The Kenya Government and the World Bank have spent Sh.487 million on the Kenya Informal Sector Improvement Programme (KISIP) in three informal settlements in Malindi Town.
The Kilifi County Engineer. Nicholas Kerongo said Maweni, Kibokoni and Kwa Ndomo informal settlements had benefitted from the construction of paved roads, water projects and installation of floodlights.
Speaking to journalists in Kibokoni on Monday, Kerongo said Sh.412 million had been used to construct 4.5 kilometers of tarmac roads and install eight floodlight projects while Sh75 million had been spent on water projects since the programme began in the three settlements about eight years ago.
Consequently, the residents of the three informal settlements have lauded the government for the initiatives, saying their lives have been transformed.
They said the construction of new roads, the drilling of water projects and the installation of floodlights in the three informal settlements had improved their livelihoods as they were able to operate their businesses with ease.
A resident of Kibokoni informal settlement, Pastor Thomas Kahindi Charo said the value of land had appreciated greatly following the construction of well-drained paved roads and the installation of three floodlights (mulika mwizi) in the area.
“We used to sell our plots at between Sh.20,000 and Sh.25,000 due to poor infrastructure, but since this programme started, a plot now goes at as much as Sh.4 million,” Pastor Charo said.
He said the roads and lights had improved security in the area, with residents operating their businesses late in the night without fear of being attacked.
Another resident, Francil Kitunga Baya, urged the government to assist the residents to access mortgage loans to enable them develop their plots in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda.
“Since the price of land has appreciated, residents could be tempted to sell their land to rich outsiders. We ask the government to help us get cheap mortgages so that we can construct our own houses,” he said.
Another Kibokoni resident, Ms. Kadzo Furaha Ngoma said it had become easier for traders to transport their merchandize due to the improved roads unlike in the past when transporters used to shun the area because of poor road network.
“Now that our roads have been improved, it is easy for us to transport our wares here, and this has greatly improved business,” she said, adding that non-locals were being attracted to settle in the area.
A resident of Kwa Ndomo informal settlement, Shaban Bakari said apart from the provision of water, lights and roads in the area, the project was also planning to give residents land ownership documents.
“We were not sure that we would get title deeds for our land, but the government has assured that we shall get title deeds through this programme,” he said at Kwa Ndomo trading centre.
KISIP is a 100 million US Dollars (about Sh.10 billion) programme aimed at improving the living conditions in informal settlements across 14 counties in Kenya through improved infrastructure and security of tenure.
It is funded by the WB with additional resources from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sh.810 million) and the French Development Agency (Sh.3.9 billion).
A consultant for the programme Evelyne Njoroge said at least 1.3 million people had benefitted from the projects, with about 100 kilometers of tarmac road constructed in various informal settlements in the targeted counties.
By Emmanuel Masha