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Our Theory of Change

After thirteen years of working with the Urban Poor and competent authorities in Kenya, PT continues to sharpen its theory of change in resonance with changing times. Indeed, while it retains its conviction that inadequate housing and slums are the consequence of the combined effects of failed policies, bad governance, inappropriate legal and regulatory frameworks, dysfunctional markets, unresponsive financial systems, the lack of political will, and the absence of effective public or private housing delivery organizations. It also sees the condition of slums and the indignity that accompany it as a manifestation of both power asymmetry between the governed and the governors as well as systematic exclusion of a majority of the Urban

PT is therefore convinced that the most appropriate response to this situation lies in working with the Urban Poor with a strong constituency from below that has a deep material and symbolic interest in reform in improving their livelihood. In this endeavor, PT works with the Urban Poor’s innovation, solidarity and networks to foster
engagement that shall compel the state and market to better respond to Urban Poor related challenges and develop inclusive policies and practices for urban citizenship. But PT’s approach is utterly pragmatic in how to get from here to there. Our interventions demonstrate alternative paths which can provide water, housing, land,
livelihood and effective citizenship for the Urban Poor.

For this reason, there is urgency in finding alternatives to the exclusionary social movements. The challenge that PT perceives, over the next three years, is to drive MWW to a place where the federation can take on and provide expression for the popular yearning for change within the Urban Poor. PT believes in plurality
of reasons, and has always avoided stating a single theory of change. However, premised on the above, PT will pursue during the life of this Strategic Plan what can be expressed as a single theory of change. PT’s Theory of Change is that, by working with the Urban Poor, it is possible to develop models of engagement that
if implemented can enhance their citizenship, dignity and livelihood.

This theory pursues justice through principled pragmatic approach. That is, in claiming rights, we formulate and undertake interventions that assert pragmatic options. When we call it principled, we mean that our work is not just about ‘developing models that work’ but equally important, we are interested in transformative action eliminating barriers to accessing Human Rights as well as those that contribute to realization of rights. In this dual approach all our experiments are activists in nature and our organizing is based on neither social philanthropy nor welfarism.

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