Up to one billion people live in slums around the world and the numbers are only expected to rise.[1. The number of people  living in slums varies widely from source to source, but the UN has reported up to one billion. There is greater consensus on the fact that the numbers are rapidly increasing. http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/cities/vitalstats.shtml] In this episode, we look at what drives the rapid urbanization around the world, how it leads to overcrowded slums and informal housing, and  what can be done to improve the lives of the people living  in  these overcrowded  areas.

Our special guest, Elizabeth Ramey, spent over two years working on local adult education and empowerment programs in one of Nairobi’s largest slums, Mukuru kwa Njenga. She helps us understand what life is like in this slum and some possible  approaches to the problems she saw. Liz is a young professional who specializes in democracy and governance in Sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a Master of Science in African Studies from the University of Oxford and a Master of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Liz has worked with the World Bank, The Government of Liberia, Vital Voices Global Partnership, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and numerous domestic and international nonprofits. Elizabeth is currently the Program Associate with the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. She also offers personal branding services through her organization, Mimi Ni.

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About the Author
Grace is the Program Assistant for the Wilson Center’s Africa Program and received her M.A. from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, focusing on international development, conflict resolution, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Grace holds a B.A. in both Global Studies and Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Previously, she served as the assistant to the President and Executive Vice President of the Henry L. Stimson Center. Grace has traveled to Africa on multiple occasions, most recently to Kenya as a field manager for the health textiles manufacturer Vestergaard-Frandsen.