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This content is taken from the UCL (University College London) , Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre & Njala University's online course, Development and Planning in African Cities: Exploring theories, policies and practices from Sierra Leone. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds One of the key challenges that they have is around land tenure. Most times, the lands that they are occupying, they are just squatting in there without any kind of legal papers for it, so to speak. So in fact, they often fear there will be some elements around eviction threats. Definitely, it inhibits them for them to actually invest in some much more stable structure, or buildings. And in turn, that’s why they have been able to just have these ‘panbodi’, or cardboard buildings, and all the rest, because they still do not have– the land tenure security is much more– I mean, is a threat.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds So that is basically what is holding them back to be able to actually massively invest into some of the key infrastructure within those areas that they also live in. Of course, looking at the policy the government has at the moment, it’s actually focused on the issue of evictions. They feel that addressing the situation of slums, policy wise, should be applied through forced evictions. But over time, of course, there have been a lot of engagements and government is beginning to understand that they cannot succeed with forced evictions because you are only recycling. If you evict people from one location they might relocate and create a similar environment. And so they are beginning to understand that.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds Because of that understanding, government is trying to develop new policies that address that situation, which have not been ratified yet. So I would still say that we are still operating within a policy of eviction. And so because of that, nobody will want to invest in communities that have been threatened with forced evictions. And so that really is affecting. That besides, the residents in those localities also had that premonition already that we cannot invest in housing, in proper housing and services, in this locality because we are facing the threat of eviction.

How insecurity and eviction threats affect people's capacities

Following on from the previous video, Braima Koroma from SLURC and Francis Reffell from YMCA Sierra Leone further discuss the impact that the threat of eviction has on informal settlements, and in particular, on the infrastructure and building types found in those areas.

  • What policies towards informal settlements can unleash residents’ resources and capacities, and so improve their lives? Can you think about a positive example?

Please write a paragraph and feel free to add a link to a story where fellow participants can learn more about the example you have identified.

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Development and Planning in African Cities: Exploring theories, policies and practices from Sierra Leone

UCL (University College London)

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