Transformative Adaptation in Informal Settlements: The Case of Kounkuey Design Initiative in Kibera, Nairobi.

This study assesses the scope for transformative adaptation in Kibera informal settlement,

Nairobi. Adaptation discourse theories and Pelling et al’s (2015) ‘adaptation activity space’

framework provide the conceptual context within which this study aims to assess the

transformative impact of adaptation strategies adopted by Kibera’s residents and community

groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Government of Kenya, and other

organisations and institutions operating in the settlement. The qualitative methodology adopted

in this study targets the work of Kounkuey Design Initiative, an NGO that partners and

collaborates with impoverished residents in Kibera to design and implement participatory

projects. The findings of this dissertation are that, while incremental adjustments dominated

adaptation strategies in Kibera, local and small-scale transformations were found within and

between all components of the ‘adaptation activity space’ framework, and require increased

and improved stakeholder engagement, coordination and collaboration in order to increase the

scale of impact towards transformational adaptation.