Ebola Response from the Sierra Leone Alliance

Friday, 14 November 2014

By Samuel Sesay, CODOHSAPA

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the most severe outbreak of the disease in history and has now resulted in over 4,960 deaths and 13,268 cases as of November (WHO, Nov. 2014) across the 6 affected countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Spain, United States of America). In Sierra Leone, the second hardest hit country, there have been 4,862 cases and 1,130 deaths (WHO, Nov. 2014). The country of Sierra Leone declared a state of public health emergency on 30 July 2014 and plans to continue enforcing three-day lockdown from time to time as part of government effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

The outbreak is affecting development activities, humanitarian programmes, and the healthcare infrastructure throughout the country. It is also inhibiting local and international investments in Sierra Leone. There is a continued lack of trust in external and Government interventions aimed at reducing the transmission of Ebola. The Sierra Leone Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP S/L) and their support NGO, Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA), are vital to supporting the Government and other agencies to reduce and ultimately prevent the spread of this outbreak given their position and trust within slum communities across Freetown and other cities. FEDURP has suffered 2 fatalities in the city of Makeni where 2 FEDURP members died of the Ebola virus. One of the fatalities was the first collector from when the Federation process was introduced in Mankeni.

FEDURP Core Team preparing for Ebola sensitisation trainings

Given the continuing impact of Ebola on communities in Freetown and other cities, FEDURP and CODOHSAPA developed an emergency response project together with consultation from other development partners.

105 FEDURP and non-FEDURP community volunteers have been identified and trained, and together they form the Welfare Community Disaster Management Committee on Ebola (WCDMC). These volunteers teamed up with other community stakeholders to establish a community coordinating team (CCT) with the responsibility to enlist community support and cooperation in responding to Ebola.

Margaret Bayoh, a trained and qualified nurse and head of the FEDURP Welfare Committee demonstrates proper hand washing techniques in Makeni 

These volunteers and CODOHSAPA programme staff received training conducted by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Ebola response pillars (social mobilisation, community sensitisation, surveillance, case management, psychosocial support, and contact tracing) developed by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), now the National Ebola Response Committee (NERC). 

          

FEDURP and WCDMC volunteers accompanied by officials of the Ministry of Health showcasing the use of personal protective gears such as gloves, facial mask  

FEDURP S/L National Chairperson, Yirah O. Conteh, handing over sensitisation equipment to community volunteers to be use in Ebola education

We have customised (with FEDURP, CODOHSAPA, and SDI logos) and produced our own IEC materials from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. These IEC materials are currently being distributed in all areas of Freetown and Makeni as part of our sensitisation exercise in hand washing, avoiding body contact, and safe burial practices.  

Veronica hand washing buckets, chlorine, soap, and sanitizers have be provided and strategically placed in key places within target communities and managed by the volunteers.

From the initial target of 37 slum communities in Freetown to roll out this project, 16 slum communities have been reached. The remaining communities are either sealed off (hotspots of Ebola) or are packed with security personnel due to houses being quarantined. In these quarantined or sealed areas only health workers and food distribution team are allowed.

In Makeni, the Federation was hit the hardest when a few FEDURP members lost their lives and some were in quarantine. Currently, Makeni is still under lock down. Therefore, a one-day training session was done and distribution of hand washing materials was given to the communities.

A volunteer demonstrating hand washing during the training in Makeni

The volunteers or peer-educators of WCDMC meet weekly to update CODOHSAPA and the FEDURP core team on the community status and response to the Ebola outbreak in each community. In few new communities, the FEDURP core team has been able to establish new groups during the sensitization trainings. 

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Putting K2 and Green Park on the Map: Thoughts on Mapping and the Know Your City Campaign

Monday, 10 November 2014

By Julia Stricker, SDI Secretariat 

During a very successful learning exchange focused around settlement level data visualisation and mapping, community members from K2 and Green Park, two informal settlements in Cape Town, created digital maps of their neighbourhoods. 

Siyaunya puts his head over the GPS device and enters the code for water tap, WT 001. Next he records the geographic coordinates of the location: -34.0289, 18.6731. He and his team repeat this process for every water tap and toilet in K2, the informal settlement in Khayelitsha that Siyaunya calls home. Different codes are used for each type of facility and with regards to their functional status. A broken toilet, for example, gets an N added to its code. These codes together with the coordinates form the raw data for the maps. Apart from the team mapping the basic services there are two other teams on the go to map the settlement boundaries and other interesting features like shops, taverns, and restaurants. Each of the three teams consists of community members, Informal Settlement Network (ISN) and Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) members from across South Africa, and SDI federation members from India, Uganda and Ghana. The latter travelled to Cape Town to support the South African SDI Alliance in refining their digital mapping skills - skills that will help take SDI’s community mapping process to another level, making it easier and quicker, and increasing impact. 

Through a hands-on, learning-by-doing approach Siyaunya and his fellow community members, most holding a GPS device for the first time that day, used these devices with confidence by the end of the day. They also understand that the need to stand next to the service or feature you are mapping is about more than getting an accurate reading on the GPS device. It is about the process of gaining intimate knowledge and understanding of one’s settlement and being able to share this knowledge with authority.

A geographic profile of the settlement consisting of the boundaries and the basic services, at a minimum, is a crucial part of the standardised profile. It is not enough to know the number of toilets - one also has to know their spatial distribution. If all the toilets of a settlement are located on one corner, the numbers alone are a bad indicator for the reality a woman from the other end of the settlement experiences when going to the toilet at night. The spatial dimension adds value to the data and is highly relevant for planning upgrading projects. To put it in a nutshell: Numbers are good – but maps make the numbers come alive. In addition to that John Samuel, from NSDF/SPARC India and part of the data team at SDI, points out that maps are more intuitive to understand than plain numbers and respond better to the variable literacy level of slum dwellers.

There is no perfect map and there never will be one. Maps are by nature abstractions and only a limited inventory of the reality on the ground, a complement of both objectively observable phenomena, as well as the subjective relationships to these. Bearing this in mind they remain highly important as a means to communicate our location in the world and our view on the world. The data used to generate maps of informal settlements must therefore be gathered by the slum dwellers themselves. Maps generated from community-collected data naturally put the emphasis on issues that matter to the community. This in turn is critical for the successful planning and implementation of slum upgrading projects

When speaking about Know Your City, Sumaya, a young delegate from the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) puts it like this: "First you have to know what you have, then you can decide what you need, and only then you can tell somebody what you want. This is what Know(ing) Your City is all about." She was part of the team that profiled and mapped 62 settlements in the city of Kampala. The comprehensive report with the maps generated was handed over to the Kampala City Authority in September this year and is a good example how the data can be used to drive communities’ dialogues with government for slum upgrading and development at the city-wide scale (http://www.sdinet.org/blog/2014/09/18/reflections-kampala-learning-centre-kyc/). The profiling and mapping of settlements is a powerful tool for promoting active citizenship in communities of the urban poor.

SDI's focus for the coming years will be to routinize and consolidate the learning around city-wide profiling and mapping for the cities it works with. Concretely, the idea of going city-wide is to push the federations to think beyond their existing network so as to include the voices of other settlements in the city, meet new leaders and together create concrete alternative plans with which they can begin to talk to their cities. Community mobilisation and mobilising city-wide federations are then also among the first goals Celine D’Cruz, SDI co-ordinator anchoring and supporting the data collection process for the SDI network, mentions when she talks about the Know Your City process. It is about the creation of a momentum of inclusion and of identity making for the community of the urban poor. Furthermore, the data collected supports the development of alternative participatory plans for slum upgrading strategies based on prioritised needs; it offers federations and communities at large the ability to monitor their own settlements and, last but not least, grounded and consolidated data at the local level, once aggregated, opens up the space for advocacy at the national and global level.

The maps of K2 and Green Park were visualised the same weekend and brought back to the respective settlements. They are as different as the settlements themselves are. Spread out Green Park contrasts with dense K2. In the latter, all the toilets are located on one site, leading to a situation mentioned above, where a map paints a clearer picture of reality then just numbers.

The learning exchange made clear that settlement profiling and mapping is an essential tool to leverage upgrading, monitor settlements and for regional and global advocacy. The young leaders from K2 and Green Park definitely seemed eager to continue the work and make the realities and needs of the city’s urban poor majority visible through maps.

 

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Zimbabwe and South Africa Support Botswana Federation

Thursday, 06 November 2014

By Kwanele Sibanda, CORC, South Africa

INRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF BOTSWANA

The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is bordered by South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It is a mid-sized country of just over two million people. Environmentally, Botswana faces two major problems: drought and desertification. Despite its middle-income status, Botswana continues to grapple with significant social challenges including unequal distribution of wealth, high levels of poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS prevalence. On health issues, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS was estimated at 24% for adults in 2006. In the fight against the disease the government of Botswana solicited outside help in fighting HIV/AIDS and received early support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

BACKGROUND OF THE BOTSWANA FEDERATION AND THE SUPPORT NGO

The federation of Botswana was mobilized by the Zimbabwean federation and established in 2011 in Francistown and it has since expanded to Gaborone, Selibe, Maun and Phikwe. The NGO; Trust for Community Initiatives (TFCI) was registered on the 31st of May 2012 as a trust. There are currently 3 board members and two staff members working for the NGO.

HOW THE EXCHANGE CHANGE ABOUT

In June 2014 the federation of Botswana was selected by the Francistown City Council as a community based organization that has one of the best practices in fighting poverty. The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Peter L. Siele) therefore made a proposal of visiting the federation in Francistown on the 17th of October 2014. Since the Botswana federation is still at its early stages of development, it therefore requested the support of the Zimbabwean and the South African federations.  

EXCHANGE PROGRAMME

A four day schedule was set for the exchange and that was between the 16th and 19th of October 2014. The 16th and 19th were set as days of arrival and departure respectively. On the morning of the 17th, prior to the commencement of the meeting with the Honourable Minister, a brief planning session was held with the hosts to look into the program and also strategize on key objectives intended to be achieved from the exchange. During the planning session the Zimbabwean and South African delegates were encouraged to focus their presentation more on savings, partnerships and projects. The 17th was scheduled as following:

  • Presentation to the Minister by the Botswana local federation
  • Zimbabwean presentation that covered where and what the SDI alliance does and then a more focused presentation on the Zimbabwean federation.
  • South African presentation.
  • Response from the Minister
  • Site visits with the Minister
  • End of day one

On day two of the exchange, there were no government officials and the federations had the chance to engage around internal alliance issues of interest. The Botswana federation felt that they needed a lot of support around understanding what the Urban Poor Fund is all about.  The programme was set for a full day discussion around UPF and then ending with an evaluation of the exchange.  The day was therefore structured as indicated below:

  • Botswana federation members – individual expression of UPF understanding.
  • Formation of three groups (Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa). For group discussions Zimbabwe and South Africa were requested to write key points that relate to UPF in their respective countries. Botswana was on the other hand requested to list what they have so far been using as principles around UPF.
  • Presentation per country followed by questions and answers
  • Advise for Botswana on guidelines that they should agree upon as principles around UPF.
  • Exchange evaluation
  • Closure

DAY ONE OF EXCHANGE

Attendees:

Federation of Botswana – Francistown, Maun, Gaborone, Selibe and Phikwe

Trust for Community Initiatives (Botswana support NGO) – Goitsemang B. Maano and Mark 

Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation- Sekai Catherine Chiremba, Sazini Ndlovu, R. Ncube.

Dialogue on Shelter (Zimbabwe support NGO) - Beth Chitekwe and Givemore Nyamaponda

South African Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) - Maureen, Sophy and Sarah

CORC (South African support NGO) - Kwanele Sibanda 

Officials: Minister of Local Government and Rural Development – Peter L. Siele, Town Clerk – L. Israel, Office of the District Commissioner – Opelo, Head of Community Development – Mrs Phama, Deputy Mayor of Francistown – Mrs Phama 

The meeting was chaired by Dambe, a representative of the Botswana federation. A welcome note was made. While introductions were made individually for the officials, South African and Zimbabwean delegates; the Botswana federation was introduced according to saving schemes. The programme was announced as indicated above. 

KEY NOTES FROM THE BOTSWANA PRESENTATION TO THE MINISTER

  • Due to challenges they face on a daily basis, they established savings groups to support one another.
    • The federation started in April 2011 in Francistown and has since expanded to Selibe, Phikwe, Gaborone and Maun.
    • Key focus has been on mobilization since they have just started and savings as well.
    • The groups practice daily savings and they have a good recording system for accountability.
    • They hold weekly meeting were they share knowledge, account for savings, recruit new members, discuss projects, and show each other love and unity.
    • There are 42 saving schemes and the total number of active members is 1126 (1036 females and 90 males)
    • Their total daily savings to date is P257 807.91 and their Urban Poor Fund is P20 834.85.
    • Women are at the forefront of the process because they are the most affected by the day to day challenges.
    • As opposed to being beggars, they are resourceful members who have united to assist one another in using resources at their disposal.
    • The health component is one of their priorities.
    • They have conducted development projects such as installation of water taps, electricity and flush toilets.
    • They also have income generating projects such as poultry and catering.
    • Indicated that councillors and chiefs in their respective places of residence understand what they are doing and give them support were they can.
    • To scale up the work that they have started, they requested a formal working relationship with the government starting with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
    • They acknowledged support that they have been receiving from the Francistown City Council especially around transport to undertake their activities.    

KEY NOTES PRESENTED BY THE ZIMBABWEAN FEDERATION TO THE MINISTER   

  • SDI breakdown – 8 countries in the Southern African HUB
  • Active in 34 countries
  • Showed a lot of appreciation of the Minister’s act of coming closer to the people.
  • They have organized themselves, saved and conducted enumerations so that they engage their government with facts.
  • They approached their government, proved to them that they have good poverty alleviation tools, agreed on a partnership and established a City Fund in five cities.
  • Emphasized that it is crucial for the Minister to consider working closely with such organized groups who do not approach the government empty handed.
  • Spoke about the Urban Poor Fund and indicated how they had used it to undertake projects of their interest.
  • Went on to request the Minister to give a pledge that will support that will add onto and support the Urban Poor Fund of the Botswana federation.
  • Elaborated that they use their Urban Poor Fund in a sustainable way that enables many people to benefit and that is done by making it a revolving fund that is replaced once used.
  • Concluded by inviting the Minister to an SDI exchange which he shall be informed of in the near future.

KEY NOTES MADE BY THE FEDERATION OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE MINISTER

  • When we mobilize community members our main aim is to change the mind-set of the people from dependency to self-sustenance.
  • Savings and enumerations are a priority for us. When we engage with the officials we present information that reflects high level of commitment for a better life.
  • To enhance our work so as to support more communities, we create partnerships with government at different level for example we have an MOU with the Department of Human Settlement and with that; we have been able to build over 30 000 quality houses by ourselves for ourselves as poor people of South Africa. In working with the government we always emphasize that the Batho Pele (People First) principle must be applied. 
  • The processed that we undertake ensure that we empower each other.  
  • We work closely with our NGOs that act as finance administrators and also offer technical assistance in the various projects.
  • We believe and practise a continuous process of learning and sharing knowledge. Our presence as South African and Zimbabwean federation in Botswana is one of our ways of sharing knowledge as experience with the local federation and government officials.
  • The South African federation is in eight regions, has a membership of 26 490 members, R2 424 376.25 and R245 512.09.

RESPONSE FROM THE MINISTER     

  • The Minister described the Zimbabwean and the South African federation members as real neighbours that are concerned about the well-being of others.
  • He likes the concept of Batho Pele (People First) as described by South African federation and furthermore indicated that the government of Botswana also has a television and radio program that enhances the dissemination of community initiatives and government programs and it is called Batho Pele.
  • What the federation of Botswana is working on is actually fulfilling what the President of Botswana said about strategies of poverty eradication.
  • Communities should strive for partnerships in line with what they are doing.
    • The minister assisted the Botswana federation by outlining some of the programs that different government departments are offering in line with what the federation is doing.
    • He furthermore encouraged them to take advantage of funds such as those offered by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA). The Women’s Affairs Department is mandated to facilitate mainstreaming of Gender Issues in the development process. As a way of empowering women’s CBOs, the Government of Botswana allocates funds to the Women’s Affairs Department annually in order to assist the organisations.

 SITE VISITS WITH THE MINISTER

  • The Minister witnessed three projects that the federation members do: traditional attires and baskets, poultry and a cool drink making business. The minister and his team were taken around while the project leaders explained how the businesses are conducted.

DAY TWO OF EXCHANGE     18/10/2014

Attendees: Botswana, Zimbabwean and South African federations as well as their support NGOs

The focus on day two was that of discussion UPF related issues. The programme started off with Botswana federation members being given the opportunity to express their knowledge and how they have been dealing with UPF issues. Points made were noted as indicated below:

  • We are savings for land, to build houses as well as other projects.
  • We are contributing UPF so that we can give each other loans
  • We had an incident were some group members contributed towards UPF, but the treasure did not deposit the money.
  • It is difficult for me to distinguish between daily savings and UPF
  • We started the UPF contributions after an exchange to Gwanda in Zimbabwe; however after report back and starting not many members understood the concept. 

After the individual contributions it became apparent that there is need for continuous support around UPF.

Three groups were formed according to countries. For group discussions Zimbabwe and South Africa were requested to write key points that relate to UPF in their respective countries. Botswana was on the other hand requested to list what they have so far been using as principles around UPF.

UPF PRESENTATION BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN FEDERATION

 

  • Each member is required to make a contribution of R750 and it is contributed at a pace based on each member’s ability.
  • The contribution is regarded as a membership fee that gives the respective member the privileges offered by the alliance.
  • R5 contribution per month or R60 per year is required from each member as a way of sustaining their main fund.
  • We pre-finance some of our housing projects using our UPF
  • We give loans for income generating projects.
  • Our fund is managed by our local NGO (Utshani Fund); however our daily savings are kept in our respective saving scheme accounts.
  • For accountability purposes, recording books are used during collections at a saving scheme level and Utshani Fund is required to produce a bank statement on a monthly basis.
  • UPF has its own structure. (Saving scheme, regional and national representative).
  • We also use our UPF to attract other funds.

 

UPF PRESENTATION BY THE ZIMBABWEAN FEDERATION

    The Zimbabwean UPF is called Gungano

    Purpose:

  • Federating saving schemes in the country.
  • Demonstrates federation capacity and capabilities to the government, donors and other partners.
  • Leverage financial resources as well as other in kind contribution from Government and donors.
  • Give out loans for big projects to federation saving schemes.

    Contribution:

  • One dollar per month in perpetuity.

    Type of loans:

  • Land purchase
  • Infrastructure/water, sanitation, plumbing
  • Housing/building material/labour/drawing of plans
  • Business projects

    Terms and conditions

  • Loans are given to saving schemes and not individuals
  • Saving scheme should be in good standing
  • Currently the interest is at 12% p a
  • Time frame depends on type of loan (Business: 6 months; Housing infrastructure: 2 years)

The agreement made was that individuals can access loan from their respective saving schemes while the savings schemes access loans from Gungano.

UPF DISCUSSION FOR BOTSWANA TO CONSIDER

-       Beth from Dialogue on Shelter mentioned that what is being presented are ways in which the two named countries are using their UPF. She further emphasized that principles around Botswana UPF have to be tailor made for the needs of the Botswana UPF beneficiaries. She concluded by saying that “if you have your own resources and manage them well, it becomes easy to be assisted”.

-        As a way forward it was agreed that a final decision of principles around UPF cannot be taken in the particular meeting because consultation first has to be made from a savings scheme level; however an agreement was reached on what the respective saving schemes have to input towards a final national UPF policy.

-       Below are the guidelines:

  • Name to be given to the UPF
  • What is the purpose of the fund?
  • How much should be the monthly contribution per member towards the total amount?
  • How much should be the total amount?
  • How manages the fund?
  • How much should we have before giving out loans or making any other form of use of the fund?
  • How much interest should be charged in the event of a decision of giving out loans?
  • What recording system should be put in place?
  • How often should saving schemes have access to the bank statement? 

EVALUATION OF THE EXCHANGE

-       The evaluation of the exchange took two forms.

  1. Open platform for federation members to express their views.
  2. NGO group evaluation

-       Below are points made by the various federation members:

  • I am so grateful for the exchange has enlightened me on many federation issues especially the Urban Poor Fund.
  • We feel motivated by the presentations made by the federations that have been doing the work for many years and we are inspired to grow our federation the same way.
  • We are proud of what we are doing and for the fact that our Minister has come to us makes us even happier.
  • What we are doing is well recognised and that it why day one of our activity was broadcast on national radio.
  • As South African this is so important for us and that is why we say ‘Funduzufe’ (Learn until you die).
  • We as Zimbabweans see a bright future ahead of you and this is based on the cooperation we have noticed from your Minister, Chiefs and Local Municipality. It is now up to you to continue with the good work.

-       Below are various points made as an evaluation and support for the local NGO:

  •     Need to follow-up on processes for example the UPF task left with the communities.
  •     Consider setting up a website and update work done for more publicity.
  •     Identification of government programmes that are in line with federation activities and find means of taping into local resources.
  •     Establish community documentation teams to write stories about their activities.
  •     Follow up on issues put forward by the Minister. Write a letter thanking the Minister and also outlining what the federation requests are.

 

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South Africa Supports Swaziland to Engage Government around Upgrading Policy

Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Last week, a delegation from South Africa travelled to Swaziland to support communities in their work with government around a national upgrading policy currently under review. Read the full report below. 

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By Kwanele Sibanda, CORC, South Africa 

Background of Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is located in Southern Africa and is land locked (almost completely surrounded by South Africa) with the Republic of South Africa and Mozambique forming the boarders. The Swazi Nation Land, which is communal, is held in trust by the King and parts of it are allocated by Chiefs to individual Swazi families for their use. Swaziland has four administrative regions which are further divided into 55 Tinkhundla Centres (Local Administration) these form the basic unit of political administration. Political parties were banned from the constitution promulgated on 13 October 1978.

Swaziland is one of Africa’s smallest countries yet has an estimated 2014 population of 1.27million which ranks 155th in the world. The country faces several health issues including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. It has a life expectance of just 31.88years, the lowest documented life expectancy in the world and less than half the world average.

34% of the nation stands unemployed. 70% live on less than a dollar per day. 35% of adults suffer from HIV. 

Background of local federation

The federation of Swaziland is known as SLIPO (Swaziland Low Income People’s Organization). No local support NGO has been established as yet. The federation activities are currently being anchored by John Dlamini who has supported the federation from its revival in 2011. In 2008 an exchange was held to Zambia and it was attended by municipal officials and zone leaders. Upon their return, they established the federation with a lot of support from the municipality. An MOU was submitted to the national government in 2012; however no formal feedback was given back to the federation.  Out of Swaziland’s total of four regions, the federation is in two regions namely: Manzini and Hhohho. The other two regions that have not yet been mobilized are Lubombo and Shiselweni. SLIPO’s membership is currently at 429 and they have R498 333.00 in savings. The federation is currently in the process of building a federation office that is being funded by SDI.   

Purpose of exchange

In 2008, residents of Mbabane were informed that the government is working on a policy around upgrading; however it is asserted that no further consultation was held with the respective communities. Without much knowledge about the implications of the policy; the communities remained relaxed. As SLIPO intensified its engagements with the state in 2014, it came to light that the policy had reached an advanced stage and if it is not attended; its implementation may come with more harm than good for the poor communities. To start off the process, the policy shall be implemented with an intention of upgrading 9 areas around Mbabane and that will affect Ward 1, 2, 3, part of 7, 11 and 12. Each Ward is divided into Zones. The Land Allocations Policy and Procedure went through council and passed. It was recommended that it be forwarded to the Minister and it is currently with him for approval before it is forwarded to cabinet. The first and direct negative implication of the policy especially to the poor is that; he who cannot afford a site estimated at R42 000 shall be required to seek a new place of residence (in a form that can be described as eviction). According to the state, the aim of selling the sites is that of raising funds for service installation. As SLIPO grows to another stage within the SDI alliance; it encountered a challenge that requested support; hence the request for the South African alliance to go and support. Delegated to support the federation of Swaziland from South Africa was Patrick Matsemela, Nomvula Mahlanga, Thandeka Tshabalala and Kwanele Sibanda.

Exchange preparatory meeting

Date:  30/10/2014

Day one of the exchange started off with a preparatory meeting. The preparatory meeting was between the South African delegates and 6 SLIPO saving scheme leaders. 

Introductions were made in the following manner: name of member, saving scheme, component, total saving scheme amount and UPF.

The preparatory meeting had 3 main objectives:

  1. Introducing some of the South African delegates to the Swaziland federation members and briefing on the federation’s background and current status that prompted the need for an exchange.
  2. Outlining the programme for the entire period of stay.
  3. To discuss key issues that had to be focused on in the meeting with the Mayor and the Councillors.

Meeting

  1. Introductions were made and John Dlamini from SLIPO shared the background of the federation as indicated under ‘Background of local federation’.
  2. The programme of the exchange was outlined as indicated below:
  • 30/10/2014 – 10:00: Preparatory meeting (S.A and Swaziland federations)
  • 30/10/2014 – 16:00: Meeting with the Mayor of Mbabane and the Councillors.
  • 31/10/2014 – 08:00: Meeting with Zone leaders
  • 01/11/2014 – 10:00: Meeting Federation leaders + site visit to the office under construction.

       3.  In preparation for the meeting with the Mayor, the points below were highlighted:

  • The meeting with the Mayor and the Councillors was requested by SLIPO.
  • The meeting with the Mayor came about in the following way:
  • It was prompted by the advanced stage of the Land allocation policy and procedure that is currently a draft; in the swing of being implemented and above all, putting all informal settlers and low income earners at risk of being evicted from their current places of residents.
  • The SASDI delegates were requested to focus their presentation on how they partnered with their government and what they have achieved.
  • Shared background information on the draft policy and its inevitable implications.
  • The team was advised that councillors to be met are from both the formal and informal wards. It was also added that SLIPO does not focus on informal wards only, but also mobilizes and organises members in the formal wards because there is a great percentage that is struggling to pay rates and taxes and run at a risk of having their properties seized.
  • SLIPO would like to mobilize, organize communities, use SDI tools and be able to influence policies and the manner in which they are drafted.
  • SA delegates were advised to expect challenges from some councillors because in the coordination for the meeting, some councillors were already arguing how South Africans can assist Swaziland and yet they are burdened by their own informal settlements.
  • Request to emphasize the non-political aspect of the organization
  • Our challenge is that within the Municipality, there is no proper handover of information as a result the change in officials imply starting engagements all over again.
  • It was also indicated that even Mayors and Councillors of places that have not yet been mobilized were invited so that they start getting an understanding of the SDI’s approach to development.

Meeting with the Mayors and the councillors

Attendees:

  • Benito George Jones – Mayor of Mbabane
  • Khetho Dlamini – Mayor of Manzini
  • Makhosazana Shongwe – Representing Mayor of Ngwenya
  • Sipho Shongwe – Mayor of Piggs Peak
  • Four councillors, seven SLIPO representatives and four SASDI alliance delegates.
  • The meeting was chaired by John Dlamini
  • After introductions the purpose of the meeting was outlined as that of making a formal presentation to the Mayors and Councillors about the SDI Alliance with more focus on SLIPO
  • SLIPO’s presentation covered its background, aims and objectives, member, savings UPF, loans, projects as well as areas covered.
  • The above was followed by the SASDI alliance’s presentation that gave an overview of SDI, tools used, S.A partnerships with the state and other formal institutions as well as achievements. The various representatives explained how working closely with saving and organized communities results in meaningful development.

RESPONSE FROM THE MAYOR OF MBABANE

  • The Mayor started off by indicating that he is impressed with the presentation made and the approach being taken.
  • He went on to enlighten the delegates about the differences that are there between S.A and Swaziland.
  • While South Africa has three spheres of government (national, provincial and local), Swaziland only has national and local. In addition to the above, the local municipalities rely on rates and taxes payment as funds for development; hence the need to sell plots and install infrastructure.
  • The municipalities have a serious budget constraint because they do not get a budget allocation from national for service installation and maintenance. Funds received from national are for subsidizing service provision that is made to areas that do not pay rates and taxes. An example was given of a community that has street lights and waste removal, but does not pay rates and taxes.   
  • The Mayor furthermore emphasized that if there are such communities that are taking a stand in development; the state and SLIPO have to jointly have a model that clearly states how the process is going to be undertaken.
  • Inputs made by Mayors and councillors from other areas showed that they have interest as well as a lot of knowledge about SLIPO. Some councillors even mentioned names of saving schemes within their areas that were not present in the meeting.
  • Lastly, it was indicated that for SLIPO to be recognized as a national structure, it has to cover all the four regions of Swaziland.
  • In response to the question about the MOU submitted, it was indicated that the MOU was directed to national and not the local municipality. It was recommended that a formal working relationship starts off at a local level and the work done will be able to influence the national level.

WAY FORWARD

  • SLIPO has the task of mobilizing, organizing and motivating communities to save in the remaining two regions.
  • SLIPO has to draft and present to the Mayor a model that can be used in the purchase of plots as well as infrastructure development.
  • Need to draft an MOU directed to the local municipality of Mbabane.

 

DAY TWO: MEETING WITH ZONE LEADERS

DATE: 31 OCTOBER 2014

VENUE: THOKOZA ANGLICAN CONFERENCE CENTRE

On day two of the exchange, a meeting was held between SLIPO saving scheme leaders, Zone leaders and the SASDI delegates. Zone leaders are equivalent to community leaders in the South African context. The aim of meeting them was that of: sharing the SDI concept with them, reporting on what SLIPO has been doing in form of saving schemes, share report back from meeting with the Mayors and Councillors and also requesting their support in establishing more saving schemes in their respective Zones.

The zone leaders were informed about the upgrading policy and also reminded that it is everyone’s challenge therefore a joint effort is required in finding a better solution. The estimated cost of each plot is around R42 000 and that will require at least a R600 contribution per member per month for at least five years. It was mentioned that the majority of residents are unemployed and for those that are employed they hardly earn R3 000 per month.

The zone leaders gave a positive response and some even shared history of the government’s targeted areas. One of the zone leaders indicated that one of the targeted areas is an area where his parents were born. ‘My father is 86 years old now. He is unemployed and does not receive any pension. How is he supposed to raise the required money?’ The leaders basically denounced the displacement of residents in the name of development and furthermore pledged to support SLIPO in mobilizing communities and engaging the government in a workable solution to the challenge.

The Zone leaders requested SLIPO to visit their Zones so that presentations can be done to each entire structure.

 

DAY THREE: MEETING WITH SAVING SCHEME LEADERS

DATE: 01 November 2014

On the third day of the exchange, a meeting was held with saving scheme leaders. The purpose of the meeting was to give a report back of the engagements that had taken place on the 31st and the 1st of November, share savings reports, discuss mobilization and establishment of more saving schemes.

All presentations were made and various proposals were made for taking the process forward. Below is what was proposed:

  1. Establish a team to focus on mobilization. Draft a program that will include meeting the Zone leaders as well as extending to the remaining two regions.
  2. Write a letter to the Mayor thanking him and the other officials for hosting SDI and also make a request of starting monthly joint meetings to share what SLIPO is doing, request relevant officials to participate in the various SLIPO activities, request for support and to keep constant communication around activities.
  3. The SLIPO saving scheme leaders have the task of going back to their respective saving schemes to discuss and agree on a reasonable affordable amount that saving scheme members can contribute on a monthly basis towards the purchase of plots.
  4. The Mbabane Mayor’s comment about financial strain at a Municipal level was noted; however it was proposed that while SLIPO members save and make contributions towards their development, SLIPO should stay determined to tap into useful resources at the disposal of local municipalities. The leaders have a task of drafting an MOU directed to the Municipality of Mbabane as recommended.
  5. The leaders must start off by choosing one settlement that they will use as a learning centre and work on a project with the municipality.
  6. It was recommended that the upcoming three enumerations scheduled for January 2015 should be of settlements that have active saving schemes and also fall under the areas that will be affected by the new policy. The policy has defined places were the implementation will start.
  7. SLIPO must choose a documentation team to compile stories about projects, exchanges, engagements and personal stories from members.
  8. The leaders should make a follow up on the proposed exchange to South Africa with official that have influence on the policy being drafted.
  9. FEDUP should assist in the establishment of networks.

 

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Innovative Communal Sanitation Models for the Urban Poor: Lessons from Uganda

Monday, 27 October 2014

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

 

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