Slum upgrading project in Malawi


Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

The intention of this project is to improve the living conditions and the livelihoods at least 10,000 low income and vulnerable households living in three Malawian cities of Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe. This will be achieved through provision of resilient affordable housing and tenure security to specially selected poor and vulnerable households through greenfield development projects targeting at least 300 households in each one of these cities. The project will also improve the incomes of the targeted population through integration of livelihoods activities and exploitation of the construction value chain.

The project will support upgrading of informal settlements in the three cities through re-planning of the settlements and provision of basic infrastructure and services. This in-situ upgrading will benefit at least 1,800 households, The project will utilise resources and capacities from a wide array of urban stakeholders and partners as well as communities.

The project shall also enhance community participation through capacity building interventions like trainings, which shall spur jobs within the housing supply chain.

Further, the project will build the resilience of the targeted communities through provision of environmental friendly construction technologies and proper physical planning and development control measures.


  • Affordable Housing
  • Energy
  • Informal Settlements Upgrading
  • Waste Management
  • Water & Sanitation
Funding Goal


The scope of the project is to improve access to adequate housing and tenure security, basic infrastructure and economic opportunities for the low income urban population. The Objectives of the project are to;
i. Provide secure tenure and decent housing to low income people in selected urban areas of Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre
ii. Promote integration of urban planning and management in human settlement development;
iii. Build strong advocacy front to champion adequate housing, urban planning through partnerships and continuous learning
iv. Improve the provision of social and economic infrastructure and services in low income settlements

Progress Tracker


  • Phase 1

    2021-22 Inception & Planning:

    a. Identifying the sites for piloting the slum upgrading project in Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre in liaison with the local councils.

    b. Securing 50 hectares of land for the greenfield developments

    c. Slum profiling

    d. Preparing slum upgrading development plans,

    e. Conduct Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)

    f. Undertake negotiations with major land owners, local authorities, opinion leaders, cultural and religious leaders, landlords and tenants.

    g. Engage with stakeholders – NGO’s and CBOs, and Government Ministries

    The project is still in the inception and planning phase. In this phase, we have setup a project management committee and undertaken settlements level engagements to understand the extent of the housing problem facing the urban poor. We have engaged with other stakeholders and have identified about 12 hectares of land in Lilongwe City for piloting the project. We have embarked on similar discussions with the other City Councils. We have introduced the project at Ministerial cabinet level to get political support and have also developed the project document.

  • Phase 2

    2022-23 Execution

    a. Preparation of documents to secure land tenure for residents

    b. Providing basic services such as access roads, footpaths, drainage, clean water, sanitation, sewage disposal, power connectivity, education and health care facilities

    c. Identification of housing finance and resource mobilisation

    d. Develop a grant proposal for development Partners on “slum upgrading projects in Malawi”.

  • Phase 3

    2023-24 Execution & Monitoring

    a. Hold consultation with development partners to map/identify their current and future activities in order to coordinate these to develop a “partnership strategy”, including identification of co-sponsors

    b. Constructing 100 housing units using low cost but durable building technology and labour

    c. Identify best practices in slum upgrading and prevention.

    d. Organize slum dwellers into saving groups and housing associations or cooperatives.

    e. Planning, improvement and development of identified slum(s)

  • Phase 4

    2024-25 Monitoring & Scaling up

    a. Scaling slum upgrading initiatives in Zomba, and Blantyre city councils.
    Phase 5 2025-26 Project evaluation & Closure

    a. Review of City bylaws and building regulations

    b. Influence adoption of favourable attitudes and behaviours towards housing and its related services

  • Phase 5

    2025-26 Project evaluation & Closure

    a. Review of City bylaws and building regulations

    b. Influence adoption of favourable attitudes and behaviours towards housing and its related services

Current Stage

Feasibility Assessment Stage.


Timeframe: 2021 – 2026

Project Milestones

1. Land identification for a pilot project 2021 – 2022,
2. Identification of settlements to be upgraded 2021 -2022,
3. Provision of basic infrastructure, services and housing on identified land 2023 -2024,
4. Planning, improvement and development of the identified slum area.

ESG Impact

This project will promote equity and ensure that poor communities have access to infrastructure that will enhance their socio-economic status. There is a multiplicity of social benefits that the project will deliver and set the requisite precedence for the government and the private sector to invest in housing for the poor.

The proposed project is linked to economic development, social impact and governance as it aims at
i. Reduced vulnerabilities of the urban poor to disasters
ii. Improved security and access to economic opportunities for the urban poor
iii. Greater social integration and cohesion of the target communities
iv. Increased commitments and investments towards inclusive urban development
It is envisaged that the project will engage local/ communities in the planning and implementation of the project. This will be done through the community / local structures to ensure that no one is left behind while upholding the tenets of governance. Local government authorities are an important partner since they are key in the implementation of the project.


This project will target low income informal settlements that were zoned for residential or quasi-residential developments in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba Cities. These areas are characterized by generally poor infrastructure, compactness, vulnerability to climatic induced shocks such as flooding.

The target groups for the proposed project are low income and vulnerable households living in informal/unplanned settlements within the three major cities. Priority will be given to households living in dilapidated housing units (slum like conditions) that increases their vulnerability to disasters because of the condition or location in risky flood-zones. The target group include women, young people and the elderly.

The intention of this project is to improve the living conditions and the livelihoods of at least 10,000 low income and vulnerable households. This will be achieved through provision of resilient affordable housing and tenure security to specially selected poor and vulnerable households through greenfield development projects. The project will also improve the incomes of the targeted population through integration of livelihood activities and exploitation of the construction value chain.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


SDG6: No poverty
The economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to increase poverty levels in the country. Jobs and businesses have folded, impacting negatively on livelihoods, more especially those of the poor. This project is targeting vulnerable groups who are bearing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic by providing them with decent and affordable housing as well as providing them with skills to boost their livelihoods even in the situations where they are not employed

SDG5: Gender equality
Gender equality is a fundamental human right. Women’s and girls’ empowerment is essential to expand economic growth and promote social development. Further, investing in women’s empowerment produces the double dividend of benefiting women and children, and is pivotal to the health and social development of families, communities and nations. This project therefore intends to support the empowerment of women and girls by among other things including them in project committees as this will increase their voice and ensure that their needs are incorporated in the project design. The project will also train women in various skills including building which is male dominated in the country. The skills gained from the project will ensure that women are earning an income that will improve the welfare of their families.

SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation
The project will ensure that the affected community is provided with safe and clean water (piped) as well as provided with better sanitary facilities. This will ensure a healthy living environment contributing to sustainable development.

SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy
The project proposes the connectivity of beneficiaries to a national power grid. The project also proposes the possibility of using solar energy as an alternative source of power.

SDG10: Reduced Inequality
The project will ensure that all beneficiaries are accorded same rights to own a decent and affordable housing and access to basic infrastructure.

SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
In the overall, the project aims at promoting and improving the sustainability of cities in Malawi at a larger scale and in particular at community levels. It aims at prudent and sustainable use of resources.

SDG13: Climate action
Climate change impacts natural and human systems globally through the increase globally averaged surface temperature, extreme weather events, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. These risks will ultimately impact people’s livelihoods, particularly marginalized groups such as women, children, and the elderly, as resources, food and water become more scarce. This project will promote greener technologies by among other things using solar energy for lighting and cooking. It will also promote waste management activities through composting and recycling activities. All these interventions will also create employment for the local communities.


Track 2

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

A. Restrictions on travel and meetings in response to COVID-19 preventive measures
i. The use of non-conventional means of communications will be encouraged like virtual meetings and other means of communication for instance social media forums.
ii. Adherence to precautionary measures for the physical meetings that will be held. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be distributed to people attending project meetings, physical distancing and hand washing will be enforced.

B. Economic instability curtailing from COVID-19
i. Quarterly budgeting reviews to ensure that the project budget is in line with current economic trends
ii. To ensure purchases are done in bulk to cushion price fluctuations.

C. Political capture
i. Raising awareness to citizens, councils and other key stakeholders in the implementation of the project to know their roles and responsibilities in development control and service delivery to condemn political interferences and demand professionalism in the city councils.

D, Leadership conflicts between traditional and block leaders
i. Awareness raising on community governance structures and local government structures
ii. Training leaders on their roles and responsibilities to help in provision of clarity and segregation of duties

E. Lack of political will
i. MoLHUD to present a cabinet paper to influence political buy in, through cabinet.


Risk mitigation and continuity

The Project is one of the activities in the implementation of the National Urban and housing Policies. The project is also aligned to the aspirations of the National Transformative Vision 2063, which is the long-term development vision for Malawi. As such, changes in government will not affect its delivery and sustainability.


Funding Goal


Type of Investment


Financing Structure

Public Private Partnership

Secured Investment

CCODE has invested US$10,000 during development of the project documents and initial engagements with communities. Government of Malawi has invested by contributing land in the City of Lilongwe. This investment is going to increase as other processes of formalizing and planning will be undertaken.

Committed Government Funding

US$6,000,000 by National Government – Ministry of Finance during the 2021- 22 financial year.

National and Subnational Investors

The project has a buy-in from government leadership at National level.

Committed Private Funding



Technical Support Required

The project will require technical assistance to in the following areas to make it investment ready;
1. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment,
2. Slum Profiling,
3. Preparation of Slum upgrading development Plans,
4. Financial feasibility study


Governmental Buy-in

Yes, the project has a buy-in from government leadership at National level (Minister of Lands).

Other Forms of Governmental Support

• Government has provided Land for the project and Human resource to provide technical support for the project.
• There is high Political will to support the implementation of the project.
• Necessary policy and legal instruments to support the implementation of the project are in place (National Urban Policy, National Housing Policy and land related laws).

National Ministries Involved

Ministry of Lands, P/Bag 311, Capital City, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Ministry of Economic Planning and Public Sector Reforms
Ministry of Local Government
Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture

SubNational Ministries Involved

Lilongwe City Council
Blantyre City Council
Zomba City Council

Other Entities Involved

Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE), Lilongwe.

Licenses and Permits

Not applicable.


Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.