Wanted: an inclusive vision of urban recovery from COVID-19: Make Change Happen podcast episode 12

In this episode of Make Change Happen, expert practitioners discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in urban areas, and they share a range of inclusive, locally led responses from the global South.

Article, 21 June 2021

IIED’s ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides an opportunity to hear our researchers and guests discuss key global development challenges and explain what we are doing to support positive change. 

In this episode, we explore how COVID-19 is currently affecting urban low-income communities in the global South and consider its impact on existing inequalities. We look at the success of some current city and community-level responses, and ask what would a transformative urban recovery from COVID-19 look like for cities in the global South? And how could a shared vision for this enable an equitable recovery?

Hosted by Liz Carlile, this podcast features Beth Chitekwe-Biti, acting managing director of Slum Dwellers International (SDI); Joe Muturi, coordinator of Kenya Slum Dwellers’ Federation and chair of SDI’s management committee; Caroline Skinner, director of urban research for Women in Informal Employment, Globalising and Organising (WIEGO); Sunandan Tiwari, director of global implementation at the World Secretariat of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability); and IIED senior researcher Anna Walnycki.

A unifying framework to build back better

The urban dimensions of COVID-19 have been largely ignored and yet the economic impacts of the pandemic are especially severe in cities and towns in the global South, where low-income residents have been disproportionately affected.

In this episode, our guests share their experience working with urban communities to address the impacts of COVID-19, offer pointers on how to achieve a fair and green recovery for those living in urban spaces, and discuss the importance of an inclusive framework for recovery that is shared at community, city, national and international levels.

This podcast amplifies the voices from the key actors that have co-created such a tool: IIED and partners’ transformative urban recovery framework seeks to support holistic and collaborative interventions, able to address the complex risks and exclusions facing urban residents in low- and middle-income countries. Find out more by listening to the episode.

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Head and shoulders photo of Beth Chitekwe-Biti

Beth Chitekwe-Biti is acting managing director of the secretariat of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), which has presence in over 30 countries in the global South. Before joining SDI in 2019, she worked with the Zimbabwe SDI affiliate NGO Dialogue on Shelter. Beth is trained as an urban planner and holds a PhD from the University of Manchester.

Head and shoulders photo of Joseph Muturi 

Joseph Muturi is the chair of SDI’s management committee, after having served as a member of SDI's global advocacy team. In 1998, he joined Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Kenya's federation of slum dwellers, and has played an instrumental role in building SDI's other federations.

Head and shoulders photo of Caroline Skinner

Caroline Skinner is urban research director for the global policy research network Women in Informal Employment:  Globalizing and Organizing and a senior researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. For over two decades her work has interrogated the informal economy and processes of informality.

Head and shoulders photo of Sunandan Tiwari 

Sunandan Tiwari leads the implementation of ICLEI’s global projects and coordinates joint fundraising at the global and regional scales. Tiwari is a trained ecologist with extensive experience on urban resilience planning and financing, biodiversity management, urban-rural dynamics and a spectrum of other sectors in the rural domain.

Head and shoulders photo of Anna Walnycki

Anna Walnycki is a senior researcher with IIED’s Human Settlements research group. She is anthropologist who specialises in inclusive urbanisation and basic service provision in the global South. Over the last ten years Anna has supported the work of urban civil society organisations such as SDI and ACHR and undertaken extensive participatory research in East Africa and Latin America.

Head and shoulders photo of Liz Carlile

Liz Carlile (host) is director of the Communications Group at IIED. She is an expert in strategic marketing and communications, with a particular focus on research communications and policy influence, and has published on social learning and climate change communications.

How to listen and subscribe 

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences. The title refers to IIED’s 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out how IIED plans to respond to the critical challenges of our time. 

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel

You can follow some of the people you have heard in this episode on Twitter at @lizcarlile, @AnnaWalnycki, @SkinnerCaroline, @BethChit, @MuturiKarimi and @Sunandant. Follow the podcast on @IIED_Voices for all the latest updates.