*Cross-posted from The Age of Zinc*
Age of Zinc is proud to present the final instalment in a memoir from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Check back soon for our next memoir!
I was always thinking that if I get married I have to get a man who will always take care of me and that is also what I tell my daughter. She is just 18 so she is still innocent and I thank god for that because it is hard.
My first daughter is targeting right and has some things she wants. I promised her, I’d work nail and tooth to see that she achieves whatever she wants. I told her, “You are not going to get married tomorrow before you have your own job. You have to be working and then you can get a man. If you want to get married before you have a job, you’re going to end up suffering. And when you start suffering, don’t think of me suffering for you, that is your own problem. But I’m ready to support you until you get what you want.” I don’t have to baby feed her. She is a good girl. When she returns from school you give her wax and tell her that this is your capital. I tell her she can make some candles and sell them and then she shows me the sales. I tell her that you have to work for this money so when you go back to school you will have some money with you. She will never sit still. She spares some time for her books and does housework and then goes to work on the project.
I think each child should at least show what they are able to do to. You need to know your children: who is ready to work, who doesn’t want to work, and who is trust worthy. If you are open with them you know what they are thinking and know if they are going in a certain direction.
Some others maybe think that they will be supported, but I grew up knowing that I need to support myself. I don’t think I need someone to wake me up because if I know what I want, I have to do it myself. Why wait for someone? Let me fail and someone can come in.
To Slum Dwellers International of thinking to mobilize women and empower them to a higher level of leadership which gives them strength to face their challenges and target development. Today we have empowered slum dweller women for development.
To note Kiberu Hasan (Uganda), Rose Molokoane (South Africa), Joseph Muturi (Kenya), Jockin Arputham (India), Abasi (Uganda), and the ACTogether staff.
*Cross posted from the Age of Zinc*
Age of Zinc is proud to present the thirteenth instalment in a new memoir from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Check back every week to catch the next part of the story!
When we work as a team we are able to get many things. We can’t sit back and say: “I’m poor, I can’t do anything.” No, you have to start small and then you can grow.
The federation saved my life. I was almost gone and had a lot of stress. I had three children at that time. I was finding life hard with these children because I was not working much and the money was not supporting us. I had my shop but we still couldn’t save money. All the expenditures were going to pay off the loans and trying to survive. When I went to Owino I was able to start a new business and then with the federation I was new person. I was free.
With the federation women we are thinking big – we want businesses. We are also planning – we can buy a piece of land and we can acquire a loan. We can become a society and do things for ourselves. We do not have to sit and wait or beg.
We focus on improving our lives and changing the image of the slums. Instead of thinking that slums are places of useless people, we want the government to think that slums are part of development. This is what they have to focus on how we develop. Slums have always been around and are growing everyday. They need to understand how we can find a solution – together with the slum dwellers.
Today people are informed. Even if I’m gone there are thousands of other people who know what they want and they can get it. So for me, I’m satisfied that I’ve at least worked. I’ve done something. So even if I leave now, tomorrow my children who are still slum dwellers will find the movement moving on.
Citywide Sanitation Projects in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Tanzania Report on Successes of First Year
*Cross-posted from SHARE Research website*
SHARE partners Shack/Slum Dwellers (SDI), together with their affiliates and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), have just published four policy briefs documenting the first year of the SHARE-funded City-Wide Sanitation Project.
The purpose of this research project is to develop inclusive, sustainable sanitation strategies. In practice this involves creating a scalable, bottom-up model for the development and realisation of pro-poor citywide sanitation, in which the residents of informal settlements engage with their local authority to identify new ways forward. The four cities where this model is being developed are Blantyre (Malawi), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kitwe (Zambia), and Chinhoyi (Zimbabwe).
The first year was focused on data collection, including community mapping and profiling. Here are some of the findings:
• The study in the City of Blantyre found that 9 in 10 residents of information settlements use unimproved latrines, and that the majority of residents have experienced a collapse in these latrines during the rainy season. Most cannot afford the sanitary draining of latrines, opting instead to dig new pits every two years.
• In the City of Dar es Salaam, the study concluded that the sewerage system only reaches 10% of the urban population, while less than 10% of public funding for sanitation is directed towards onsite sanitation services, which the majority of the population relies on.
• In the City of Kitwe, the study found that over three quarters of households in informal settlements use traditional pit latrines, due in particular to the high cost of installing sanitation facilities.
• In the City of Chinhoyi, 70% of people in the profiled settlements rely on improvised water sources such as shallow wells and other unhygienic sources, which greatly affects their sanitation options. 82% of dwellings do not have regular rubbish collection.
In all three cities, the vital importance of the relationship between tenants and landlords was highlighted. Tenants make up the majority of households in informal settlements, and are therefore unlikely to invest in improved water and sanitation facilities. On the other hand, the incentives for landlords to make this important investment are not always eviden
The community-led approach to understanding the water and sanitation situation in these four cities has not only made residents and Federation leaders better informed, but it has also already greatly improved the relationship of these residents and Federation leaders with the City Councils. In Blantyre, for example, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the City Council, SDI partner CCODE and the Federation committing them to work together in the housing, water and sanitation sectors. The council has also set up the Informal Settlement Unit to work directly with the informal settlements in the city, demonstrating its commitment to scaling up action to address needs in these areas. In Kitwe, the City Council has agreed to establish a multi-stakeholder sub-committee on the upgrading on informal settlements, which will include SDI affiliate members along councillors and utility providers. In Chinhoyi, following an MoU in 2012, the communities of two of the profiled informal settlements – Mupata and Shackleton – have now begun to explore strategies for moving forward on the issues of sanitation in collaboration with the city authorities.
The project is now in its second year, where, building on firm knowledge of the situation in each locality and the stronger collaboration that the first year has enabled, precedents will be developed to exemplify new and effective sanitation solutions. The third and final year will be dedicated to planning to expand provision to those in the city without adequate sanitation. It is anticipated that this final year will develop a city-wide strategy for inclusive sanitation and include agreements with local government that can help provide the foundations for such a strategy.
SDI President Jockin Arputham (right) and Rajiv Jalota, Additional Municipal Commissioner for Greater Mumbai Municipality (left).
*Cross posted from South African SDI Alliance blog*
Jockin Arputham, president of Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) received a warm welcome from the South African Alliance in Cape Town yesterday on the last of his four-day visit. As a long-standing, much-valued friend of the Alliance he spent the day with community leaders in Khayelitsha and with representatives of the City of Cape Town and Western Cape Province. Jockin spoke about the power of savings and the Indian Alliance’s partnership with the Municipality of Greater Mumbai. In this context, Jockin was accompanied by Rajiv Jalota, the Additional Municipal Commissioner for Projects in Greater Mumbai Municipality.
Community leaders in Khayelitsha welcome Jockin.
An official welcome from Tamara Hela, community leader from UT Gardens, Khayelitsha.
The Informal Settlement Network (ISN) has mobilised and profiled several settlements in Khayelitsha that are set to proceed on water, sanitation, drainage, re-blocking and community facility projects. Jockin’s visit linked Khayelitsha’s community leaders – many of whom are fairly new to ISN and SDI processes – to the broader context of the South African Alliance and SDI as a global network.
National coordinators of the South African Alliance’s two social movements, Patrick Maghebhula (ISN) and Rose Molokoane (FEDUP) welcomed Jockin by speaking about the Alliance’s history with the Indian Alliance. They referred to the South African slogan – Amandla Imali Nolwazi: Power is Money and Knowledge – and its roots in the relationship with India.
“This slogan started influencing me after we went to India (in 1991). We shared ideas around democracy with the Indians. We saw that after 40 years of democracy millions of people in India were extremely poor. We realized that if you sit around and wait for democracy it will come…but it will come with its own laws that might not cater for you. We need to do something to translate these laws to our own life. And so we learnt the experience of self-reliance from the Indians. We need to drive our own lives – and we do that with savings. This is how relationships with government were formed in India. Our savings and our information give us power to influence laws. We know, that yes, we may be poor, but we are not hopeless“
(Rose Molokoane, National FEDUP co-ordinator)
Rose Molokoane, national FEDUP coordinator.
In the keynote address, Jockin emphasised that
“Savings are a life line. We talk about savings the whole time because money is what speaks. But when you collect money – door to door – you also collect information. When you have information you can plan action and if you act, something will happen. This is why money and information guarantee us power. We need to think about how to support ourselves”
As 40 – 50 % of Mumbai’s population – 19 million people – lives in slums, many millions do not have access to toilets. In fact, the ratio translates to about 1 toilet for every 800 people. The NSDF has therefore been working together with Mr Jalota and the Municipality to construct community planned and -owned toilet facilities. This experience, Mr Jalota explained, would help to develop more policies for Greater Mumbai.
Jockin founded the National Slum Dwellers Federation of India (NSDF) in the 1970s. Often referred to as the “grandfather” of the global slum dwellers movement, Jockin was educated by the slums, living on the streets for much of his childhood with no formal education. For more than 30 years, Jockin has worked in slums and shantytowns throughout India and around the world. After working as a carpenter in Mumbai, he became involved in organising the community where he lived and worked (Reference). He helped found SDI and has been awarded many prestigious global awards, most recently the Skoll Foundation award for social entrepreneurship. On behalf of SDI Jockin has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
SDI is sad to hear of the passing of Father Norberto Carcellar of the Philippine SDI Alliance. We express our deepest condolences to the Philippines federation. Father Norberto was instrumental in pushing forward the poor peoples’ agenda in the Philippines and his contributions there have benefited the entire SDI network. We at SDI will celebrate his life and his wishes for poor people by continuing the work to which he dedicated so much of his life.
For more remembrances of Father Norberto, visit the ACHR website here.
**Cross-posted from the South African SDI Alliance blog.**
By Yolande Hendler, CORC South Africa
Informal settlement leaders from Kenville and Foreman Road in Durban are mobilising their communities to upgrade their settlements with better services and improved spatial layouts. Last week’s exchange to Cape Town (29 April – 2 May 2014) therefore presented a first-hand opportunity for them to draw insights from fellow community leaders.
Over the week the Durban visitors were hosted by Kuku Town, Flamingo Crescent, Langrug & Mtshini Wam communities in and around Cape Town. Each day was dedicated to an in-depth visit of each settlement. This included a detailed site visit, discussions on collecting savings, enumerating and profiling settlements and contributing to planning and mapping. Besides bringing leaders together on a national level, the exchange also connected communities locally: for leaders from Kuku Town, Flamingo and Langrug the exchange comprised a first time visit to the other settlements. Exchanges are thus the most important learning vehicle in the South African Alliance, facilitating the direct exchange of information, experience and skills between urban poor communities.
Day one in Kuku Town: Upgrading & Savings
Community leaders met in Kuku Town, a small settlement that recently completed re-blocking and in the process secured one-on-one water and sanitation services from the City of Cape Town. Read more about Kuku Town and re-blocking here. In the discussion community leaders took the visitors through a step-by-step picture of Kuku Town’s experiences. ISN representative, Melanie Manuel, explained that
Community leaders share their experiences around organising and upgrading in Kuku Town community hall.
“What we do in ISN is not only to beautify our settlements but to actually change the way we live. Savings and partnerships – like we had with Habitat for Humanity and the municipality – are an important part of this.”
Yet, before partnerships can be formed, a community needs to know its settlement in terms of the number of (un)emloyed people, the number of structures and families and details on service provision (electricity, sanitation and water). This information is collected in enumerations. Kuku Town community used its enumeration data to plan its re-blocked layout and to negotiate the provision of one-on-one services and short-term employment opportunities through the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Community leaders explained that they organised themselves in clusters to be able to navigate the logistics around communication and construction during re-blocking.
Among a variety of questions, the visitors took special interest in understanding the connection between savings and upgrading, especially the role of community contributions. Melanie explained that
“Savings contributions enable us as communities to take ownership and responsibility of the changes and upgrading in our settlements. We want to move away from a ‘free for all mindset’ and restore dignity and pride to our communities”
But collecting savings poses a continuous challenge. How to go about motivating communities and responding to accusations? Flamingo Crescent’s community leader, Auntie Marie, shared her experience:
“Getting the community’s commitment for daily savings is difficult. People only want to act when they see that things are happening. You’ve got to be tough. If you’re not tough you won’t get anything right”
For Kuku Town community leader, Verona Joseph, the partnership with the City and its support in this regard, was crucial. This became evident at Kuku Town’s official handover that afternoon which was attended by the ward councillor and City officials. The handover and a site visit completed the first day of the exchange, demonstrating what a tangible community-government partnership can look like.
Exchange participants join handover ceremony in Kuku Town.
Kuku Town site visit: Inspecting water and sanitation units provided by the City.
Day two in Flamingo Crescent: Re-blocking and Partnerships
Flamingo Crescent is about to begin re-blocking and – in partnership with the City of Cape Town – is set to receive one-on-one services. On a walkabout through the smoke and dust-filled pathways community leaders received a thorough impression of the settlement’s layout. Most structures – consisting of old cardboard, zinc, timber and plastic pieces – are situated around a broad, u-shaped pathway that is intersected by smaller, narrow footpaths. Flamingo’s population of about 450 people resides in 104 structures. The entire settlement makes use of only 2 taps and 14 chemical toilets that are emptied three times a week. The absence of electricity means that fire is used as a central source for cooking and warmth.
In a nearby community hall, Flamingo’s steering committee explained its relationship with ISN and the challenge of collecting savings contributions due to its high unemployment rate (50%). Flamingo’s enumeration acted as a powerful entry point to negotiating an improved layout and service provision with the City of Cape Town. Together with students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (USA) the community designed the re-blocked layout and conceptualised plans for a crèche and a play park. Later, the visitors joined the steering committee’s meeting with a Cape Town City official who provided an update on the City’s contribution to upgrading. For the visitors this was of particular value as it emphasised the crucial role of partnerships and the number of actors involved in a given project. The question at the forefront of many minds was: how can we do this in our communities at home?
For Auntie Marie, Flamingo community leader, it is evident that
“If it wasn’t for ISN, I don’t know where we would be. Through ISN we were introduced to the City and we got a partnership. We started thinking, ‘Now something is going to happen’. Flamingo is going to be re-blocked!”
Check back here in the coming days for more on this exchange. In addition, you can take a look at an additional report on the exchange, put together by the Durban representatives, here.
Both India and South Africa are voting today in parliamentary elections. But change is not something that comes about every four or five years at the ballot box. The real change-makers are on the streets, moving towns, cities, and nations, forward through their daily struggles. Pule Raboroko was one such unsung South African leader. The below is a retrospective that honours this key personality in the South African SDI Alliance. Similar short biographies of the men and women who have forged this global social movement will be featured regularly on the SDI blog.
“It is my subsidy you are talking about. It is you the government who promised it to us and it is you the government who tell us that the R15,000 is all we are going to get for our years of misery and suffering. And now you want me to accept it when you pour my subsidy down the drain, down your throats and the throats of developers.” – Pule Raboroko.
Pule Raboroko was stabbed to death in a Kanana shebeen in the early hours of Sunday 25 October 1998. His young wife lost a husband, his little children lost a father, the Federation (uMfelandaWonye) lost a national leader and the nation lost an unsung hero.
Pule Raboroko was an ordinary man. Pule Raboroko was never going to get a minute’s silence in parliament or an obituary in the daily papers, written by one of the venerable scribes of the new elite. It is left to his family, his community and his comrades in uMfelandaWonye to honour his memory. Raboroko would have preferred it that way.
He was born in Sebokeng in the late 1950’s. Like millions in his generation he grew up with the painfully simple aspiration to help to overturn the apartheid regime that tormented and degraded him. Raboroko grew up to be a proud man who did not like to be humiliated. He wore his wounded manhood on his sleeve, and in the end it might well have cost him his life. Just like it has cost the lives of countless men in this country’s racially segregated ghettos.
Pule Raboroko spent 15 years of his adult life in a back-yard shack in Sebokeng. In 1983 he was in the forefront of the riots that rocked the Vaal and ratched up the fear and the desperation of the white state. He was a member of UDF and ANC street committees until 1994.
On the day of the elections he led his people out of the backyard shacks and into a promised land – 15 hectares of dry veld that, of course, was called Kanana. In the eyes of the new authorities (what did Fanon say – Black skin, White masks?) that act made Raboroko into a land-grabber, a leader of queue jumpers, someone who undermines development and profits from the desperation of the poor.
Raboroko was no angel, but he did deliver 3000 homeless families in the Vaal Triangle from decades of humiliation and extortion in the backyard shacks of Sebokeng. And this action inspired thousands of others to follow this example, for Raboroko had exposed a universal truth. Government queues don’t move, they just groove for the corrupt. Government threatens land invaders with harsh recrimination, but nothing gets government to negotiate as quickly as a land invasion.
It is not the point to praise or condemn invasions, but by honouring Raboroko’s memory we honour the real urban planners of our cities – those men and women who have been desperate enough to occupy land, build shacks, source water at great risk to themselves and their loved ones.
First came the backyard shack-dwellers of Sebokeng. Then came their comrades from Small Farm, Evaton, Sharpeville. Soon the settlement of Kanana was followed by Election Park, Boitumelo, Botshabelo … And Raboroko was always at hand to help his fellow squatter citizens, to block out sites, to draw as good a layout plan as any professional surveyor, to design and help build infrastructure, to provide water.
The politicians did not believe him when he told them that he was not undermining Government but was helping them to deliver on their promises. The people did. Not only the people in the Vaal, but poor people throughout the land.
They are crying for Pule Raboroko today in hundreds of informal settlements throughout South Africa. They mourn him in Joe Slovo Village, Despatch where he helped design a layout plan that helped settle two thousands families. They mourn him in VukuZenzele, Cape Town where he did the same for 250 families more. And the women in Nonzamo, Queenstown are wailing for the soul of the man who helped them get running water. The men in Newlands West, Durban sit silent and solemn by the side of their stoves, thinking of the man who was with them when they fled the violence in Siyanda and sought a safe place to live. And it is a pall of sadness as well as a pall of smoke that covers the shack settlements of the Vaal region this week. There is hardly a squatter family in Kanana, Agrinette Hills, Patrick Hunsley, Election Park, Boitumelo that is not reminded that it was not the liberty that was awarded them by this new government that gave them land.
In the time of the bitter arrival of freedom, Raboroko was your everyman. Raboroko was a rough, even violent and self-destructive man. But then he was a product of the urban shacklands, and violence and roughness is the equilibrium of the shacks. So why is it so difficult to recognise that rough men like Raboroko who are committed to their communities are central to our urban transformation? Why point self-righteously at his scars, why look at his warpaint and say “I told you so”? Why not rise above the insalubrious, just like Raboroko did?
In the city centres and the suburbs where planners and politicians live, memory subsides into the new demands of reconciliation and consumption. On the outskirts where Pule lived, and debauched and tried to build a better life with his fellow squatter citizens, people have nothing and so they survive on memory. Not rigid, not dogmatic, not even angry, but the memory of old roots, the memory of community, a memory that spreads over time, carried by imperfect heroes like Pule Raboroko. It is that memory kept alive that is the key to a better tomorrow. It is not a sanitised solution, ribboned with red tape. It is beauty replete with horror. It is the simple order in the very heart of disorder.
A cowardly thrust of cold steel on a dark night and the Federation lost its first urban planner. Not a well heeled professional, schooled in an urban grammer, made up of grids and regulations, but a multi-lingual, multi-historical visionary, trapped for a lifetime in a mosiac of shacks and unlit streets and stagnant puddles. This was his backdrop. This was his home – be it in Kanana or Piesang River, Khayelitsha or Cato Crest. Our urban planner took the Federation’s message to the formal world – where he and his colleagues were often ignored and ridiculed.
But what is it that the Raboroko’s of the Federation are trying to say? That development is not a linear progression to be mapped and regulated. It is a process whereby the poor themselves show the way to make throbbing mosaics out of the haphazard whirls of life.
There will not be a minute’s silence in Parliament for Pule Raboroko, but the women of the Federation hold his memory to their hearts and their whispers accompany his spirit on its journey to his ancestors. Our tired eyes are burning with tears held back, as if by clouds of thick smoke on a highveld night, dust, and a wind as sharp and merciless as death.
**Cross-posted from The Age of Zinc**
Age of Zinc is proud to present the twelfth installment in a new memoir from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Check back every week to catch the next part of the story!
The first time I left Uganda was in 2010. I went to Nairobi for a savings meeting. It was my first time to go on a plane. Eh, it was not easy! My child was one month old so I had to move with him. When I reached the airport with the team I was told I needed documents for the child. It was time for the plane to leave, so the team told me that we are going and you will come by yourself once you get the documents. I said, “I can!” They said, “Will you come?” And I said, “I will come and I CAN!”
I went to the office where I was told to go for the documents and they directed me on what I had to do. I went to the nearby area to get photos of my child taken and then I filled out and submitted all the forms. I did everything quickly and I made it in time for the next flight! I went andI reached there by myself! Yes I did it! When I reached, I found the team and they were all surprised. They thought that maybe I couldn’t do it.
This had been my second chance. My first chance I was supposed to go to India but my passport was not ready. I said to myself it is not my time. My time was coming and now this was my time! When it came it had challenges, but I said, “No, today I can do this!”
The next trip was for federation strengthening in Ghana. We went to see how the Ghana federation was working – the structure, the projects, the saving groups, and the community. It was a good exchange. We learned a lot from Ghana and it helped us with our federation.At that time our structure was still new so the leaders went to see what they were doing in Ghana. We saw the Ashaiman housing project where the federation negotiated with the chiefs, whom had been on an exposure exchange to India, which learned how the Indian federation worked with its government to get land. We also took a tour in Old Fadama, a big settlement, and saw how the slums are set up and how they managed the eviction threat. All of this was to strengthen the leaders, because in Uganda we never had that structure before. We wanted to see what the role of the leaders is and how do they work.
From Ghana we went to Malawi. That exchange was also about federation leadership. We went to see the different projects and we visited different groups to learn what they were doing. We learned how their saving schemes operate and how their projects work. With these projects they would agree that when they made clothes (it was a tailoring group) one person would take them to the market and sell and then bring back all sales. They were doing it to revolve funds. Everyone would go to the market and report. Another team sold vegetables. They would all agree and sell them as a team in the market. Their work was really teamwork in the saving schemes and their savings were always good. After selling they would each get some money and everyone could save. After that we came back to Uganda and had learned what to do to.
By Peoples Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ) & The University of Zambia (UNZ)
It is indisputable that the urban poor have the propensity to drive socio-economic transformation in their respective settlements through a coherent and systematic process of organized participation starting at the grassroots level. Vital to this transformation is the need to establish a powerful relationship between communities, local authorities and central governments – with government playing a powerful role in developing policies that directly affect the urban poor. In Zambia, and other developing countries, policy implementation remains a big challenge owing to the failure of officials to fully comprehend the realities on the ground and actively include grassroots communities in the development processes that affect their lives.
In an attempt to enhance mutual learning and planning with communities, the Zambian SDI alliance partnered with the University of Zambia’s (UNZA) Spatial Planning masters students to put theory into practice- conducting a participatory urban planning studio. The students are mostly officials from local and central government, as well as from other civil society organizations. It is envisioned that the students will be able to influence policy implementation given their current positions within government structures.
The urban planning studio aimed to practically demonstrate participatory slum upgrading possibilities in Kalikiliki informal settlement. The approach was largely bottom up, placing the grassroots community at the centre of the development process in order to come up with a Local Area Plan tailored to the wishes and aspirations of the Kalikiliki community. This report documents the processes and milestones that have been realized through this studio process.
Community Led Mapping and Enumerations
The Zambian federation conducted a mapping and enumeration exercise in Kalikiliki (Lusaka) under the Know Your City project in 2013. A myriad of developmental challenges surfaced from this exercise that are characteristic of most of the un-regularised informal settlements in Lusaka, and Zambia at large. The salient issues were lack of secure tenure, decent housing, improper solid waste management, and WATSAN (water and sanitation) access. As a follow up to the Kalikiliki mapping and enumeration exercise, the masters students sought to build on this repository of information and have an action oriented plan towards improving the appalling living conditions which characterized life in Kalikiliki.
Signing of Memorandum of Understanding
On 10th December 2013, PPHPZ and UNZA signed an M.o.U to formalize their relationship. The M.o.U aimed to improve the Masters of Science in Spatial planning curriculum offered by the University and promote the goal of inclusive Zambian Cities that integrate the interests of informal residents.
The Masters of Science in spatial planning is the first of its kind being offered by the university and The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has sponsored ten officials drawn from local and central government to undertake the programme in an effort to build the capacity of the city planning fraternity. The programme thus provides a great opportunity to transform city planning in Zambia, with a bias towards hands on experience with informal areas and the massive challenges the urban poor face.
ZHPF/PPHPZ lecture critiques
The ZHPF (Zambian Homeless Peoples Federation), through the Kalikiliki saving schemes, were from time to time requested to give lectures on participatory slum upgrading to the masters students at UNZA. The lectures were important moments because this was the first time the federation was teaching educated and experienced professionals in a lecture theatre. The focus of the lecture critiques was to bridge the gap between theory and practise in the participatory slum upgrading discourse. This was achieved by drawing from the lived experiences of the Zambian Federation.
One of the most interesting lectures focused on building standards. The Federation posed the question of “whose standards?” In earlier lectures some students had taken a purely theoretical approach arguing that slums should be razed and “decent” housing built for slum dwellers. However, the Federation argued that there is no government that can afford to embark on such a colossal endeavour, and that the most practical option is in situ upgrading. The Federation also made a strong case that whatever legal standards are adopted should conform to realities on the ground.
Community validation meetings
The ZHPF were largely responsible for mobilizing the residents of Kalikiliki to participate in the upgrading of their settlement. The ward councillor (The Honorable Benjamin Chanda), Lusaka City Council officials, ward development committees, churches, water trusts, market stall holders, senior citizens and other community based organizations (CBOs) all participated. One of the key strategies employed to disseminate information was announcing activities through various churches. Pastors played a crucial role in encouraging congregations to participate, which resulted in large numbers of people taking part.
5 validation meetings were held with the residents of Kalikiliki who actively participated in the shaping of the local area development plans developed through the studio. These validation meetings helped to reinforce social cohesion in the community as residents came together for the common good.
Final presentation of Kalikiliki Local Area Plans
After broad consultations with the community the final local area plan was tabled before the Lusaka City Council for possible adoption on 6th March 2014. Students generously shared their thoughts on and experiences of the Kalikiliki planning studio and its outputs. Most appreciated the principle of community participation, the emphasis on community empowerment, consensus building, and the fact that government was brought closer to the residents of Kalikiliki. Speaking through their class representative, Mr Jamie Mukwato (The Director of City Planning, Livingstone City Council), the students said the following about their experiences in Kalikiliki.
The project in Kalikiliki gave us an opportunity to genuinely engage with informality. We have always considered the issue of informality as peripheral to our daily planning work. The Kalikiliki project thus provided a new lens to examine the relationship between informality and urban planning in Zambia. The studio gave us an opportunity to examine our planning values and ethics in a country where informality accounts for over 70 percent of the urban population. Generally, planners do not engage with the informal sector in the way we did during this project. Informality is here to stay and as planners we need to look for a way to work with our people in the streets and in informal settlements. During this planning project we developed multiple skills. These included learning how to work with the community to formulate a plan that responds to the massive challenges they face on a daily basis. It was an appropriate learning experience that built the desire to respond to the real challenge of urban poverty. The process sharpened practical skills in dealing with people from different backgrounds. For upcoming planners the studio offered a great initiation into the world of planning.
There was significant community representation with local leaders and community members expressing satisfaction with the process. Representing the Lusaka City Council, Mr. Chanda, the ward councilor for the area stated that:
“The final plans that have been jointly formulated opened up the space to actualize our dreams for an improved Kalikiliki settlement. Both the settlement-wide and precinct plans have provided me with a course of action to immediately start development activities together with the community, especially around solid waste management. I thank UNZA, PPHPZ and other partners for the initiative in this much-neglected settlement. I pledge my commitment to help take the ideas developed, including the need to have this settlement declared as legal, to the council chambers and the area Member of Parliament.”
Pastor Tembo, on behalf of the community, noted that:
“The project has given the community an opportunity to discuss strategies for improving living conditions. We have been looking for a partner to promote upgrading activities including community-led waste management. We are ready to work with UNZA, PPHPZ and other stakeholders and will support any initiative meant to upgrade our settlement. This is our home and we have been living here for decades, so why continue to regard our home as an “illegal” settlement? On behalf of the Kalikiliki Pastor’s Fellowship Association, the church and the community, I wish to say that the future of the more than 20,000 people depends on initiatives like this one and not on disturbing the way of life for a community who have been here for over 30 years.”
The Lusaka City Council was represented by the Senior Community development Officer, who reflected that:
“It proved to be a challenge for Local Authorities to access houses, especially in the western end of the settlement where houses are haphazardly erected. The proposed plans by students will assist in improving access within Kalikiliki. These plans will not be wasted and we will consider implementing some of the ideas tabled. Working with the Millennium Challenge Account Zambia (MCAZ) and other partners, we will focus on implementing proposals on waste management, water and sanitation, improving access and eventually achieve full regularization of the settlement. We will also work to ensure that the issuance of occupancy certificates is expedited to cover every resident in Kalikiliki. This will ensure easy administration of ground rents and the overall effective management of the settlement”
The Kalikiliki Federation leader Mrs Mulauzi added:
“The federation provides a forum for all the residents in the settlement to take charge of their lives by having an opportunity to access finances for both short and long term investments through savings. If you are worried that you will not have finances to improve your house after the upgrading process, come and join our movement. Our “husbands”, (PPHPZ), are always there to help us with the necessary skills needed for our survival and continuous improvement. They make appointments for us to meet senior government and donor officials such as ministers, the mayor, and other important partners. So do not be left behind, come and join us now.”
Key milestones of the studio
The spatial planning studio demonstrated the efficacy of partnering with organized communities in compiling development plans that address vital grassroots challenges. The studio provided the students with practical insights into the experiential knowledge of slum dwellers. The technical expertise of students, combined with community knowledge, allowed for the development of spatial development frameworks.
The studio methodology was a departure from conventional academic approaches. Kalikiliki slum dwellers lectured students and in so doing reduced the gap between practice and theory. By placing communities at the centre stage of the planning studio an enabling environment for mutual learning and co-production was created.
As a result of the solid partnership between the Kalikiliki and The UNZA the community was able to attract the attention of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in Zambia. MCA is one of the largest global development donors and is considering implementing some of the proposed upgrading interventions tabled in the spatial development frameworks for Kalikiliki. This furthers the goal of the studio moving beyond a mere academic exercise.
Furthermore the studio enhanced social cohesion among the Kalikiliki community as they came together to propose development plans for their settlement. This also fostered the relationship between the community and the ward councilor, ward development committee and the local authority. It is understood that the plans will be adopted by the Lusaka City Council and set a precedent for other local authorities in Zambia. Efforts are now underway to ensure the adoption of the plans during the next full council meeting.