SKZ Foundation

Slums have become a prominent feature of modern urbanization. The lack of adequate housing, basic amenities, and poverty leads to the extreme underdevelopment of slums. Creating a sustainable livelihood in slums is a crucial issue, as it would not only uplift the people’s standard of living but also help in promoting the entire economy. The poor livelihood conditions are creating severe issues of mental health, and physical health and the quality of life is poor than you imagine. The people in slums deserve better living conditions with a better quality of life like every other citizen and for that, many practices can help in creating a sustainable livelihood in slums. A few of the practices are curated below:

Government Policies

Effective government policies can solve any problem if they are implemented the way they should be. To create a sustainable livelihood in slums, governments must create policies aimed at improving the standard of living among the poor. These policies should be geared towards providing basic education, water, sanitation, and healthcare. The policies should also aim to promote access to finance to enable the poor to start small businesses. Only then they will be able to get access to a sustainable livelihood and the living conditions will improve. Government should teach them skills and make better opportunities for them so that they can grow and earn to make their lives better.
In some countries, urbanization is associated with economic growth, but in many cases, slums are overlooked, as seen in the reluctance of the government to provide basic services. Therefore, the government must improve public service delivery in the slums like other urban areas. For example, creating employment programs that generate income to support the poor’s basic needs can be a significant step towards promoting sustainable livelihoods in the slums.

Improvement Of Health Services

The poor living in the slums face many health problems due to poor sanitation conditions. The lack of clean water, proper drainage systems, and waste management creates a breeding ground for diseases like cholera, malaria, and typhoid. Therefore, improving health services in slums is crucial to creating sustainable livelihoods. The government can achieve this by providing access to healthcare, clean water, and proper sanitation facilities. The hospital settings in Pakistan should provide equal treatment to all patients despite of their economic status and this will happen only when the healthcare is free. Government hospitals should have a more efficient system of health care and treat patients the way they should. The flawed healthcare system is taking the life of many poor every day and a lot of people in slums are living with chronic diseases due to the lack of proper healthcare. Improved

Organizing the Communities:

To promote sustainable livelihoods in the slums, it’s crucial to organize the communities. Organizing the communities plays a critical role in achieving slum upgrading objectives. Communities should be empowered to take part in decision-making processes that affect their lives, which can be done through regular community meetings.
Creating a conducive environment for the growth of small-scale enterprises should also be emphasized. Governments can achieve this by creating a regulatory framework that promotes informal businesses. This can be achieved by waiving taxes and regulatory fees for small enterprises, making it easier for the poor to access credit from financial institutions and facilitating the establishment of markets in the slums.


Education is crucial in promoting change in the slums. It helps to empower the youth to be self-sufficient and to develop their potential. Governments should invest in basic education in slums, ensuring every child can access schools and other educational facilities. Only education has the power to push the generations from the vicious cycle of poverty. It is believed that if you are educating a child, you are changing a fate of a whole family. Free education, as well as counselling parents to make them agree to send their children to school instead of sending them to work or to beg is important. Once they will know how education can change their child’s fate, only then they will send them to schools. The government can also create incentives for students in slums to pursue higher education, such as scholarships and bursaries. The incentives will motivate them to work hard and excel.

Supporting Small Enterprises:

Small enterprises play a significant role in promoting sustainable livelihoods in the slums. Governments should create a favourable environment for small businesses by providing the necessary support, such as training programs for entrepreneurs, low-interest loans, and market access.
The government can also support small enterprises by providing infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and access to water. This not only benefits the slums but also incentivizes small and medium enterprises to expand their operations and generate more income and employment opportunities for the population.
Moreover, the government should support cooperatives in the slums to promote collective action towards economic development. Cooperatives can help to access finance, reduce costs by sharing services, and enable small producers to benefit from economies of scale.

Employment Creation:

Employment creation is an important aspect of promoting sustainable livelihoods in the slums. Governments should create policies aimed at generating employment opportunities for the population. This can be achieved by creating programs aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, such as business incubation centers, and skill-building programs.
Governments can also promote public-private partnerships to create employment opportunities in the slums. The private sector can be incentivized by the government to invest in the slums, thus creating employment opportunities for the local population.

Creating sustainable livelihoods in the slums is crucial in achieving slum upgrading objectives. Achieving this goal requires a concerted effort by governments, the private sector, and the communities themselves. Governments need to create policies that are geared towards addressing the needs of the poor in the slums. The private sector needs to invest in the slums to promote economic development, while communities need to be empowered to take charge of their lives. Thus, through a collaborative approach, creating sustainable livelihoods in slums can be achieved, and the underprivileged populations can be uplifted for the greater good of society.