Jane Weru

Ashoka Fellow
Kenya,
Fellow Since 2012
Akiba Mashinani Trust

Citation

This profile was prepared when Jane Weru was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Jane has become an organizer and spokesperson for Kenya’s slum dwellers—a population that faces a history of negative stereotypes, poor living conditions, and limited opportunities—and has created the organizational infrastructure and tools needed to empower them to break out of an unrelenting cycle of poor living conditions, forced eviction, and poverty.

Jane is formalizing the slum dwellers efforts to prevent eviction and upgrade the slum infrastructure and improve living conditions. She has also created a network that supports these efforts by providing technical expertise and assistance with regard to land tenure and eviction negotiations; savings and credit management; construction design and planning; and mapping and enumeration. Some of the tools created by this network have gone on to be used by the government in other projects. Jane is also unlocking creative financial solutions to finance these community-led slum upgrading initiatives and disproving the commonly held belief that slum dwellers are risky debtors. Lastly, she is leveraging commonly held moral and religious beliefs in Kenya to make the challenge of housing for the urban poor a concern for all Kenyan citizens.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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