SDG 11:  Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

SDG 11:  Make cities and human settlements
A family poses for a photo in their house in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya (Photo: Kate Holt)

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 is geared towards making all types of human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The settlements that are of the most concern are slums. According to the Report of the Secretary-General, although the proportion of the global population living in slums fell from 46 to 23 per cent between 1990 and 2016, more than 1 billion people continue to live in such situations.

Although this SDG is focussed on settlements, it is the lives of the humans who live within them that we must focus on as photojournalists and storytellers. When telling a story, in order to drive change, it is important to create a connection with the reader. For slums, this means covering, in detail, the living conditions, the challenges the people face, the amount of money they require to live on, and more.


SDG 11:  Make cities and human settlements
Collins holds his baby daughter Raquelle, who is 11 months old, accompanied by her mother, Sharon who is 23, next to a river that flows through the centre of Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya (Photo: Kate Holt)

Globally, 2 billion people do not have access to waste collection services. This is poignant in our documenting of the Kibera slum in Kenya for The Guardian. The river Nygong runs through the middle of the slum and brings with it tons of human waste. Although the waste situation is dire in Kibera, it is important to think about how to frame the story, bringing the focus back to the people who, despite this, portray a revered amount of positivity and resilience. These stories are as much about the people as they are the landscapes.

In the run up to the first UN summit on the SDGs on 24th and 25th September, we have been publishing a daily blog on how we help organisations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out our blogs here.