One of Umande’s ongoing projects, the Urban Neighborhood Development Plans (URNEPs),is working to build the capacity of a number of urban poor communities so that they can participate in the planning and determination of development initiatives in the area in which they live. This will allow these communities to actively participate in issues related to urban growth and therefore improve access to urban services. This project is taking place in neighborhoods of Kibera and Nakuru, and is working with the County Government Planning Department, Community Based Organizations, Community/Youth Self-Help Groups, the University of Nairobi Planning Department, the County Government Administration, and residents, tenants, and landowners from the areas in which these plans are being developed. Umande is developing this project in the midst of the County Government of Nairobi overhaul of the Nairobi Master Plan of 1973, which began in early 2014.
Umande has taken this overhaul as an opportunity for the local population to be involved in the planning process at the grassroots level, which will give them the opportunity to identify the needs that Neighborhood plans could address. These Neighborhood plans will then be used in county plans, which ensures that the voices of the people at the local level are included in the development of the entire county. Community members are also able to lobby for the county government to allocate resources towards solving the challenges that people face at the grassroots level. A key part of Umande’s plan is communication and developing a continued dialogue between local community members and their county government, and their mutual cooperation to find local solutions for local problems in Kibera and other people’s settlements in Kenya.