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Unmuting Kisumu Voices

News: Mar 01, 2022

For ten years, the Kisumu Local Interaction Platform (KLIP) has been the hub of sustainable urban development in the City of Kisumu in Kenya. The KLIP was part of Mistra Urban Futures global network and researchers from Chalmers and University of Gothenburg were in involved in many KLIP projects.

The KLIP emerged out of the Kisumu Action Team that was formed in 2008 as a neutral space for interaction between industry, society and the universities. At the KLIP the participants could come together and speak freely, without necessarily being a representative of her or his organisation. Starting as a response to the large societal challenges around 2010, the investments in different sectors have constituted a significant contribution to the development of the city over the past decade. Two research programmes that reflected important functions in need of up-grading were initiated in Phase 1 (2010–2015) namely: Eco-tourism and Market Places.

“These two programmes drew people together” explains Stephen G Agong’, director of KLIP and vice-chancellor of JOOUST, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology in Kisumu.

The Eco-tourism and Market Places projects continued for five years, including several sub-projects targeting urban planning, interaction between local stakeholders and improved livelihoods. The trans-disciplinary approach with co-production of knowledge was developed and formed a basis for Phase 2 (2016–2019) and a series of comparative projects.

Pictures from Kisumu

Picture: Kisumu. Photos by: Barry Ness (LUCSUS).

Impact study as part of consolidation

In 2020, after the formal closure of the ten-year Mistra Urban Futures programme, Sida funded a “consolidation year” which included an impact study of the Kisumu research activities (1). Marie Thynell, formerly researcher at School of Global Studies and now senior advisor to GSF, has led this project with the KLIP team in Kisumu.

The final report is not yet published but Marie Thynell says that KLIP enabled a deeper understanding of the interests and needs of different socio-economic groups, and that new perspectives and ideas were brought up in civil dialogues. However, some topics remains to be developed such as the governance and local institutions and how to approach gender issues.

Nevertheless, the KLIP as a forum of urban development has meant a lot to the reshaping of the city. Much may still be left to do to increase sustainability in Kisumu, but several aspects of urban life have improved, such as waste management, food security and urban mobility.

“The KLIP model is unique”, says Michael Oloko, lead researcher in the KLIP team. “It has made it possible for different stakeholders to express their views”.

The work has significantly increased human capital and knowledge in the city and – as Michael Oloko and Stephen Agong express – forms a basis to continue the fruitful collaboration with Chalmers and University of Gothenburg, to further develop the investments in the Kisumu and Kenya (2) this far.


(1) Over 90 publications are listed on the Mistra Urban Futures website from the KLIP 2010–2019 period, including peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and policy briefs. Some of the most recent concern regarding the localisation of the SDGs in the city – a work that has been noticed also by the Kenyan government which made the Kisumu experiences a national model.

(2) Global Sustainable Futures is also leading the SWEAFUN project, funded by STINT, where JOOUST and University of Nairobi participate as Kenyan partners, alongside other universities in the East Africa region.

BY: Jan Riise

Page Manager: Webbredaktionen|Last update: 6/11/2020
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