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Inclusive Urban Development Toolbox for Climate Resilient Slum Change in Adama Town, Ethiopia

Creating a climate resilient sustainable neighborhood by an all inclusive planning and development methodology.

Photo of Teshome Shibru
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Loss of livelihoods and long built social capital that cushions shocks due to relocation of slum dwellers and settlement in isolated informal areas that expose them more to hazards, aggravated by climate changes, such as floods, dust storms and diseases like malaria. Cordaid facilitates the development of Smart Solutions for Slums through a multi-stakeholder approach. It will initiate an Alliance for Urban Change and work with them to develop an Sustainable Urban Development Tool (SUDT), which is a collection of innovative and participatory tools, instruments, and research methodologies, which will be used by urban development actors. The Toolbox provides guides to investigate, understand and maximize local resources to engender climate resilient and self-viable communities (men & women, rich & poor, Youth & adults) through the employment of concrete alliances. One of the fundamentals of the Toolbox is that it is based on bottom-up approaches where the communities are at the center of its own development and factors such as gender, age, ethnicity are taken into account to generate more equality. The Toolbox will integrate transversely the 4 Es of sustainability: Equity, Economy, Environment and Engineering. It takes into account four basic global aspects (Matter, Life, Society, The Individual) that move from universal resources and technologies to the local understanding of opportunities.


The user of the Toolbox will benefit from a familiar environment, which positively exploits and enhances local contingencies, strengths and vernacular advantages. The goal is to develop a framework that allows for “sustainable” building taking into account climate, culture, economic and social conditions.The Toolbox is supposed to improve living conditions of the slum dwellers & the poor in Adama town in Ethiopia by empowering them to use their own local assets and talents.


The impact of investments can be more substantial when there is an intensive and constructive collaboration between NGOs, local authorities and the communities. Often these actors recognize their different roles, but do not overcome their political contradictions, hegemony and power relations, which can lead to a standstill in the development of urban areas. Therefore, not many opportunities have been created for the improvement of city policy and for a scaling up from the neighborhood towards the metropolitan area. The solution complements the Adama City's structure plan that needs innovative and sustainable neighborhood designs that include appropriate housing & other infrastructure prototypes, urban development tools/strategies and climate proof designs that employ eco-system approach and spurs slum residents and city wide organizations with the potential to increase resilience. This intervention also addresses the desire of the city's planners to gain experience in innovative urban planning& urban development strategies and people centered multi-stakeholder urban planning processes, including spatial-financial strategies that will address the current challenge of making housing accessible to the poor slum dwellers. This solution also contributes to the challenge of authorities in making smart decisions in the face of competing priorities: should money go to affordable housing, or to basic urban infrastructure, education, health service, food security?


  • Yes, for two or more years


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years


  • Yes


Teshome Shibru is submitting this idea on behalf of Cordaid, a Netherlands based International NGO.


This idea is a blend of tested urban slum development approaches to be applied in the context of preparing urban slums for effects of climate change, and come up with a robust approach that is scalable in towns found in the same vulnerabilities. It involves transforming the slums through innovative neighborhood design & implementation strategies that takes in to account the dynamic mix of residents, infrastructures & services and planning to deal with the effects of climate change. Within the framework of neighborhood design; affordable, climate resilient, space-efficient and employment boosting urban infrastructure models that include residential houses, retail and production shades and public and household sanitation facilities and decentralized waste management infrastructure will be proposed. The solution will also formulate a spatial-financial strategies that will facilitate access to housing by the low income slum dwellers.


Our is different in that is area focused, integrated, multi-stakeholder process with advantages: • Greater impact and cost effectiveness due to alignment of efforts as a result of concerted actions and better coordination of stakeholders; • Improved local ownership in terms of technical capacity and resource use that ensures quality and sustainability; • Inclusive and responsive services to the demands of slum dwellers due to improved communication and cooperation between slum dwellers and city government as a result of the multi stakeholder process and community empowerment approaches; • Climate resilient slum dwellers due to community managed early warning, disaster preparedness & response and climate change adaptation, and its coordination capacity with local government and relevant agencies; • Sense of community & cohesion due to perceived safety, improved participation in their own development, improved governance due to enhanced capacity to deliver services and open communications etc. • Our intervention has wider impact, because we focus on soft components of capacity building, which also addresses both demand and supply side advocacy for inclusive development.


Local facts regarding the effects of climate change and future trends.


• Limited local level technical capacity to innovate, when conventional methods do not work; • Limited coordination capacity within the city government: different departments work in isolation from each other and without an integrated plan to improve slums at local levels. • Most plans are also not developed in a participatory way and do not include the voice of poor slum dwellers; • Efforts of alignment of services by non-state actors is limited to the understanding of each actor and one to one communication with concerned authority; • City and local government level capacity limitations to plan and enforce regulations for adaptation to climate changes and DRM;


As a result of non structured communication with community leaders, individual slum dwellers & officers from the city government, I understood the limitations of existing CBOs in terms of slum dwellers participation/influence and mandate. The need for new community structure to empower the community to engage in disaster preparedness, response and climate change adaptation activities became relevant. Therefore, the CMDRR mechanism added as an approach, which was not in the original idea.


Long term objective: Transforming the slums of Adama into an urban flourishing community in the context of climate change and the dynamic urbanization realities: We do this through: • Stimulating and facilitating the collaborative efforts of stakeholders that include the slum dwellers, community based organizations, city government etc. • Adopting and implementing the "Sustainable Urban Development Toolbox" with design & building techniques, urban planning and development strategies that involves people centered & climate resilient growth, an equal social development, a responsible use of natural resources and a good quality spatial surrounding.

How does your idea connect to the broader system of the city where you plan to implement?

From the outset, we will engage all stakeholders and takes in to account their existing and planned initiatives and in the process we will include technical managers of the relevant units of Adama municipality and others to take care of sector polices. For example, there is a current initiative of developing sanitation master plan for the city and this initiative will inform or influence the infrastructure to be climate adaptive and take in to account the needs of the dwellers. To facilitate negotiation on collaboration modalities and consensus building, we employ serious gaming, which is a type of simulation game - the Urban Collaboration and the Urban Planning Games. These games were designed as a tool for the facilitation and stakeholders involved in a specific area are mobilized around a shared common agenda on the basis of each stakeholder's own interest - action is cooperatively planned and agreed through the identification of win-win solutions for all. Update: Network 12/17


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Photo of Chioma Ume

Hi Teshome!
Below is some feedback from our experts. We look forward to reading your responses! 

Have you considered narrowing your focus? Perhaps focusing on skill development and advocacy, or learning from these slum dwellers about how they have already adapted and been resourceful in response to climate change? Since those with fewest resources at the vanguard of climate change are often the most creative around problem solving and are highly adaptive this might further empower them as leaders in this space and not just consumers of information.

Are you familiar with Cities Alliance?  They do "negotiated development" -- in which people participate in negotiating their rights and understand that all the different interests have rights that need to be brought into the equation. Similarly, other groups like CODI that facilitate squatter engagement, etc. You might check out what they are doing and see how your idea compliments, builds on or adds value. I like the idea of a toolbox that can be tailored to local context, though, and augmented by an Alliance for Urban Change.

Photo of Teshome Shibru

Thank you for your valid and important comment.

Cordaid always work bottom up in a participatory way with some differences from city to city depending on the local context. We supported the urban poor by engaging other stakeholders, and we always build from what is already exists and believe that the residents themselves are the actors of change and support them to improve. Urban poverty is concentrated in slum settlements and remains acute and is characterized by high vulnerability to effects of climate change, limited opportunity, inequitable access and control over resources & services and limited ability to impact decision-making. A deeper analysis of urban poverty and vulnerability leads to a particular focus on women heading households, which constitute more than 50% of the households in slums and who are highly dependent upon urban spaces and services for their livelihoods. As you rightly commented, these groups are the ones with creative solutions and adaptation methods and this justifies focus on empowerment and advocacy. In par with this, the primary purpose of the toolbox and the alliance will be to facilitate supply side advocacy (through technical capacity building measures to the duty bearers), and at the same time facilitating multi-stakeholder process and governance structure that empower the right holders (slum dwellers) and other stakeholders in the private and public sectors, so that their needs and interests will inform the technical capacity building process and influence decision making. We know Cities Alliance very well and are currently discussing on renewing our partnership with the Directors in Brussels. As you quite interestingly proposed, the cities alliance's approach of negotiated urban development is highly valid. Historically, Ethiopian cities developed organically and slum settlements are distributed over the urbanized areas including the highly exposed peripheral areas such hill sides and river banks. Making the poor part of the slum re-development process is no easy thing and calls for negotiated development approach with the 'win-win‘ results. The idea that slum areas could simultaneously be re-developed and significantly address local issues of poverty & vulnerability – masked the reality that benefits and costs of making the slum poor part of the urban development varied widely over time and space and between different groups. In addition to the technical training, the toolbox and the alliance will focus on one of the central challenges of co-development/ management: how to define and negotiate responsibility, entitlements and lost opportunities among a diverse group with very different values, knowledge and power. Cordaid will play a neutral broker role through the Alliance for Sustainable Urban Change (ASUC). As with ASUC and co-management, the essential role of institutions and legitimacy of governance arrangements will be key variables. In negotiating trade-offs, ACUC will stress the problems of the discrepancies of power, the inadequacy of monetary calculations to measure value, the challenges of bridging inconsistent approaches of specialists, policymakers and practitioners and addressing the differences between and among communities and governments.

Teshome Shibru, 

Photo of Chioma Ume

Hi Teshome, thanks for the detailed response. Could you explain what CDMRR is? 

Can you tell us, what is the first aspect of this idea that you'd like to focus on? What are the steps you'd take to get started? How do you envision using Amplify support?

Photo of Teshome Shibru

Hi Chioma
I tried to answer your questions below. If you have any more questions please ask. You are helping think deeper and more.

1. What is CMDRR?

CMDRR stands for Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction. It is a Resilience Building Framework, which emphasizes the dynamics and interconnections of ecosystem, climate change and disaster risk reduction. Climate change brought about changes in weather patterns often translated into hazards such as storms and floods. The starting point in CMDRR is always a hazard.

2. What is the first aspect of this idea that you would like to focus on?

The first focus of this idea is to roll out the CMDRR approaches within the target community and local stakeholders and facilitate its implementation and sustainability through a strong community based structures (CMDRR Committees) and alignment to local development plans through Sustainable Urban Development Tools that employs multi-stakeholder process.

3. What are the steps you would take to get started?
Preparation steps:

• Develop the idea in to a comprehensive project plan based on feed backs from the community, Amplify experts and local stakeholders (government, knowledge institutions and CBOs/NGOs);

• Agree with Amplify, local charities regulating body and Adama City Municipality on the conditions, roles and inputs to implement the idea or the project plan;

• Hire an overall Coordinator and a local coordinator attached to Adama municipality - that will coordinate training and document the process and the achievements; provide technical support to CMDRR committees, manage the multi-stakeholder process.
CMDRR training & implementation steps:

A. Training of Stakeholders: Train local stakeholders (target community, government & knowledge institutions, local CBOs and NGOs with the same agenda) on CMDRR approaches:

B. Conduct Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA): Urban Disaster Risk Assessment proposal that employ PDRA tools will be designed and implemented in target areas of Adama town.

C. Develop Resilient Community Action Plan (RCAP): At this stage, Kebele level facilitation of communities to identify measures that reduce negative impacts of anticipated hazard and develop a participatory resilience plan will be made i.e. adaptation and mitigation measures that include physical (e.g. infrastructure) and biological (urban eco-system management & restoration). 

D. Put in Place Organizational Mechanism at Community Level: Trained/sensitized community members in the target vulnerable slum areas will be mobilized and supported to form community structure (CMDRR Committee) at each Kebele (lower administrative unit) to implement community managed resilience plan, advocate for their interest and cooperate with other stakeholders in the resilience building process. The CMDRR Committee members will be supported through this.

E. Mobilizing Resources for Community Resilience: CMDRR Committees will be guided and encouraged to mobilize resources for their DRR plan, from the community and other partners. The first focus will be from the community in such form as service or labor. CMDRR Committees will also supported to network and mobilize resources to meet identified gaps & needs from local non-governmental and faith based organizations, government and the private sector.

F. Participatory DRR Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PMEL): Following implementation of Community DRR plan, facilitation will be made to nurture community self-learning where communities reflect and take appropriate action. 

G. Documenting and Sharing CMDRR experiences through M&E and learning process.  Lessons will be captured in to information materials and learning resources and will be shared with other organizations to develop partnerships and mobilize resources.

4. How do envision using Amplify support?

All the above mentioned processes and activities need financial inputs. Therefore, if this idea become one of the winners, the financial award from Amplify will be used to acquire skills, conduct trainings and workshops, purchase material inputs, coordination and logistic costs etc. The financial procedures of Cordaid and other possible conditions from Amplify will be followed. The activity and the amount of support will also be open to beneficiaries and agreement will be reached with local government and subject to their control. Any possible modality of support from Amplify is welcome for discussion.

5. The second focus will be facilitating how Resilient Community Action Plan (RCAP) to factor in the government mandated Local Development Plans (LDP) through Sustainable Urban Development Tool (SUDT) and Alliance for Sustainable Urban Change (ASUC), which is a multi-stakeholder process. I can send you the detail if it is not clear in the previously submitted idea.

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