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PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF THE INNER SLUM RESIDENTS IN BAHIR DAR CITY OF ETHIOPIA: A QUEST FOR A CRITICAL LOOK AT THE ‘KOSHEKOSH’ [Abstract ID: 0304-02]
The research was conducted in the capital of Amhara National Regional State of Ethiopia, Bahir Dar City. The need to develop this proposal and conduct this intensive and empirical case study emanated from multiple justifications. These rationale include: (1) the 2002 UNESCO Cities for Prize Award going to Bahir Dar for managing the challenges of rapid urbanization, (2) a travel article on the Amharic version magazine that described the paradoxical phenomenon focusing on dark side of Bahir Dar city administration, (3) research findings in the late 2000s that contradicted the UNESCO Cities for Prize Award, and finally (4) the researcher’s personal encounters around the slum as a new arrival in 2009 and the early 2010s. The major objective of the research was to explore and describe the prospects and challenges of Bahir Dar City Slum-Koshekosh Residents. The approach of the research is exploratory ethnographic design. The data collection techniques include unstructured in-depth and semi-structured interviews, focus group discussion, observation, and transect walks including social mapping. The participants of the study were purposely selected to collect the intended rich data. The data were systematically analyzed to fit with major themes and contextualized to local meanings. The analysis procedure was focused to address the research objectives. Therefore, the results of the study show that koshekosh is the worst slum (in the local meaning, a restless neighborhood) comparing to the 2002 UNESCO Cities for Prize Award. The number of prostitutes was more than the reports indicated in the magazine column (400 against over 598). The residents were living under extraordinary, frustrating ward against eviction by the municipality. Koshekosh was a women- dominated neighborhood. About 60 per cent were women-headed households and 76.49 % of the Koshekosh population was female. The sources of livelihood for the women-headed households were petty trade, daily labor, and prostitution for the rural-urban migrated young women and girls. Overall, these research findings show that women-headed households were the most affected, followed by the elderly and children as members of the poor households. Based on the findings, the following strategies are recommended as the way forward to mitigate the challenges of the Koshekosh residents. The municipality should design a new approach for the urban slum upgrading. Relocating the slum residents will cost the government in the near future by replicating another slum in the new resettlement sites. The interests of women headed households and the elderly should be given priority and an inclusive approach towards the residents in the slum upgrading should be given maximum attention.