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Participatory planning: self-organising through the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor

Watch video interview francis reffell lahai koroma FEDURP YMCA sierra leone informal self-organising engage government cooperation cockle bay
Most of the developments, neighbourhood developments, that I see within Freetown are normally being triggered by the residents themselves, and so, there are a lot of efforts. Focusing on very informal settlements, maybe those classified as slums, because the residents are actually experiencing common situations, circumstances, and problems, and so there is that tendency for them to actually mobilise themselves to be able to address those common problems. I mean, for example, we have the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP). It was actually initiated by some relationship between the slum dwellers, or informal settlers, and that of an NGO.
But it was quick to actually be embraced, because it has the potential to actually bring the people together and be able to work together to address their problems. We are playing our own part as community people, because we are trying to put ourselves together as a team all over the slum communities, because presently, through the assistance of Federation of Urban and Rural Poor, FEDURP, we have mapped out up to 72 slums, both seaside and hillside. And then we have this strong conviction that putting ourselves together and championing one goal and talking about our issues. Because, as we normally say, what is for us, without us, is not for us.
So in this sense, if you really want us to develop the slum communities, or to be part of the whole process in terms of mitigating disaster, or bringing up some developmental activities for the slum people, those processes cannot work adequately well without involving us. Because we are part of the issues. We know the issues. And they normally say, he who feels it knows it all. So involving us in the process, we know exactly what is good for us, and what is not good for us. And what is going wrong with us presently, we know them, and we know the solutions. And I don’t think there is any other person.
Even [if] you go out there to the US, or any parts of the world, to UK, for them to come here and solve our problems, they cannot do it better than us. Because we are feeling it, and we are going through it, and we are the best people to bring solutions to those problems.

In this clip, you learn about some of the positive impacts that the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP) have had on the lives of informal settlement dwellers.

Mr Francis Reffell, Project Manager at YMCA Sierra Leone, and Mr Lahai Koroma, a resident of Cockle Bay and FEDURP member, discuss the importance of residents working together to achieve common goals, and engaging policy makers to support positive urban change.

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

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