|Ngazi Ya Chini (Railway Dwellers Federation Of Kenya)|
The railway reserve land particularly in Nairobi has been heavily encroached by a large number of people. Residences and market areas have been established on both sides, impeding safe operations of the railway line. Pamoja Trust has been engaged in the process since 2004, when the first eviction notice against the railway dwellers was issued. In 2011, the Government of Kenya began an ambitious project to relocate over 10,000 of these so-called encroachers into new housing and business units beside the railway line. This Relocation Action Plan aims to re-establish an extended the safety corridor for railway operations and maintenance in Mukuru and Kibera and act as a buffer zone to minimize danger posed by accidents or derailments. The project seeks to mitigate against social, economic and environmental impact of the relocation by putting in place sustainable development programs and sufficient investments resources to enable the displaced persons restore their livelihoods as well as standard of living to pre-displacement levels or even higher. The project will ensure the livelihoods of the Project Affected Persons are improved and safeguarded against long-term hardship. Through this project, railway dwellers are no longer seen as encroachers; rather, they are considered as Project Affected Persons. This categorization allows them to enjoy similar rights as the rest of the city dwellers, particularly access to basic services. The side event shall provide an opportunity for participants to understand the project’s experiences and challenges. Interested stakeholders shall be allowed an opportunity to interact with this one of a kind project and draw lessons for implementing similar initiatives across different jurisdictions. Lessons from the Kenyan experience in conducting successful relocation exercises shall be discussed. Models through which urban poor communities can interact with city spaces shall be demonstrated. Policy reform options in addressing challenges facing slums shall be explored.