Health and well-being. Diseases spread quickly, and there is no proper health care.
Slums lack law enforcement and are often sites of violence.
People living in slums have little voice in politics or government/institutional decisions that affect them.
Slums perpetuate cycles of poverty. Productivity is low, children have trouble staying in school, and the economy is primarily informal, which marginalizes workers.
“Decent shelter for all can never be guaranteed so long as there is widespread poverty.”
To date, there’s been some action by international institutions to highlight the problem of informal settlements and inadequate housing. The UN’s SDG 11-- sustainable cities and communities-- is an example of this.
In terms of the possibility of taking more concrete action, International Human Rights Law does encompass inadequate housing. It states that all people have the right to “an adequate standard of living,” including living in security, peace, and dignity. Still, despite being a fundamental right, the right to adequate housing is challenging to uphold-- over 1 billion people worldwide face inadequate housing.
So how can we address this issue? Many governments don’t want to improve these settlements because they don’t want people living there in the first place. Due to insecure tenure, residents don’t want to put money into improving the conditions of a house/community from which they could be evicted, or that could be destroyed at any second. The same goes for NGOs.
But, there’s still impactful action we can take as individuals. With urbanization and population growth outpacing adequate/affordable housing, our collective effort is urgent.
Over 1 billion people worldwide live in slums and informal settlements
Slums and informal settlements produce many conditions that violate fundamental human rights
Population growth and increased urbanization will make this number worse in the coming years
We can take individual actions with global impact to address this issue
To make a monetary donation to Asha to support slum dwellers, click the "Donate" button below.