Land is a limited resource. There is a constant competition over shrinking land, which is a major source for conflicts and migrations all over the world. As a key factor for survival, both for the rural and urban poor, land issues need to be addressed and viewed as of fundamental importance for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Basically land is another word for power, who has the control over land also hold the power and vice versa.
Malawi is predominantly rural with just about 20% of its population of 14 million people living in urban areas. At the same time it is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in Africa with an annual urban growth greater than 5 %. This put a great pressure on the cities in Malawi and one of the pressing issues to handle is land. The current land administration systems and the supply of serviced land are non-transparent and impose high transition costs. Land information need to be improved and access to land promoted by the urban poor.
Malawi urban growth means growth in informal settlements. The informal settlements are characterized by lack of secured tenure, poor housing, overcrowding, poor access to safe water and lack of sanitation. The situation calls for action now. MUD Africa wants to be a part of that action, targeting especially women by promoting improved equal land rights in its first project on ground in Lilongwe. Read more about this project under Land-Gender-Project.
Malawi is one of the most rapidly urbanizing countries in the world at a rate of 6.3 percent per year. That is three times the global rate and nearly twice that of the African rate. Unfortunately, the economy lacks proportional growth and measures necessary to address and reduce poverty levels, an epidemic becoming more visible in the increasing manifestation of informal settlements. Mutually reinforcing conditions of these settlements include poor infrastructure, water and sanitation, substandard housing with insecure tenure and a lack of basic social services.
MUD Africa is an advocate for 'the right to adequate housing' as recognized under the International Bill of Human rights, using seven defining factors of 'adequacy’ identified the by the Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Malawi was one of 171 nations to adopt the Habitat Agenda at Habitat II in 1996, making them responsible for ensuring this human right is upheld. Despite a general consensus by all nations of failure to induce social development through aid, MUD Africa is aware that international agencies have been successful in cooperating with grassroots projects in neighboring African countries. The creation of grassroots movements has worked to raise considerable awareness of housing and land rights throughout poor communities. MUD Africa uses a bottom-up approach to slum redevelopment and upgrading, stressing the importance of community-based organization and involvement in shelter projects. Such initiatives are further discussed under the Shelter Project.