By Merhawi Okbaselasie, SDI Secretariat
In this fast-changing environment, NGOs are becoming particularly concerned about financial sustainability, and SDI is no exception. The challenge is how to become financially sustainable without drifting from SDI’s core mission of realising inclusive and resilient cities that improve the lives of the urban poor. SDI achieves this core mission through investing in the urban poor’s self-organising and by supporting them in exploring alternatives to evictions. This includes land tenure, access to basic services, and housing solutions. There are many successes that attest to the effectiveness of SDI’s bottom-up approach to urban development.
However, for SDI to continue to fulfil its mission and to ensure the sustained effectiveness of its network, some level of financial self-sufficiency is vital. The SDI Secretariat has long recognized this challenge and has been making some strides in diversifying the income sources of the network. Efforts include broadening strategies to attract donor finance (e.g. individuals of high-net worth, challenge funds, and impact investments), generating funds from the general public through campaigns and direct marketing (e.g. challenge funds, crowd funding), as well as generating revenue through market-based opportunities linked to SDI’s core work. One such effort is the recent development of the property at 302 Albert Road into a ‘commercial hub’ and ‘community resource centre’.
SDI, through its investment arm Inqolobane Trust, has recently acquired an old commercial property situated at 302 Albert Road in Woodstock, Cape Town. A well-located, diverse and vibrant area close to the Cape Town CBD, Woodstock is one of the oldest working-class residential areas in Cape Town. Unlike many other neighbourhoods, residents in Woodstock managed to avoid the brutal forced evictions of the Apartheid era. However, over the last two decades as the city has grown, Woodstock has increasingly been subject to a process of gentrification with poorer communities facing more surreptitious forms of evictions.
The premises at 302 Albert were in dire need of maintenance and upgrading. SDI adopted a ‘’light touch’’ approach and invested in upgrading and restoring the heritage qualities of the old Victorian building (built between 1900 and 1905), and refurbishing industrial structures at the rear of the property. The efforts also included expanding and renovating the existing central courtyard to create a communal space with seating and greenery. The design interventions were approved by the Western Cape Heritage Resource Authority.
302 Albert is designed to function as both a ‘commercial hub’ and a ‘social hub’. Because Albert Road functions as a high street, commercial activities are located on the ground floor ensuring accessibility and visual connection to street level commercial activities. There are two 70 square metre retail shops: a jewelry shop and an art gallery along Albert Road, with an open plan studio above the two shops housing the SDI Secretariat’s new office. Accessed via a paved access way and an internal courtyard, the rear of the property houses a ground floor workshop and a restaurant, with a large open plan studio above the restaurant. This studio will soon become a hub for SDI’s Know Your City TV (KYC) programme.
As mentioned above, the objectives of the 302 Albert development are both commercial and social. The first objective is to generate financial returns to contribute to the financial sustainability of SDI. To this end, the SDI Secretariat invested in upgrading and branding of the centre to position 302 as a landmark along the Albert Road corridor. These efforts significantly improved the quality and appeal of the ground-floor rental spaces and helped the centre function as a ‘commercial hub’.
302 is expected to generate an annual income that, in year one, will translate into an 8.5% gross yield. The upgrading efforts also included investment in grid connected rooftop solar PV and water tanks to harvest rainwater. The energy generated from solar is expected to reduce the total annual electricity costs of the centre by about 20%.
The second and equally important objective is to create a social space with two key functions: Firstly, the space will function as a hub for SDI’s Know Your City (KYC) programme. The emphasis will be on youth development through the KYC TV programme which provides training to youth from informal settlements in photography, media, storytelling, and film production. Secondly, the space will become a space for dialogue for communities and civil society organisations in the area to engage on critical issues affecting the urban poor, particularly forced evictions, which is at the centre of SDI’s core mission.
SDI’s main focus will continue to be the support of the urban poor in fighting evictions and accessing land tenure, basic services, and housing opportunities. Because of the nature of its work SDI will always require donor financing. However, the efforts made at developing 302 Albert using its own reserves highlight that SDI is serious about diversifying its funding sources and ensuring long term survival and effectiveness of its network. The challenge now is to scale up the successes achieved at 302 Albert across the SDI network. The idea is that these community resource centres – with emphasis on youth development – will be anchored around the Know Your City programme throughout the network, delivering on both social and developmental outcomes and generating financial returns for the SDI network.
Nandipha & Noziphiwo team up to expand the community garden at the Masiphumelele Soup Kitchen.
A national industry which offers public-sector employment to 50,000 economically disadvantaged beneficiaries should have a profound impact on the livelihoods of poor informal settlement dwellers. The Department of Environmental Affairs Working for Water Program (WfW) is therefore a primary target for Community Organisation Resource Centre’s (CORC) engagement of the state. In 2002, CORC managed 25 teams in all nine provinces to work at a staffing model which sustainably supports employees. However, due to the under-budgeted nature of the program, the majority of these teams disintegrated. The only remaining teams were privately led rather than collective in structure, with profits directed primarily to the supervisory contractor, rather than the labourers. Currently, most WfW teams operate under this model, under which the vast majority of beneficiaries earn minimal wages and secondary benefits of social development and training opportunities. This year, CORC assembled a new team in the Western Cape based on an ambitious project: to clear neglected private areas on demanding terrain bordering the Province’s most-visited nature reserve. This effort in collaboration with nearby private landowners attracted the attention of WfW once more. Affected communities near the reserve have limited employment opportunities due to their isolation and have minimal collaboration with the Informal Settler’s Network (ISN) and Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP). With the help of existing contacts at Non-Profit organisations in the settlements of Masiphumelele, team leaders were drawn from youth SDI-employees from Phillipi. Young women from Masiphumelele in the South Cape Peninsula were hired as general workers with the potential for promotion conditional with training. This report follows their story.
Ayanda The seeds of this project started when Ayanda Magqaza was a sprightly fifteen-year-old. He would leave his home in Phillipi to stay and work in the South Peninsula for the weekend. Agile and flexible, Ayanda quickly learned to clamber over the boulders and climb the gum trees at Castle Rock. Local landowners would hire him, first to help in the garden, and eventually to man a chainsaw alone in the depths of the forest all day long. As a CORC employee, Ayanda was the first person the project leaders called to begin working on the mountain, with the hopes that he would soon be able to lead an entire team to assist him. Within a few months the imagined team materialized, largely due to his illustrative, personal and persuasive communication abilities. When project management was absent for two months in mid-winter, Ayanda took the helm and continued to recruit new team members, coordinate logistics for certified training sessions, and lead the team to clear vegetation on the mountain slopes.
Anela was an unpaid volunteer at the Masiphumelele Pink House when she started with CORC in June. Now she earns a wage on the CORC team, partly to help restore the Pink House community garden.
Anela All roads in Masiphumelele lead past the Pink House, a community services center managed by Catholic Welfare Development (CWD). While CORC was recruiting for the team, CWD opened their doors and provided a number of applicants. Most were men, with some construction experience; the women seemed to be looking for a desk or service job, something with a roof. But Anela Dlulane stood out, highly recommended by CWD as a lead volunteer there. During the first trial on the mountain, when the slackers stayed back to chat and move slowly, Anela kept pace with the young guys as they stacked body-length branches along the hillside. It was hard work compared to her previous job as a typist at the Department of Transport, but Anela stuck with it, with the hopes of one day fulfilling an administrative role for the CORC team.
Roger Prior to joining the team, most of Roger Janse’s days were indoors at the Slum Dweller International (SDI) offices. The office valued his polyglot fluency in Cape Town’s three main languages, but his studies were at a standstill and he was not sure how to advance his career. He aspired to obtain his Driver’s License and begin work as a driver for SDI, but despite repeated courses, he did not pass the test. Roger had helped Ayanda in the South Peninsula before and decided to try it again. The mountain revealed itself to be an exciting place, satisfying his interest in wildlife like puff adders and cape cobras. Roger began work as a stacker, but by the end of winter had attained his Chainaw Operator’s certificate, and qualified for three other courses. Just two months later he held his long-awaited Driver’s License in his hands, then doggedly pursued an additional commercial license. Due to his determination, the team now depends on Roger in his role of back-up driver to transport them and their equipment from home to work.
Determined to expand his skill set, Roger exceeded available WfW courses and attained his commercial Driving License
Sinjuvo She came prepared. She brought with her a record of several years of herbicide applicator experience, a list of contacts from her old team, and even wore here official yellow WfW shirt to work. At some point she had left her previous WfW team and her skills and training were left idle until she crossed paths with the SA SDI Alliance in Masiphumelele. Gudiswa Mathu may be older than the average worker, but her experience helps her know how best to contribute. When the team was still in its early stages, struggling to find women who were prepared to do labour-intensive tasks day in and day out, Gudiswa knew who to call. Within two weeks, the team ratio was balanced in favor of the better gender, 7 to 4, surpassing WfW national standards for female-to-male hiring ratios.
Sakhe With only his secondary school certificate in hand, he set out for Cape Town from the Eastern Cape. After growing up there and doing his schooling there, Sakhekile Nkohli contacted the few family members and friends he had in Cape Town and moved into Masiphumelele. He found infrequent work, mostly occasional construction jobs. But as a young worker his resume and contacts were not competitive. When given the chance on the mountain, Sakhe demonstrated what made him stand out. His fearlessness and drive earned him the position as the only team member without a previous relationship with SDI to receive and qualify for chainsaw training. With Siya or Ayanda present, Sakhe is a dependable assistant and when a more experienced manager is unavailable, he takes the helm.
Bracing himself on the steep slopes, Sakhe clears an area for the Chainsaw Operator to work, a role for which he now is also qualified as a result of training on the team
Liso She may have the smallest shoe size, but in many ways she makes the biggest contribution. After 6 years of working on alien clearing teams, Liso Jentile offers the most insight and thoughtfulness of any team member. Her years of experience include training as chainsaw operator, which offsets the gender balance of mostly men leading with chainsaws and women following while stacking branches. Most of the time, she is quiet, and does not participate in the teatime chatter. But when the team reaches a new situation and is uncertain how to proceed, people turn to Liso for well-seasoned advice. Her thinking abilities make her a role model for other women on the team and a prime candidate for promotion to a leadership role.
Siya Initially, he was busy in the office and didn’t take the offer. Afterall, his family was in Philippi, including his newborn son. Weekdays in isolated Castle Rock sounded lonesome. And after more than a decade of chainsaw work without any career prospects, the idea of working on the mountain did not excite him. But when the opportunity to join Ayanda at a chainsaw operator training arose, Siyasanga Hermanus got involved. Within three weeks he had a team working to help him stack – a luxury after the years of working on the mountain alone. With his firm manner and steadfast approach, Siya earned his team’s trust. Now he, like Ayanda, is building up skills to eventually contract his own team. But while most WfW contractors supervise from the sidelines, Siya will remain right where he is. The only way to make sure the work gets done, he says, is to be part of the team. He won’t be letting go of his chainsaw anytime soon.
Workers are tasked with removing dense alien forest from steep mountain slopes
It is a fragile system, but it holds together – a web of life that benefits from its interdependent nature as much as it is defrayed by internal competition. Like the risk of wildfire on the mountain, our team confronts challenges to their health and safety every day. Competition is no stranger, and they confront one another when they disagree on an approach to an issue. Like the heat of summer, they feel it on their table at home when funding dries up and bonuses are no longer available. And when in need of assistance, if it is not offered with personal consideration, some team members may be flooded with advantages while others fail to gain ground.
Despite these challenges, the team is resilient. They depend on one another because they know that they can fell more trees working together than alone. A communicator like Ayanda can help advocate for more contracts together than the others could do alone. A veteran like Liso can help plan savings for their future together better than the others could do alone. And with perseverance, they can build a collective company with the full contribution of each team member.
While one person cleans a chainsaw, another takes inventory of the day’s supplies. A Health and Safety Officer takes note of the appearance of the deforested slopes after a day’s work while a First Aid Officer records that day’s participation of each individual. One person measures herbicide concentrations, while another speaks publicly about the value to biodiversity of their work. Each worker has their role and is valued as an essential member of the team.
Over 35,000 South Africans are funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs to clear invasive alien vegetation in South Africa. The vast majority of them work under a private contractor. While project funds should be directed to workers, this system incentivizes the contractor to increase staff productivity to their own benefit. CORC’s team structure provides a new model, one that serves the poor populations that it is meant to support. Through this program, CORC has the opportunity to affect livelihoods across the country. It begins with the collective.
This collective has a new opportunity. In the South Cape Peninsula, a few mountain slopes dipping into the sea appear too difficult, too costly to clear. Without professional training for mountain slopes, this team has confronted Castle Rock. In doing so, they have proven their worth as recipients of intermediate training required to clear such lands safely. As an intermediate team in high demand, they may prove financially sustainable while maintaining the collective structure that can help negotiate the team members into more established careers. As a self-sustaining collective they may be able to operate independently throughout the Western Cape, and can train other teams in other provinces. A handful of youth from the South Peninsula has the chance to transition from labourers to leaders, not only in their industry, but in their communities.
2014 Annual Report: Deliverables
- Workers contribute at low pay rate to make initial contracts viable
- Workers agree to contribute to service projects in their community
- CORC-SDI contribution of R172,100 for year 1 expanded 4-fold with contributions from national government, private landowners, and team-based enterprise
- Full-time employment of 11 youth, mostly women
- Indirectly affects an estimated 50 household members
- Restoration of wildlife habitat adjacent to internationally-recognized Table Mountain National Park
- Expand project area 7-fold from 37-hectare conservancy to entire South Cape Peninsula (>250 km^2 infested)
- Establish workers career path through regular training and collective company formation
- NGO’s provide space, candidates, community service projects
- ISN provided candidates interview space
- Residents provided equipment, storage space, emergency vehicles, and funding
- National government provided counsel, oversight, and funding
- Partner funding ensures project sustainability
- >R1.9 million fundraised financially/in-kind; exceeds original SDI grant 20-fold
• Employment of 10 youth under age of 35, Ages of 20 – 35, interviewed 50
• Female employment, 7:4 female to male (64%), beyond government regulations, expected to work under demanding physical conditions, skilling with physical positions ex: chainsaw operation, training leadership and administrative roles
• Training of marketable skills
• Partnership with Masiphumelele NGO’s
- Desmond Tutu Youth Centre
- Catholic Welfare Development Pink House
• Land clearing for alternate use at Desmond Tutu Youth Centre
• Installment of Soup Kitchen Garden at Masiphumelele Pink House
• Renewal of relationship with national government after >12 yrs dormant
1. Production of successful national tender
- Production of successful tender, R1.5 Million
- Establishment of working relations with key department officials (Dept. Env. Affairs)
- Field progress reporting in lieu of CORC staff ability
- Training and engagement of CORC staff to perform reporting tasks in future
2. Field equipment procurement
- Bid for lowest cost equipment utilizing existing knowledge for 13 years of clearing activities and 3 years of professional management work
3. Site survey and mapping of biological resources and quantification of working conditions
- Technical skill and equipment unavailable within CORC
4. Field team assembly
- Engagement of NGO’s in neglected township via Informal Settlement Network
- Thorough search for suitable members worthy of long-term investment
- Development of team integrity based on needs of individual team members
5. Leadership development
- Reengagement, training, promotion of existing SDI staff in South Peninsula projects
- Trained 7 unemployed youth female workers, 1 unemployed youth male worker, and 3 low-income male youth workers, strategically providing skills with career prospects
6. Community relations and fundraising and in-kind support
- South African Department of Environmental Affairs Working for Water Program
- South Peninsula landowners, Castle Rock Conservancy
- Masiphumelele NGO’s – Catholic Welfare Development, Desmond Tutu Youth Centre
- Four-fold increase in available funds for year 1 alone
- Incentivized fundraising to workers
- In-kind contributions from private landowners valuing >R200,000
- Increased national funding in years 2,3
- Internal funding of management and start-up costs should be replaced by increased private contribution in years 2, 3
- Internal funding is responsible for staffing at first
- Goal is to transition wage payments to government funders and oversight payments to private funders
- Internal funding for years 2,3 should be mentorship, empowerment, community engagement and administration
- Largest portion of funds paid directly to workers
- Start-up costs of equipment, oversight and training will likely be reduced by end of year 3
This paper describes the construction and management processes related to two toilet blocks in Uganda, one in Jinja and one in Kampala. Designs, financial models and insights into the process and challenges faced are presented and reflected on. Discussions about scaling up sanitation provision through these models are also tabled. To strengthen their planning processes, the Ugandan federation sought to draw on other community driven processes in India and Malawi. With divergent contexts, especially in terms of density, lessons were adapted to local conditions.
Through unpacking these experiences the paper draws attention to a number of key points. Firstly it argues that organised communities have the potential to develop functional and sustainable systems for the planning, construction and management of communal toilet blocks. Secondly, how shared learning, practical experience and exchanges driven by communities assisted in refining the sanitation systems and technologies piloted and thirdly the value, especially in terms of scale and leverage of including City Authorities in the provision of communal sanitation. A fourth key point, interwoven across discussions, relates to the financial planning, costing and affordability of the sanitation options piloted. Understanding the seed capital investments needed and various options for cost recovery is vital in assessing the affordability and scalability of pilots1.
The paper mixes one of the co-author’s reflections (written in first person) with descriptions and analysis of the sanitation projects supported. This narrative method is deployed to emphasise the collegiate manner in which learning takes place across a country-spanning network of urban poor communities.
To read the full report, click here.
by Hellen Nyamweru, ACTogether Uganda
The partnership between the Federation and local government in Arua municipality has emerged exemplary in the first phase of TSUPU. This is thanks largely to community engagements and actually standing for what the program is based on. TSUPU, meaning Transforming Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda, has served its purpose to a great extent in Arua Municipality.
Arua municipality, located approximately 480 kilometers northwest of Kampala, and the largest city in the district, has demonstrated an impressive understanding as far as TSUPU is concerned. When you find communities informed of all the development programs under TSUPU and having participated in the actual implementation of the same, then you know there has been positive impact on local governance in Arua. For communities to be in possession of all the community upgrading fund projects’ documents for all the transactions involved means there has truly been a transformation and empowerment of settlements of the urban poor. You can actually touch it! And it is exciting to witness this happening.
In a recent monitoring exercise, communities in Arua and the municipality technocrats clearly showed how meaningful collaborative working relationships can be developed and sustained for the development of Arua. The manner in which issues have taken course in Arua leaves one full of admiration and awe and calling for such powerful collective effort to be replicated elsewhere in the country. Arua municipality and the community have managed to form a web of interconnected efforts that support one another.
Arua federation is now an active change agent in the municipality, having been awarded monies to take on different projects in the municipality after a successful proposal competition. Through this undertaking the communities have felt valued by the municipality; they are thriving and want to go the extra miles to make their municipality a city. It is now clear that collaboration of different efforts is a sine qua non to development; it cannot be achieved in isolation.
Generally, the TSUPU project in Arua has contributed greatly to bringing the municipal officials and the communities closer. In the past, communities felt left out in many of the development ventures in Arua, but from a couple of interviews with the different communities and municipal technocrats who gave their account of the TSUPU projects, this initiative has been one of a kind.
When the community upgrading funds were received in Arua municipality, the news was publicized to raise citizens’ awareness and participation in the utilization and accountability of the fund. Communities started coming up with different projects to undertake and forwarded them to the municipality for approval. The communities in Arua were truly recognized as partners in development and were involved in the selection and planning of the projects. They also participated actively in project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The Community Development Officer Mr.Geoffrey Edema, who was working closely with the secretary to the Municipal Development Forum, Mr. Martin Andama, together subjected the communities’ proposals to technical appraisal so as to clarify any issues, and later invited the same communities to go through the pros and cons of different proposals. After deciding which projects to implement communities received communication from the municipality in writing as to whether their projects’ had gone through the selection phase successfully or otherwise. Those projects whose proposals were successful then received funds for the project in their various accounts.
The different groups then sourced for contractors to carry out the different projects (with guidance from the municipality) so as to make the whole process as transparent as possible. Several contractors were considered, depending on prior experience and to ensure nobody takes advantage of unsuspecting communities.
After agreeing on the contractors to carry out the work, communities – with guidance from the municipality – took charge of the process of approving project commencement. A contractor would write directly to a community with a copy to the municipality requesting a particular sum of money to carry out specific tasks, but would not get the funds without inspection of the work already on the ground by the community in charge of the project with the municipal engineer and other technocrats. In this way, the contractor was kept in check and he could not afford to do sub-standard work.
In case of delays where the contractor felt he was falling behind schedule, he would write to the community with a copy to Arua municipality requesting for an extension of the time given. There was no time for verbal apologies or broken promises as has been common in the past; the process was strict and very transparent.
In the words of one Abbas Matata, a slum dweller in Arua and a leader in the federation in charge of negotiations and partnership, the TSUPU projects in the first phase gave communities the sense of being part and parcel of their own development. ‘When you hear us roaring, don’t just wonder, now you know, we felt so much in charge of these projects. we were like people working in those offices we once feared before and just putting down our signatures to approve the millions of funds in our accounts for the projects felt so good, we felt empowered’’ .
Of the six projects implemented in Arua under TSUPU, five are complete and are already serving the communities in the municipality. They have registered positive impacts and they have become the talk of the municipality. What is left is to have a Memorandum of Understanding put in place between the municipality and the communities, especially those that are directly linked to a community (such as the water projects) to ensure the projects are kept in the hands of communities for sustainability and replication of the same in other needy areas. By ‘sustainability’ the federation means to ensure that the project is maintained in good condition: for example that the water bills are paid in time to avoid disconnection and the collection area kept clean to ensure water is clean at all times. His Worship, the Mayor of Arua, Charles Asiki and the Deputy Mayor Kalsum Abdu have assured the federation of their support in this regard, as well as in other upcoming activities for the development of Arua city.
Below are the projects in detail:
LOCATION: PANGISHA WARD
GROUP AWARDED: ALIODERUKU MIXED GROUP
The project involved the fencing of a public primary school, Bibia Primary School, which serves as an educational facility for the children of Pangisha ward and the neighbouring parish Mvara. Before the fencing, the school was in such a state that every person would trespass onto the school premises and the children would not concentrate because of this kind of interruption. The school property was also vandalized; for instance, school doors and windows would go missing from time to time. The school sanitation facilities were always in a mess because they were used by the general public. The school land would get encroached from time to time and there were disputes over this. The school’s performance was low and absenteeism was high because children could come and go as they pleased. Parents and guardians could not monitor them and some would join dangerous groups due to peer pressure in the pretext of attending school.
Alioderuku Mixed savings group, a group in Oluod cell made up of 30 members (22 women and 8 men) wrote the proposal to have the school fenced because of the aforementioned issues. Most of the members in this group are widows and have children and grandchildren in the school and they wanted to correct the state of affairs.
Since the fencing of the school, many positive impacts have been registered: children are now kept in school and they can be monitored by their parents and teachers. The school’s performance has also gone up and it is now taking in more pupils than before. The school’s property is now protected and there are no more disputes over the school’s land. What exists now in the area is peace and a good learning environment to study so as to make responsible persons of Uganda’s future leaders. The project shows that the federation recognizes education as a key element to development. The project has meant greater exposure for federation practices in Arua and people are very aware of the works of the federation, with many having joined after seeing such tangible evidence coming right into their community. They have been introduced to the federation rituals of saving and are doing just that to ensure they are change agents in Arua municipality.
The group continues to save and have a total of UGX 3,500,000 in daily savings and have loaned UGX 3,000,000. They have an excellent loaning system with a strict loan officer – an elderly lady called Alupo, also nicknamed ‘catechist ‘because of her strict nature and emphasis on adherence of loan repayment. Their urban poor basket has UGX 355,000. They have several projects such as poultry farming, confectionery, and tailoring and they are also traders of honey from the Congo-Uganda and Sudan-Uganda border. According to the chairperson of the group, Chandiru Esther, the members are thinking of writing a skills development proposal to try and see if they could benefit from the 2nd phase of TSUPU by getting some funds to assist in skill development so as to continue uplifting themselves.
PROJECT: CONSTRUCTION OF CULVERT BRIDGE ON AFRA STREAM
LOCATION: KENYA WARD
GROUP AWARDED: AFRA B SAVING GROUP
This project involved the construction of a foot bridge connecting several areas in the municipality; Pajulu-Prison, Adiko cells and Bazaar and Mutu cells. The project came in place due to bad experiences the community had as a result of flooding. Arua generally has hot and dry climate but it has some rainy seasons when the region experiences heavy rains that sometimes cause floods and affect many households. The culvert bridge was constructed to guard against such an occurrence because it will divert the water to appropriate channels. In the past, such floods would mean no business between the neighbouring counties during the rains, it would also cause death of young children and animals who would be carried away by the waters of Afra. The bridge therefore would serve as a remedy for this.
The bridge is now in place and has addressed these needs. The residents are no longer afraid of the wet rainy season; they know things will be different this time around. It has also reduced the distance between the neighbouring cells. Nowadays, residents do not have to trek long distances or go through another cell to access the neighbouring one. It is now simple. School children are also enjoying the facility; in the past they would cover long distances to and from school, leaving little time to study. Business is now booming, keeping in mind that Arua people are very enterprising and hardworking with a big number of immigrants from Congo and Sudan. It is clear that this town is growing at a very fast pace.
Afra B savings group, the group responsible for bringing the project into the locality, have all the documents concerning the project and actively participated in its implementation. At one time there was a delay in completing as the project specified and the contractor had to formally write to the group requesting a grace period. This shows the strictness observed in this project and the communities now feel very valued in the whole process. Mzee Khamisi Marjan had this to say, ‘I could not believe the contractor writing to us apologizing for not completing in time but committing himself to finishing over a specified period, this was unheard of, we have never heard of this! we felt respected for that,. I am an old man and I tell you I have witnessed it projects left incomplete by contractors who knew nobody would do anything to them. But in our case, it was different, we knew we mattered’
PROJECT: WATER PROJECT
LOCATION: AWINDIRI WARD
GROUP AWARDED: NSAMBIA SOUTH UNITED COMMUNITY GROUP
This project involved the provision of water in the locality of Nsambia in order to ease access to this precious commodity for the many households in this area. Before the project establishment, the community would crowd around the only available water point or consume water from unknown sources after purchasing it from people who circulate water on bicycles, which in many cases would lead to diseases.
According to the households interviewed, this project has saved them from paying exploitative costs for water charged during the dry season. In the past they would pay UGX 700 per jerry can; but now they only pay UGX 100 for the water. It has also reduced congestion and quarrels at water points. These are now issues of the past, and people are very organized now. From various views of many men in the area, the project has had an impact right at the family level; misunderstandings between husbands and wives over suspicion of unfaithfulness when the women are out fetching water for long hours are no longer there. Some women also reported that cases of rape and harassment have gone down because they do not walk in the dark anymore. In the past such misfortunes were common, though they would go unreported because women feared reporting to the police due to reprisals. Women are now more productive, having more time to utilize for other activities, rather than spending much of it seeking water. Many of the community members interviewed also shared that the water point has greatly contributed to reduced cases of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. The epidemics are a thing of the past in Arua municipality. To the federation at large ,the project has been able to mobilize many into the federation and they have joined saving groups.
PROJECT: BOREHOLE WATER PROJECT
LOCATION: ZAMBIA CELL, MVARA
GROUP AWARDED: NYALUMVA WOMEN GROUP
This project was awarded to a group in Zambia cell made up of women, most of who are wives to teachers in Mvara senior secondary school. They implemented the project in conjunction with Arua municipality and they possess all the necessary documents for the project. The project was to serve several zones in Mvara which lack water. According to residents, they have suffered from the lack of water for as long as they can remember. Since completion of the project, the borehole is now operational and is serving more than 250 households in Mvara. Its management is organized in such way that each zone is represented in deciding matters concerning the borehole, including the charge per month, the collection, and security and maintenance of the borehole.
There are five zones in the area i.e. Coast zone, Ndrifa zone, Orube zone, Anyafio West and Anyafio East zones. Each zone has two representatives on the borehole management committee. The representatives meet regularly to discuss matters pertaining to the borehole & water delivery and propose suggestions for the monthly charge to be paid by consumers. This creates a unified meeting after mobilizing residents of the various zones they represent and then the proposed charges are discussed to arrive at a consensus. Other matters of security and fencing of the borehole also take the same course. The federation is well represented in the committees and is doing a good job of mobilizing other members into the federation and into the culture of saving.
PROJECT: CONSTRUCTION OF CULVERT BRIDGE AT OLI A and OLI B
GROUP AWARDED: ARICEN WOMEN A1, A2, B1, B2, C1C2, D1 savings group
This project is soon coming to completion and all operations are moving well to ensure that it is finished within the period of grace granted. It suffered several setbacks from the weather conditions to community dynamics and land disputes but all has been resolved to ensure that the community gets the long-awaited foot bridge to connect Oli A and Oli B to Dadama County. Through consultative meetings between the municipality and the communities, many matters were resolved with a few communities compensated over land. The bridge is set to complete in the month of March and is very welcome in the area. It will shorten the distance covered to access different cells, widen the economic window and diversify economic activities in the area, ultimately putting a stop to the problems caused by floods in the area during the rainy season.
The Aricen women savings group is made of many women, with a few men having joined the group after seeing the successes it was registering. The group has all the documents pertaining to the project and has been very instrumental in resolving disputes around the project, some emanating from the very contentious item – land. They also helped iron out the expectations and misconceptions of TSUPU as a project in the area.
Aricen is a powerful, large federation group (as the name suggests) from A to D covering various cells in Oli. They have a very good loaning system and have been able to undertake several livelihood projects such as goat rearing, basket making, mat weaving, tailoring and bead works, which generate some good income for them. The ability to partner with the municipality on this project has been a very big achievement to them.
PROJECT: REFUSE COLLECTION
LOCATION: BAZAAR NETWORK OLD BUS PARK ARUA
This project was implemented by communities, most of them local council leaders in Arua, but not specifically members of the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda. The implementers have however employed many slum dwellers who collect the refuse in the various localities of Arua town to keep the town clean. They have also provided garbage skips in different locations of the town to act as collection points. The project is doing well and although there is a need to scale up to keep Arua clean, the project has been able to contribute positively to the reduction of refuse around the central business district. There are already scenic benefits and the air is not heavy or filthy anymore. With time, and probably with the guidance of the municipality, the group will find ways of scaling up. Solid waste management is proving to be a vibrant area to invest in; it could bring back so much and provide employment to many people if well organized.
Looking at how the first phase of TSUPU has taken course in Arua, one is left admiring the collaboration between the municipality and the federation and hoping that things will continue getting better and better as we get into the second phase. Community capacity has been built, their negotiations, management and procurement skills sharpened; they have been empowered and are change agents in the municipality. TSUPU has received a lot of credit among the Arua residents as a program that promotes good, governance and management, for the prudent utilization of the funds to benefit the Ugandan citizenry, especially the poor and marginalized, as well as foster equitable national development.
By Siku Nkhoma, CCODE Malawi
In 2006, the Malawi SDI Alliance travelled to South Luangwa, Zambia on an income generation exchange. During their time in Zambia, the Alliance visited a community led eco-tourism centre and the famed Tribal Textiles centre. The federation women were convinced that these strategies could be adopted by the Malawi federation as a means of income generation, but enthusiasm dwindled as there was no champion of the effort.
This began to change after a follow up visit was organized in 2009. A group of women from Mtandire, the second largest informal settlement in Lilongwe and home to the first group of the Malawi Federation, returned to Zambia with determination to launch a similar income generation project in Malawi. Many of these women helped found the Federation in Malawi and are aware of the empowering effects of mobilization. So when CCODE, the Federation’s support NGO, informed them that there was no money to undertake such a project, they decided that they would do the training by contributing some of their own resources. Thus, from January to December 2010 the members participated in training under the tutelage of Mai Barbara. Many women who had never had chance of attending school got exposed to the basics of measurement, writing and designing. By December 2010, fifteen women received certificates upon successful completion of the training. To date, these 15 women make up the five groups, each comprised of three members, operating in the center. They are able to produce batiks of very high quality, ranging from wall hangings, cushion covers, aprons, tablemats, table runners and more. The fact that these women now have a sustainable income from the sales of these products is life-changing, as over half of them are single mothers or widows responsible for the welfare of their families.