From Purok to Barangay: Mapping Informality in Philippine Cities
By the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, Inc.
The Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (HPFPI), commenced their settlement profiling and mapping in January 2015 during a learning exchange supported by the Indian Alliance. The exchange brought together participants from different regions of the country like the NCR, Cebu, Davao and Kidapawanin San Isidro, Jaro, and Iloilo City. Since then, the Federation and their support staff have been actively mapping and profiling in three cities: Valenzuela, Davao and Iloilo City.
Erlinda Mosqueda, Valenzuela Peoples Organization Network (VALPONET), President/Community Worker, reflects:
“I had a good experience in doing settlement profiling and mapping. I learned how to use the GPS (Global Positioning System) device. Once I saw our settlement in the computer through the GPS device, I felt it was a success.
We also experienced many hardships. Our first step was to have a courtesy call to the head of the Barangay (the smallest government unit of the city) before going to the community. Some communities refused to be interviewed because they were afraid the data that will be gathered might be used against them. In spite of these struggles, we were able to interview 21 communities.
I saw the importance of doing settlement profiling and mapping, the use of new technology, and how to encode. At least we learned something. I felt happy.
Before I do not know also how to do the settlement profiling. Being president of our network, VALPONET, I want other leaders to know also how to interview using the settlement profiling form and now I am happy that there are already other community leaders who know how to interview using the settlement profiling form.
One of our challenges is that only one knows from our network how to upload the settlement profiling form in the computer. It is a challenge for us to learn how to use the computer because this is the trend now.
The important thing about doing the settlement profiling and mapping is when one community asks for their own data, the VALPONET is ready to give them.”
Valenzuela City is part of the Metropolitan Manila, Philippines. Together with 16 other cities and a municipality it forms part of the most populous region in the Philippines. A total of 8 settlements have thus far been profiled by the federation. Six of these settlements are undeclared settlements with insecure land tenure with an estimated population of 17,121 persons. The Federation estimates that there are approximately 3,369 structures in total, of which about 376 are residential-cum-business structures and a further 129 full business structures. Businesses in settlements offer access to goods and services within the settlement and serve as a livelihood stream for many families.
Davao City is a highly urbanised city and said to be the fourth most populous city in the Philippines. The federation has profiled a total of 6 slums thus far with an estimated population of 17,033 persons and an estimated 2657 structures in total of which 2,309 are residential. Securing land tenure is a priority in 5 of these settlements. Access to adequate sanitation and sewerage was named by the 6th settlement as their most important development priority.
In Iloilo City the federation has profiled two communities thus far. The estimated total population in these communities is 2,261. Both of these settlements are undeclared, with insecure land tenure, security of tenure, and housing identified as the most important community development priorities.
Of the 23 settlements the Philippine federations has profiled and documented thus far, 13 of these are currently facing eviction threats. Floods and strong winds have been listed as the most often occurring natural disasters.
Interview using the informal settlement profile form
Interview with barangay officials regarding barangay profile and boundary at Ungka Jaro, Iloilo
In Short, “Mapping is Important”[caption id="attachment_11171" align="alignnone" width="600"] Mama Ronnie Hochobes explaining the importance of collecting enough points with the GPS to Mama Wenky Snyder from Okurangava.[/caption]
By the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia
“Mapping helps in starting the upgrading process for our communities, as partners in the development process” – Rebekka, Oshikoto Region, Namibia Shack Dwellers Federation
To date, the Namibia Shack Dwellers Federation has completed the only national level informal settlement profile within the SDI Network.
Ms Rosalinda Hendricks reflects: “It all started off with information collection amongst ourselves as federation members who are saving, we developed a questionnaire for profiling, collected information in 235 informal settlements, which was published 2009 with the support of the Ministry of Regional Local Government, Housing and Rural Development at that time. We further also carried out enumerations, interviewing each household in different informal settlements so we can use the data to inform the local authority on the affordability of residents in accessing services, and negotiating for buying land.”
To know where you are and what your neighbourhood looks like is the start of knowing your city. Mapping is an integral part of the enumeration (slum profiling and household level surveys) of slum dwellers federations. Following community mobilization, data collection begins with a community mapping exercise. With nothing more than pens and markers and pieces of paper – usually spread on the floor or another available stable surface – the mapping and the conversation begins!
Community elders, women, and youth gather around, the discussions and debates are lively and filled with excitement. Boundaries are drawn, disputed and redrawn. Landmarks and services are marked out. Then the community drawn boundaries are layered over satellite imagery and the discussion continues. For many community members this is the first time they see their settlement drawn on a map.
But it doesn’t stop here. This map needs to be digitized for it to become useful. Accompanied by community members, their GPS devices and recording sheets, federation members trained as mappers then proceed to walk the boundaries, capture the points and seek out and map the services indicated by the community.
It is Geography Awareness Week and along with community mappers and geographers from all over the world, SDI federations are celebrating the maps they are producing and reflecting on the power of their maps.
Below are some reflections from Namibian federation members actively involved in mapping work on the importance of mapping in their mobilizing, organizing, and upgrading efforts:
Juliane from the Kunene Region:
“Mapping is important to know where the services in the settlement are located and also to know the size of the area. When we do mapping we create awareness on services and encourage the community to start taking action in their own development. Mapping helps us to know how many households are in the area and also the schools. The process gives us an opportunity to discuss solutions around the challenges that we face in the community so we can help ourselves to address our needs. Mapping also helps us inform the municipality on what is going on in the settlement, at most times the officials don’t know.”
Wendelina from Erongo Region:
“Mapping informs us on the size of the land and the conditions of it. Some people built their structures where they are not supposed to do it. If they know the boundaries, it helps gives us more support in our vision of what we want for our community.”
Candy from Zambezi Region:
“Mapping helps us see our community, how big or small it is.”
Ester from Oshikoto Region:
“Once we know how big the settlement is, it helps us plan better and know that the settlement is divided into two. Some locations are big.”
Tuerijandjera community collecting boundary points for the settlement.
Mapping Evululuko in Oshakati.
Freedom Square Enumerations Team, finalising structure mapping and enumerations for upgrading.
The Namibia Shack Dwellers Federation has begun the updating of their historic settlement profile date base on SDI’s global slum database on ONA platform. To date they have profiled 62 settlements, and mapping of 39 informal settlements has been completed. Capturing of the data has commenced on ONA and community members are actively training in data capturing as well. Thus far they have captured 41 of their settlement profiles and uploaded 14 maps.
Data Entry in Oshakati for Evululuko Informal Settlement.
Community collected and captured mapping data available in ONA platform.
Five regions (Omusati, Ohangwena, Karas , Oshana , Khomas) have been actively collecting data in their settlements this past year. This involves community meetings, discussion of development priorities, settlement history, and the mapping of boundaries and services.
The federation has made presentations to various local and regional authorities, encouraging ownership of the information, and supporting the development and strengthening of partnerships between the federation, communities, and local, regional, and national authorities.