Tackling inequalities through housing policy development
In Sierra Leone, the lack of access to adequate and affordable housing compromises the country’s pathways for more sustainable and inclusive urban development. IIED and partners are assisting the Sierra Leonean government in its efforts to design a national housing policy that tackles inequalities.
Principal researcher, Human Settlements
As Sierra Leone recovers from two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple international crises dramatically increase the cost of living, access to housing remains a priority for its population.
For Sierra Leoneans, housing represents not just shelter but a determinant of people’s health, economic security and safety.
The continued trend of urbanisation in the country is making housing a growing urban challenge. Lack of access to affordable and adequate housing is driving the rapid growth of informal settlements in Freetown, as well as the expansion of insecure and precarious housing conditions in cities such as Bo, Kenema and Makeni.
IIED research, done in partnership with the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre and part of the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC), is showing that the lack of housing policy and planning efforts to tackle this housing crisis is deepening poverty and inequalities. It’s also hindering the country’s ambition to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
This project aims to promote a collaborative and strategic response to this housing crisis in Sierra Leone by supporting the national government’s efforts to develop a national housing policy.
It builds on the ACRC housing research in Sierra Leone and has evolved through a collaboration with an existing partnership between the national government of Sierra Leone and Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a global initiative focused on the promotion of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
The government of Sierra Leone was particularly interested in how the ongoing process of housing policy development could help tackle inequality and exclusion in the country.
What is IIED doing?
This partnership will contribute to the housing policy development process with research developed by SLURC, public dialogue activities and evidence from international experiences.
IIED, SLURC and Pathfinders are carrying out three main activities:
- A one-day conference titled ‘Tackling urban inequalities: pathways for housing justice and inclusive urban development in Sierra Leone' took place in September 2022, and highlighted that housing should be a key component of Sierra Leone national development strategy.
- A seminar, which took place over four half-days, explored how housing policy and planning can reduce inequalities, and
- The production of a series of six policy briefs that provide lessons learned from international experiences in this field.
Finally, a report will outline the key principles for a housing policy development framework in Sierra Leone, as well as a set of recommendations identified through the various project activities.
- News: SLURC conducts one-day conference to tackle urban inequalities (September 2022)
- Blog: Breaking the cycle of housing deprivation in Freetown’s informal settlements, by Alexandre Apsan Frediani (April 2022)
- Blog: Securing the right to adequate housing in African cities, by Ola Uduku, Alexandre Apsan Frediani and Miriam Maina (April 2022)
Inclusion, Diversity and Human Right Fund, government of Canada