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Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC)

SLURC Based in Freetown, the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) is one of the main research arms of Njala University.

The centre was established through a partnership between the Institute of Geography and Development Studies (IGDS), Njala University, and the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London. It’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of urban informal settlement dwellers through building the research and analysis capacity of urban professionals and communities, set a locally-relevant research agenda, deliver high-quality research in partnership with others, disseminate such knowledge, and work in partnership with urban actors to advocate for urban justice. The centre is part of a larger programme (Pull Slum Pan Pipul) funded by Comic Relief involving international and local NGOs implementing development projects in Freetown’s slum communities.

SLURC is building a research network integrated with Freetown’s informal settlements and their organisations. Over the years, SLURC has successfully built relationships with communities, including setting up a research and training agenda relevant to the needs of the communities and their organisations. By building on the legitimacy that these NGOs had developed over many years, SLURC is now accepted by local governance actors, including local chiefs, Community Disaster Management Committees as well as the structures of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP). SLURC is now well-positioned as an institution trusted by communities, NGOs, government and international organisation and is therefore capable of brokering partnerships that can transform urban development paths in Sierra Leone. SLURC trainings are opportunities for community members, academics, NGO staff, government official to work together, get to know each other, and build relationships.

The four SLURC’s research priority areas include land and housing, urban vulnerability and resilience, urban health, and urban livelihoods and the city economy. In the last two years of its existence, SLURC has carried out a number of research that were either led or co-led by our staff. In each case, attention has always been given to the use of appropriate mechanisms to not only transfer knowledge to society but to also inform policy and programming.

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