It is estimated that Greater Cairo has pushed 63% of its population –11 million citizens – into informal settlements. Past governmental and non-governmental efforts to deal with informal settlements have not produced any sustainable changes in the situation of the urban poor. The current study explores the applicability of community coalition building – a participatory, empowering and transformative community building tool – for the development of urban informal settlements. By studying one of greater Cairo’s informal settlements, the study attempts to answer three research questions: 1) What is the state of meso level social capital in the selected informal settlement?, 2) What are the motivators, de-motivators of, and relevance of coalition building among the network of stakeholders within the informal settlement? and, 3) What is the preferred structure and strategy for coalition building among the network of stakeholders within the informal settlement? Results are based on interviews with top management representatives of voluntary and involuntary organizations mobilizing for one of Greater Cairo’s informal settlements development. Social network analysis was used to identify collaborative and communicative links across the network. Moreover, qualitative results were analyzed against the Community Coalition Action Theory to generate practical and community driven recommendations for coalition building within the area. Results indicated a mixture of significant assets and obstacles to coalition building. Practical recommendations are made for utilizing identified assets and overcoming identified obstacles to realize informal settlements’ community capacity through coalition building.


Psychology Department

Degree Name

MA in Community Psychology

Graduation Date

Summer 2-12-2013

Submission Date


First Advisor

Amer, Mona

Committee Member 1

Forden, Carie

Committee Member 2

Meissen, Gregory


107 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Urban renewal -- Egypt -- Cairo.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would like to thank my mentor and thesis advisor Dr. Mona Amer, my committee members Dr. Carie Forden and Dr. Greg Meissen, for their unequaled support and patience throughout the different stages of completing this thesis. I am grateful for the support of Farah Shash. Had it not been for the countless hours we spent working on our theses together, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. I am grateful for the kindness and frankness of all of this study’s participants.

Available for download on Tuesday, February 02, 9999