Research at IFRA
In addition to carrying out research on various themes,
IFRA regularly supports junior researchers to carry out
their fieldwork in Eastern Africa as part of their PhD
research. IFRA is increasing its visibility as a French
centre for research and cooperation in the human and
1. UN-Habitat /IFRA partnership on Nairobi mapping
Martin Ledant (Nov 2010- May 2011)
The Geo Referenced Utility Benchmarking System GRUBS is an initiative
led by GWOPA (Un-Habitat) in cooperation with the Water Sanitation Program
(World Bank). It is a new online tool for water utilities, (http://www.gwopa.org/GRUBS),
which was launched in March 2010 at the 15th International African Water
Association Congress in Kampala.
GRUBS aims to help make the most out of water utility benchmarking - a process for measuring water operators' performance. When overlain with local Watsan infrastructure and other data, GRUBS develops the potential to highlight spatial inequities and inform targeted investment planning.
The overarching objective of the study that IFRA is conducting is to complete the Nairobi City GIS database by adding new data layers in the database already developed by GRUBS. More particularly, IFRA will produce a map differentiating neighborhoods according to a typology elaborated by the researcher. This typology will be based on both satellite image analysis and socio-economic data collected on the ground. The researcher will make a photo-interpretation, crosschecking spatial patterns (such as size, regularity, vegetation cover, build-up densities, etc) of the very smallest spatial units in order to produce a proper socio-spatial classification. The type of land tenure and the type of planned operation (site and services schemes, etc…) have to be taken into consideration as well. Then, this analysis will be cross checked through in-depth and localized field work enquiries for verification purposes. The result expected will be a land use and a socio-economical map of Nairobi.
2. Evaluation of the Kibera Soweto East project in Nairobi, Kenya. Rosa Flores-Fernandez (2010)
Summary soon available
3. The implementation of the urban environment policies and the governance in Kenya: challenges and potentialities. Rosa Flores-Fernandez (2010)
Summary soon available
4. Assessment of the socio-economic impacts of the implementation of ablution blocks in Nairobi informal settlements (report available here)
Amélie DESGROPPES, Jackson KAGO: Dr. Joseph T. MAILUTHA ,
Dr. Alfred O. MAYABI, Dr. Christopher KANALI, Benson KARANJA, Ms.
Over the years, residents in informal settlements of Nairobi have had to cope with water shortage and poor sanitation conditions. It is estimated that 75% of the population lack toilet facilities within their homes.
To address the above challenges, Athi Water Service Board (AWSB) developed strategic guidelines that seek to improve water and sanitation services in the Nairobi's informal settlements. One such project was the construction of twenty ablution blocks (also called Bio centres), in selected villages of Kibera, Mukuru and Korogocho informal settlements, which targeted to benefit 350,000 residents.
The overall objective of the project was to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to people living in informal settlements in Nairobi. The sustainability and the environmental efficiency of the structure are guaranteed by the production of gas from human waste. This is in line with the Kenyan water sector strategy whose main aim is to achieve the specific MDGs (Millennium Development goals) and WSSD targets on water and sanitation for the country by 2015 while ensuring environmental sustainability.
The project was financed by French Agency for Development (AFD) and
was initiated in 2007 but was postponed because of the post-election
violence (PEV), and continued afterwards. By November 2009, only 14
out of 20 bio-centres had been completed, a performance which is way
below expectation as per the work plans.
It is against this backdrop that AFD and AWSB engaged JKUAT and IFRA to establish whether the project achieved its intended purpose and the justification for extension and expansion of the project. The Objective of the consultancy was to carryout detailed study/assessment of the impacts (economic, social) of the ablution blocks project; identify gaps and recommend measures for improvement to ensure future sustainability of the facilities.
The evaluation process and methodology applied was highly participatory, people centred and interactive. Participatory tools and conventional questionnaires were developed and applied concurrently. A wide range of stakeholders were contacted and interviewed during the process.
One of the finding of this survey was that the bio centres have helped in reducing water and sanitation problems in the area. The residents have a better access to water and sanitation. The women, poorest residents and children are still marginalized and use the facility less often. The project has had an impact in improving water and sanitation in the area, and reducing cost of access to the same. It has also fostered cohesion among the community and within the groups among other benefits.
This survey helped the project donor (AFD) and the implementer (AWSB) to re-design the project according to the recommendations of the research team.
5. Kibera, the biggest slum in Africa? Estimation of slum population (2009)
Sophie Taupin, Keyobs, Brussels, Belgium
Amélie Desgroppes, Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique, Nairobi, Kenya
The population of slums, while being of high importance for planning
and development, is often subject of uncertainty. Kibera, a slum in
Nairobi is currently considered as one of the biggest slums in Africa.
Although its surface area is equivalent to 2.38 Sq/Km, it is commonly
agreed that its population is between 700,000 and 1 million inhabitants.
[...]. This confusion on the figure of the population does not give
the researchers and developers the clue to analyse properly the outcomes
of Kibera. The need of more realistic figures, to complete analysis
of Kibera, led IFRA and Keyobs, a Belgium company active in GIS and
remote sensing, to conduct a survey. [...]
Keyobs and IFRA implemented a GIS and remote sensing based methodology to estimate the population of Kibera. Out of 1913 units (housing structure) enquired, 1725 were residential and the others were businesses, latrines, churches or for other uses. Under one roof, there are one to 30 rooms. One room is generally occupied by one household. The number of residents counted in the sample was extrapolated. It was decided to apply +7% error for all our results, considering the 3% non response, the errors in the digitalization and the errors during the ground survey. The estimation is based on the buildings area. In the surface of our sample, 3.7 ha, there are 5359 residents, for the 130.3 ha of built area, the number of residents is 201,935.
The results per village (12 villages) show a surprising heterogeneity throughout the different parts of Kibera. Kambi Muru and Laini Saba have a density of 48,000 hab/SqM, while Soweto West and Kianda are highly dense with 129,000 hab/SqM. Soweto West and Kianda show the higher rate of children, while Kambi Muru and Laini Saba show the higher rate of singles and business. The average density is around 87,500 hab/SqM. This survey was done before the 2009 census.
II. Research programmes
1. ANR JUGURTA- http://www.jugurta.org (2008-2011)
JUGURTA is the acronym of Spatial Justice, Governance and Territorialisation
in Southern Cities. It is a research program ANR/AIRD coordinated
by Professor Philippe Gervais-Lambony, from Université Paris
Ouest Nanterre-La Défense. Gathering four French research teams
and 5 Southern research teams, the project is original in different
First, the research team is multidisciplinary: Geography, History, Planning and Economy are represented. Among geographers, researchers with usually different approaches are associated: urban management, urban spaces identifications and political geography specialists. In the second place, the literature reviews are both in French and in English. Thirdly, linked with the previous point, the field experiences combined in this program takes place in different spaces, usually referred as Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Southern Africa and Northern Africa. Lastly, all these African field experiences will be compared to a Latin American case, increasing our capacity to reach the level of generalization. Contemporary urban governance is marked by two evolutions which put at stake the urban spaces construction at the local scale. On one hand, urban policies are more and more the product of processes of spaces distinction, creating local spaces with tools or management mode in urban contexts more and more marked by social and spatial heterogeneity. On the other hand, new groups of city dwellers show their discontent and express their demand at the local scale. These two types of resorting to the local scale are two different types of territorialisation, though they are often simultaneous and sometimes convergent.
2. CORUS Governing Towns in East Africa (2008-2011)
African countries are currently experiencing major changes in the way
they manage their cities both centrally and locally. Urban growth led
to the emergence of informal institutions (legal and illegal) which
play a crucial part in access to employment, housing, as well as to
health services, education and security. These organizations, not officially
recognized by the State, are perceived as legitimate alternatives to
public policies that often appear powerless. This urban reality has
created new urban orders which work parallel to the prescriptive framework
given by the State.
The programme aims at studying these different normative and competitive orders through the comparative analysis of two African cities: Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. At a continental level, this project is included within the GDRI activities ; Governing African Cities: Law, local institutions and urban identities since 1945, which begun in 2006. At a regional level, one of the objectives is to strengthen links between the scientific research environment and the political sphere. Representatives of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam City Councils, along with representatives of UN-HABITAT in Nairobi are associated to the programme. The large portion dedicated to methodology and training aims at elaborating common analysis tools for the various acto