Transforming Bulawayo from the Bottom Up

Transforming Bulawayo from the bottom up

SDI co-founder Joel Bolnick has spent the past few months living out of a suitcase as he travels overland to spend time with SDI-affiliated urban poor federations across Southern Africa. During his recent time in Zimbabwe, Joel shared reflections on the Bulawayo chapter of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation, noting that the Bulawayo federation’s achievements point to a recurring theme that is perhaps under-recognised across the SDI network.

The Zimbabwe SDI Alliance, comprised of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and their support NGO Dialogue on Shelter, is one of the oldest and most mature affiliates in the SDI network. Indeed, Dialogue on Shelter has never wavered in its commitment to building an independent, bottom-up urban poor movement and supporting it with a light touch. But Dialogue’s offices are in Harare, over 400 kilometres from Bulawayo, and staff often ask themselves if perhaps the effectiveness of the Bulawayo federation should be attributed – at least in some part – to the lack of intervention from the power centre of both the NGO and Federation in Harare. Indeed, their achievements are notable. Click here to learn more.