Zakheleni, Zanempilo creche

INITIATION DATE: The project was approved on the 10th August 2011 and completed by the 11th  December 2011.

LOCATION: Zakheleni informal settlement is in V section of Umlazi township located in ward 88 of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

PROJECT IN BRIEF: The construction of a community-managed crèche and kitchen is a direct response from the enumeration data. The community aims to reduce the incidents of pedestrian injuries and create a safe space for small children. The community social facility also has economic potential and has become the primary collection and sorting site for organised groups of informal waste pickers.

IMPLEMENTING ORGANIZATIONS: The community worked closely with FEDUP to set up a Community Construction Management Team (CCMT) which would oversee the implementation of the project. A local saving scheme was established to oversee the collection of contributions to the project. The Durban offices of CORC and uTshani Fund provided technical support.

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BASIC FUNDING DETAILS: The total project budget for the Zanempilo crèche was R32,291, which includes building materials for the foundation, concrete slabs, wall plates, and the furnishing. Labour costs are also included in the budget, although some volunteers worked for free. After forming the uKukhanya Sav­ings Scheme, the community started saving towards the project, and has contributed R3,250 to the project. The balance of R29,041 was paid by CUFF.

CONTEXT: Zakheleni is the name given to a settlement of more than 550 families and in Zulu it means “build for yourself”. The community was established in the early 1990s and some of the older residents have lived in the settlement for more than 25 years. However, service delivery service continues to be substandard despite local government’s claims that Zakheleni is at the top of the upgrade schedule. This has been a rallying point of the community leadership, but has been met with resistance from local councillors and politicians.

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PROJECT IMPACT: The construction of the crèche and kitchen will have a significant impact on the community, and most particularly the youth of the community, with enumeration results revealing that “457 children under the age of 7 years need a crèche”. Further, this project has had several positive knock-on effects, including the following. Frist, the crèche caretaker, 49-year-old Ms. Fundi Phiri, has enrolled more than 120 children between the ages of 0 – 6. Secondly, there has been a small but nonetheless stimulating effect on the local employment rates since a total of five community members has beThe crèche has also become the primary collection and sorting site for a group of about 37 households who work together as informal waste pickers. Thirdly, it was envisaged that the construction of the crèche would lead to less children being injured in local road accident rates, as they would be otherwise occupied and not on the busy roads nearby. Lastly, the crèche also doubles up as a community meeting hall, which means that community meetings are no longer, postponed due to bad weather.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: After the project was approved on the 10th of August 2011, the community was informed of the need to establish a project steering committee and a Community Construction Management Team (CCMT), who would manage and monitor the project from beginning to end. It was announced that the teams would be trained by CORC and uTshani Fund’s Durban office, with joint support in project implementation from FEDUP. By the 15th of September 2011, the community had nominated residents they deemed adequately trustworthy and reliable to manage the projects and serve on the committees. The CCMT was established consisting of a bookkeeper, technical supervisor(s), a project manager, and a safety and security officer.  Emphasis was put on the fact that the process at hand would be instrumental in stimulating more widespread development outcomes, and on the importance of community-driven processes and initiatives.

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This CUFF funded project included the construction of a crèche and a kitchen. The crèche has a floor space of 40m2 (9m x 4.5m), and the kitchen adds another 9m2 (3m x 3m). The CUFF proposal included foundation, concrete slab, corrugated iron walls, and was furnished with bare necessities, such as a gas stove, steel tables and chairs.

As testament to the dedication and effective project management skills of the community, the project was successfully completed. An official opening of the crèche and kitchen was held on the 11th of December 2011. Due to the success of the project, a community report was requested, and an exchange recommended. It was acknowledged that the training of a local CCMT in such projects is essential to a project’s completion; and that exchange programmes must be encouraged to perpetuate such knowledge.

OBJECTIVES: After the enumeration identified the need for a crèche and a space to host a local feeding scheme, a project plan and proposal to CUFF was drafted. It outlined the steps towards achieving the objective. Firstly, the community had to make contact with a building supplier to get quotations for the work. This process also informed the community’s schedule for collection and distribution of supplies. Secondly, the community made contact with the ward 88 councillor to outline their plans and get her approval. After the project was completed, exchanges to and from the Zanempilo crèche were hosted by ISN to teach other Durban informal settlement communities (such as Quarry Road West, Dunbar Road, Ntuzuma G, Driezek Ext 3, and others) how to set up an effective CCMT, build strong community savings, and engage with government. Similarly, meetings with the Department of Social Development were organised to discuss the future upgrading and social services in Zakheleni.

CONSTRAINTS:  The relationship between the Ward 88 councillor and the residents of her ward, including those living in Zakheleni, became strained in July 2012 leading to protest action and violent clashes with the police. While this has cast something of a shadow over the community’s relationship with the City and the implementation of future projects in Zakheleni there have been some recent positive developments that suggest the City is keen to work in collaboration with the community in delivering the planned housing upgrade for the area.