Moloto Emily Mohohlo

Emily Mohohlo is originally from the North of South Africa but has been living in Bothaville in the Free State since 1987. She joined the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP) in 1999. FEDUP is a movement of urban and rural poor women who practice daily savings, data collection, pragmatic partnerships with the State, community-led housing development, land acquisition and informal settlement upgrading. She recounts that she initially doubted whether she could practice daily saving, due to her poor background. When hearing how saving enabled a member of the Federation to take her children to school she was interested: “This member told me that if I just save 50c per day it will slowly accumulate and make a difference. My life did change in the Federation we supported each other and together negotiated for basic services in our settlement.” After starting as a savings collector, Emily is now a national leader for FEDUP in her province. In 2015 she also joined the management committee of the global network of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), in which capacity she supports urban poor Federations in Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland. In terms of urban story-telling, Emily highlights the value of data collection for poor communities through settlement profiles and household-level enumerations: “When living in an informal settlement, most people only notice the conditions, but they don’t really know what it is like to live there. There is a lot happening, like poverty, drug abuse, health issues. Through profiling and enumerations we begin to understand the priorities of our community. This information helps us to plan for our settlement. It’s better for the community to plan because the municipality doesn’t know our priorities.”

- Moloto Emily Mohohlo

Role: Secretary of the SDI Board of Directors
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