Today the International Development Select Committee published a report on their inquiry into the Department for International Development’s (DFID) approach to ‘Urbanisation and Poverty’. We are pleased that the Committee has adopted several recommendations made by RESULTS UK during the consultation on this inquiry including:
- DFID should increase the funding that they commit to housing microfinance;
- DFID should work to secure land and housing rights for slum dwellers in partner countries;
- DFID’s research strategy should be used to develop a detailed understanding of the nature of disease and health problems in poor urban communities; and
- DFID should increase funding to urban water and sanitation projects, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The International Development Select Committee is the official Parliamentary body that scrutinises the work of DFID, so its voice is well-respected and must be listened to by DFID. It is great to see so many of the issues that RESULTS works on mentioned in this report. In addition, the committee made explicit reference to the evidence submitted by RESULTS UK to support key points in the report on microfinance and health.
The Committee concluded that urban poverty is underestimated and under-prioritised by both developing country governments and the international community. They said that DFID needs to ‘take immediate action to push urban poverty back up both their own and the international agendas’. For the many people who are living in desperate conditions in urban slums like Catherine Kithuku, featured in our November 2008 information sheet on ‘flying toilets’ this report may be the first step to improving their lives.