As South Africa’s population continues to seek opportunities in cities, informal settlements continue to grow (300 in 1994 to over 2700 at present).
In twenty five years of democracy, South African human settlements’ approaches have transitioned from a narrow, albeit impressive, social housing programme to a more holistic approach of upgrading informal settlements. Nevertheless, government at all tiers voices the difficulty of engaging poor communities in a participatory manner – as central decision-makers in their own development. The effect? Across the country, dire living conditions remain harsh realities for poor communities.
As an Alliance, our continued response to this context is to build strong, organised movements of the urban poor, who identify their own development priorities and pragmatically engage government and other actors on development solutions as key role players and decision makers. This approach is reflected in our strategic plan.
Our vision is of inclusive and resilient cities where the urban poor find solutions to homelessness, landlessness and poverty.
Our mission is to support the urban poor by building strong movements with community-organising capacity, to ensure collaborative partnerships and implement precedent-setting projects.
“Building strong, organised movements of the poor who self-identify priorities and pragmatically engage on development solutions.”
Strong movements of the poor
FEDUP and ISN organise and network through community-based savings, collecting data on informal settlements and integrating youth members and their programs. These organising tools prepare for partnership building, project preparation and implementation.
The Alliance builds partnerships with a variety of actors to achieve pro-poor outcomes, including government at all levels, academia, CSOs and NGOs. Strong partnerships enable project implementation.
The Alliance implements innovative, precedent-setting projects that demonstrate a community-led development agenda to government. Projects include informal settlement upgrading, housing and livelihoods.
Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
The Alliance prioritises conscious learning in all program and project streams. Learning tools include exchange visits between communities, documenting activities, and regular joint planning, reflecting and evaluating.