Slum Dwellers International
Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) started in 1996 that manages networks of the urban poor and slum dwellers that are organized into federations and which are usually based in the Global South.
SDI affiliates range from groups of a few hundred (at present) in Zambia to more than a million-and-a-half in India. Some are decades old, others have been in existence for less than a year. SDI has a presence in the following countries; Cambodia, India, Kenya (see "Camp of Fire" project), Namibia, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Uganda, Colombia, Indonesia, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zambia, Argentina, Brazil and Ghana. The headquarters and secretariat are located in Cape Town, South Africa, and from here the organization spreads its mandate.
SDI is supported by a number of prominent World Bank intellectuals such as Arjun Appadurai and recently joined the World Bank and UN Habitat project Cities Alliance. Sheela Patel, the Chair of SDI, is on the Policy Advisory Board of the Cities Alliance. In Mumbai, SDI recently received $1.5 million from the World Bank to arrange consent for the relocation of people living near the railways. Financial support for SDI projects and the Urban Poor Fund (UPFI) comes from a range of international donors including but not limited to; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated $10 million in 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation. This funding is utilized by the various affiliate organizations to implement projects in line with the goals of SDI.
In October 2009, SDI made a statement in solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo when a militia affiliated with the ANC attacked the movement in Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban. However prior to this SDI has been accused of supporting the controversial KwaZulu Natal Elimination and Prevention of Slums Act, based on their affiliation and partnership with government and the housing department. The KwaZulu Natal Elimination and Prevention of Slums Act serves to reduce the rights of the urban poor to land tenure and would allow for mass evictions and relocation of slum dwellers, this in direct contravention to the aims of SDI.