Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme

A UN-HABITAT programme in cooperation with the European Commission and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat. Read more


To date, the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme has realized the following achievements:


  • Raising awareness on urban development issues at the subregional, national, and local levels
  • Including urban issues in poverty reduction strategies, the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the Africa Gender Index, and other development management tools
  • Identifying urban-related challenges facing slum dwellers and the corresponding tangible solutions
  • Identifying priority projects and developing project concepts for implementation in countries in phase one and two
  • Acquiring feedback from the country delegations in countries in phase one and two

Additionally, there have been country-specific outcomes and spin-offs.


Lessons learned

Key lessons learned so far in the implementation process include the following:


  • The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme process is not an end to all urban poverty, but an important contribution and a process that other poverty alleviation programmes will complement.
  • Urban profiling is useful when analysing policy development and implementation. The needs assessment supports the development of solutions through governance, institutional development, and services.
  • It is important to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach when trying to find solutions to the urban poverty challenge, and instead look for tailor-made solutions that will suit the needs of different countries.
  • The programme approach targets far more than demonstration projects or field work. It aims for a change in thinking, an acknowledgement of slums and urban poverty, and a better institutional environment for pro-poor policies, strategies, and interventions.
  • Strengthening dialogue among actors is a prerequisite for the actual implementation of programmes.
  • External expertise can help to inform national and regional processes and facilitate the exchange of ideas.
  • Commitment to the process by regional, national, and local actors is essential before the initiation of a programme in a country.


Replicating the approach

A number of countries integrating enabling and empowerment concepts as part of sustainable urban planning have replicated the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme approach. Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Egypt ,Kiribati, Samoa, Sudan, Ecuador, and Vanuatu have adopted and independently implemented the approach. The towns of Eldoret and Nakuru in Kenya are also undertaking replication initiatives. In Somalia, a whole umbrella programme, the Urban Development Programme for the Somali region (SUDP), resulted from the Rapid Urban Sector Profiling for Sustainability (RUSPS) methodology.