GHAFUP saving groups work with and mobilize entire communities to count households, map settlements, and survey at the household level to develop a detailed socio-economic profile of the settlement. When communities own their own information, they are able to gather more accurate information, and become active partners in planning their development. GHAFUP engages with local governments to verify and legitimize their findings, in order to mainstream community-collected information for citywide


Engagement with central and local government authorities sometimes can be very challenging if one does not have the appropriate data. How can slum communities be supported to generate the relevant data and information about their own settlements?
Proper enumeration or collection of data will enable slum dwellers to collate or have access to basic credible and concrete information to advocate for their needs. Such process, for example, will help communities members to answer simple questions such as:

  • How many people live in the settlement?
  • What kind of social amenities are available in the community?
  • What are the sources of water?
  • How  many people have access to electricity power?

Profiling is a survey that is conducted with or without an enumeration to provide a general overview of a slum area or a collection of slum areas throughout a metropolitan region.

From a methodological point of view, profiling consists of a combination of different approaches to gathering information. The main ones are:

  • archive research and interviews with planning officials to acquire basic background information for the study;
  • focus groups with community and opinion leaders to uncover both information on the settlement’s physical environment and relevant socio-economic data such employment, income, education, health, service provision, and tenure security; the information collected during focus groups needs to be validated through field surveys;
  • infrastructure and service mapping to provide a detailed snapshot of the settlement’s physical environment, including its bulk infrastructure (sewage systems, drainage, roads), and the location, maintenance level, frequency, and coverage of services such as water, sanitation, and waste disposal;
  • life stories to add a human dimension to the profile;

Of the approaches listed above, the first two (archive research and focus groups) are core profiling methods while mapping and life stories are optional add-ons.

The benefits of profiling are:

  • it generates self-awareness within the community and raises the profile of slum areas and the urban poor amongst external stakeholders.
  • it highlights a community’s most urgent needs in a format that can be used to leverage funds for upgrading.
  • when slum profiling is conducted at a regional scale, it allows settlements to be classified according to their deprivation level. Thus, interventions can be prioritised and directed at those most in need.


Infrastructure/Service Mapping
Infrastructure and/or service mapping is the spatial representation of a settlement’s bulk infrastructure and/or its commercial activities. It is the most common form of mapping in the context of slum upgrading since it is relatively inexpensive to undertake, it can be easily carried out by community members with little training, and it provides sufficient information to guide the upgrading of infrastructures and public facilities.

The benefits of infrastructure mapping are:

  • a map showing the location and conditions of a settlement’s infrastructure and services can help target upgrading and maintenance interventions.
  • it can help maintenance engineers discover the causes of a problem by visualising causal links between different phenomena.
  • it can help both private and public stakeholders find the best spot to locate new services or infrastructures by identifying areas that can benefit the most from such interventions.