Joseph Muturi, Chair of the Slum Dwellers International (SDI) Board of Directors, is a social activist and leader of Muungano wa Wanavijiji, the national federation of slum dwellers in Kenya. Joe joined Muungano in 1998 after demolitions and forced evictions in Nairobi’s Toi market. Muungano is the largest social movement in Kenya, which for over 20 years has campaigned against forced evictions and in support of secure tenure and improved services for Kenya’s poor communities, as well as with other federations in East and West Africa.
Joe has been extensively involved in government and city-led projects that affect urban poor communities in Kenya, working with donor agencies and academia to build strong relationships between such programmes and the residents for which they are intended. One of these is the precedent setting Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA) project in Nairobi’s Mukuru slums. Mukuru SPA sets in motion one of the largest informal settlement upgrading projects ever, aiming to transform a slum area of 650 acres into a healthy, functioning neighbourhood, improving the lives of people who live there.
Joe has for many years worked to assist communities to build consensus on strategy, budgeting, planning, and actual implementation of projects such as Mukuru SPA. He has been instrumental in building federations in East and West Africa, and has established partnerships with government and key stakeholders for Muungano and for the SDI network. Joe sits on the board of Akiba Mashinani Trust a Kenyan non-profit organization developing innovative community-led solutions to housing and tenure problems for the urban poor. He has served as Chair of SDI’s Management Board since 2020, and is part of SDI’s global advocacy team.