As part of our climate justice work, SDI co-developed a working paper entitled “Locally Led Adaptation From Principles to Practice”, highlighting the value of Locally Led Adaptation (LLA) in managing climate risks faced by local communities and Indigenous peoples.
The paper was co-developed by a consortium of global partners working together to deliver the Adaptation Action Coalition’s Locally Led Adaptation Workstream. These partners are Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de Los Pueblos Indígenas (Center for the Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples), the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, ENDA, Huairou Commission, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, the International Institute for Environment and Development, Save the Children Australia, Slum Dwellers International, SouthSouthNorth, and World Resources Institute.
Presently, LLA recognises that there is value in local knowledge and expertise in addressing climate risk and ensures that local actors on the front lines of the climate emergency have equitable access to resources to build adequate resilience.
May 2022, saw more than 70 organisations and governments across the globe endorsing eight Principles for Locally Led Adaptation which provide foundational guidance for an approach to adaptation which emphasises priorities on the ground.
There is a growing focus placed on ensuring that adaptation finance is accessible by grassroots players. Simultaneously, there is a growing body of knowledge and research offering guidance for the implementation of LLA and underscoring it as a global priority.
What the working paper addresses
The working paper SDI co-developed, reviews 21 examples of approaches to implementing the Principles for LLA through interventions, programmes and policies across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Caribbean and Latin America. The aforementioned paper provides real-life examples of how funders and governments can follow through on their commitments to fast-track and scale the implementation of LLA. Governance and financing processes that prioritise the agency of grassroots actors are vital for LLA. Adapting these processes to redress power imbalances and emphasise local priorities can be complex and challenging. This paper provides examples of approaches to make these shifts and demystify funders and governments’ steps to operationalise and scale adaption.
Subsequently, these approaches can be utilised to turn investments and commitments to LLA into policies, practices and actions to ensure that grassroots partners have equitable access to climate finance and are the centre of decision-making processes.
The Principles for Putting LLA into Practice
Principle 1: Devolving decision-making to the lowest appropriate level
Principle 2: Addressing structural inequalities faced by women, youth, children, people living with disabilities, the displaced, Indigenous peoples, and marginalized ethnic groups
Principle 3: Providing patient and predictable funding that can be accessed more easily
Principle 4: Investing in local capabilities to leave an institutional legacy
Principle 5: Building a robust understanding of climate risk and uncertainty
Principle 6: Flexible programming and learning
Principle 7: Ensuring transparency and accountability
Principle 8: Collaborative action and investment
Recommended Strategies for Advancing LLA
Based on the review of 21 projects, the paper found recommended strategies for advancing LLA.
Early on funders and governments should pursue opportunities to scale LLA by increasing the amount of climate finance it allocates, improving the quality of finance by making it more accessible and flexible for grassroots actors, and adjusting governance and decision-making processes to ensure that those actors have agency in adaptation planning and implementation.
Undoubtedly, the Principles for LLA must be addressed holistically to ensure that adaptation investments, policies and interventions enable and scale LLA in a multitude of ways simultaneously.
Funders and governments are to commit to advancing active learning and research on LLA processes, outcomes and impacts to continue to fill knowledge and evidence gaps and improve the collective understanding of best practices for equitable and effective LLA.
We encourage funders and governments to ensure social equity is integrated into LLA efforts. This may include building such considerations into standard practices, processes and decisions, and investing in mechanisms which are specifically designed to support groups that experience disproportional vulnerabilities.
SDI co-developed this working paper alongside incredible partners. W encourage engagement around the implementation of the Principles of LLA and its importance in pro-poor urban development and ensuring grassroots players are at the fore of climate change solutions.
Read the full report here.
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 Diana Mitlin, IIED and Mercy Kamwanja, CCODE (Malawi)
Achieving universal access to sanitation is going to take a lot. In the urban context, high residential densities and extremely low incomes add to the challenge. What is already evident is that new approaches will be required, and that partnership between organised communities and their local governments is going to be key. An SDI team from Malawi came to World Water Week in Stockholm to present their work on sanitation in the city of Blantyre, and share their own contribution to this global challenge. Mphatso Njunga is a national leader for the Malawi Federation of the Rural and Urban Poor (Federation), Emmanuel Kanjunjunju is Director of Health and Social Services in the City, Mercy Kamwanja is Policy and Advocacy Manager for CCODE. Local elections were held in May 2014 with a return to local democracy, and 23 new councillors have joined the seven MPs to represent the residents of Blantyre City.
Documenting Living Conditions in Informal Settlements
A critical first step is documenting the scale of the problem. This knowledge is valued both by local government and communities themselves. The Federation has currently identified and profiled 41 informal settlements within Blantyre. These neighbourhoods have been identified both by Federation members, and traditional chiefs who have had a very significant role in local government prior to May (there were no councillors for several years). The Federation has developed close links to these traditional chiefs particularly through their work on water and sanitation. The local authority itself recognises 21 informal settlements.
The City Council recognizes the very significant contribution that groups within informal settlements are making to the City. to enhance this work and to address their own council responsibilities, an informal settlement Unit has been established.
Community development strategies (CDSs) have been completed in eight informal settlements following Federation information gathering. Local residents have been mobilized by settlement profiling and these strategies include of the collective priorities of the settlement. These organized communities hope that their strategies will direct development assistance.
As the Federation has worked with larger and numbers of people as well as more diverse communities, they decided that they should change their name from the Malawi Homeless People’s Federation to the Malawi Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor. This name change is to ensure that all people are comfortable with their participation and do not feel unable to join because they are not “homeless”.
Government Funding for Upgrading Informal Settlements
The annual budget for Blantyre City Council is approximately $10 million. There is no fixed amount for investment in informal settlements but the Council recognises that this is where there is the greatest need as 75% of the population stay. Two years ago, the Council began a participatory process whereby they asked organized communities to sit with the CEO and the directors of departments and discuss Council investment priorities. Mphatso Njunga (Federation leader) explained “The first year, we went there and they were telling us what has been done. This year it was different. Community leaders were asking council about where they get the money.” The third year of this participatory budget will begin in January 2015 for the financial year that begins in July 2015. This year the 23 newly elected councillors will also be a part of the budget negotiations.
In addition the funds that the Council have to invest, there are also monies available through the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) that are allocated to the seven MPs that represent Blantyre’s population. Approximately $16, 500 is given to each MP for local priorities. These monies are accounted for through the local authority. Previously there has not been any coordination of investments by the local authority but this is now being discussed.
The Sanitation Challenge
The challenge remains immense. There are an estimated 120,000 households living in the city of which 90, 000 live in areas experiencing poor sanitation, in informal settlements. The Council estimates that somewhere between 35,000 to 75,000 households are in need of toilets as they either have no provision, or their current provision is inadequate for dense urban neighbourhoods. One problem that is rarely acknowledged is that about 70,000 households are using VIPs and traditional pit latrines. When pits are full they are not emptied but are closed and another one constructed. However, as shallow wells are a major source of water the potential health risks are considerable.
Council investment capital is critical to achieving scale because significant numbers lack the income needed. Mphatso Njunga estimates that 30 per cent of Federation members do not have any income to pay for sanitation investments. In this context assessing strategies that offer universal access is a key challenge.
The Federation savings schemes have supported almost 700 to invest in eco-sanitation with an on average three families sharing these facilities. Each eco-san unit costs about $300. This scale of investments shows what is possible – and also that much more needs to be done. The Federation have been working across the city to encourage investment in sanitation. Working closely with the local chiefs, they have been able to persuade them to be the first to apply for loans (for eco-sanitation toilets with bathrooms) and this has encouraged the uptake.
Activities have included cleaning of the neighbourhoods. Some of the worst conditions in the city were in Ntopwa but after the mobilization of residents by the Federation this settlement is now a learning centre showing what can be done if people are organized.
New Sanitation Options
In their efforts to expand options and potentially reduce costs and increase accessibility, the Alliance has been exploring new approaches. A new precedent is sanitation with decentralized waste water treatment. In Bangwe. The Federation have constructed 52 dwellings in a lower-middle income neighbourhood that will provide rental housing – and have used this opportunity to experiment with this new technology for Blantyre. The development is now complete and people will begin occupying these houses in the next few weeks. Now the Federation members will come to see the technology and consider its affordability. They will also have the chance to think through how it might be work within their own informal settlements, if re-blocking will be required, and where (and sometimes if) spare ground might be available for the treatment ponds.
The Federation are also about to increase their investments in public toilets. Their public toilet in Chemusa is working very well. This is a public eco-sanitation toilet that is used intensively by market traders and those living in the vicinity. Users have a charge of 20 kwacha but this has not deterred custom even through the Council have a free toilet nearby. The Federation have been allocated land for toilet construction in two further markets and will begin building later this month.
The challenge of water availability
One of the biggest challenges that efforts to improve sanitation will have to address is the lack of water. From August to October pipes run dry and water is rationed across the city. In some neighbourhoods, there is no water for several days when both shallow wells and water kiosks fail. Even when it is available water from kiosks is expensive. At 20 kwacha for 20 litres, providing for the minimum requirements of a family of six costs about $9 a month. Another Federation activity has been helping households connect to the piped water network with loans for water meters and other costs associated with network expansion. Cost savings are immediate and one member recently reported that her bill had fallen to about two thirds of its previous value. However, the connection charges may be as much as $200 a household. The Federation and its support NGO, CCODE, have been thinking about the potential of rainwater harvesting.
This paper describes the community savings groups that are the foundation of many federations of slum/shack dwellers/homeless people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It reports on discussions with federation members in Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, the Philippines, Uganda and Zimbabwe on how savings groups are set up (mostly by women living in informal settlements) and managed (including the care taken in recording changes in each saver’s account). It also describes how these groups support their members working together to address difficult issues such as getting tenure of the land their homes occupy or getting land plots on which to build and access to services. For each of the six national federations described, details are also given of how the savings groups help change relations for the better with local and often national governments as they demonstrate to government their capacities. This includes undertaking projects and the community-driven mapping and enumerations of informal settlements. The paper also discusses the challenges that savings groups face – for instance when they lose momentum or when households cease to be active savers – and how these are addressed.
To read the full working paper, click here.
By Tim Ndezi, Director Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI), Tanzania & Noah Schermbucker, SDI Secretariat
Provision of sanitation services to informal settlements is a challenging task for city authorities and practioners in developing countries. In Tanzania, a situational assessment report (Part of the SHARE -Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity, project) revealed a number of factors that affect the improvement of sanitation in informal areas. These factors include lack of finance, lack of appropriate technologies and poor institutional and policy arrangements. Following data collection and assessment, precedent setting solutions are being implemented in three informal settlements in Dar-es-Salaam, namely Karakata, Keko Machungwa and Vingunguti (Located in Ilala and Temeke Municipalities).
This short piece describes the experiences of shared latrines in KaraKata with specific emphasis on technical options, tenant–landlord relationships, community action, co-production and maintenance. It argues that shared latrines are an important solution in Dar’s informal settlements. Karakata is presented as a case study aimed at fostering deeper discussion around the issues presented.
Karakata informal settlement is located in Kipawa Ward in Ilala Municipality, Dar-es-Salaam city, Tanzania. It has a population of approximately 34,228 people of which 18,434 are Women and 15,794 are men. It is about 11km from the city centre and close to the Dar-es-Salaam International Airport. The settlement comprises approximately 7,000 households that are occupied by both landlords and tenants. The majority of residents are tenants.
The Tanzania Federation in collaboration with the Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) started to mobilize the community in Karakata to join Federation processes in 2011. About 10 savings groups are currently established and have saved more than Tshs 20 millions (USD $ 12,500). A solid waste management program and income generating activities have been established. Like many other informal settlements Karakata lacks improved sanitation and sewerage disposal facilities leading to diseases such as cholera. Improvements of latrines have traditionally been left in the hands of individuals with little thought given to the impact of poor sanitation on the entire community. In consequence action research is now being implemented with the aim of developing and testing an approach to pro-poor city wide sanitation strategies that can be adopted and driven by federations of community organizations, and supported by public authorities and private providers. The research and subsequent precedents explore the concept of community action and co-production as essential ingredients for scaling up sanitation in informal settlements.
Federation Solid Waste collection project in Karakata
Characteristics of households in Karakata:
Private landlords own most of the land in Karakata. The plots were initially purchased from landlords who owned huge tracts of land. Over time the buying and selling of land led to increased density in the settlement. The average household has 6 members but a maximum of 20 has been recorded. As a way to optimize income most landlords construct as many rooms for rent as possible. Renting is the most common businesses within Karakata. Most shared houses are constructed as a compound with multiple small rooms of approximately 9 square meters each under a common roof (see image below). The rooms are often constructed back to back around a central, exterior courtyard. A single room is generally occupied by one household (approximately 5 people). Hence the number of people in a compound varies from 15 to 100 depending on the number of rooms. Construction and improvement of latrines is normally the responsibility of the landlord, however most latrines at Karakata are in very poor condition. Interviews with landlords indicate that lack of finance, lack of knowledge about affordable technologies and negligence are key reasons for not improving latrines. The presence of tenants within a compound can place pressure on landlords to improve the condition of latrines within the compound.
Construction of shared latrines in Karakata:
The construction of the shared toilets at Karakata started with the identification of 9 dedicated Federation technicians. This team consisted of 5 women and 4 men and received “peer-to-peer” training from Federation members from Dodoma and Dar-es-Salaam. Training focused on the toilet construction process. The Karakata team also continuously engaged other federation teams within Dar-es-Salaam.
Pour-flush toilets with trapezoidal blocks being used to line the substructure were the technology accepted by the Karakata community. This selection was based on the technology’s affordability to the majority of beneficiaries. During the construction phase roles and responsibilities among different actors were developed. Tenants were involved in the planning process, expressing their desires with regards to the type of latrines to be constructed. However the landlord, who is responsible for the cash and material contribution in order to reduce costs, took the final decision. In a situation of an absentee landlord, he/she could appoint a representative among the tenants to act on his behalf. The current costs of latrines at Karakata varies according to affordability levels and ranges between USD $ 300 – 600. The operation and maintenance costs for a household latrine is about USD $ 10 – 20 per month. At the time of writing 18 latrines have been built under the SHARE project (7 in Karakata). These 18 latrines are providing services to approximately 550 – 1000 people in 3 settlements (Karakata, Keko Machungwa and Vingunguti).
A compound in Karakata settlement
Technical design of the pour flush toilet:
One of the key challenges in latrine improvement is the lack of affordable technologies. The majority of people who attempt to build use conventional methods that are expensive. For nearly 5 years the Federation Technical Team (FTF) has used trapezoidal blocks to line pits. The approach uses only 4 bags of cement as compared to the conventional methods which can use up to 10 bags of cement, reinforcement bars and aggregates.
Karakata community toilet construction team standing in front of a toilet serving 12 households
The compound in which the above toilet was constructed
The construction of shared latrines at Karakata has involved a number of actors. These include landlords, tenants, and local government leaders who play different roles in the improvement of latrines within the settlement. Most tenants, particularly women, were available during the baseline data collection to share information that was crucial in the planning and designing of the scheme. Their inputs were important in determining the types and costs of latrines to be built. Tenants are the ones responsible for the operation and maintenance of latrines while landlords are responsible for guaranteeing the capital finance used for latrine construction. As owners of the asset, landlords take loans from the Federation urban fund and ensure repayment of the money borrowed.The Karakata Federation has ensured that local government officials are involved at all stages. These include planning, implementation, operation and maintenance and the recovery of loans.
Co-production is a political strategy for the community to improve relationships with, and support from, local government. Since undertaking an enumeration and sanitation mapping exercise in Karakata settlement the community has gained considerable confidence in terms of interacting with government officials. The community has established an advocacy team of 6 federation members who have met with officials thrice to discuss areas in which the Municipality could support the Federation’s work. There is growing awareness and recognition of the federation’s sanitation work amongst municipal officials. This has resulted in municipal health officers agreeing to use the federation construction team in other settlements to train further groups in latrine construction.
Discussions indicate that in order for the Municipality to provide finance to a community sanitation project there is a need to closely involve the settlement councilor. The councilor can then carry the demands of the community to the full ward council. In addition there is a need to register the Federation groups in the Ilala municipality to allow for proper recognition by the authorities. However all these are formal procedures which require flexibility during co-production processes. While the federation appreciates the conventional arrangements for engaging the Municipality they also wish to strengthen their advocacy role through informal forums and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU’s).
Outside the federation office in Karakata
Conclusion and recommendation:
Within the context of increased urbanization and population growth the lack of conventional sanitation services in informal settlements will continue to be a critical, and expanding, challenge. Shared latrines will continue to be an important option for informal residents in Dar-es-Salaam. Key lessons that are emerging from this precedent include: The need to sharpen the relationship between landlords, tenants and local government –outlining clear roles and responsibilities & empowering community technicians with skills to support other sanitation technical challenges such as pit emptying and decentralized waste water treatment systems (DEWATS). Finally there is a need to strengthen federation advocacy teams, developing skills that will assist in engaging Municipalities and lobbying for financial and technical support. Precedents have made some progress in addressing Karakata’s sanitation demand but the establishment of a sanitation revolving fund supported by Local Government Authorities and Ward and Municipal officials would be an important step in lending financial longevity and scale to the endevour.
In this new paper from the African Research Institute (ARI), authors Vanessa Watson and Babatunde Agbola talk about the importance of training planning professionals who are equipped to deal with challenges of informality in African cities. SDI has a partnership with the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS) to do precisely this. Visit our blog to read about our joint work in Malawi and Uganda, and read the full report from ARI here.
Across the Global South, slum dweller federations are enabling partnerships for both delivery and accountability in cities. UNDP’s recent paper, Reflections on Social Accountability: Catalyzing democratic governance to accelerate progress towards the Millenium Development Goals (July 2013) highlights some of these efforts, and the critical role of social accountability initiatives in improving service delivery and making policy and planning processes more inclusive.
In Chapter 2, Social Accountability in the context of urbanization, David Satterthwaite (IIED) and Sheela Patel (Chair of the SDI Board and Director of SPARC), explore the relevance of social accountability mechanisms for addressing challenges posed by the dramatic increase in urbanization. The chapter documents how urban residents and the organizations in which they engage have held government agencies to account for their policies, investment priorities and expenditures. It also reviews how such efforts have influenced what infrastructure and services urban residents receive, especially those related to the achievement of the MDGs. This includes their influence on how government decisions are made and implemented, how government funding is allocated and how diverging (and often conflicting) interests are reconciled in accordance with the rule of law.
The chapter highlights two key challenges for the urban poor in holding government agencies to account for their policies, investment priorities and expenditures. First, a large percentage of low-income urban dwellers are seen as ‘illegal’ by their local governments because their homes and communities are located on land that is often characterized by some element of illegality (occupied land, illegal land use, or buildings that violate regulations). As a result, local government bodies may not be permitted, and often do not feel obligated, to provide these communities with access to infrastructure and services. Second, many living in these informal settelements have no official documentation or lack the documentation necessary to access government, or even private, services – from health care to schooling to opening a bank account or voting. This chapter pays significant attention to these critical challenges, highlighting “the ways in which people living in informal settlements have sought to overcome the structural constraints on their ability to exercise their voice,” (39). In this section, the authors focus on SDI-affiliated grassroots organizations’ that have managed to develop positive relationships with their governments in order to form partnerships that allow the urban poor communities to co-produce infrastructure and service solutions, placing them in a position to hold their governments accountable.
In India, the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), Mahila Milan, and SPARC pursuit solutions to their memebers’ needs and challenges by showing local (and other) governments their capacity to partner on building and upgrading of housing; designing, building and managing community toilets; and supporting the formation of community-police partnerships – or police panchayats – that serve slum communities. Today, the Indian SDI Alliance has co-produced thousands of community toilets and housing units with the Indian government, and developed relationships that allow them to hold their governments responsible to the people they serve. Another example, from Naga City in the Philippines, shows how a small drainage project enabled the forging of a relationship between the local urban poor federation, the city government and the World Bank. And in Harare, Zimbabwe, the local urban poor federation, support NGO, and city government are in the final stages of negotiation around the creation of a citywide upgrading fund. This practical financial instrument is reflective of the patnership between the Zimbabwean SDI alliance and the city, creating shared political and financial responsibility for slum upgrading. This is yet another clear example of how a voice of the urban poor can negotiate changes that have the potential for citywide impact in a manner beneficial to the poor and more contextualized in “on the ground” circumstances.