Category

OUR WORK

Practices of women’s saving and lending groups: Bath University students exchange to Cape Town, South Africa

By CORC, FEDUP, Learning Exchanges, News, Resources No Comments

Nabaa Zaynah, Sophie Moody, Kate Hunt, Hien Le (Bath University Students)

On the 5th of September, SA SDI Alliance facilitated an exchange between International Development with Economics students from the University of Bath and three Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) savings groups. The exchange took place with three different Federation savings groups based in Philippi and Samora Townships – Cape Town – Siyazakha savings group, Hlala uphila, and Thubalethu loan group. The focus of the day was to learn about the micro financing schemes of the Federation of the Urban Poor and understand how the women of Philippi and Samora township are working in small groups to encourage saving and provide access to credit.

Bath University students with Federation of the Urban Poor savers in Phillipi, Cape Town.

Savings groups in Cape Town

The first group visited was Siyazakha savings group based in Siyahlala, Philippi. The second savings group was Hlala uphila based in Philippi a few streets away from Siyazakha savings group. The third and final group visited is Thubalethu loan group in Samora. The former saving group is part of the Federation Income Generation Programme, which assist members to start small businesses, and enabling the movement to generate its own income through landing small amounts of money to FEDUP members to start businesses. 

Siyazakha savings group and Hlala uphila saving group have been around since 2007 and 2009 respectively, and Thubalethu loan group was established in 2014. On average, each of the group’s members ranged between 30 to 40 people, largely all women, ranging in age, both young and old, and included housewives as well as working women who had their own small businesses. Some of the more experienced members of the group take positions of chairpersons or collectors, conducting the group meetings, assisting others and facilitating intake into the groups, as well as liaising with official bodies such as the municipality. 

Federation leaders explaining the origin of their saving scheme and early challenges.

The practices of the Cape Town women’s saving group

The support from FEDUP provides urban and rural poor women with an effective way to keep track of money in terms of both saving and lending. The roles of the different members of the group are also crucial in ensuring the smooth transition process of money, for example the collectors in the group gather the monies due each meeting and ensure its safe arrival in a bank deposit fund.

The savings group began with the organisation teaching one member the numeric skills needed to fill out a saving record book, which lead to that individual teaching others and so on. This depicts the snowball effect FEDUP triggers as its practice result into the doubling and tripling of members in the saving groups, without the need of many resources or support. It shows how if given the chance people can take control and empower themselves.

The FEDUP saving programme demonstrates that it is possible for people to take control in changing their lives. Control, which is difficult to find in a context where one can quickly become unhopeful due to a unresponsive government that has given such women empty promises and little support in these times of hardship. The savings group are built on community trust and unity; also used as a tool by the community to mobilise around the issues affecting the community. One of the savings group, Siyazakha mobilised around formal toilets in Siyahlala informal settlement and electricity. Through engagement and planning the community received formal toilets and electricity. 

Thubalethu savings group members collecting their monthly savings.

Saving groups as a tool for women empowerment

Savings group financially empower women since most households rely on limited income. In most times this income does not cover all house expenses. The formation of savings group has given the women some financial freedom, they are able to contribute to the income of their household and that has balanced out the dynamics at home. The savings gave the women a sense of hope, and encouragement to continue saving as they could see the impact the saving made in their lives.  

Savers of Phillipi emphasis the social benefits or the able to build social capital through saving groups. Since groups meet weekly this gives them an opportunity to be open and honest to each other in discussing issues. Some of the shared information revolved around personal matters such as domestic violence, mental health and other daily concerns, however the women also described how discussing larger matters such as an unreliable electricity supply could drive improvements.

As a group they felt more empowered to make a stand and take action collectively against problems, whereas for an individual it is easy to feel that your problems are only relevant to you and no-one else and therefore the progress of change is likely to be slower without these kind of interactions. Moreover, the opportunity to meet up with other women who are likely to be facing similar challenges is within itself an empowering concept, and generates a space for open discussions which in a busy restrictive society can be difficult to create.

The relationships between members are consequently genuine as a result of the discussions which take place at the weekly meetings. This helps create the trusting relationships between the women of the group which is vital in scenarios like this one which involve peer to peer financial matters such as lending. Interactions between group members help them gain trust among each other which allows them to become more understanding in the way the group lends money.

The “gooi gooi” system, for example is used to support those in the group who need immediate financial assistance. This system describes the way in which each month all group members will pay into a communal pot that is then distributed in full to one member, with each person taking turns in receiving this lump sum. If  one member is in difficulty and struggling to pay back a loan they would dedicate the next month’s “gooi gooi” money to that member. This demonstrates the sense of community and humanity that is evident across the scheme.

Through saving Nontombi (depicted in the picture) has managed to grow her clothes selling business.

Conclusion 

What struck us across all the groups we met with was how passionate and resourceful these women were and we found their stories truly inspiring. We have gained so much admiration for these women who have achieved incredible things despite facing the harsh reality of post-apartheid South Africa. The day forced us to reflect on our personal goals and aspirations in life, to focus on what truly matters. It doesn’t quite feel right simply buying a tea towel sold by these women and saying goodbye as I feel so strongly now that I want to help more. We really hope that one day we will be in a better position to do this not just for the women we met, but for all those in similar positions across Cape Town, South Africa, Africa and the world.

We walked away from three homes feeling inspired, fulfilled, enriched, and hopeful. We learnt so much about how human values can make a major difference in someone’s life. These women have definitely improved their life, not through monetary value, but through a system of love, humanity and compassion. We also found their system of saving scheme interesting to contrast with the United Kingdom’s banking system as overall the understandings of financial services on an individual’s family and private matters is overlooked dramatically unless you are wealthy enough to have a private banking account.

Therefore, we think the United Kingdom and other developed countries could learn a great deal from these schemes in order to deliver a more understanding financial system which takes into account personal circumstances and utilises the community’s knowledge of one another.

PRESS STATEMENT: Signing of a MoA with eThekwini Municipality

By News, Partnerships, Press No Comments

MEDIA RELEASE

4 September 2018

The South African Slum/Shack Dwellers International Alliance (SA SDI Alliance) enters into an agreement with Ethekwini Municipality

The SA SDI Aliiance (an alliance of 2 social movements and 2 support NGOs, namely the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and uTshani Fund), is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Durban metro going back over 20 years.  But this Memorandum of Agreement represents a major step upwards for this partnership giving it the basis for significantly scaling our work and improving the lives of tens of thousands of poor households.

We will endeavor to deliver on our side of the agreement across the city. However we must place it on record that we do not have a presence in all informal settlements in Ethekwini Metro. In many of these settlements we will have to work with other Community Based Organisations and networks. We welcome this – besides our international experience tells us that in order to upgrade settlements and build inclusive cities you need inclusive partnerships.

As the UN asserted in relation to the SDGs – we must leave no one behind. Not one single person. Not one family. Not one settlement and not one Organisation.

Issued by SA SDI Alliance
Kwanda Lande
Website: https://sasdialliance.org.za/
Email: research@corc.co.za
Facebook: South African SDI Alliance || Twitter: @SASDIAlliance

Everything Fell into Place: Generations of Saving and Community Participation in Ruo Emoh

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, News, Savings No Comments

The following narrative is part of a broader and in-depth documentation of the Ruo Emoh project. This documentation includes a video and booklet and is the result of collaborative efforts between the SA SDI Alliance, People’s Environmental Planning, UCT & University of Basel Master students (part of the City Research Studios hosted by African Centre for Cities), and the community of Ruo Emoh. A more detailed description of the Ruo Emoh project can be found here.

Interviewee: Ismaaeel & Mymoena Jacobs
Interviewers and Text: Kaylin Harrison, Lea Nienhoff, Israel Ogundare

The Jacobs (Kaylin, Lea, Israel)

Recently married Mymoena and Ismaaeel Jacobs are expecting their first child -a baby girl- together this year. Having a home in Ruo Emoh came at the most significant time for the Jacobs Family. For Mymoena, it is simply a case of “everything fell in place”. For Ismaaeel, as the first son to get married, he felt he needed this space.  A place of his own and it happened despite all the uncertainty and ups-and-downs of the Ruo Emoh project. The place became available to the growing Jacobs family tree.

“Never mind how small the place is, we got our own space, it’s a home, we can make a home out of this, so, that for me is more important than living in a mansion, or like not appreciating what we have here.” – Ismaaeel

The Jacobs know the burden and expense of renting on someone else’s property since they previously rented in Rylands. They also know what it means to share a house with many family members. In Ruo Emoh, they have a space of their own and Mymoena says, “It’s a nice stepping stone for any new couple.” 
Mymoena was born in Johannesburg and lived there for most of her life. Ismaaeel is from Cape Town and grew up in Lentegeur, where his family still resides. The place is what the Jacobs have constructed and made home for themselves. With Ismaaeel’s expertise lying 
in renovation, tiling and general construction, he took the structure and renovated it into a beautiful home. The beneficiary
 of the house in Ruo Emoh is Ismaaeel’s mother, Jasmine Jacobs. This home plays a significant role in not only the Jacobs currently residing there, but also for any other Jacobs family members. The house may be a home to future generations to come. This is the story of the struggle and the steps taken to finally get the house, in the words of Ismaaeel Jacobs.

It Was Almost Like a Movie

“It is 20 years ago, when the project started, and my mother was there right from the beginning. She was on the board for housing. I was a little boy, when all of this started. Every rand they had put together made a difference at the time. They were raising money with little food fairs. My mother was preparing cakes and boerewors rolls to sell. Later, I became the running guy for her; whenever they were meeting and other things, I would go. Sometimes, I was working, but then you hear at 3 o’clock is a meeting and you have to be there, we had no choice, we just had to move. When I came 
back home from the meetings I told my mother what was happening, what the next steps are, and I also picked up who is trying to run the show. We had so many challenges and everyone of us had their ticks. But nothing major. I remember when I went to the first meeting for my mother. Some of the other members were from around the area and I had known them by face, but not on a personal level. But after going to the meetings more and more, I was befriending people. Obviously, we were going to live together soon. At the time we were hoping to be neighbours soon, but eventually it just went on for a little while. In the recent years there were no fundraisers or these things any more, but when we met we were discussing how things progressed and how we could secure our property, since it was already our land. The challenge was to handle with the delays. Sometimes we needed to put in large sums of money and the committee would promise certain things on certain days, but it just wouldn’t be possible. The issues would linger for a few days, but the committee would sort them out in the end. I respect them a lot for that.”

We Stood Security Ourselves

“We had to put up a fence around the land. But it didn’t take long until parts of the fence were stolen. We had to take it off again. I played a part in that as well. We came in on a Saturday and we just took it off. At some point it was just the two of us, myself and Archie. Then the infrastructure came in and we knew we have to start to stand security ourselves. We came after work, on the weekends, 
to stand security at our grounds – day and night. I think this was when people got a more positive mind-set towards the project again. In the beginning this was an issue, but over time we had the feeling of ‘this is our ground’, we claimed it. If we want to stand security we will stand security because we own this now. Once people heard, once they got the go-ahead that things are happening now, things are going to happen, people had enough of the empty promises. Once things started… I can tell you people were really positive towards everything.”

The hope and aspiration that comes with owning a house, especially after
 a long period of waiting is unmatched. This house has a great significance for Ismaaeel’s whole family. Ismaaeel expresses how he and his brother looked forward to having the house. To both of them it was an aspiration and now it has become a reality, and at the same time a financial security.

Looking towards the future, Ismaaeel hopes to build up the security for the community and can imagine a complex typology. Mymoena has a plan in mind that when the baby arrives and things have settled, she will try to petition for better measures to reduce speed on the roads, for example getting a speed boundary.

When asked about lessons learned in the process the Jacobs responded, “I think to stand more together as a community. Don’t, because you are disappointed by one person, not help the community. That whatever challenges you get, let’s face it together. Don’t leave it to one.”

Improving service delivery through partnerships: Lessons from Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

By Academic, Archive, News, Partnerships, Publications, Resources No Comments

By Kwanda Lande (on behalf of CORC)

Partnerships as an approach to service delivery have gained trust in many quarters and are widely acknowledged as a viable solution to a number of service delivery challenges. In implementation, however, partnerships are complex and often associated with vicissitudes characterised by varying victories and challenges. How do these victories and challenges look like, and what can we learn from them? The purpose of this blog is to assess the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro partnership with SA SDI Alliance as an approach to improving service delivery, highlighting different victories, challenges and what can be learned from them.

Some of the SA SDI Alliance team members that were involved in partnership negotiations with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Some of the SA SDI Alliance team members that were involved in partnership negotiations with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Background to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro partnership with the SA SDI Alliance

Since the formation of the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) in 2008, forging partnerships with local governments for incremental upgrading of informal settlement has been a priority for SA SDI Alliance. Nelson Mandela Bay Metro was one of the first municipalities that were considered, especially, because of the strength of FEDUP in housing developments (e.g. Joe Slovo ePHP project), and the extent of deprivation in the province. Former CORC Director, Bunita Kohler, reflects: 

At first, it was difficult to find a break through and establish a structured way of working together. As a result, the Alliance decided to focus on building its relationship with the municipality through learning exchanges. Senior officials of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro were invited to join the Alliance on various learning exchanges to places such as Thailand, Stellenbosch and Cape Town. 

One of the first engagements was with the Department of Human Settlements’ Ministerial Sanitation Task Team (MSTT) in 2011. Communities such as Missionvale, Seaview, Midrand, Kleinskool, and Zweledinga, that had already enumerated their settlements, presented their settlements’ data to the MSTT. They highlighted sanitation and water services as one of the pressing priorities for many settlements. Following these engagements, the SA SDI Alliance demonstrated community led development by constructing a water and sanitation facility in Midrand informal settlement. 

In 2016 FEDUP and ISN profiled settlements in Port Elizabeth, as part of an engagement with Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Municipality, enabling the municipality to receive comprehensive data about the status of informal settlements in Port Elizabeth. As informal settlement residents conducted the profiling activity, they came across informal settlements that the municipality was unaware of. This demonstrated that data collected by informal settlement residents has the capacity to be more comprehensive and accurate than outsourced approaches to data collection on informal settlements. Consequently, some of the communities profiled used their data to engage government. 

 Together with previous exchanges and engagements, data collection and projects all culminated into a signed Memorandum of Agreement in 2016.

Midrand WaSH Facility in Midrad informal settlement, one of the projects that the were constructed by the community.

Midrand WaSH Facility in Midrad informal settlement, one of the projects that the were constructed by the community.

The Memorandum of Agreement

In 2016, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between the SA SDI Alliance and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. This agreement offered an opportunity for the municipality and Port Elizabeth’s profiled informal settlements (supported by the SA SDI Alliance), to achieve service delivery objectives. Experience and expertise in data collection, exchanges and community led projects made the Alliance a strategic partner to promote shared values of improving access to services, transparency, community participation, and trust between the municipality and informal settlement communities.

As part of the MoA, a number of deliverables in a period of three years were identified. This includes profiling of all informal settlements in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, enumeration of 14 informal settlements (at least two in each municipal cluster), plan and/or implement small-scale projects in at least 14 informal settlements. To achieve this work, the SA SDI Alliance committed to contribute three million Rand over a period of three years (one million per annum). Nelson Mandela Bay Metro committed to contribute six million Rand over the same period of three years (two million per annum).

Whereas the financial commitments have been clearly determined in the MoA, specificities of how this ought to happen, in terms of delivering services were not clarified. This lack of bindingness leads to uncertainty on how the municipality will use the agreed six million Rand and hampers access to the resources. Accordingly, communities have been struggling to access the funds committed by the metro for incremental upgrading projects. One of the strategies to overcome this challenge has been to present community collected data to municipal officials. This approach aimed to highlight the communities’ priorities and thus, present possible upgrading projects requiring financial commitment from the metro.

The presentations are, however, limited to the Department of Human Settlements because of difficulties to access other departments. This has made it hard for informal settlement residents to get other departments to contribute to the fulfilment of the signed Memorandum of Agreement. It is only the Department of Human Settlements that has taken up the task of ensuring that the agreed objectives are achieved, but informal settlements issues identified require collaboration with other departments as well. This climate of fragmentation has unfortunately successfully frustrated the efforts of service provision and it is a clearly missed opportunity to improve living conditions of poor people.

Service Delivery, and Minimum Norms and Standards in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

 Service delivery in the informal settlements of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is in a miserable state. Since 2009/10 when the SA SDI Alliance conducted informal settlement profiling in the Metro, 40 settlements were profiled. These communities have identified water and drainage, and sanitation and sewage as one of the major issues and consequently, priorities were set around these issues.

Profiling of informal settlements taking place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Profiling of informal settlements taking place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

In a number of informal settlements, residents do not have any access to water, forcing them to purchase water from groups of people that collect water elsewhere. In a case where households do not have money to purchase water, it becomes very difficult. A further issue is the functionality of existing water taps. Although in some communities, there exists at least one water tap within a 200-meter radius, some of those water taps are not working. In cases where water taps are working, there are interruptions that occur on a regular basis. As a result, people end up not accessing 25 liters of water per day, within a 200-meter radius as prescribed in the Strategic Framework for Water Services 2003.

The Strategic Framework for Water Services of 2003, a comprehensive approach in the provision of water services in South Africa, sets out compulsory minimum technical norms and standards for the provision of water. These include that, in the case of communal water points, 25 litres of potable water per person per day must be supplied within 200 metres radius of a household and with a minimum flow of 10 litres per minute. These specific standards are reflected and considered as compulsory minimum norms standards for water by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro’s Integrated Development Plan (2016/17 – 2020/21).

Priorities set by informal settlements residents clearly demonstrate a missed opportunity within the municipality. Due to their specific challenges, informal settlement residents propose a number of solutions to the many challenges of water and service delivery in their communities. These include additional water taps closer to their structures. This means that at least one water tap should be provided for a maximum of five households. Currently people wait in long queues to access water taps because of high population densities in their settlements and in some settlements people do not even have access to water. Informal settlement residents believe that their proposed minimum technical norms and standards will fit well to their context.

Across South Africa, municipalities are developing and implementing their water services plans as mandated by the constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Drafters of the constitution had envisaged that from time to time local government, as water services authorities, will have to set minimum technical norms and standards that are locally relevant. In the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, challenges and priorities identified by informal settlement dwellers clearly demonstrate the need to collectively develop a water services development plan that is well known and accepted by everyone.  

In the case of sanitation/sewage, in almost all 40 informal settlements there are no toilets. Instead, people use bucket systems and pit latrines as toilets, which cause health hazards to children and pose risks to women as they are not well maintained and are located too far away from certain structures. During the night, it is especially dangerous for women to use the toilets because of risks of being raped. Residents have contributed by building their own pit latrines. These, however, are not connected to the sewer system of the municipality. This creates stagnant grey water around toilets that also poses a health hazard. People are also using open fields and bushes to relieve themselves.

Pit latrine toilet used by some residents from Midrand informal settlement

Pit latrine toilet used by some residents from Midrand informal settlement

The impact of data collection

The profiling of informal settlements in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has helped communities to understand and articulate their needs. Communities now understand the importance of organising themselves, they understand that the more organised they are, the stronger their voice, the more isolated they are, the weaker their voices. 

The idea of using profiling as a mobilizing tool in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has allowed FEDUP and ISN to engage deeply with more communities about their priority issues. Previously the Alliance was working mostly with settlements around Missionvale, Seaview, Midrand, Kleinskool, and Zweledinga. Because of profiling activity in the municipality, the Alliance now has a footprint in all informal settlements. These include areas such as Uitenhage, Walmer, Colchester, Greenbushes, Joe Slovo, Kleinskool, Kwa Zakhele, Veeplaas, Swartkops, Riversdale, New Brighton, and Motherwell.

“If I could call them today, I know they will ask me when am I coming back, when are we going to have our own forum, when are we going to have our own dialogue around issues that affects us. Communities, now want to start talking about the next step, they want to take action on the issues that affect them. The profiling exercise has mobilized communities to a level where they feel they have a relevant movement/platform of the poor that they can use to address their problems. Communities are ready.”  (Mzwanele Zulu, ISN)

Informal settlement residents coming together to discuss community issues based on profiling that they conducted.

Informal settlement residents coming together to discuss community issues based on profiling that they conducted.

Looking ahead

We currently have a good partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro that can potentially develop into something great. Communities have been mobilised, and they have presented their challenges and priorities to different  officials of the municipality. However – there are some serious gaps, negatively affecting provision of services, which need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. (Bunita Kohler, CORC)

In Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the partnership between the municipality and SA SDI Alliance remain an important approach to improving service delivery. In implementation, the experience of informal settlements dwellers with the municipality demonstrates that partnerships are complex and often associated with varying vicissitudes. One of the main challenges in this partnership is accessing financial resources from the municipality to be used for service delivery in line with priorities identified by communities from their profiling exercise.

Going forward, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has committed to rollover finances, which was supposed to be used in the first year of the MoA. On the side of communities, there is a need to find innovative ways of accessing municipal resources and support for incremental upgrading. In this regard, the SA SDI Alliance is currently working with the International Budget Partnership, to learn about different methods that communities can use to access municipal budgets for incremental upgrading.

The success of the partnership also depends on other departments in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro taking up the task of ensuring that agreed objectives are achieved. This will require a coherent approach from the city, which encourages city departments to act together. There is also an opportunity for the municipality to commence a process of collectively developing and implementing water services plans together with informal settlement residents, which will be well known and accepted by everyone. This would clarify and sort the disagreements around which standards to use.

Women Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, Partnerships, SDI, uTshani Fund No Comments

By Skye Dobson (On behalf of SA SDI Alliance and SDI Secretariat. Original post here)

Durban-blog-post

As the Black Panther movie continues to smash box office records and enthrall the world with fearless female African superheroes, a meeting in eThekwini last week suggests we brace ourselves for Women Transformers – coming to a city near you.

The words stretch out across her bosom: Women transforming the slums of our cities, the jet-black shirt and white lettering convey the same no-nonsense, bold authenticity as the woman with the sky-blue doek (headscarf) and thick wooden walking stick. Sitting at the shiny boardroom table in the Mayor’s parlor of the eThekwini Municipal Council offices, wiping the sweat from her brow, she looks decidedly like someone who understands that transformation is not a development cliché, but an overdue national imperative.

Mama Mkhabela, (full name, Nombulelo Anna Estevao) joined the shack dwellers federation (now called FEDUP) 30 years and one month ago. She recalls the first time she sat in on a savings group meeting in Lindelani informal settlement and heard women from the settlement talking about the need to come together to solve their problems. She says the women were telling each other that poor people can’t wait for government to give them things, but must start making change themselves. Shy and quiet back then, she recalls sitting back and listening to figure out what was going on. She soon joined the Sophumelela Savings Group and quickly gained the trust and respect of her fellow savers.

At first her husband was suspicious of her work with the federation. She recalls him secretly following her to a meeting in another community one time. The meeting lasted so long that he had to stay the night and help everyone get back to their places the following day. “From then on, he stopped fighting with me. He saw that I wasn’t up to any trouble and we were just working!” she says with a chuckle. The Sophumelela Savings Group secured housing loans from Utshani Fund – a part of the South Africa SDI Alliance – in 1999 and the women in the group set about building their own houses. Mama Mkhabela managed the loan repayments and moved from a bookkeeper to a treasurer and is now the regional leader of FEDUP in Kwa Zulu Natal. The region has 70 savings groups with 9,672 members and has built over 2,500 houses.

Mama Mkhabela had not come alone to see her mayor. Two comrades from FEDUP, Rose Molokoane and Emily Moholo, accompanied her. The three women have been engaged in the struggle to transform the lives of the poor for decades.

When apartheid ended and commitments were made to house the poor, there was a sense in many communities that the battle was won. Of course, it was soon painfully clear to communities living in shacks that the structure of society rather than the lack of houses was the true cause of their deepening poverty and exclusion. FEDUP and SDI supported communities in KZN to understand the need to shape policy and practice in the city – to support people-driven housing as well as informal settlement upgrading, improved livelihoods and savings, and better access to land and tenure security. “When we started”, says Mama Mkhabela, “there were very few women in city council. The officials were all men and they were very, very difficult. Only the late Patrick (former leader in FEDUP and the Informal Settlements Network) could penetrate the city.”

But times are changing.

Rose Molokoane, President of FEDUP and the Coordinator of SDI, grew up in an informal settlement called Oukasie in the South African town of Brits. Today Rose sits on a plethora of national and international bodies tasked with shaping land, housing, and urban policy and practice. Last year she was elected Chair of the World Urban Campaign where she champions the role of grassroots communities and local government partnership for implementing global agendas. On the international stage, eThekwini’s leadership frequently encounters Rose and other SDI community leaders. SDI’s unique local to global presence has slowly but surely convinced the city of the need to partner with shack dwellers in eThekwini and has quite literally secured these women a seat at the mayor’s table.

Emily Moholo, meanwhile, was born in Mafikeng and is a member of Ithuseng Savings Group. She is a regional leader of FEDUP in the Free State and chairperson of the provincial joint working group on partnerships between the municipality, provincial government, and the Federation. She is also a member of the SDI Management Committee, and supports the SDI affiliates throughout the Southern Africa region to build strong slum dweller federations and partnerships with local government.

Mama Mkhabela, Rose and Emily invited one of the Directors of the SDI Secretariat (a woman) and the Chief Executive Officer of Global Infrastructure Basil (another woman) to accompany them. The women’s joint mission was to: a) update the Mayor on the South African SDI Alliance’s work, b) request that their MOA with eThekwini Municipality’s Human Settlements Department be expedited and signed before the close of the financial year, c) request that the Know Your City campaign be recognized by the city as an important strategy for collaborative informal settlement action to build resilience and guide climate-friendly investment in infrastructure and upgrading, d) introduce the city to GIB and share an update on the SDI/GIB partnership, and e) to demonstrate SDI and the SA Alliance’s intention to increase support to city efforts to become a leader in inclusive climate and resilience informal settlement action and to accelerate implementation of commitments made in the New Urban Agenda towards the SDGs.

“We don’t come to the mayor looking for handouts” says Rose. “We’re bringing ideas, partners the city needs, and we’re ready to work.”

From the City’s side, there were three strong women at the table. Mayor Zandile Gumede is among a growing cadre of female mayors leading global discussions to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable urban citizens are at the center of climate change responses. She currently serves as the Chair of C40 Africa where she advocates this approach. Globally, the number of women mayors is rising rapidly, which many believe bodes well for inclusive resilience planning and implementation. Indeed, the Resilience Strategy of eThekwini Municipality, formally adopted by the eThekwini Municipality Council in August 2017, is spearheaded by an all-female team comprising Debra Roberts (award-winning global climate change leader), Jo Douwes, and Manisha Hassan, is a product of a four-year consultative process with a broad and diverse group of Durban’s stakeholders. The SA SDI Alliance provided critical inputs to one of the two critical Resilience Building Options of the Strategy, namely: collaborative informal settlement action.

The Mayor said that it was refreshing indeed to engage with groups so clearly seeking positive change. She expressed confidence in the Human Settlements team’s ability to get the MOA signed quickly to ensure stronger communication and implementation at greater speed. She recommended that implementation of the MOA involve the convening of administrative and political officials in order to strengthen leadership capacity at all levels. She highlighted the need to work together to advance the city’s 5 year agenda and to ensure eThekwini, the SA SDI Alliance, and SDI continue to collaborate at the local and global level to showcase the power of community-government partnership for implementation of global urban and climate agendas.

Chairing the meeting was former Head of Department for Human Settlements at eThekwini Municipality, and recently appointed Deputy City Manager for Human Settlements, Infrastructure and Transport, Beryl Mphakathi. Beryl has been a tireless champion of the partnership and MOA between the SA SDI Alliance and the Human Settlements Department. At the request of the team, she committed herself to ensuring the MOA is signed before the end of the current financial year. Beryl explained that the MOA is necessary to “formalize our partnership…to pull all our efforts together and to commit our capacity and time.” Beryl invited the Acting Head of Department for Human Settlements to attend the meeting and ensure the MOA is tabled in time.

When Mama Mkhabela speaks of Beryl she says, “Truly speaking I’m so happy. We are very lucky to have a woman in that position. I can say, she respects me. I respect her. She took a while to understand the federation, but when she did she started to call me her mother. Even if I call her at night she has to respond. If she can’t answer your question right away, she will call you back. We work hand in hand.” When women can forge authentic, humble, thoughtful relationships such as these, institutional partnerships between the city and communities that are based on respect and practical action emerge. Such partnerships have the potential to mitigate the overinflated egos, political turf battles, short-sighted and self-serving approaches that have characterized male-dominated city politics in eThekwini and beyond.

While the centrality of women’s social relationships as a critical resource in community-based political mobilization has long been recognized in South Africa and abroad, city decision making remains dominated by males. If the walls of the Mayoral Boardroom could talk they would have countless tales of hustlers hustling on behalf of their own personal interests. But these women are hustlers acting in the interest of their community. Women transformers from the community, the city, and the international development sector have the opportunity to generate practical collaborations and partnerships to shift the status quo through new models of leadership and pragmatic action aimed at improving the lives of communities. Critically, women transformers from the community must not devalue the power within themselves by elevating leaders or partners – male or female – above the grassroots collectives from which they emerged.

Let’s keep an eye on eThekwini’s community, professional, and government Women Transformers and see if, indeed, they can transform city governance and the slums of their cities as the t-shirt promises.

Epilogue

SDI is often asked, What about the men? Of course, men are an integral part of the SDI movement and the struggle for inclusive and resilient cities. In the meeting described, there were inspiring and committed male leaders and professionals: namely, Jeff Thomas from Utshani Fund, Ndodeni Dengo from Informal Settlement Network (ISN), and Arnotte Payne from CORC (all part of the SA SDI Alliance). These men toil hand-in-hand, day-in and day-out with the women mentioned in this blog. As a leader from SNCC (Civil Rights Movement in the USA) once said of working with strong women leadership, “you come to realize that manhood isn’t the ability to knock someone down but finding your own humanity.” Jeff, Ndodeni, and Arnotte embody this viewpoint and understand that it is not heroic individuals but committed organizers that will sustain a movement and transform the status quo.

What does it mean to “Know Your City” in South Africa?

By Community-led Data Collection, News No Comments

By Yolande Hendler and Kwanda Lande (on behalf of CORC)

“What’s the difference when we collect data on our own informal settlements?” – a question that Melanie and Nozuko asked to a packed room of 150 people, including the South African Minister of Human SettIements, Lindiwe Sisulu. As urban poor residents and coordinators of social movements (FEDUP and ISN), it was noteworthy that both Nozuko and Melanie shared the stage with the minister as equals.

Nozuko Fulani speaking together with FEDUP Chairperson, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and ISN's Melanie Johnson in a panel discussion on data collection from vulnerable population.

Nozuko (far right) sharing the stage with FEDUP Chairperson Rose Molokoane (far left), Minister Lindiwe Sisulu (centre left) and ISN’s Melanie Johnson (centre right) in a panel discussion on data collection from vulnerable population.

In a world in which digital data (including data on informal settlements) is increasingly collected and owned by “experts”, Melanie and Nozuko introduced a different narrative: “As FEDUP and ISN we have profiled 1500 informal settlements in South Africa over the past 20 years.” This is close to half the number informal settlements in South Africa (currently estimated at between 2700 and 3200).

On 7 September 2017, the South African SDI Alliance co-hosted the Digital Impact World Tour with SDI and the US-based Stanford Centre for Philanthropy and Civil Society in Cape Town’s Langa township. This one-day “stop” – the eighth on the tour and the first in Africa – discussed the role of data collection in the production of social change in the digital age, and in particular the power of community-gathered data for partnerships with local governments.

Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu, welcoming participants of the conference and setting the Setting the stage for a conversation to share ideas and experiences.

Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu, welcoming participants of the conference and setting the stage for a conversation to share ideas and experiences.

With people in attendance who represent fellow slum dweller social movements, civil society, funders, academics, government at all tiers and private sector actors, the event reinforced a commitment to ensure that urban poor communities are part of and shape the conversation. On behalf of informal settlement residents affiliated to FEDUP and ISN, Melanie and Nozuko spoke about the core of community-gathered data:

To us, data collection is about organising communities. We don’t just collect information but collect people too. The minute we start collecting data about ourselves, we begin to understand ourselves as a collective and in a fairly deeper way.

We understand the context of our settlements and we go deep into the household level when collecting data. When we profile and enumerate settlements, data is collected by community members living in that settlement. We make sure that we count everyone. This is why sometimes when you compare our data and government’s data they are totally different. We also communicate the data back to our communities in a way that communities understand – government does not always do this. 

This data helps us to make our own community based plans. It is about looking at problems from our point of view and finding solutions. It is about opening up a space to plan for our own upgrading. It is necessary for government to get involved because we do have solutions on the ground.

SAMSUNG CSC

Melanie speaking during panel discussion on data collection from vulnerable population  

Amidst conversations on digital dependencies and innovative digital organisations, the urgency for government to “get involved” and support community-gathered data was evident. This emerged strongly in contributions made by members of the broader SDI network, South African SDI Alliance, Social Justice Coalition and International Budget Partnership, a fellow social movement and partner in the sector, who spoke about community-gathered data through social audts.

Fellow partners making contributions based on their own experiences and the working that they are doing.

Fellow partners making contributions based on their own experiences and work that they are doing.

The task to the minister and all government representatives in the room was clear, whether local, provincial or national: commit to supporting the Know Your City campaign on community-gathered data for co-productive partnerships between slum dwellers and local governments.

Though organized urban poor communities have been profiling and enumerating their settlements for over 20 years, the campaign (launched in 2014) established a digital platform to house this data and anchor the coproduction of inclusive urban development by communities, city governments and global urban development actors.

We have the power, ability and knowledge to collect data and organise our communities but what we want is for government to walk with us. We already started but we need a partnership to scale up our efforts. We want support from government, non-government organisations, private sector and academia.

SAMSUNG CSC

Rose participating during the conference and emphasising the importance of partnerships between communities and government.

The minister committed to financially supporting the work of community-gathered data in cities across South Africa. For South African organisations and movements in the sector, THE next steps are clear: “We need to follow up the minister’s pledge to support data collection by informal settlement residents for all organisations” (Rose Molokoane, national SA Alliance coordinator).

SAMSUNG CSC

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu committing that her department will support communities in data collection of their settlements.

So what is the difference with community-gathered data? “It’s about organizing ourselves, understanding ourselves and our settlements. It’s about making our own development plans, partnering with our local governments and sharing a stage as equals. It’s about Knowing Our City.”

The importance of saving: the pillow maker in Samora, Cape Town

By FEDUP, Savings No Comments

Compiled by Carmen Cancellari (on behalf of CORC)

Through the Federation Income Generation Programme, FEDUP savers have an opportunity to establish small businesses to generate income through accessing and repaying loans. 

The financial aspect is crucial, but how can the Federation contribute to building solidarity and sharing among FEDUP business women? The experience of Patience, a resident in the informal settlement of Samora in Philippi, Cape Town, gives us some insights about the impact of FEDUP in the life of women.

My name is Patience and I live here in Samora, Philippi.  For a living I have my own business, I make pillows. Now it’s been 7 years that I have been doing this. The first time I heard about the Federation it was in 2013, and that is also when I got my first loan.

What changed after receiving the FIGP (Federation Income Generation Program) loans was mainly in relation to the stock for my business. In fact, I was able to increase stock for my business and this also resulted in the increase of my profit. This helped me at home because I was responsible for my child’s education fees, who was studying at University of Western Cape, and since I could pay for her studies, she was able to continue and she graduated last year. So this is what was important, because my intentions and priorities have always been helping her to finish school.

Even at home I was able to fix some of the things. For example I managed to extend our house, I added two rooms and I saved some of the money… if it wasn’t for the loan I can say it was almost impossible to do all of this because I did not make enough profit from my business.

My business grew already a lot but I don’t want to stop here. At the moment, I am busy saving so that I can be able to buy a container. In fact now I cannot employ someone to help me because there is no space for both of us to work. Instead, I want someone who is going to help me because making pillows is very difficult and my business really needs me to hire someone. As a result of the stock which has increased in fact, my job has also increased and this is why I need someone to help me.

With my savings I think I will be able to buy the container next year January. And I do not want to rush it and end up having debts that I will not be able to pay back…I just want to save and know that I will be able to buy it.

Savings in fact is the heart of the Federation. My business improved a lot because through the Federation I learnt a lot about saving. Nolwando, one of the Federation coordinator, always teaches us about saving on top of the loans, and this way I have learnt how to save. There were times where I did not save at all and I was using my money on useless things.

I remember when I was working in Tsusa, there was a lady working with us who used to buy meat on a regular basis. She would make three orders a week! So one day I told her, as a person who was taught how to save, that she could save the R60 that she was spending on buying meat by, for example, eating cabbage and meals that she had prepared at home!

So the federation has helped me because now I am able to save and I can also help other people. And even today that lady has not forgotten me because I really helped her.

Patience (left) with FEDUP loans facilitator, Nolwando (centre)

 

What difference does saving make to the urban and rural poor?

By FEDUP, Savings No Comments

How can saving impact poor communities and influence inclusive development practice? On a recent visit to Manchester’s Global Development Institute FEDUP’s Patrick Matsemela responds to these questions by telling his story: 

 “When I say I was a robber, it was because I had nothing to do. When the Federation (FEDUP) started, I collected scrap metal from aluminium trollies. One day I found a group of mamas sitting together and someone told me that those mamas save R1.50 on a daily basis and deposit savings into a joint account. I did not have R50 so I knew I couldn’t open my own bank account. But I thought, “If I put money in with these mamas, they will use the money.” I thought that these people were scamming.
 
Patrick Matsemela (front centre) with SA SDI Alliance and Manchester colleagues

Patrick Matsemela (front centre) with SA SDI Alliance and Manchester colleagues

 
 At the time I was a heavy smoker. One cigarette cost R1. I had to save to smoke. Or steal to fuel my addiction. I asked people, “What happens with these savings? Do I get it back or is it just a show?”
 
They explained that you can request to withdraw the amount you saved by going to the savings collectors and treasurers of your savings group. This was better than the bank! Through joining a savings group I learnt to put money together and come together with other people. The moment you share your problem with friends you create a society. For example, if I did not eat, I could sit together with other savers and put money and food together. Over time I became rehabilitated from being a heavy smoker and drinker.
 
The leaders of these savings groups are women, about 95%. Men cannot save, that’s true. But women savers are very strict. They don’t play; they are professionals. For example, you can only withdraw what you saved. We are illiterate but still people were talking about bank charges.
 
My trust in the savings group increased because of my savings book and the record book of the savings collector. Every time I gave my savings to the collector, both of us needed to sign my savings book and the collector’s record book to prove that the money was collected. As a savings group we chose people living inside our community to be the collector, treasurer and secretary of our group. Saving is not only about collecting money but also asking people about their feelings. For example, the collector asks you how you are, why you didn’t attend the savings meeting last night.
 
IMG_2796

Report back on savings at a FEDUP network meeting in North West province

 
But there is no way to get everything correct. Mismanagement is a challenge. In some groups, the collector takes R10 saying, ‘Let me just use it now, tomorrow I will pay it back’. But then when the audit comes and other savings group treasurers come to your group to do the books and audit they ask why this was not recorded. The treasurer then feels the heat. Stealing is a bad word. Do not say steal, otherwise you won’t build a person. Rather whisper to the person and ask, “How will you repay?” First approach the individual who misused the savings, then the group. Sometimes we can call the police or influence some people in the community to take the person’s TV. Or we come as a group and hire a buggy and take the fridge and TV. We are not going to sell it but the person knows they can find us in the savings meeting.”
 
Since the early 1990s, FEDUP has used saving as a key tool to build a strong urban and rural poor social movement. Currently FEDUP counts about 43 900 members in eight provinces in South Africa. Through collective saving and critical mass, FEDUP played a key role in advocating for the People’s Housing Process (PHP). The PHP is a milestone policy on inclusive (community-led) human settlements development. Patrick Matsemela joined the Federation in 1998. He is currently the national coordinator for FEDUP saving networks in the North West province. He serves on the board of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), representing urban poor federations affiliated to SDI.
 

A FEDUP network presents the Maboloka PHP (housing) project

A Photo Story: Community-led Enumeration in Action

By Community-led Data Collection, CORC No Comments

By Ava Rose Hoffman and Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)

A variety of methodologies exist for gathering data on informal settlements.  The SA SDI Alliance follows the practice of community administered enumerations and community-led settlement mapping using GIS technology. An enumeration refers to a detailed household level surveys that engages community members on socio-economic and demographic data. For the Alliance, the community-led process during enumerations is critical: when a mobilised community collects its own data, the data obtained reflects far higher degrees of accuracy than any census or survey run by ‘outsiders’ would.

In early 2016, the SA SDI Alliance partnered with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements to conduct community-led enumerations of select informal settlements located along or near the N2 Highway. The settlements included in the ongoing enumeration project are: Kanana, Barcelona, Europe, Vukuzenzele, Lusaka, GxaGxa and Kosovo. The socio-economic information gathered through the enumeration includes demographic data, employment status, education, access to government grants, access to basic services and access to government, social and community infrastructure, among others. The mapping of GIS coordinates includes logging GPS coordinates for every household, for existing basic services, communal facilities, economic points of interest and transport routes.

The enumerations therefore provide an updated settlement profile that can form the basis for any future upgrading plans. The data collection exercise serves as a means of mobilising communities, equipping members with accurate information that can be used to advocate for development priorities. When enumerations are conducted in partnership with organised poor communities, governments gain accurate and more comprehensive data that can be used as a basis for future upgrading plans.

This photo story depicts the enumeration process, from shack numbering and service mapping to training sessions of community enumerators and household-level surveying.

Despite the rain, the numbering team gathers in Kosovo to review their plan of action with CORC’s enumerations coordinator, Blessing Mancitshana.

The numbering team in Kosovo convenes with Blessing on another day.

The numbering team in Kosovo convenes with Blessing on a sunny day before setting out to number shacks for the day.

Before setting out to number shacks, the numbering team reviews the settlement layout map.

One team reviews the settlement layout map.

Each shack in the community is spray-painted with a number. In this case, the number is preceded by "A" to refer to the section of the settlement, given Kosovo's large size.

Each shack in the community is spray-painted with a number. In this case, the number is preceded by “A” to refer to the section of the settlement, given Kosovo’s large size.

Shack by shack, the numbers are marked on the community layout map.

Shack by shack, the numbers are marked on the community layout map.

Community enumerators learn the basics of conducting a household-level survey using a data collection device called the Trimble during an enumerations training workshop.

Community enumerators participate in an a training workshop, guided by Blessing.

The Trimble is a device used for data capturing during household-level surveying

For the first time, enumerators make use of the Trimble, a device used for data capturing during household-level surveying

Blessing reviews how to work the Trimble device with a community enumerator in Gxagxa

Blessing reviews how to work the Trimble device with a community enumerator in Gxagxa

The enumerations teams in Gxagxa get to work, going from shack to shack to conduct the detailed household-level survey

The enumerations teams in Gxagxa get to work, going from shack to shack to conduct the detailed household-level survey.

A community enumerator begins the survey.

A community enumerator begins the survey.

The survey includes socio-demographic information about members of the household and their livelihoods

The survey includes socio-demographic information about members of the household and their livelihoods.

 

 

Seeing from the South: an international exchange with South African shelter activists

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, Learning Exchanges, SDI No Comments

By Dan Silver, Diana Mitlin and Sophie King (crossposted from the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester)

“We are poor, but we are not hopeless. We know what we are doing”.

This is Alinah Mofokeng, one of three activists from the South African alliance of community organizations and support NGOs affiliated to Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) who came to visit Manchester last month. The three came to explain their approaches and to exchange knowledge with local organisations through a combination of visits around Manchester and Salford, and a half-day workshop drawing together activists from around the country.

While South Africa and the UK might initially appear to be worlds apart, previous discussions between low-income communities in the global North and South had identified commonalities in their disadvantage. Potentially there are approaches that can be drawn upon and adapted in order to resist marginalisation and improve local communities, which can work across different places and contexts. This was the basis for Sophie King (UPRISE Research Fellow) and Professor Diana Mitlin (Global Development Institute, University of Manchester) inviting the South African Alliance to meet with UK community groups in March, drawing on a long history of community exchanges. This coincided with the Alliance participating in the Global Development Institute’s teaching programme with community leaders lecturing on their experiences and methods.

Alinah Mofokeng (Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor), Nkokheli Ncambele (Informal Settlements Network) and Charlton Ziervogel (CORC) all talked about their experiences of being part of the South African Alliance of SDI. This alliance has pioneered people-centered development initiatives by and of people in poverty since 1991. Their foundations are established in the grassroots, working on issues that emerge from the daily experiences of poverty, landlessness, and homelessness to bring immediate improvements and long-term inclusive citizenship within cities.

SDI’s approach to organizing is grounded in women’s led savings schemes, in which each member saves small amounts and does so with the support of their own collective savings group, so they are able to improve their own lives, and that of the wider community also. Solidarity is central to their approach and savings schemes are encouraged to federate to have stronger influence on city and state government. In the process of coming together they learn about their respective needs and challenges and respond collectively. If one member’s family does not have enough to eat, the group may decide that week’s savings will be spent on putting bread on their table. Once one savings scheme is formed, they share their learning with other marginalised people around them and support others to form schemes of their own that can join the network.

This extends beyond initial collectives to direct community-to-community learning exchange at city, national, and international levels. From here, they are able to show that they are together and are capable, which means they can influence the government from a more powerful basis – as Nkokheli said, they have been able to say to the politicians: “you are eating our money and not doing what we want. We say, enough is enough!” Nkokheli said that once the community shows that they are capable, for example through building their own toilets in the informal settlements and developing savings, politicians are more likely to listen.

The exchange of different ways of doing things between the South African Alliance and UK organisations certainly had an impact – showing us that the exchange of ideas about solidarity, a self-reliant ethos, and having a long-term vision for more inclusive cities is powerful enough to make sense across continents. One of the participants in the meeting was Ann from a group called Five Mummies Make, which is a self-help group in Scotland who have come together to sell handmade crafts, put on events and contribute to local charities; through meeting every week, the women have improved their own well-being in the process.

After the workshop, Ann was inspired to make a bigger difference than they were already achieving, saying that:

“If we bring together a bigger group, a federation, we can make such a bigger difference within the community, so not just small differences for individuals…I want to go back now and make the changes in the community, without having to go cap in hand asking for help constantly, but saying – this is what we want…”

Alinah, Nkokheli, and Charlton visited the United Estates of Wythenshawe for an extended lunch to meet people involved in Mums’ Mart. Mums’ Mart was started by a group of parents who came together after speaking to each other in the playground at their children’s school in Wythenshawe. Through chatting, they realised that they shared experiences of feeling isolated, and that their kids weren’t getting to take part in everyday activities. To address these problems the mums now meet every other week to have a meal while their children play, and they organise ‘market days’ to bring people from the estate together and raise money to take their families away somewhere fun for a day or a week.

After the exchange, members of Mum’s Mart have begun to emulate the SDI savings model and are holding weekly savings meetings, alongside their income-generating activities and monthly committee meetings to review progress; they also have ambitions about how over the long-term they can bring practical social change beyond their immediate group.  Sharon Davies, the group’s treasurer, told us that since the visit Mums’ Mart have set up their own savings scheme and it is going well, and that they “have loads of really good ideas as to where we are going to go with Mums’ Mart from now on”.

This was certainly not just a one-way street of learning from the SDI approach. Nkokheli, who was initially surprised that poverty existed in the UK after visiting a homeless group in Manchester, told us that: “The exchanges are very important to us, because it mobilises the community…and also [helps] to train communities to do things, [to see] what other people are doing for themselves. Here in Manchester, I learnt a lot…The systems are not the same, but the look of things are the same – there are things we can learn from Manchester, and there are things Manchester can learn from us”.

Through this exchange then, there have been concrete changes that have already taken place. It also shows the value of bringing together groups who might be marginalised from politics and from economic opportunities, to share ideas, tactics and strategies. There is most certainly scope in the UK to build on the approach that SDI take: developing a more self-reliant social action approach; coming together, initially in close supportive relationships between neighbours, but with a view to wider solidarity across groups and between areas; and showing the government through practical activities the capabilities of people living in low-income areas and the direction that poverty reduction strategies should take.

As Alinah said, “we are not hopeless. We know what we are doing”.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/164289875[/vimeo]