Poverty is a hydra-headed phenomenon. Its effects on citizens are as varied as the descriptions of the individual as are the causes. Some are born into it; some are forced into it by changes in the external environment. War, drought, disease and economic upheaval will impoverish whole populations.It provokes varied responses including migration. Such migrations may be internal or external. Communities may be displaced intact or fracture, leaving individuals far removed from their ordinary social support systems. Often these migrants end up in slums whether in refugee camps or in urban slums; the overall impacts are negative. Life in slum dwellings can be unstable in most cities.
Addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization through mega-city development programs often result in forceful eviction and displacement of residents of urban slums, many of which are already weighed down by the burden of poverty. Homelessness arising from forced evictions has dire consequences for the evicted, especially women and children. Absence of social safety nets, dislocation from communal networks and women’s restricted access to services, money and property in most traditional African settings only worsens the experience for women and children.