Smart technology from affordable housing specialist Planet Smart City is being used by the United Nations to help improve the lives of slum communities.
Planet’s proprietary mobile platform, Planet App, will act as a digital hub for community engagement in two of the oldest slums in Nairobi, Kenya: Kibera and Mathare.
The project brings together Planet Smart City and the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), a partnership initiative of the African Caribbean and Pacific group of States Secretariat, the European Commission and UN-Habitat (the UN agency responsible for promoting socially and environmentally sustainable towns, cities and communities).
The PSUP aims to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums by 2030.
Planet Smart City will use its expertise in technology, data analytics and community engagement alongside UN-Habitat´s technical expertise on slum upgrading to deploy digital and on-the ground solutions that empower slum communities to coordinate locally-led initiatives and raise living conditions.
Through the app, slum residents will be able to access news and services, including materials for the prevention of diseases, as well as book medical services and borrow shared tools and equipment. The app will also serve as a platform for local coordination, allowing residents to organise community initiatives, participate in savings groups and view a calendar of activities and educational courses.
The app will also be deployed to support local entrepreneurship, giving a platform for residents to coordinate and promote their services both within their communities and to the wider area around the slum. It can also be used to link slum community members to employment and training opportunities in Nairobi.
Alan Marcus, Chief Digital Strategy Officer at Planet Smart City, said: “Africa is in the midst of one of the world’s most exciting technological metamorphosis, with Kenya right at the heart. The country is already the world leader for mobile money penetration and connection to mobile services has surged from 30% of the population in 2009 to over 50% last year.
“Slum communities are tight knit, resourceful and brimming with potential – if we give them the tools, these communities can be the catalysts for real and long-term transformation.”
Kerstin Sommer, Manager of the PSUP of UN-Habitat, said: “With the COVID-19 momentum, we all need to play a part for a bigger mission to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable in our cities. That won’t work without the contribution of the private sector.”