In-situ Informal Settlement Upgrading
Informal settlement upgrading is not simply “site and service” or the provision of a “top structure” house. Upgrading is any intervention that improves the physical conditions of a settlement, which in turn enhances the lives of its inhabitants.
The most critical emphasis is that this process should happen in situ, where communities already exist. Relocations should always be seen as a last resort. However, in situations in which they are unavoidable, such as in flood plains or along railway lines, the SA SDI Alliance works to ensure that decisions are made in conjunction with the community.
Finance facilities that catalyse partnerships for upgrading
Over the years the Alliance has developed two people-led finance facilities for upgrading, one operating nationally (CUFF) while the other (CPF) functions at a metropolitan municipality level.
The Community Upgrading Finance Facility (CUFF), was set up through funding from the Gates Foundation received applications for upgrading projects from ISN affiliated communities country wide. The board consisted of 60% shack dwellers and 40% support NGO professionals. The ultimate responsibility for proposal writing, costing and engagements with suppliers was that of community residents, with support offered by CORC and uTshani Fund. The purpose of projects funded through CUFF was to catalyse partnerships between informal settlement communities and their municipalities around precedent-setting informal settlement upgrading initiatives. The end goal was a formalised partnership by means of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby a municipality committed to a working partnership and allocated funding to support social facilitation and project implementation. See CUFF report.
With funding from Comic Relief, the Alliance established a people’s led finance facility in 2013 known as the Community Participation Fund (or City Fund) in Cape Town. Inspired by the model of the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI) in Thailand, the aim was to establish a finance facility in which community savings, and donor funding would leverage municipal finance, for community–led upgrading initiatives. Such a facility would make it possible to bypass lengthy bureaucratic requirements and make it simpler and faster for organised urban poor communities to access the necessary funds to upgrade their settlements in partnership with the municipality. See this article for more.
- In-situ Informal Settlement Upgrading
- Livelihood Initiatives
- People-led Housing