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Perspectives from informal settlement residents

Watch video cockle bay lahai koroma abu sesay eviction freetown informal settlement panbodi cockle bay upgrade slum housing permanent concrete tenure
Yeah, the different type of houses constructed in Cockle Bay - we have zinc house, which is, we call this locally, ‘Panbodi’. Then we have concrete house. It’s mixed, it’s not separated. Because the more and more people have the income, because due to the– I can say– due to confidence, because there’s no confidence from people to continue to construct houses. Those who have constructed concrete houses, it’s just a risk, because every day the government are alarmed that this is a risk area, it’s a disaster-prone area. So whosoever constructs a concrete house, it is just a risk. So you can see most of the community is embedded with zinc house, which is the ‘panbodi’.
The eviction threat impact is becoming more alarming, and is so negative to us all, because I’m also residing here, and I’m part of the slum people here. And the key thing of the lack of upgrading of the slum, from us, the slum settlers, because we don’t have proper or legal documentations towards this area, as you know. Because government is just alarming. These places are not good to live. But we have tried our own way to engage them, how best we can upgrade the slum.
So that’s the key element that is disturbing us as slum-dwellers, because you cannot pour all your little resources because you know, securing job or other financial income stuff is not easy to get in this part of the world, especially in Sierra Leone. So all of us are afraid to upgrade our structures and even our basic lives. Because at the end of the day, maybe you can’t tell, because you don’t have that guarantee that can assure yourself and others that, oh, if I upgrade this place, I’m going to be safe for the rest of my life, or maybe for the next 50 years or so. So that negative element of eviction threat has keep us away from developing the slum.

The threat of eviction impacts the everyday lives of residents of Freetown’s informal areas.

Faced with this threat, many feel they are unable to commit their time and resources to improving the condition of their homes, from those made out of corrugated iron, known as ‘pan bodi’, to more permanent structures made from concrete.

In this video we hear from two residents of Cockle Bay, Mr Abu Conteh and Mr Lahai Koroma, who discuss this impact in more detail.

To learn more about how residents in coastal settlements produce land in order to build houses, please return to Step 2.5. More information on Cockle Bay can be found on the Freetown interactive map.

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

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