SDI supports Future Champs in Philippi, Cape Town, to give shack dwelling kids a fighting chance.
Youth Day Celebration event, 16 June 2014.
For more photos see
Sanitation Partnerships: Zimbabwe Federation work with Chinhoyi Municipality to Co-produce New Sanitation Options
By His Worship the Mayor of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and Dialogue on Shelter
This month slum dwellers and government officials from Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi met in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe for the annual Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) meeting. The meeting focused on exploring options to deliver affordable sanitation services to the poorest urban citizens. It became clear that the sheer scale of sanitation need demands a “toolkit” of options that are collectively affordable, replicable and built using established partnerships with local authorities.
While communities can explore what is possible through collective action and precedent setting projects it is ultimately local government’s mandate to deliver services. The development and improvement of partnerships between urban poor communities and authorities are needed in order for policies to address urban poor conditions. Urban poor communities in the SDI network seek to build incremental partnerships with local government to show the value of community participation in sanitation slum upgrading projects. This demonstrates the capacity of well-organised communities and challenges antiquated norms, standards and policies. Over time these partnerships have the potential for scaling up activities across cities.
During the meeting His Worship the Mayor of Chinhoyi, Test Michaels, reflected on the partnership with the local Federation noting how the engagement has been scaled up over time and opened a dialogue around alternative technologies and the collective rehabilitation and delivery of public toilets.
See full speech below.
Water and Sanitation Dialogue – Building citywide sanitation strategies from the bottom-up
3 – 5 June 2014, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to start by thanking and congratulating Shack/Slum Dwellers International, the alliance of Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and Dialogue on Shelter and my council for organizing this conference. Thank you to the communities of Chinhoyi for your support and cooperation towards this noble cause. I would also like to thank all our friends in development from South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, and the United Kingdom. Your presence makes a big difference to us and we hope you will have a nice and productive experience here in Chinhoyi.
This meeting is an attempt to create dialogue amongst stakeholders in development, especially around finding lasting solutions for sustainable service delivery in our urban areas across the country. As you may be aware, that Zimbabwe as a country has passed through a decade long period of recessive socio-economic and political landscape, which on its own has crippled the operations of all local authorities, Chinhoyi Municipality included. The same period has also seen the introduction and realisation of community led development approaches and the opening of development space for Community Based Organisations (CBOs).
I am also indebted to my previous councils for moving out of the comfort zone and thinking outside the box by allowing the piloting with alternative technologies. Much as it is appreciated that the urban bye-laws are there to govern the implementation of urban development, there has been a mismatch between factors such as the affordability level of residents, increasing populations and the policies. Chinhoyi municipality made a deliberate move to relax some of those inhibiting policies and enter into development agreements with community movements and cooperatives. One such example of such a partnership is the Brundish Housing Project, a project that is being implemented by Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation with Dialogue on Shelter’s technical support. The project is the first in Chinhoyi to use non-conventional infrastructure with council approval and I am happy to share with you that the decision has been so rewarding both in terms of experiences and lessons. We have hosted over five local authorities that have visited the Brundish project with a view to learn about how alternatives can both speed up housing delivery and also provides a sustainable solution to various obstacles that affect service delivery. The project employed alternative infrastructure technologies such as boreholes, for water supply and ecosan toilets for sanitation provision. We are also grateful for the support that has been rendered by SDI through their local affiliates, the Federation and Dialogue on Shelter, for facilitating this learning process and sharing of experiences
The relationship between my council, the Federation and communities at large has grown both in breadth and depth of activities to which this gathering can be appended to that fact. The parties are now looking at sustainable ways of providing water and sanitation services to the poorest at an affordable cost. My council have been involved in discussions geared towards covering research gaps in the provision of sanitation using an approach which utilises the beneficiaries as key drivers. As policy makers, we appreciate the value of ecological sanitation systems and will continue to work closely with communities to ensure that issues of inclusivity and costs are adequately attended to. I have been informed that the council has pencilled a discussion on possible adopting of the ecosan toilet as part of policy. Embracing such practices at policy level will obviously to add value to investment and assure certainty in the development process.
As we are gathered here, let us all be reminded that the urban challenges that are bedevilling our cities have far much out grown our individual capacities and are continuing in becoming complex. The best option at the moment is to forge synergies and form partnerships, and work as a collective respecting each other’s capacities. It is only through a participatory process that we are be able to sustainably address gaps in service delivery and housing provision. We stand to achieve more through a collective process which recognises and respects communities as equal partners in development. As we deliberate on the issues, let us be informed by realities but think beyond our personal limitations and being cognisant that development is a process with a number of players.
In this partnership, we share an ambitious goal, which is to understand obstacles to sanitation development and attempt to offer approaches that can overcome them on a city wide scale. In our discussions, lets looks at the challenges experienced by current approaches to urban sanitation and objectively try to develop and test new ideas especially their potential their capacity for replication. We learnt some of the limitations of our sophisticated mechanised treatment plants and the shortage for water has further compounded the situation
We look forward to sharing our progress with you and learning from your experiences in your respective countries. The Chinhoyi partnership has shown that it is capable of playing a leading role and can initiative programs and projects to improve living conditions using a bottom up approach.
We have recently finalised our Water and Sanitation Situational Report which provides the baseline information collected through profiles and enumeration exercises. We look towards strengthening our working partnerships and make it more inclusive by having more stakeholders. Some summary profile reports are available for your perusal. Our strategic action plans are based assessing the built precedents and their scope to be taken city wide.
Finally, I would like to extend my special thanks to Municipality of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and Dialogue on Shelter staff who have worked very hard to prepare this event and make this meeting a productive and inspiring forum for us all.
I wish you all fruitful deliberations.
**Cross-posted from the London Review of Books**
By John Perry
Worldwide, one billion people live in slums. By 2050, it might be two billion. India has the world’s second largest slum population, after China. In 2009, the government launched a plan for a ‘slum free India in five years’: since then, slum growth has continued unabated. Mumbai has more than nine million slum inhabitants, up from six million ten years ago. In the face of such statistics it is easy to be pessimistic. Yet most slums are hives of economic and political activity. Shack/Slum Dwellers International and its president, Jockin Arputham, have been nominated by the Swedish housing minister for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The movement began in Mumbai fifty years ago. Jockin went to live in the slum district of Janata, where ‘the houses were made of cardboard’, in 1963, at the age of 17. He had a paid job as a carpenter but in his spare time set up a school. His first peaceful protest against slum conditions was to organise the children to march to the town hall with parcels of stinking rubbish which they deposited on the steps, to demand a proper refuse collection service. Jockin soon became the main ‘agitator’ (his word) in fighting proposals that would have led to 70,000 people in Janata losing their homes.
After 29 days squatting outside the parliament in New Delhi, Jockin secured an interview with Indira Gandhi. She reluctantly agreed that the demolition wouldn’t take place until residents had been properly consulted. Jockin insisted on having the decision in writing. But the letter was a ruse, and officials tipped him off that he’d be arrested when his train arrived in Mumbai. On the city outskirts he pulled the communication cord, escaped and spent nights sleeping in a drainage pipe. By day he was accompanied everywhere by crowds of women from the community. But he was eventually arrested and jailed more than sixty times for organising protests, before being forced into exile.
He returned to India when Gandhi lost power in 1977. He toured the country to set up the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF). With the Mumbai NGO SPARC they carried out pioneering censuses of slum settlements. With a women’s organisation, Mahila Milan, they set up communal savings schemes through which thousands of slum dwellers are able to accumulate enough money to improve their homes or invest in small businesses.
I met Jockin in 1991 on behalf of Homeless International. He wanted me to meet the state housing minister to hear about his attitudes towards slum dwellers. We went for dinner. Jockin hardly spoke as the minister explained how the slum problems were being solved. The next day, Jockin took me on a whirlwind tour by train and auto rickshaw. In Goregaon I met Sita Shivaji, who’d been forced out of a slum settlement by the authorities and dumped 15 miles outside the city. She was working with 51 other families in a self-build project financed through a savings scheme. Ten miles away in Jankalyan, I met Yasoda Vilas, who’d also been in a displaced community, this one living in shacks alongside a railway line. Community pressure secured them a building plot where 115 families were just about to start work. Fifty other railway dwellers’ groups were working with NSDF and SPARC on similar self-build projects.
In the centre of Mumbai, Dharavi is thought to be Asia’s biggest slum, housing perhaps a million people within one square mile. There I met a Muslim woman, Farida, whose family with 325 others had also faced eviction, this time by the army. She was one of ten activists arrested for refusing to move. They were eventually allocated land in Dharavi only to find their ‘plot’ was a stinking pond. They spent months filling it and then building very basic new houses.
In 1996, Jockin started Shack/Slum Dwellers International, which has grown to cover 33 countries across three continents. It’s probably the world’s biggest and most effective network for south-south exchange among poor people, inspired by the co-operative models and peaceful forms of protest that Jockin pioneered in Mumbai.
In Brazil its affiliate Interação is also promoting savings schemes. Dilma Rousseff’s government, determined to tidy up the favelas before the World Cup, has resorted to force. But, as Jockin’s work has shown, repression and forced removals don’t work. Eventually, slum dwellers have to be engaged in finding ways to meet their needs in the places where they already live.
Kiandutu Community attend a studio session at the School of the Built Environment, University of Nairobi
*Cross-posted from Centre for Urban Innovations*
By James Wanyoike, CURI
On 23 May 2014, members of Kiandutu community from Thika attended a whole day joint urban planning studio at the School of the Built Environment (ADD), University of Nairobi. The participants were community planners collaborating with a team of planning students from Department of Urban and Regional Planning and a grassroots non-governmental organization, Muungano Support Trust (MuST) in the upgrading of Kiandutu informal settlement. The studio, which started in March this year is sponsored by Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Association of Africa Planning Schools (AAPS).
Urban informality still remains an urbanization phenomenon that is insufficiently addressed by urban policy and planning in the Global South. This stems partly from the observation that traditional and contemporary education and urban planning practice do not resonate with the realities of urbanisation in the region. Both SDI and AAPS have committed to transform urban planning education, and by extension its practice in Africa, by equipping upcoming urban planners with the relevant skills to address the challenges facing the African city, notably – informal settlements. The theme of the Thika urban planning studio is titled ‘An integrated sanitation studio for Kiandutu Settlement, Thika.’
The focus of the studio is to address a critical problem faced in all informal settlements in Africa: the absence of adequate sanitation services. Through earlier surveys and enumeration done by the University of Nairobi and MuST, the community of Kiandutu revealed that their priority problem is sanitation. The understanding of integrated sanitation evolved from community participation for a better appreciation of sanitation as a broader concept and function whose intervention calls for an interconnected understanding of settlement characteristics. It is strongly believed that such an understanding will lead to more responsive and durable interventions. Specifically, it is hoped that the approach shall achieve the following: appropriate facilities designed and built well at the right locations: optimization of level of use and sustaining number of users; co-production – “doing it together” – in design and construction; collective responsibility in operation and maintenance; community ownership and good will to make things work; improvement of overall sanitary situation – water, sanitation, and hygiene – and a healthier and more productive community.
The studio is based on a cluster concept. Three clusters were selected, two of these – Biashara and Molo – are project-led, where SDI/MuST are piloting one sanitation project in each and are close to the proposed trunk sewer, creating the possibility of future connection. The third cluster – Mtatu B – is isolated from the proposed sewer line, making the possibility of future connection to the trunk sewer inconceivable due to distance and gradient limitations. The first few weeks saw the planning teams conceptualizing the studio’s scope and objectives. This was followed by primary and secondary data collection and data analysis, to be concluded by planning and designing of integrated sanitation solutions for Kiandutu settlement.
To welcome the Kiandutu community to ADD was the Dean of the School of the Built Environment (SBE), Prof. T.J.C Anyamba, and Dr. Samuel Obiero, the chairman of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP). The introductions were made by Prof. Peter Ngau, who warmly received the guests to the University of Nairobi. Dean praised the university-community collaboration as a big a step and part of university policy. This was something the University valued and encouraged as part of the university engagements. It would not only benefit the community involved, but also expose students to the reality of the situation on the ground.
Prof. Peter Ngau expounded on the rationale for the studio and its importance to the university and the community, not forgetting the partners Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS). Arch/Planner Charles Karisa, the studio coordinator and Mr. James Wanyoike, his assistant both organized the day’s presentations and discussion sessions. In the presentation the teams highlighted the objectives of the studio, the methodology used in the studio, the existing conditions in Kiandutu, emerging issues and the recommendations. This was also backed up by the community planning team validating the facts provided in the presentation as the reality of the situation in Kiandutu. Mr. Karisa highlighted the principles underlying the studio. They include sustainability, environmental design and management. The presentations marked a mid-stage in the studio. The next phase will be formulation, design and building of the proposed sanitation facility at the three cluster points. The conclusion of the joint studio presentation was marked by kikuyu – traditional community singing and dancing at the façade of the ADD building – a performance never before witnessed in the University.
CURI, 26th May 2014