Elizabeth Kanini Wamuchiru

Elizabeth Kanini Wamuchiru

Elizabeth is a PhD researcher in the Department of Architecture, Technische Universität Darmstadt. Her research focuses on social innovation in water infrastructure provision in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam with specific interest in community participation and governance, organisations, models and initiatives in water infrastructure provision, particularly of those communities living beyond the networks of municipal service provision. Previously, Elizabeth completed: an advanced Masters degree in the Science of Human Settlements at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (2014); a Masters of Arts in Planning (2012) and Bachelor of Arts in Planning (2009) both from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Elizabeth has served as a teaching assistant at the University of Nairobi since October 2014.

PhD project

Beyond the networked city: the role of communities in water infrastructure provision in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

In many of the rapidly transforming cities of the global South, low-income populations often reside ‘beyond the networks’ in terms of service provision. This means they occupy both physical and institutional spaces outside the reach of the formal system of infrastructure networks. As a coping mechanism, deprived communities are increasingly devising new strategies, technologies, institutional frameworks and servicing models intended to satisfy their existential needs, in the face of neglect by the state and conventional market mechanisms. Alternative models of water provision within low-income settlements is one example of these innovative mechanisms of survival that are rapidly gaining root in the two East African cities of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. This sphere of innovation evokes both challenges and ingenuity that could be usefully harnessed to inform public policy and discourses on water infrastructure planning. However, not much has been done to systematically investigate these incipient innovations and the potential they hold for future urban development prospects. Using the case study method, this study aims to identify and analyse innovations in water provision devised by low-income residents of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam with a view to examining the possibility for their recognition as viable alternative servicing models, given the exigencies of rapid urbanization under severe resource constraints in these two cities.

University studies and degrees

2013-2014 Masters (of Science) of Human Settlements, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
2010-2012 Masters of Arts (Urban and Regional Planning), University of Nairobi, Kenya
2005-2009 Bachelors of Arts (Urban and Regional Planning), University of Nairobi, Kenya

Professional experience

2014-present Teaching Assistant, The University of Nairobi, Kenya
2012-2013 Part-time lecturer, The Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi
2012-2013 Associate Consultant, Center for Urban and Regional Planning
2010-2012 Research Assistant, Climate Change Adaptation in Africa, Nairobi, Maputo and Durban
2009-2010 Assistant Urban Planner, Real Plan Consultants, Nairobi
2009-2010 Research Assistant, Center for Urban Research and Innovation, Climate Excel (K) Limited, Centre for Law and Research International

Scholarship awards

December 2014 Hans Böckler Foundation doctoral scholarship
September 2013 VLIR-UOS, the Belgian Development Cooperation International Masters Programme
October 2010 The University of Nairobi graduate Trainee scholarship

Invited talks

Panel presentation at the ECAS 2015 6TH European Conference on African Studies in Paris, 8-10 July, 2015. Theme: Collective Mobilisations in Africa Contestations, Resistance and Revolt.