Type of project: Informal settlment upgrade
Location: Govan Mbeki Municipality
Dates: September 2015 - February 2016
Client: National Department of Human Settlements, Urban Dynamics
Collaborators: -
Keywords: Participatory planning and design, Sustainable livelihoods
Status: Completed
Project Summary

The NUSP (http://www.upgradingsupport.org/) is a programme from the South African National Department of Human Settlements which has been designed to create capacity for the implementation of informal settlement upgrading. U4E has been appointed by Urban Dynamics to undertake the community participatory processes for the second phase of the programme for Govan Mbeki Local Municipality.

Our work started in Semptember 2015 and it included a household count and 10% socio-economic survey of the seven settlements targeted for the programme, the design of a Sustainable Livelihoods Programme for each settlement and a Community Capacity Building Programme for Govan Mbeki Local Municipality (GMM) as a whole.
Household count and socioeconomic surveys

The first step of the process was the Household Count and Socio-economic Surveys, which was also a starting point for discussions with residents, settlement represenatives and city officials. U4E employed and capacitated residents from the targeted settlements to undetake the household count. Three community experts (Dumisani Mathebula, Albert Masibigiri and Peter Rametse), who are or were residents and leaders of informal settlements that have undergone similar processes, capacitated and managed the surveyors and facilitated the engagement with the residents.
A number was sprayed on each structure in the settlement. In the case of stands with more than one household living in them, a number was sprayed on the main household (often the'landlord') and letters were given to each of the sub-units (often the tenants).
A short survey was done to each of the households in the settlements. This survey included basic information about the household, level of access to basic services, and the year they moved into the settlement. This information provided a clear picture of the number of residents, the level of permanency of the settlement, as well as the percentage of tenants, immigrants, single male households, etc. The socio-economic survey was a 10% random sample of the households in the settlement. It included more specific questions about access to community services (e.g. clinics, schools), household income and access to grants, residents´ skills and businesses, access to transport and security of tenure.  
The information from both surveys was included in a report which provided a clear understanding of the nature and dynamics of every settlement. This report was a starting point for the Sustainable Livelihoods Programme.

Sustainable Livelihood Programme

The Sustainable Livelihoods Programme is based on the Sustainable Livelihood Framework, a framework that was originally established by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) to better understand the concept of ‘livelihoods’ and how to achieve this sustainabilty for those considered to be poor. 
Source Department for International Development (DFID)
The aim of the programme is to ensure that upgrading of informal settlements occurs in a way that is ‘people-centred, responsive and sustainable’. Therefore upgrading interventions that are selected for each settlement must take into account a range of factors that determine its overall sustainability. These factors are known as ‘livelihoods assets’. The aim of the framework is to assist project implementers understand what key elements (livelihood assets) are required to assist residents of informal settlements to move beyond the survivor struggle and out of the poverty trap. 
The Sustainable Livelihood Programme for Govan Mbeki Municipality was undertaken in a fully participatory manner. A professional community development facilitator (Thandeka Msebenzi) joined the team to facilitate the workshops together with one of the community experts. The process included three steps that built up to the identification of projects including social structures needed for them to function properly. This information was included in a report that was later workshopped again with the residents.
A large variety of projects was identified in this process ranging from a Community Monitoring System for Service Delivery to a self-sustainable community crèche.

Community Capacity Building Programme

Contrary to what the name seems to suggest, the Community Capacity Building Programme (CCBP) is not a direct capacitation of communities but a programme that sets out a strategy for the municipalities to strengthen the voice of informal settlement communities and improve communication with the municipality. The CCBP for GMM was drawn from the work conducted during the first and second phase of the NUSP in that municipality.

The CCBP identified different projects that could be group in two main areas of intervention: institutional and at informal settlement level. Projects focused on strengthening or creating leadership structures at a settlement level, improving communications between city departments and informal settlement communities, improving the operational capacity of the municipality in informal settlements by delegating tasks to residents, improving cross-departamental communications, establishing platforms with land owners to unlock developmental blockages and improving service delivery through a communication strategy based on the use of innovative telecommunications and IT technologies.
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