Ghanaian Federation & People’s Dialogue: Responses to COVID-19
On behalf of the Ghanian Federation of the Urban Poor and People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements – SDI presents the work to fight COVID-19 across Accra.
A community-led management and response to the COVID-19 pandemic (CLeMRoC) is being actioned in collaboration with Accra Municipal Assembly, and other civil society organisations has been launched in Accra. The response team consists of community leaders, environmental health officers of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA). Led by the Federation in Ghana, they are supported by People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements.
The aim of CLeMRoC is is to enhance sensitization, education and behavior change in people living in informal settlements and to influence the community response of the pandemic. The target communities within Accra include: Old Fadama, Osu Alata, Sabon Zongo, Agbogbloshie, Madina, Sukura, Ashaiman, Nungua, Teshie with ongoing work in several other communities.
Farouk Braimah, Executive Director at People’s Dialogue, reflects on the dire impacts that COVID-19 will have on informal settlements, shedding light on the ongoing pervasive issues of a severe lack of service delivery to the most vulnerable.
“When it comes to hygiene protection, why do we think this time it will work? It is about hygiene, washing hands, eating well, resting – these are the protocols, and there is nothing new about this. They have never worked in slums//informal settlements. How do we find solutions that respond to our unusual circumstances, that work in the informal settlements?”
CLeMRoC has formed an interim Community Coordination Centre (CCC) where all issues against the fight of COVID-19 will be anchored. These include: external relations, messaging via various formats, knowledge management, documentation, dissemination of learning & lessons, and interfacing with officials collaborating on efforts to support communities through participatory planning & advocacy. Also coordinating supplies, resource mobilization and media work.
The priority needs emerge as pre-existing challenges that are further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are limited existing health facilities and resources to manage and care for affected patients. As of 24th March 2020, when CLeMRoC was launched, the following items were of urgent need in relation to health (PPE) such as: masks and gloves, tissues, tippy taps, veronica buckets, soap & hand sanitizers. With the need to improve PPE on all levels, especially personal hygiene protection, hand washing training on developing tippy taps and veronica bucket with taps. Ongoing needs for food assistance to those whose livelihoods are impacted and funds for volunteers who are working on trainings in the community remain fundamental to the Federation’s response.
Community members being sensitized on Tippy Taps.
Please keep following SDI as we highlight the initiatives of SDI affiliates across Africa, Asia & Latin America in the fight against COVID-19 to support the most vulnerable throughout this pandemic.
South Africa’s FEDUP Wins Govan Mbeki Human Settlements Award
**Cross-posted from SA SDI Alliance Blog**
By Greg van Rensburg, uTshani Fund, South Africa
Each year government recognises the partnerships with all sectors involved in developing sustainable and integrated human settlements. The Govan Mbeki Human Settlements awards are a prestigious ceremonies hosted by the National Department of Human Settlements in two stages: the Provincial and the National. The award ceremony aims to showcase and demonstrate the partnerships with the department at both tiers and promotes best practices in meeting the delivery mandate of the Presidency’s Outcome 8, which is aligned with the vision of building sustainable human settlements and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. The MEC of Human Settlements at the Provincial tier nominates projects in the five specified categories which displays exceptional quality, promotes best practice, brings together stakeholders, and most importantly, improving the quality of life for the beneficiary-partners.
According to the Gauteng Province’s Department of Local Government and Housing, a thorough investigation was initiated to access the quality of the projects nominated. The Department’s website says the following of the Gauteng evaluation process:
Prior to the ceremony of the Govan Mbeki Awards, there is a preceding quality monitoring process of projects submitted by entrants throughout Gauteng. The awards ceremony, to be held on Thursday, signals the end of the Gauteng Leg of the process. The awards are named after the liberation stalwart Govan Mbeki whose life work and struggle envisioned landlessness and homelessness as some of the inhumane legacies of the apartheid system. The ceremony will celebrate those contractors in Gauteng whose work and delivery is symbolic of the quality and dignity of human settlements that Govan Mbeki strove for.
The Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP) has been transforming housing policy from the bottom up for the past two decades. Premised on the notions of social and political change, savings groups linked to the Federation has built more than 12,000 since 1994, and continue to set a precedent in woman’s empowerment through self-build and collaboration with government. FEDUP’s work has been recognised at the highest levels of government, and has been showcases to international audiences such as UN Habitat, Cities Alliance, World Bank and other multilateral organisations.
On the 11th of April, FEDUP was nominated in the Gauteng Provincial Govan Mbeki awards. This event, hosted at the Emperors Palace, Kempton Park in Johannesburg and chaired by the MEC for Local Government and Housing, Ms Ntombi Mekgwe, FEDUP was awarded the award for the Duduza project. uTshani Fund acts as Account Administrator to FEDUP, and provides technical support to the Community Construction Management Team (CCMT). The contract signed with the Province allocated 150 stands in Duduza, of which 134 houses have been completed. In this year alone, 93 houses were built. On average, FEDUP builds houses with the same subsidy quantum but the differences are vast! Houses are larger than 50m2 in size compared to government build of 35 – 40m2. These houses are fully fitted with a bathroom, a kitchen with a sink as well as two spacious bedrooms. The houses are fully electrified. The finishing include plaster inside and outside, and is painted inside and outside. These are achievable through the savings and contributions of the beneficiaries from their savings.
The FEDUP alternative is continuing to reshape the policy and institutional landscape. But most importantly, it is the building of a strong woman’s federation that opens many other avenues for livelihoods and poverty alleviation.