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Lessons from the city: Concern's work in urban areas
Throughout its programming, Concern has focused on increasing its knowledge of the experiences of the extreme poor in an urban context. This paper seeks to share that knowledge.
Concern is committed to expanding our programming in urban areas as part of our response to an increasingly urban world and the likelihood that we will have to respond to a major emergency in a large urban area in the near future. Our work focuses on the Extreme Poor– who we identify as those lacking in basic assets, or who have poor returns on these assets when they are available, a situation driven by inequality and risk and vulnerability.
Our approach is built on a number of years’ experience working in urban areas (our first urban intervention was in 1973 in Dhaka, Bangladesh) and currently, we have interventions in urban areas in 10 countries. The 10 countries are Kenya, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Somalia, Turkey, Lebanon, and South Sudan.
Throughout our programmes, we have focused on increasing our knowledge of the experiences of the extreme poor in an urban context. Within this, we are getting better at understanding some of the challenges women face in the urban context, for instance, casual employment means limited time with the child, with the knock-on effect of virtually no exclusive breastfeeding and poor complementary feeding. Women also face major issues of insecurity in the poorest urban areas.
In 2017, Concern undertook a series of pieces of qualitative research with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) investigating Gender Based Insecurity (GBI) and Mobility in Dhaka, Addis Ababa, and Port au Prince.