Shack/Slum Dwellers International, ca. 1992
Shack/Slum Dwellers International—a transnational organization with global affiliates in thirty-four different countries—was founded out of a series of exchanges and peer-learning experiences among Indian and South African slum and shack dwellers. SDI affiliates are comprised of urban poor, and all share a common realization: government alone cannot solve poverty and underdevelopment. SDI is alternatively pioneering a set of tools to build more inclusive cities and engaging global agencies directly about equitable urbanization. Horizontal exchange is SDI’s primary learning strategy: groups from different countries visit each other to compare experiences and achievements, these exchanges enabling the rapid dissemination of locally developed solutions. Promoting women’s participation and building local leadership are critical components of SDI’s strategy to help the poor build cohesion and confidence and create pivotal change in their own settlements.