Rose Molokoane Appointed to Council of Social Housing Regulatory Authority

SDI and the South African SDI Alliance were informed last week that Rose Molokoane, national coordinator of the South African Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) and Deputy President of SDI, has been appointed to the Council of the South African Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) by Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu. The mission and vision of the SHRA is to regulate and invest in the development of affordable rental homes in integrated urban environments through sustainable institutions. 

SDI is hopeful that Rose’s appointment to the SHRA board is a signal that this important body will begin to scale up social housing in South Africa.

Rose Molokoaneis a coordinator of the South African Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP), and a coordinator of SDI. She is a resident and member of the Oukasie savings scheme in a slum settlement outside Pretoria, South Africa.

A veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, she is one of the most internationally recognized grassroots activists involved in land tenure and housing issues. FEDUP has helped more than 150,000 squatters, the vast majority of whom are women, to pool their savings. This has won them sufficient standing to negotiate with government for a progressive housing policy that has already produced 15,000 new homes and secured more than 1,000 hectares of government land for development.

Molokoane has initiated federations of savings schemes throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor in 2005 for her struggle to bring land and homes to the poor.

 

Building on Community Responses to the Ebola Crisis in Monrovia

By Mara Forbes, SDI Secretariat

Liberia has a unique history compared to other African countries. Monrovia, the capital of Liberia was founded in 1822 by freed slaves from the United States of America and was named after the U.S. president James Monroe. The current population of Monrovia according to the 2008 census is around 1 million people, of which 70% live in informal settlements. 

Since the late 1980’s the country has faced three civil wars. Years of conflict have devastated the infrastructure. An estimated 80% of the housing stock was destroyed. However, the central role played by women in the aftermath of the conflict was internationally recognized in 2012, when two of the leading women received the Nobel Peace prize. This recognition of women as central players in the development of the country has continued with the election of a female president in 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the current Mayor of Monrovia, the Honorable Mayor Clara Mvogo.

In 2014, Liberia was hit with another outbreak – Ebola. Again, much of the development that was achieved over the past decade is now being undermined by the spread of the outbreak. Ebola has not only affected people’s health and lives but also has social and economic consequences. Inadequate basic services and infrastructure aided in the rapid spread of the disease. Liberia was one of the hardest hit countries with 9,238 reported cases and 4,037 related deaths (WHO, Feb. 2015). The majority of those affected have been women and those living in informal settlements.

SLUMDAL with the support of YMCA Liberia, the local SDI affiliate in Monrovia, took it upon themselves to develop, implement, and monitor a community Ebola emergency response project for some of the hardest hit informal settlements. The goal of the project was to conduct awareness and sensitization training on Ebola and provide preventative hand washing buckets and chlorine to some of the poorest of the poor living in these slums.

In total SLUMDAL provided 650 hand washing buckets and chlorine to 11 informal settlements (WestPoint, Clara Town, Slipway, S.K. Doe, Logan Town, New Kru Town, Jallah Town, 12th Street, Peace Island, Rock Spring Valley, and St. Paul Bridge).

 

SLUMDAL begins distribution of Ebola response materials

During this time SLUMDAL stepped up and played a key role in bringing the Government of Liberia’s Fight Ebola Campaign into the slum communities through sensitization and distribution of hand washing materials and has been recognized by Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and other stakeholders for their active and vital role with organized communities of the urban poor.

The role of urban poor communities and local authorities in Monrovia in response to the Ebola crisis helped turn the trajectory on new Ebola infections. Monrovia was the hardest hit area in Liberia and had the most fatalities in the region. Liberia is now seen as a success story compared to neighbouring countries due to a shift of approach on behalf of the government. Investments to the national government were decentralized to local authorities and community groups for implementation. Liberia now has the least outbreaks of new cases each week and curfew and land border lock downs have recently been lifted. 

From 1-6 of February a team from SDI visited Monrovia to get a deeper understanding the organization and the work of SLUMDAL and YMCA Liberia. We visited 5 settlements (WestPoint, S.K. Doe, New Kru Town, 12th Street, and Peace Island) and met with 13 savings groups. Federation leaders from Uganda worked with SLUMDAL and the savings groups to better understand the role of the federation and the rituals it practices, particularly the importance of savings. These peer-to-peer exchanges help emerging federations like in Liberia better understand and see the power and importance of federated communities from their more mature affiliates. Ideas are shared and then discussed and adapted to fit the local context.

Members of the Uganda Federation share their experiences with savers in S.K. Doe settlement

The key role of SLUMDAL now will be to move beyond crisis response to a sustainable community development approach by continuing to build on their relationship with local government, expand federation membership, and governance structures.

Cities Alliance is working with SDI and the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) to develop a joint local government/community led Monrovia City Programme, modeled on country programmes that have been implemented in Uganda and Ghana. The programme seeks to support the resilient social and economic recovery of slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia in response to the Ebola crisis while also improving the living and working conditions of the urban poor. Through this programme organized communities of slums dwellers will work with local government to profile and map all settlements within Greater Monrovia. Communities collect and analyze data about their settlements to inform dialogue with authorities on resource flows and development priorities, to mitigate against disaster and conflict and to make poor communities vocal and visible. This is a critical next step in the development of the Liberian affiliate to demonstrate the potential of community driven solutions in partnership with local government.

 

Women-Driven Data Capturing in Cape Town

By Anni Beukes, SDI Secretariat

Last week, the South African SDI Alliance’s Data Capturing Team reported back to the South African Federation’s (FEDUP) community leaders in Cape Town on their work over the past eight months.

This team have not only assisted in co-designing and beta testing of some of the key features of the newly designed data-capturing platform in order to ensure that it is SDI federation friendly, but have also captured all the historic data and supported some other federations in capturing and verifying some of their newer (especially mapping) data. 

During the demonstration, six longstanding federation members were taken through the steps of capturing data on the Informal Settlement Profile and Boundary Mapping forms by their younger colleagues. 


One finger at a time, the mamas each captured a profile and saw their data become available – as well as the 1,198 profiles and 190 boundary maps available for South Africa. 

In total this team has captured or supported the capturing of roughly 7,000 profiles (historic and standardised) and over 800 boundary maps from across the globe! 

This project would not have been possible without their valuable support!