujamaa Center works with communitybased organizations in the Coast Province to enhance their capacity to effectively engage in socioeconomic and social justice processes and improve access to quality and reliable services provision. The Centers primary areas of focus are community development, social justice advocacy, and research and documentation. Its social justice program focuses on community control over local livelihood resources, including the rights of squatters. It also focuses on the issues of devolved funds and their utilization as well as community participation in the preparation, implementation and supervision of poverty reduction projects. The Center does this through capacity building programs (villagebased workshops, ward-level reflection meetings, etc.), information sharing



and dissemination, and policy advocacy. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter Kimulimuli. The Center works with community-based organizations and residents in all four constituencies of Mombasa (Likoni, Changamwe, Kisauni and Mvita). It also operates in the districts of Kwale, Kilifi and Malindi, where one of its more successful initiatives was providing support in helping to establish the Malindi Residents Forum, which brings together local community delegates from each ward in weekly meetings with the Malindi Town Council. The Ujamaa Center is governed by a board of directors that articulates policy principles and sets direction and institutional and program focus. Five staff and 32 community mobilizers and volunteers compromise Ujamaa Center's secretariat. The Center has a strategic plan that guides its implementation and budgeting processes. Grants from the Royal Danish Embassy, the Travel Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Headley Foundation totaling KSh 16,000,000 funded the 2007 budget. Ujamaa works in partnership with various other NGOs and CBOs on the coast and is a member of a number of NGO consortiums, including the Elimu Yetu Coalition; the Mombasa Consortium on Water, Sanitation and Solid Waste; and the Kilifi Civil Society Network. The Center also hosts the Coast Social Forum, which meets annually at the Mombasa International Trade Fair to provide local CBOs and community practitioners with an opportunity for information exchange and peer learning. C. Likoni Development Group (Likodep) Likodep is a lobbying and advocacy organization working in Mombasas Likoni Constituency, which was the center of the politically instigated violent clashes that took place in the run-up to the 1997 general elections. Likodep was registered as an NGO in September 2004 although in its operations and reach, it has more of the characteristics of a CBO than an NGO (since its operations are confined to the Likoni area and its membership and staff are drawn exclusively from this area). Likodeps mission is to reduce poverty and its causes in order to achieve social and economic justice for the people of Likoni through advocacy for the better policies that uphold human rights and promotion of basic services. The organization has five principal areas of focus: education, health, microenterprise development, lobbying and advocacy, and peace and security development. Through these programs, Likodep has helped build pit latrines in schools, carried out an HIV/AIDS awareness program, established a voluntary counseling and testing center (VCT) and launched a microfinance program for its members. Likodeps lobbying and advocacy efforts have centered around the



use and management of devolved funds, with a particular focus on the LATF and CDF (Constituency Development Fund). To this end, it participated in the No ProjectNo views campaign to advocate for the municipal councils timely completion of all projects prioritized by the community, and still pending. It also conducts community civic education and human rights training. Its peace and security campaign is of particular relevance to its community, which has yet to recover fully from the 1997 violent clashes. Likodep is a membership organization with an estimated 600 members throughout the Likoni area. A ten-member board of directors and a fourmember secretariat composed of full-time employees run the organization. Grants from ActionAid, the Royal Danish Embassy and the Kenya Community Development Foundation currently support Likodep. Its annual budget for 2007 was KSh 10,694,000. Likodep works in partnership with other NGOs in the district, including CDLG, the Ujamaa Center, MUHURI and the Kenya Alliance for the Advancement of Childrens Rights. It has also established links with various local schools and the local administration. D. Ilishe Trust Ilishe Trust is an umbrella organization of Coast Province CBOs working on civic awareness to strengthen governance and reduce poverty. Illishe stands for Ilimu Sheria which is Swahili for legal awareness program. Initially registered as a CBO, in November 1998, Ilishe registered as a trust. Its mission is to support long-term grassroots action with a clear emphasis on empowering the poor to develop effective strategies for combating poverty and ensuring social justice and equity for all. The Trust implements programs in: savings and credit, early childhood development, education and training, shelter and housing, water and sanitation, land, and shelter. In recent years, the Trust has increasingly focused on land, shelter, and water and sanitation programs. One of the Trusts major achievements was serving as a lead agency in the Mombasa Water and Sanitation City consortium that resulted in the drafting of a Citizens' Report Card for Water and Sanitation in Mombasathe first of its kind in the country. As part of its education and training programs, the Trust is involved in the Uraia program, which is a civic awareness program that airs on radio and television broadcasts with an emphasis on human rights, governance, leadership and constitutional issues. The Trust also addresses issues of governance concerning the two primary devolved government funds, CDF and LATF. Ilishe has a corporate membership of over 80 CBOs and elects its governing body members to serve for a three-year term. These members hold an annual



general meeting. The board of trustees is the policy-making organ of the Trust, and an executive committee is the arm of the board whose mandate is to oversee the secretariat in supporting the implementation of the various programs. There are also zonal committees that implement the various programs with the technical support of the secretariat. The Trust employs 15 permanent staff members but has an employee base that fluctuates depending on the nature of the programs being implemented. The Trusts program planning is developed through a participatory process with its membership. Primary funding is from donors and tied to specific projects. This includes its current funding support from the World Bank Water Sanitation Program and the Basket Fund National Civic Education Program (NCEP II, which totaled KSh five million for 20062007). In the recent past, other donors have included the University of Sussex, the Swedish Non-Governmental Organization Foundation for Human Rights, and the Constitutional Reform Education Consortium (CRECO). The Trust has also established partnerships with a number of other NGOs and CBOs in Mombasa and maintains a dialogue with the Mombasa city authorities and relevant line ministries such as the Ministry of Lands. E. Kisauni Land Lobby Group Kisauni Land Lobby Group was registered in 2001 as a CBO based in the Kisauni area of Mombasa. The Lobby Group serves as an umbrella body for 128 other small CBOs in the Kisauni area. The Lobby works to raise awareness on land tenure issues, particularly those concerned with squatters (all 18 members are themselves squatters). The Kisauni area is settled by families who have been renting from private absentee landlords, often for many generations. They have informally built housing on the rented land. Indeed, much of the Kisauni area reflects the tenancy-at-will arrangements described above in Section B (Mombasa: An Urban Profile). The Lobby Group has also worked in raising awareness of community members in regards to the management of devolved funds. In spite of its very limited resource capabilities, the organization has had some success in lobbying for squatters rights, including successfully petitioning the Ministry for Lands to issue a public notice for the cessation of levying of ground rents for squatters. This is seen as a first step in securing their land tenure. (However, this public notice was subsequently blocked prior to being enacted, apparently in response to pressure from the landlords and their lawyers). The Lobby has a six-member executive committee and 12 additional members, all of whom work on a voluntary basis. The Lobby has not yet been the recipient of any donor funding, although it has received some technical support



from PAMOJA Trust, a Nairobi based NGO that is Shack/Slum Dwellers International's (SDI) partner in Kenya. F. Kituo Cha Sheria Kituo Cha Sheria is a national NGO that provides legal awareness training and legal representation to the poor, particularly in the areas of housing, land, labor and governance. It has been in operation for 35 years and is the oldest free legal advice centre in Kenya. The organization has headquarters in Nairobi but it has a well-established branch office in Mombasa, which serves the Coast Province. Kituo Cha Sheria is Swahili for Legal Advice Center. The mission of Kituo Cha Sheria is to work with the people of Kenya to respect, promote, demand and access human rights in pursuit of a just and equitable society. The organization carries out this mission through two core programs: a legal aid program and a community advocacy, governance and community partnership program. The legal aid program provides free legal advice and, where required, legal representation at highly subsidized rates (a one-time fee of KSh 50) to members of the community. The advocacy program involves working with communities to raise awareness of their legal rights, primarily in the area of land ownership and questions of security of tenure and management of devolved funds. Unlike many of the other organizations profiled, Kituo does not restrict itself to the two primary funds, CDF and LATF; its program covers the entire range of devolved funds (13 in total). To this end, the organization has worked with local NGOs and CBOs to establish devolved fund monitoring committees in Mombasas four constituencies, which serve as shadow committees to the governments constituency development committees. Kituo also prepared a devolved funds monitoring kit and has sponsored a bill in parliament seeking to amend the provisions of the CDF Act in order to reduce the ability of members of parliament to bypass community stakeholders in setting priorities for and monitoring the use of CDF funding. The organization has a seven-member board of governors and a twenty-fivemember secretariat. It also has a volunteer advocacy scheme consisting of 500 practicing lawyers nationwide, with 50 volunteers in this Mombasa district. The Mombasa branch office has seven full-time staff, four of whom are lawyers. The organization pursues its grassroots initiatives through local CBOs and NGOs, including CDLG, Ujamaa Center and Ilishe Trust, among others. Kituo also uses its well-established research capacity to support building the capacity of these local organizations and to strengthen their impacts on government policies. The communities it works with include squatter communities, Export Processing Zone (EPZ) workers, tenants and commercial sex workers.



The organizations core funding for its Mombasa program comes from two primary sources: the German NGO, Misereor International, and the Danish development agency, Danida. Other donor funding for specific projects comes from UNHCR and CIDAs Marginal Justice Program.

D. Proposed Capacity Building Strategy

he Urbis capacity building strategy in Mombasa will respond to a number of imperatives to scale up impacts on poverty reduction. The first is the availability of devolved resources in a setting with a severely limited capacity for community programming. As a result, Urbis has an opportunity to link its capacity building strategy to strengthen community engagement by more effectively targeting readily available capital funding for urban poverty reduction. The main devolved funds for Mombasa are the Constituency Development Fund and the LATF, totaling about USD 6 million a year and projected to expand. This strategy would also include targeting the several sector-specific devolved funds, listed in Section C, including those that support HIV/AIDS programs, roads and education. The second imperative is that there are a number of CBOs and NGOs operating in Mombasa that, although well-established, are badly in need of capacity building to make them more effective and to enable them to broaden their outreach to poor communities. These NGOs have demonstrated their ability to work within their mandates and network with others. Urbis can also draw upon the experience of larger NGOs that have supported capacity building in the CBO/NGO sector in Mombasa, such as ActionAid, as well as the technical capacity of national NGOs, such as Kituo Cha Sheria, which is developing legal toolkits to support community access to devolved funds. The third imperative is the weak and fragmented linkage between NGOs and the Municipal Council of Mombasa. Enhancing the capacity of NGOs to engage with the municipality is critical to poverty alleviation, since the municipal council plays an important role in service delivery, urban planning and management, and regulation. There are essentially two principal capacity gaps that will need to be bridged to address these objectives and thereby enable communities living in poverty to improve their welfare. The first is to build the capacity of NGOs so that they, in turn, can empower local communities to drive the programming of funds devolved by the central government to the city. These funds, especially the Constituency Development Fund and the Local Authority Transfer Fund,



lie at the core of governments devolution policy. Fiscal decentralization alone, unaccompanied by adequate programming capacity at the community level, cannot effectively respond to local priorities. Conversely, building capacity in the absence of capital funds to address local priorities would not yield satisfactory results. Although a number of Mombasas NGOs have benefited from the support of development partners and bilateral agencies, most of this has been project-based funding and, since support directly targeting the capacity building of these organizations is limited, much remains to be done. Moreover, the anticipated expansion of devolved funds in 2008, in line with current political aspirations, underlines the pressing and growing concern to empower communities to utilize these resources to address local needs. The second capacity gap is the limited coordination of NGO interventions in the city. Investigations have shown that this has not always been the case. In the late 1990s, a DFID-funded program, Participatory Approaches to meeting the Needs of the Urban Poor (PAMNUP), hosted the NGO forum, an institutional mechanism that enabled NGOs to: (a) coordinate their work and thus reduce overlaps and other inefficiencies, and (b) increase their voice in order to engage more effectively with the Mombasa Municipal Council and other stakeholders. This coordinating function, although later taken over by ActionAid for a limited period, has not been supported in recent years. Coordination presently focuses on issue-based activities, with NGOs in the same line of work forming coalitions and networks to address common issues. While this arrangement appears to be working well, it leaves NGOs without a joint mechanism for engaging with the Mombasa City Council and other service providers. Urbis could seek to use a phased approach to bridge the two gaps identified above (NGO Capacity and NGO Coordination), initially focusing only on the first, but phasing in coordination activities as the project gains experience. The first gap provides a feasible entry point because of the following conditions: There are a number of NGOs, profiled above in Section D, which offer substantial potential for effective collaboration with Urbis. Due diligence will indicate which of these NGOs provide the best prospects for meeting Urbis objectives. For the purposes of programming, it might be feasible to focus initial capacity building on one constituency, if necessary. This approach would carry some risks but might provide a tractable option without losing the opportunity to go to scale as Urbis learns relevant lessons. Urbis could collaborate with some of the development organizations listed



above to build on and expand ongoing capacity building efforts. For two reasons, Urbis should phase in activities to address the second gap only after it has acquired field experience and built up the competencies of the target NGOs: Initially, Urbis may have limited capacity to support inter-NGO coordination and to promote collective stakeholder engagement with the Mombasa Municipal Council. Increasingly, however, Urbis could channel support towards the creation of a stakeholder forum, preferably in partnership with other development partners. The Malindi model supported by the Ujamaa Center offers a good example of how Urbis could accomplish this.33 The risk of failure in addressing the second gap is considerable. Drawing together a large number of diverse NGOs, desirable as this might be, is a difficult undertaking, and Kenyan experience shows that the creation of stakeholder forums in the larger towns and for structured engagement with municipal councils is a complex task.34 An intermediate step towards a stakeholder forum would be to establish a virtual resource center, which would act as a clearinghouse for information in addition to documenting and disseminating the activities of the key stakeholders in poverty. 1. brIdgIng The CAPACITY bUILdIng gAP Crafting a detailed capacity building strategy to address the first gap will require the participation of NGOs that: (a) pass the due diligence test and (b) agree to collaborate with Urbis. The ultimate aim is to empower local communities to utilize devolved funds and other local resources to address their priority needs, such as local infrastructure services (water, sanitation, drainage, electricity), social services (education, health), economic services (markets, worksites for microenterprises), security of tenure through regularization of property rights, access to legal services, etc. To achieve this aim, Urbis will build the capacity of qualifying

33 Malindi, a small coastal town about 60 miles to the north of Mombasa, boasts an active and effective residents forum that enables residents to engage with the municipal council on a continuing basis. Whether or not this model could effectively be customized for Mombasa, a much larger and more complex city, is a topic that will require further investigation. 34 For instance, efforts by the World Bank to operationalize a stakeholder forum in Nairobi have thus far not been successful.



NGOs so that they develop the competencies required to: (a) assist communities to develop community action plans (CAPs) that reflect local priorities and take account of existing frameworks for planning such as the Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP); (b) broaden community understanding of devolved funds and other resources; (c) promote community utilization of devolved funds and other local resources; and (d) tackle the widely reported community apathy towards local development. Some of these competencies will be common to all NGOs, especially those related to corporate governance, accountability and organizational efficiency, while other competencies will be tailored to the particular mandates of different NGOs. Technical assistance to develop the necessary competencies will take different forms, designed to meet the specific needs of the target NGOs, including training, study tours and improving support systems. 2. COmPeTenCIes And benChmArKs: ngOs Urbis could seek to work with the selected NGOs to identify and benchmark the key competencies NGOs require to: (a) manage their operations in a sustainable and accountable fashion; (b) empower communities to prepare and implement their CAPs; and (c) engage with the municipal council, the central government and other key stakeholders. Field investigations have pointed to the need to support a range of competencies vital for success. These include governance, including the preparation of strategic plans, efficient utilization of financial and human resources and performance monitoring; evaluation; and learning. This is an illustrative list, which Urbis can modify and expand in consultation with specific NGOs, and develop performance benchmarks for each area of support. Governance, for instance, will focus on the leadership and direction of the selected NGOs, drawing a distinction between the responsibilities of the board, on the one hand, and of management, on the other. NGOs will be supported to: (a) clearly articulate their vision, mission and goals, which are shared by all in the organization and by the principal stakeholders; (b) prepare strategic plans that are aligned with their mission; (c) develop the capacity to assist CBOs in the preparation of CAPs; (d) improve their credibility with their stakeholders; (e) develop operational systems to ensure accountability; and (f ) develop communication strategies for promoting dialogue with communities, on the one hand, and the municipal council, on the other. In helping NGOs develop competencies in these areas, Urbis would develop a standard against which these organizations will measure their performance.



3. COmPeTenCIes And benChmArKs: CbOs Urbis can also seek to improve the capacity of NGOs so that they are able to: (a) assist CBOs in developing CAPs that are feasible and reflect local priorities; (b) help CBOs develop a broad understanding of community resources and devolved funds; and (c) develop and benchmark CBO competencies as a means of supporting the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of CAPs. Competencies at this level will also focus on the promotion of governance to ensure that community drives CBO members and that the CBOs are democratic, accountable and goal-oriented.

E. Potential Challenges and Opportunities of Implementing Urbis in Mombasa

ChALLenges: There are more than 140 political parties in the country, which can bring politics to a basic level. The parties have taken advantage of tribal and ethnic differences of Mombasas highly diverse population, at times causing strident divisions within a single community. Private sector and industrial interests in Mombasa appear to be preoccupied with their own narrow business interests and have historically not made significant contributions to improve living and working conditions in Mombasa. Corruption is still pervasive throughout the country and some municipal councilors are have reportedly used their power to maximize their own economic rewards. For all the above reasons, social capital in Mombasa is weak, which presents a significant challenge to NGOs and CBOs working in Mombasa. OPPOrTUnITIes: The government of Kenya has taken concrete steps over the last several years to enhance transparency and accountability in public service delivery. The process is slow but is beginning to yield results.



There is increased awareness amongst the poor that they have rights, which can be credited to the number of vibrant civil society activists and organizations, supported by motivated and dedicated staff. Many local NGOs and CBOs are focused on the same issues and recognize the need to work together to achieve results. Local organizations also understand the need to not only challenge and hold government accountable, but also to work in partnership with local government to solve their problems. Governance trends in Kenya are strongly towards decentralization and devolution, which will lead to even greater levels of funding earmarked for programming with local communities to address their priorities for poverty reduction. There is an opportunity to link community action plans with the devolved funds available from the government of Kenya, thereby creating the potential for Urbis to have a concrete impact on improving conditions in Mombasas urban poor communities. Several NGOs have experience in supporting capacity building, and Urbis should make the most of this potential resource. There is a growing impatience and resolve amongst the poor towards the progress on addressing issues important to them.

F. Conclusion

rbis capacity building support to civil society organizations in Mombasa will have significant impacts, both in helping Mombasas urban poor to increase their influence over planning and investment decisions that affect their daily lives as well as in producing a rich set of lessons learned from Mombasas vibrant community of NGOs and CBOs: Thirty-seven percent of Mombasas population lives below the poverty line and virtually all of the urban poor live in over 55 slums spread across the city, with limited access to clean water, sanitation and secure tenure. The central government is investing significant and increasing levels of capital funding in community level infrastructure and services programs,



which by law require community stakeholder involvement in establishing priorities and plans. As these programs are relatively new and communities are not well organized, political elites (both local councilors and national members of parliament at times) have found ways to bypass community involvement in the planning of these investments, even diverting the funds for other purposes. Over the last several years, Mombasas CBOs and NGOs have demonstrated considerable energy and a rare collective resolve to strengthen the engagement of poor communities in programming and monitoring these capital funds to improve their living conditions and reduce poverty. While their initiatives have realized limited success in improving accountability, there is real scope and a broadly shared interest to strengthen the capacity of these NGOs and the urban poor communities engaged in these efforts. There is openness to learning and a desire to know how these problems have been solved elsewhere, with real opportunities both for South-South learning as well as drawing on Mombasas sister city relationship with Seattle. Kenya installed a new government in early 2008, so the timing is right to work with the national and local institutions for change. In conclusion, Mombasa provides a good balance of challenges and opportunities for learning that warrant further efforts under Urbis.