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Ethiopia - Slum Akaki Kaliti vs Posh Bole - UN-Habitat Survey
UN-HABITAT conducted its first Urban Inequities Survey (UIS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2004. The survey, carried out in collaboration with Ethiopia’s National Statistical Office and the Municipality of Addis Ababa, was administered to 1,500 households with the goal of understanding how, on a socio-economic level, people living in the city’s slums and its planned neighbourhoods experience the city differently.
Two areas of Addis Ababa – Bole, a wealthy neighbourhood, and Akaki Kaliti, a slum inhabited by the city’s poorest residents – proved particularly relevant to studying contrasts in how residents from different socio-economic backgrounds experience social relationships and build social capital. UIS data from both areas illustrates patterns familiar to social capital researchers: residents of the slum, Akaki Kaliti, attested to the interdependence of neighbours and described more social bonding overall within the community than did residents of the wealthy neighbourhood, Bole. In Bole, however, residents expressed a greater openness to diversity and described more behaviours that bridge social networks rather than rely strictly on members of their own close groups.
While 83 per cent of all Addis Ababa residents surveyed belong to idirs, community groups that fund funerals and provide aid to families in emergencies, it is the routine habits of daily life – taking care of neighbours’ children, gathering information from and visiting friends, trusting and networking with others – that describe the powerful influences of social capital in communities.
The UIS measured bonding social capital with several indicators of neighbourly trust and sociability among friends. More UIS respondents from Akaki Kaliti than from Bole consistently reported that people in their neighbourhood are willing to help them, that neighbours can be counted on if money is urgently needed, and that they can depend on neighbours to take care of their children in emergencies. Residents of Akaki Kaliti also reported that they are more dependent on their neighbours for information about government policies, jobs, education and other opportunities in the city than residents of Bole, who look to their neighbours and friends as the best sources of such information half as often. The survey revealed that sociability, too, differs among respondents from the two communities. More residents of Akaki Kaliti than Bole had met someone at a public place or coffee shop over the previous month, received visitors at home, or paid a visit to someone else’s home, though fewer residents of either place were likely to participate in home visits than to meet in a public place.
Bridging social capital – which creates opportunities for members of a group to connect with others who are different, and who may have more resources – is more prevalent in Bole than in Akaki Kaliti, as indicated by UIS data on the groups with whom people in each community network and interact regularly. While respondents from both communities claimed low levels of trust in people from groups not their own, those from the wealthy neighbourhood had met or visited with people of different ethnic, tribal or religious groups twice as often in the previous month as those from the slum. Respondents from Bole were also more likely to vote for political candidates from other ethnic groups or tribes, and more people from Akaki Kaliti claimed that diversity in the community causes problems. Clearly, residents of the slum rely heavily on neighbours and friends from their own ethnic and tribal communities, interacting in enclaves of similarity Residents of the wealthy neighbourhood are less beholden to close neighbourly ties and have more opportunities and inclination to reach out to those unlike themselves. Helping poor communities like Akaki Kaliti develop bridging social capital through education and outreach may generate more resources and give residents – especially young people – perspectives on what opportunities might be available to them outside of the neighbourhood. Such efforts, however, must also work within the tightly knit, interdependent networks on which poor communities depend, and acknowledge the distrust of people from different groups that exists in many enclaves.
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