SDI federations have long understood the strategic importance of brokering partnerships with local government. This stems from the understanding that in order to scale up federation practices, experiences, and learning, the formal government has to be engaged actively.
At the end of April, SDI’s Zimbabwean affiliate federation — Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation — and support organization — Dialogue on Shelter — were invited to the executive meeting of United Cities and Local Government in Africa (UCLGA) in Dakar, Senegal. There, the Zimbabwean team discussed community-based processes for organization and collection of information.
The Zimbabwean federation has been working in the city of Harare under a new partnership with the city authorities, to jointly collect information and upgrade informal settlements. This is an incredible breakthrough towards a decidedly pro-poor approach in a city where informal dwellers have previously experienced some of the largest mass forced evictions worldwide in the past decade.
The engagement in Dakar has resulted in a new partnership between UCLGA and SDI, which includes a Memorandum of Understanding. Both networks have agreed to support city-wide profiling of informal settlements by communities. The goal will be to mobilize community organizations, and to orient local government towards a partnership-based approach to deal with the growth of informal settlements.
The initial projects in this partnership will take place in two cities, which are yet to be decided. Activities of the project will primarily revolve around information collection such as joint enumeration and mapping. This will serve as the foundation for participatory platform for planning and slum upgrading rooted in the information collected.
This project is to be supported by the Cities Alliance. Both SDI and UCLG — the international body of which UCLGA is a part — are members of the Cities Alliance partnership.