FIG Africa Task Force Workshop on Proactive Planning for Infrastructure in Peri-Urban Settlements 

Mombasa, Kenya, 11-12 November 2010

Click picture for bigger format.
Participants of the Africa Task Force workshop in Mombasa.

The FIG Africa Task Force organised its first two-day workshop on Peri-Urban Settlements: Tools & Techniques for Surveyors to ensure Environmental and Social Resilience in Mombasa, Kenya, 11-12 November 2010.

The FIG Africa Task Force (ATF) was established by the General Assembly in 2009 for period 2010-2014. It is a new initiative aimed at supporting FIG member associations and academic members in Africa. The key purpose of the Task Force is to enable the surveying profession in Sub Saharan Africa to deal with social responsibility in terms of contributing to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, the role of the surveyors as change agents engaging with the politicians is important.

Each year the Task force will invite an African member association to co-host a workshop. The first workshop was held in Mombasa and it was hosted in co-operation with the Institution of Surveyors Kenya (ISK).

The workshop was targeted at senior and middle level land professionals in the private and public sector and educational and land professional institutes. It brought together decision makers and practitioners from several African nations (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia) with expertise across the range land professional disciplines within the FIG membership. The workshop was by invitation only and number of participants was limited to 60 selected by AFT and ISK in respect of national attendees.

African nations struggle with land governance issues associated with achieving the MDGs and therefore the objectives of the two-day workshop were to:

  • Define the critical issues upon which to work;
  • Develop raw material for support tools to enable the core team to develop and disseminate for further decision at the FIG Working Week in Marrakech in 2011;
  • Devise appropriate tools that will be helpful to surveying associations to help their own members to ensure environmental and social resilience.

These objectives were achieved and a theme for a tool was agreed to be worked upon over the next few months with a working document. The document is expected to be uploaded on the Task Force web site soon.

Based on a participatory format, participants were expected to contribute in both open forums and break out sessions. By designing an interactive two-day workshop the participants were split into six groups of up to ten members in which to carry out the two days’ activities. Participants reviewed the content of information given, made criticisms, suggestions, raised concerns as well as making additions to improve the existing framework. An overview of peri-urban development was provided in setting the scene with three presentations: Prof. Stig Enemark provided the keynote, the MDG overview; Prof. Saad Yahya (Kenya)provided a view of peri-urban Africa, definitions and categories; and Emmanuel Offei-Akrofi (Ghana)presented Land for Periurban Infrastructure in Customary Areas, a case study of Ghana.

During the first day, the delegates concentrated on what are the issues to focus upon. The participants clearly identified these through a series of group work and led by Prof. Michael Barry (Canada) who presented “Periurban Systems: The Challenges of Change for the Surveyor” in which he provided a useful list in which the groups could work. In addition an excellent presentation of the pragmatic and effective work Umande Trust is doing to provide sustainable sanitation solutions in informal settlements in Nairobi truly empowered the participants to think outside the box, and also reminding them of the benefit to the community. This list was refined to provide six ideas that the group agreed could be concentrated upon as priority issues.

The second day concentrates on how to create the tools. As a start, the exercise was to consider how to narrow the six issues down to two or three, which would enable them to then focus upon developing an appropriate sketch outline for a tool. Consideration was given and debated in a rigours and logical sequence to find ideas for action, the role of land professionals, bringing the stakeholders and key actors together and understanding the process, before then considering what tools and methodologies land professionals would need to enable them to make a difference.

At plenary presentations of each group proposal were made. By the close of the discussion over the two days, participants came to the conclusion after a vote, that the single theme for a tool was “Slum Prevention: Infrastructure routes”. It was agreed that the agenda for action would involve working this sketch theme into a tool.

The consensus reached at the end of the workshop discussion is that in May at the FIG Working Week in Morocco, the draft tool is brought to the Roundtable for further discussion and agreement. A short workshop publication based on the deliberations is being prepared and is planned to be available as a briefing document for the roundtable in 2011.

Dr. Diane Dumashie, Chair of the FIG Africa Task Force and organiser of the workshop, summarized the outcome of the workshop: that the land professional asks some fundamental questions about the place of land administration and management in modern African society. In what way does good land economics -  in this case, lateral thinking about infrastructure routes – produce economic and social value? What do rigorously imposed and monitored infrastructure routes give back in hard financial and utilitarian terms to those who fund and use them? How can that value be meaningfully captured so that community and government investors and developers are persuaded that forward design adds to the bottom line and gives their settlements a lasting edge?

The work of the AFT is intended to form part of a growing resource of information which can underpin associations’ decisions and activities by disseminating and further providing appropriate tools for their land professionals. From FIG’s perspective, it performs part of an effort to ensure that Sub-Saharan African land professionals have a platform in which to raise and develop their own tools for their own country contexts.

For FIG the workshop was an excellent starting point from which to build up the evidential core of work for land professionals in Sub Saharan Africa (and elsewhere). The workshop was co-sponsored by the UN-HABITAT Global Land Tool Network (

More to read:

Click picture for bigger format.
Dr. Diane Dumashie, Chair of FIG Africa Task force making her opening speech.

Click picture for bigger format.
Workshop facilitators Michael Barry and Kwame Tenadu together with Diane Dumashie following the workshop discussions.

Click picture for bigger format.
Workshop in

Click picture for bigger format.

Click picture for bigger format.
Workshop in group

Click picture for bigger format.

Click picture for bigger format.
Kwame Tenadu, Diane Dumashie and Wafula Nabutola, Chair of FIG Commission 8, 2011-2014.

Click picture for bigger format.
Narrow street in the Old Town of Mombasa.

Click picture for bigger format.
A dhow at the Indian Ocean.
Click picture for bigger format.
The famous Fort Jesus in Mombasa.
Click picture for bigger format.
The lively vegetable market in Mombasa.

19 January 2011

©2024 FIG