Community Innovation Archives - SASDI Alliance

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.”

Scaling Up Informal Settlement Upgrading: The CODI Model Thailand

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, SDI No Comments

By Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)

While the value of in-situ informal settlement upgrading is increasingly recognised by national and global actors, its implementation as a co-productive approach rooted in meaningful community participation is inadequate. An exception, however, is the Community Organisations Development Institute (CODI), a finance facility of the Thai government that has facilitated community-led informal settlement upgrading in more than 250 cities and towns in Thailand, demonstrating how a national government not only engaged with ‘pro-poor’ development but also managed to institutionalise an approach and implement at scale.

Somsook Boonyabancha, Former Director of CODI

Somsook Boonyabancha, Former Director of CODI

In early May, the South African SDI Alliance together with Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) had the pleasure of hosting Somsook Boonyabancha, the founder and former director of CODI for a seminar in Johannesburg and Cape Town on ‘Scaling up informal settlement upgrading: The CODI model, Thailand’. ISN and FEDUP coordinators additionally used this opportunity to share current partnership and project implementation challenges with Somsook during a visit to Khayelitsha. Her visit to the Alliance occurred in the context of a broader meeting* with representatives of the South African National Treasury concerning CODI’s approach and its value for the South African context.

Jubilant welcome by FEDUP and ISN

Jubilant welcome by FEDUP and ISN

CORC director Bunita Kohler offers a warm welcome

CORC director Bunita Kohler offers a warm welcome

Informal Settlement Upgrading in South Africa

The upgrading context in South Africa is marked by a tension between policy and practice. Part three of the National Housing Code states that the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Program (the national policy and finance instrument for upgrading) set out to “facilitate the structured in situ upgrading of informal settlements as opposed to relocation(s)”. The aim: to achieve tenure security, deliver basic services and build ‘social capital’ in communities through participatory processes.

In practice, however, municipal application of UISP has been weak, especially in terms of community participation or alternative approaches to tenure security beyond freehold (See NUSP). Even after the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP) was introduced in 2010 to support municipalities in addressing these shortfalls, the lack of meaningful community engagement or in-situ upgrading of informal settlements persisted. This is largely due to inadequate municipal capacity for meaningful participation, a recurring preference of relocating shack dwellers to greenfields sites (the Joe Slovo judgement is a case in point) or repackaging reports on greenfield relocations as UISP projects (see State of Local Governance, p.64-65).

Community leader of TT Section, Site B Khayelitsha welcomes Somsook to her settlement

Community leader of TT Section, Site B Khayelitsha welcomes Somsook to her settlement

Where the SA SDI Alliance has implemented participatory upgrading projects in partnership with a local municipality (such as the City of Cape Town), these instances remain limited to a handful of settlements. Avenues for scaling up meaningful participatory practice in South Africa are rare, if not non-existent. In the experience of the Alliance, key challenges to scaling up relate to the disjuncture between lengthy bureaucratic processes and the pace of community preparation in informal settlements. For example, party political frictions may extend the time required to mobilise a community while lengthy municipal procurement processes regularly stretch project timeframes beyond the designated one year budget allocation period. When budget allocations are annulled or project dates postpoined, it is twice as difficult to restart and remobilise the community. Tools that intend to support community-led action (such as the UISP), can therefore have the opposite effect: they are often not flexible enough to adapt to project preparation and social facilitation processes in informal settlement communities.

How CODI Works

As an alternative, the CODI model offers relevant insights for the South African context. Formed in 2000 through the merging of the Urban Community Development Office and the Rural Development Fund, CODI is an independent public organisation under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. CODI functions as a revolving loan fund that enables direct access to grants for upgrading and loans for housing. As a national implementing agent, CODI manages the Thai government’s Community Development Fund that engages urban poor communities and networks who are organised in housing co-operatives and informally recognised community based savings schemes. CODI supports the building of community cooperatives, through sub-group clusters that manage community grants and wholesale loans. Such subgroups bring about collective action through group guarantee, helping eachother, and collective repayment. Read more about CODI here.

Somsook speaks about the CODI model in Thailand.

Somsook speaks about the CODI model in Thailand.

Thailand’s Upgrading Initiative: Baan Mankong

The Baan Mankong City-Wide Upgrading initiative is one of CODI’s most notable programs. Introduced in 2004, it focuses on poverty alleviation, community welfare, technical support and tenure security through promoting savings, credit, loans and planning support. Baan Mankong (which means “Secure Housing” in Thai) facilitates capital transactions through an infrastructure/upgrading grant from central government and a housing loan lent to borrowers organised in housing cooperatives. Since 2004, Baan Mankong has approved a total of 850 projects in 1660 communities and benefitted about 90 000 families. Geographically, its reach covers 286 cities in 71 of 77 provinces. The average housing loan per family amounts to US$ 5000 while the average upgrading subsidy grant averages about US$ 2500 per family. The total loans granted by CODI’s revolving fund (at 3% interest) amount to about US$ 185m with a repayment rate of 97.5% (Figures drawn from Somsook’s presentation).

In her presentation, Somsook highlighted the following as significant requirements for a city-wide, scaleable approach:

  • Active communities: support for urban poor communities as owners of projects
  • City-wide approach: changes at the real scale of the problem (i.e. that affect all poor communities in the city) will link scattered communities and their priorities to each other, contributing to a more systematised and sustainable approach
  • Building strong communities: through secure housing and integrated development that includes:
    • collective land ownership or lease
    • community savings and fund (acting as a community bank)
    • welfare activities
    • activating the link between community networks and city organisations in regular meetings
    • collective management
  • Building partnerships: between community networks, local authorities and other development actors that enable deliberation and negotiation
  • New finance system: active community savings and credit, City Development Funds
FEDUP and ISN engage with Somsook around CODI's approach

FEDUP and ISN engage with Somsook around CODI’s approach

Scaling Up in South Africa?

With more than eighty representatives from NGOs, media platforms and think tanks in the sector, academic partners in planning and architecture and the Head of Department of Human Settlements in the Western Cape, the closing session of the seminar offered an opportunity for discussion. How does CODI straddle the tension between private and collective land ownership? Is collective land ownership/lease possible in South Africa? Is there government appetite for alternative finance mechanisms? While engaging with these points, Somsook continually pointed to the value of collective action:

“The key thing is to bring all actors to work together. Community is important to support each individual for a certain period of time. And land is an important factor [so we need] collective land as a project. Poor people will be weak otherwise. Its insufficient to just do one or two projects here and there… Let poor people at a big scale be the key actors to make a big change”


Thando Mguli, HoD of Human Settlements in the Western Cape

Similarly to CODI, a co-finance facility in South Africa has the potential to locate poor people at the heart of upgrading interventions. Where urban poor communities shift from beneficiaries to activated citizens that identify, plan and implement development priorities, informal settlement upgrading can become more nuanced, responsive and participatory. For a co-finance approach, community saving is a valuable mobilising tool, an enabler for meaningful participation and an indicator of household buy-in at settlement level. A co-finance mechanism that is institutionalised in local government but not subject to its bureaucratic process can enable flexible time frames for project budget allocations that are not constrained by annual provincial or municipal allocations. In this sense, innovation and meaningful participation occur only when community members become significant actors in the upgrading process.

*The visit was supported by the World Bank

From left to right: Representatives from the World Bank, Cities Support Programme (Treasury), CORC, Somsook, Western Cape Human Settlements HoD and ISN Coordinator

From left to right: Representatives from the World Bank, Cities Support Programme (Treasury), CORC, Somsook, Western Cape Human Settlements HoD and ISN Coordinator

FEDUP’s Yona Yethu Youth Group Tackles Unemployment in Gauteng

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN No Comments

By Motebang Matsela (on behalf of CORC)

Yona Yethu is a group formed on 25 April 2013 by eight youth members of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP) who reside in Blue Gum View section of Gauteng’s Duduza informal settlement. With the aim of changing  their environment the group formed a non-profit organisation that goes under Yona Yethu, with a membership that has increased to 42 dedicated individuals.


Yona Yethu Background

The sprawl of unemployment within this community led the group to come together and address unemployment in an effort to alleviate poverty, drug and alcohol abuse. This motivated the group to make a difference within their neighbourhood, hoping to extend their initiative to the greater community, in time. While other youth point fingers at the government, blaming it for unemployment in townships, Yona Yethu thinks of different ways of tackling their social concerns.

Yona Yethu Projects

Cleaning of dumping site
The group started with cleaning and clearing an illegal dump site situated near their settlement. They first mobilised each other around environmental concerns and lack of recreational space. Secondly, they created an opportunity to generate income through recycling,  a car wash and waste & refuse management initiative which includes bin cleaning, arts & crafts and landscaping. Initially the funds generated were utilised to register this entity legally as a cooperative with the relevant department or institution. Presently the income is directed towards savings. The savings are timeously utilised for operations and purchasing of new materials where deemed fit.

Fighting illegal dumping brought about a concern for the environment and taking actin to ensure the safety of children who were often seen  playing in the rubble and refuse that posed health and safety hazards. The team embarked on cleaning those sites to create what they regarded as an informal community park. The social spaces that they managed to create through beautiful landscaping has been their response to the lack of recreational spaces in their township, for the youth and adults to enjoy equally.

Yona Yethu won the Botho ke Bokamoso Award (Humanity is the Future Award) for the best new project in 2014, hosted by the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality. This award was accompanied by a prize of R50 000 shared amongst two groups. They have managed to build a working partnership with the Municipality which is committed to giving ongoing support through agricultural training programs. With this skills training the members are looking at developing food gardens to sell freshly harvested produce which will be used as a form of income generation and to tackle youth unemployment.

Added to this commitment, the waste and refuse management team receives training which supplies them with refuse bags and other materials to conduct their work. The municipality has also scheduled a new training for the youth which will focus on water and sanitation with the possibility that after completion of training the youth will get employment from the relevant department.

Duduza resident, Innocent Ndlela, said he is very proud of what the young people are doing for the community while also making ends meet at home. He encouraged them to continue doing a good job that benefits the community:

“I like that they are fighting against one of the biggest challenges in our township which is illegal dumping. Many residents, including children have been sick as a result of the filthiness in the dumping sites next to our homes. It is not always up to the government to create jobs but the youth needs to stand up and pave their way to success.”


The hard work conducted by the team has lured external stakeholders  like Valley Steel to support the team with protective gears such as gloves,boots and overalls that will be useful in the daily activities of the group.


Moreover, this team has been attracting the interest of other external stakeholders like Valley Steel which supports the team with protective gear like gloves, boots and overalls to conduct their daily activities. Interested parties like this were drawn in by the efforts put by Yona Yethu. It was evident that there are concerned citizens of South Africa   making it easier for support to come.

The recycling program includes the collection of recyclable materials which the group  sell to recyclers once a certain amount is reached. This is done through their waste & refuse management activities, where they identify any recyclables from households refuse bins before the Municipal waste removal teams collect the contents in the township on Tuesdays. As soon as the municipal collection is done, the group washes the bins and fits them with a new refuse bag as a service to those willing to pay for it. The charge for cleaning in R20 which rises to R30 with an addition of a refuse bag. The income generated is reinvested back into the business, some saved and some is used to pay wages to those conducting the work.


Art Work
Unemployment drove the youth to come together and share their skills and knowledge in order to create employment for themselves.  The members have different skills and interests, though all aimed at one goal.  This has allowed the group to be involved in different projects such as performances, making arts and crafts. Regular meetings to collect creative ideas and share thoughts and skills in the process are an important feature.  The money made is invested back into the business for equipment and materials, and the rest follows similar processes as mentioned above.

Their artistic ability is evident on a daily basis through art installations created with the ones partaking in the landscaping through artefacts like water fountains. Hlabane Mokoena, a member of the organisation, also pointed to the installation of a self-built water fountain at the park.

“With the different skills that each one of us has, we work together to provide the community with what is useful to them. We also make profit from self-made wire-cars. One of our challenges are residents who undermine us ” said Mokoena. Others give discouraging comments, doubting our ability”



Car wash
Not far from the park is  a car wash that the group has opened with the aim of generating income. This was one of the initial ideas the team identified as a income generation method, that is still operational till today. The car wash is actually one of the profitable undertakings by this team as it generates a large amount without a high initial capital cost. The car wash employed four of the Yona Yethu members who are committed daily to the operations and bookkeeping as needed. The team is then paid from the profits that it generates. One challenge experienced with this particular business is the competition the group faces as there are many carwashes operating in the surrounding area. This means that they have to work hard to uphold a good reputation and strengthen their marketing.




An approach to community-led upgrading: TT Community Hall in Khayelitsha

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN No Comments

By Andiswa Meke (on behalf of CORC)

For years the government has been testing different solutions with regard to bringing basic services to poor people and engaging with rapid urbanisation in South African cities. At times, these approaches are characterised by technically driven solutions that do not consider social use of infrastructure by community members. At others, there is a lack of service delivery altogether due to an often expressed perception by local government that is impossible to  install services in dense and haphazardly structured informal settlements.

In response informal settlements affiliated to the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) organise themselves and explore innovative options that present alternative, community-led practice to local government and better their living conditions. TT is one of the oldest informal settlements in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Yet they still have no basic services.

 Community Profiling and Enumerations.

Community Profiling and Enumerations.

The blog looks at the upgrading of TT community hall as an example of what communities are doing for themselves when supported with the tools to organise themselves and identify their own development priorities. Communities like TT have realised that they are the help they need to foster change and therefore need to be the ones gearing up their own upgrading processes.

Background of TT informal settlement

TT dates back to the late 80`s. According to a 2010 enumeration report by the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), the settlement had a population of 995 people in 339 households. The City of Cape Town installed Toilets and taps, this is how the settlement have access to water and sanitation. TT section is located in Site B in Khayelitsha, it lies opposite Mangaliso Primary school, with 79% of the settlement depending on social grants as a form of income.

Initially the structure that is now a hall belonged to a particular lady. She then donated her shack to the community to use as a hall where they could hold meetings and church services. However, over the years the structure lost its value as the material it was built in became old and flooded during winter because it was not developed properly.

In the beginning of 2015 the community of TT approached ISN to assist them with upgrading their hall because it was old and the material allowed for bad conditions especially during the winter season.

Alliance Processes

In 2009, ISN first visited the settlement on a mobilisation trip. After intense engagements, the community was convinced of ISN’s approach and willing to engage with the tools of the SA SDI Alliance. It was after that, the community elected 15 members to enumerate the settlement. TT profiled the settlement with the technical support from CORC who also assisted the community with house modelling, planning and design. The community then identified their needs as a community which included partial reblocking and a community hall; but they wanted the hall to take first priority. There were two profiling and enumerations done, one was done 2009 and a new one is being done currently.


Community doing planning

TT community planning with old structure

TT community planning with old structure

October 2015 marked the start of upgrading the hall  which  is expected to be completed within December. The steering committee is heading up the project with support from ISN and CORC.

Features of the upgraded hall

  • The main feature on the hall is that the material used is non -combustible which decreases the chances of the hall catching fire. The hall has been approved by the City of Cape Town fire department.
  • Another is that the hall has a front and a back exit which could be accessed by all the members depending which side is closest for them.
  • The floor is cemented and well paved which will prevent the flooding during winter season.
TT hall

TT  Community Hall during  upgrading process

Challenges & Learning Points

  • The challenge the community is experiencing is communication barriers with the suppliers of material and this has caused some delays.
  • The value of ISN support on the ground.
  • The value of regular site visits by all invovled actors during the projects to inspect the progress and address challenges that may arise during each stage of upgrading.
  • The community has learnt how to engage with different stakeholders regarding their needs and the importance of unity, communication and cooperation when a settlement wants to change their living conditions.

SA SDI Alliance and Red Cross Society explore Fire Prevention Tools

By CORC, FEDUP No Comments

By Thandeka Tshabalala (on behalf of CORC).

September-April  marks  the Western Cape Fire season.  The eight months period has the highest record  of fire disasters due to a number of reasons but mainly negligence and lack of fire prevention  education. Throughout these times, informal settlement dwellers sit in panic and uncertainty of when a devastating fire may strike their settlement costing them their  belongings and in worst cases their lives. Urban fires are  amongst the highest disaster occurrences in informal settlements,and need to be addressed.

When  fires break out in informal settlement they spread fast and the community takes longer to be alerted . Evacuations are often dangerous and depending on  the density in these settlements  emergency responders often are unable to access homes in time. In July 2015  the South African SDI Alliance,  South African Red Cross Society (SACRS) and American Red Cross Society formed partnership with Lumkani to roll out early detection fire sensor devices targeting 1000 households in 4 informal settlements (UT, TT, TB section and WB) located in site B, Khayelitsha. The purpose of the project is to reduce fire risks by increasing community resilience against shack fires.  The introduction of early warning devices in  communities contributes to alerting  communities early  to avoid fire from spreading .  Another  benefit of the project is  formulating of fire response plans and capacitation of disaster response teams within the community.


A baseline study and GIS mapping exercise formed part of the first crucial steps of information gathering of the project. 30 community volunteers were trained in conducting community surveys and GIS mapping. The community surveys aimed at gathering first hand information on previous instances of fires.  With questions ranging from fuel used for cooking, heating,lighting to how the community responded to fires. This included identifying nearest fire hydrants and emergency exists in the informal settlement. Key informants and focus group interviews gave an in-depth understanding of the existing fire response mechanisms taken by community leaders and disaster relief organizations.

The GIS map marking access points in the settlements and hierarchy of routes classifies movement within the settlements starting  from vehicle access to footpaths forms part of the analysis. Once the community has verified the map it will then be used  as a tool to better understand the community access points that could be of use during emergencies. After analysis and feedback from community members the baseline study will be used to inform future plans for fire response and mitigation.

IMG-20151026-WA0007 (1)

Imbizos (i.e. community gatherings) were platforms used by  communities to participate and give feedback on the project. Councilors of ward 90 and 91 Luvuyo Hebe and Monde Mabandla together with emergency respondents such as the police and fire departments came in high numbers to support this initiative.During the launch of the project on the 26th August 2015 Detective Mandlana  showed appreciation  to the  South African Red cross and Informal Settlement Network (ISN) for the project  and urged the community to use the Lumkani devices.

 “Safety starts by individuals taking precautions all the time”.

Detective Mandlana from the Police department.

To strengthen the existing disaster response  mechanisms in the community, 40 community members were trained in first aid (I, II &III) and fire fighting. The community response team is equipped to assess possible disasters and also be prepared to respond to any disaster occurring in their community.The community response teams have a lifetime commitment to the community because they can help improve the safety of their communities.

“ In the middle of a disaster, these are the people who will be able to say they are here to help, give critical support and assist victims before the arrival of emergency services.”


This project forms part of a long-term objective  which includes decreasing urban fires and strengthening the impact of the Lumkani early warning device. The device acts as an early warning system in the community, decreasing the time taken by the community to be alerted in cases of fires, with addition of the response team the community is well positioned to deal with shack fires while waiting for emergency services. This intervention was informed by the profiling and enumeration data captured by the communities to understand the community priority needs.  The long term upgrading strategy would be the addition of planned preventative measures such as opening up streets and open spaces for emergency evacuations and access of emergency services.

From Joburg to Manila City: A Photo Story of Community Architects

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, SDI No Comments

By Jhono Bennett (on behalf of SA SDI Alliance)

This story covers the 2015 exchange trip between South African delegates from the SDI Network and the CAN Network in the Philippines.

Figure 1: Manila City

Figure 1: Manila City



In 2015, a small delegation from the South African Shack Dwellers International Alliance (SA SDI) attended the  3rd Regional Community Architecture (CAN) Meeting & Workshop. The aim was for the South African delegates to gain first hand experience and learn from the work that CAN practices.

This delegation consisted of 3 professionals and three community members from  SA SDI and were chosen by the alliance for strategic leadership and capacity development to bring back home:

Jhono Bennett 1to1 – Agency of Engagement
Motebang Daniel Matsela CORC
Thembelihle Ngcuka CORC
Phaello Philder Mmole FEDUP
Ofentse Phefu FEDUP
Emmanuel Malinga FEDUP/ISN

As a team, we were expected to try and understand how the CAN works, its practices and tools as well as its members . All this was to be performed  during the series of workshops,meetings and dialogues that the we were exposed to.  We also learned from similar practitioners and community groups who are working on similar problems around the development of disadvantaged communities, such as in South Africa. Ideally we would learn valuable lessons from  CAN in regard to practices of community design and bring these home.

Workshop Background:

The 3rd Regional CAN Meeting & Workshop was held in Manila, Philippines this year between June 16 – June 23 and conducted with the theme:

Together we CAN! People planning for future inclusive cities

Figure 3: CAN workshop Day 1

Figure 3: CAN workshop Day 1


The workshop aimed to:

  • Bring together local and international participants working in different countries in Asia and beyond to exchange and share experiences through community workshops.
  • Provide concrete technical support to actual community initiatives through fieldwork in people centred heritage planning in Intramuros, Manila and city-wide development approach (CDA) in Muntinlupa City.
  • Link with local universities
  • Plan new collaborative future activities with multiple stakeholders to ensure long term change,ultimately the workshop aimed to support the larger mission of the CAN Network which is to:

“..Create a platform to link architects, engineers, planners, universities and community artisans in Asia, who work with communities and believe that poor communities should play a central role in planning their communities, and in finding solutions to build better settlements and more inclusive cities.”

Figure 4: CAN Network diagram

Figure 4: CAN Network diagram

The Workshop:

The delegation arrived on the 15th, and was welcomed by the well organised and energetic CAN management team.

Figure 6: Bangladesh CAN delegates presenting.

Figure 6: Bangladesh CAN delegates presenting.

After an initial series of presentations on CAN and  various organisations that make up the network, individual organisations of the workshop were invited to present themselves and their work.

Figure 6: Intramuros site visit.

Figure 6: Intramuros site visit.


Figure 7: Intramuros site visit workshop.

Figure 7: Intramuros site visit workshop.


Figure 8: Site visit to Banana City, Intramuros.

Figure 8: Site visit to Banana City, Intramuros.


From here the next 2 days were spent taking the conference on site visits of where the workshop delegates would be working in Allabang and Intramuros.

Figure 9: Allabang site visit

Figure 9: Allabang site visit


Figure 10: Allabang site visit-Fisherman houses.

Figure 10: Allabang site visit-Fisherman houses.


Figure 11: Allabang sitevisit-Savings group welcome

Figure 11: Allabang site visit-Savings group welcome


Figure 12: Allabang site visit-savings group welcome.

Figure 12: Allabang site visit-savings group welcome.


The participants were then broken into smaller groups of practitioners and community members and sent to stay in separate neighborhoods (or Barangays) where each group would focus on a specific set of issues faced by the various community groups supported by the local CAN organisation, Tampei.

Figure 13: Group focus work in Allabang -Enumeration and Mapping.

Figure 13: Group focus work in Allabang -Enumeration and Mapping.


Figure 14: Group focus work in Allabang- Enumerations and Mapping.

Figure 14: Group focus work in Allabang- Enumerations and Mapping.


Figure 15: Delegates learning CAN practices.

Figure 15: Delegates learning CAN practices.


Figure 16: Group based work in Allabang- Confirming Mapping.

Figure 16: Group based work in Allabang- Confirming Mapping.


Each group spent the week intensively working on enumeration, mapping, and design with and for local groups aiming to initiate development energy supporting community initiatives.

Figure 16: GPS mapping in dense settlements of Allabang.

Figure 16: GPS mapping in dense settlements of Allabang.


Figure 18: : Group Focus Work in Allabang - Story collection from residents

Figure 18: : Group Focus Work in Allabang – Story collection from residents


Figure 19: : Group Focus Work in Allabang - Community Mapping with residents

Figure 19: : Group Focus Work in Allabang – Community Mapping with residents


Figure 20: Allabang in context.

Figure 20: Allabang in context.


Figure 21: Group Focus Work in Allabang - Enumeration & Mapping with residents.

Figure 21: Group Focus Work in Allabang – Enumeration & Mapping with residents.


Figure 22: Group Focus Work in Allabang - Consolidating Mapping work for presentation

Figure 22: Group Focus Work in Allabang – Consolidating Mapping work for presentation


Figure 23:: Sharing valuable skills from participants.

Figure 23:: Sharing valuable skills from participants.


This was done while strategically developing a body of work that would be shown to local government stakeholders at a final seminar in both Allabang and Intramuros.

Consolidated Group work for strategic presentation with government stakeholders.






Figure 25: Allabang - Strategic presentation with invited stakeholders

Figure 25: Allabang – Strategic presentation with invited stakeholders


Figure 26: : South African delegate presenting work on behalf of focus group

Figure 26: : South African delegate presenting work on behalf of focus group


Figure 27: Intramuros - Strategic Presentation

Figure 27: Intramuros – Strategic Presentation


The workshop culminated in a social event on the 24th, celebrating the workshop’s success.

Key Observations:

The workshop was highly successful in bringing together community architects from across the world to share experience and knowledge through the mixture of workshop tasks, social events and working activities.

Figure 28: CAN Practice: intensive workshops

Figure 28: CAN Practice: intensive workshops

The strategic use of these professionals to hyper-activate local community processes was exemplary and not have the visited communities as passive beneficiaries, while using the work developed in the short time to engage local governance bodies to support local community processes was a highly impactful strategy employed by the workshop organisers.

Figure 29: CAN Practice Capacitation through training

Figure 29: CAN Practice Capacitation through training

In particular it was impressive to see how ingrained the practices were conducted by both local community support and technical support. There seems to be something in the way the Philippines alliance work that goes beyond technical support and enters into new cultural and social dimensions of such work.

Figure 30: : CAN Practice - Strategic grass roots work

Figure 30: : CAN Practice – Strategic grass roots work

Personally, it was amazing to be in the presence of so many like-minded professionals who shared the values of community driven processes and were skilled in facilitative design processes.

Figure 31: CAN Practice in action

Figure 31: CAN Practice in action

This experience further cemented my personal motivation in developing critical co-productive design skills for me and other South African socio-technical spatial designers through community driven development projects.

Alliance and Community Architects Network plan inclusive cities in Philippines

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN, SDI No Comments

By Andiswa Meke (on behalf of CORC)

From 16-23 June 2015, the SA SDI Alliance joined community designers and architects for the third regional workshop of the Community Architects Network (CAN) in Metro Manila, Philippines. The Alliance team consisted of 3 FEDUP and ISN community members who are involved in managing community construction as well as two of CORC’s community architects. The workshop was hosted by CAN’s Philippine Alliance organisations of HPFI (Homeless People’s Federation Philippines Inc.), TAMPEI (technical Assistance Movemnet for People and Environment Inc.) and PACSII (Philippine Action for Community-led Shelter Initiatives, Inc.),


The theme of the 2015 workshop was “Together we CAN! People Planning for future inclusive cities”, emphasizing that strong partnership can yield excellent achievements. There was an estimate of one hundred attendees from different countries (representatives from public institutions, academia, CBOs and NGOs). The workshop spanned eight days and involved several activities: getting to know the Philippine context, sharing various country experiences updates on approaches and experiences of community architecture, reflection sessions and exhibits.

The group split to do community fieldwork in two locations in Metro Manila, the heritage site Intramuros and Muntinlupa City. The SA SDI Alliance members had the honor to work on more than two groups and with different communities. The Alliance sent five members to attend with the aim of exposing them to the programme and gaining knowledge to apply in South African community upgrading. The alliance looked to build and strengthen partnerships and lobby potential stakeholders.

CAN 13

CAN Background

CAN is a regional network of community architects that focuses on improving the living conditions of poor communities in Asian countries through community-based projects under the Coalition of Community Action Program (ACCA) regarding people housing, city-wide upgrading and recovery from disaster . CAN has opened opportunities for interested young professionals, academic institutes NGOs, CBO`s to come and engage with design skills to support communities in finding solutions to their own needs.


In 2013, a workshop of the same nature took place under the theme “People CAN make change and progress”, where communities were introduced to bringing about change through acquiring tools, skills and information. Communities were taught different skills from mapping and savings to profiling. After the ten day workshop, the community members and architects came up with solutions that would push local government towards building avenues that would represent the people as well as a building plan that would be community driven and understood. The network strongly believes that the role of community architects is to build the capability of people through participatory design and planning so that people themselves become the solution.

CAN 2015 workshop: TOGETHER WE CAN

On the opening day, the host city Intramuros held a number of talks that gave an overview of Philippines informal settlements and introduced city-wide development approaches in Asian cities. The delegates were split into groups and sent to different cities around the Philippines. The purpose was for delegates to identify and resolve issues and share knowledge around the communities.

A public forum took place on the eighth day, where all groups presented their findings and suggestions and were given the opportunity to select the best plan for each community and share their experiences surrounding their visit.

CAN 53

CAN 45

Challenges for the re-blocking group in informal settlement Sitio Pagkakaisa, Manila

  • Community members who don’t want re-blocking.
  • Critical challenge was the materials the houses were built in, which would not be easy to remove. In some informal settlements people have already secured land tenure with their subsidy money and their savings, they now fear that they will be unable to build houses once the re-blocking takes place

Challenges for the Intramuros, Manila

  • Finding a solution to better the high density of the settlements
  • The most challenging part was designing an upgrading plan that would address the needs and embrace the heritage of the Intramorous communities
  • Issue of land tenure and people living in private land deemed as a major challenge in upgrading –related processes.

CAN 33

Learning points

  • A community’s knowledge of its settlement is essential for drafting development plans and interacting with government officials about pressing issues in informal settlements. The community seemed informed of the development plan and where they are lacking in terms of services.
  • The partnership between local officials and the community is vital. It is kept strong to an extent that the municipality is willing to communicate and engage with communities regarding housing and informal settlement upgrading.
  • When community leaders have a good relationship with community members, they make informed decision together.
  • Savings is the pillar of creating communal consistency in the informal settlement
  • SA SDI Alliance members learnt how to engage with problem solving in the context of a different country, how to use existing SDI tools in a completely different setting and an approach to building communities with a strong heritage value who showcase this in their planning.
SA SDI Alliance Team

SA SDI Alliance Team

Outcomes of the exchange

  • Intramuros: Suggestions for sustainable and participatory options for informal settlements in Intramuros heritage site, in context of its revitalization plan.
  • Muntinlupa: Suggestions for holistic solutions for informal settlements located in high risk zones with insecurity of tenure
  • CAN delegates managed to advocacy for interaction between Muntinlupa City and its Barangays.
  • New CAN attendees were exposed to the practical implementation of SDI rituals
  • CAN delegates gained membership of the CAN

Building the Siphumelele WaSH facility / Innovation Centre in Langrug, Stellenbosch

By CORC, FEDUP, ISN No Comments

By Aditya Kumar and Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)

Zwelitsha is a section of Langrug informal settlement, located on the rocky ground of a mountain slope that overlooks the lush valleys and nearby town of Franschoek in Stellenbosch Municipality. Zwelitsha’s residents make up 604 people who reside in 318 structures. Langrug as a whole is home to 4700 people who live in 2118 structures. While Langrug’s other sections have access to water and sanitation facilities – including the Langrug Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) facility – Zwelitsha’s steep incline and rocky terrain have made it extremely difficult to build water and sanitation points. To this end, Zwelitsha currently has only one tap and no toilets.

Zwelitsha community members developing plans for the Siphumelele WaSH facility

Zwelitsha community members developing plans for the Siphumelele WaSH facility

Yet this situation is about to change, as community members began work on the foundations of the Siphumelele WaSH Facility and Innovation Centre last week in partnership with the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP), Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Touching the Earth Lightly (TEL), Sculpt the Future Foundation, Stellenbosch Municipality, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Enviro Loo (a waterless sanitation provider).

Site of Siphumelele WaSH facility in Zwelitsha section of Langrug informal settlement

Site of Siphumelele WaSH facility in Zwelitsha section of Langrug informal settlement

Building on Experience: Learning from the Langrug WaSH facility

Based on the monitoring, evaluation and learning around the existing WaSH facility (read more here) in Langrug, Zwelitsha’s residents initiated a discussion about the possibility of a second WaSH facility. They approached ISN and CORC, WPI and Stellenbosch Municipality, all of whom had partnered with the community in building the existing WaSH facility in 2011.

Learning from the existing WaSH facility in Langrug

Learning from the existing WaSH facility in Langrug

The discussion related to the outcomes of a sample survey that was conducted over 12 days in July and August 2013. This survey looked at the benefits of data collection, the various uses of the existing WaSH facility (economic and small enterprise, health and food security, educational, organisational meeting point) and its upkeep and maintenance.

More specifically the outcomes of the survey of the Langrug WaSH facility included:

  • The collection of inception data for Siphumelele WaSH facility
  • Current data collection for usage at both WaSH facilities from July 2014
  • Increased use of the Langrug facility by crèches in Langrug. (An estimated 40 children served per day at the facility around issues related to basic hygiene)
  • A fully functioning post-office hosted in the Langrug WaSH facility, based on previously collected enumeration (socio-demographic) data
  • Support for HIV / AIDS awareness in Langrug WaSH facility
  • Potential for small businesses selling health and hygiene products in Langrug facility
  • Increased food security through the greening of the existing facility in partnership with Touching the Earth Lightly
  • Langrug WaSH facility as a space for youth education, workshops and meetings
  • Dramatic increase in usage of Langrug facility due to consistent cleanliness and ancillary functions within the facility
  • Comparatively low maintenance and upkeep of Langrug facility
  • Success in preventing vandalism
  • Significantly, the community expressed a higher degree of ownership in relation to the Langrug WaSH facility as it was community designed, built and maintained

The challenges that emerged around the facility enhanced the monitoring, evaluation and learning around the delivery and maintenance of services, and assisted in conceptualising the Siphumelele WaSH facility.

Some of these challenges and learning points related to:

  • The low usage of communal showers
  • The slow inception of the hair salon

Building the Concept: Co-Designing the Siphumelele WaSH facility

Given the cost of maintenance and operations, the community and partners involved explored the idea of a livelihood-linked wash facility where a portion of the facility would generate revenue (through a kiosk, crèche, health and educational programme) to reduce the burden on municipal funds for maintenance. Given the community’s experience of struggling for a space of safety and dignity, the Zwelitsha design and construction team named the wash facility “Siphumelele” – “We have achieved it”.

From March to April 2014 the community, together with TEL, began co-designing the facility. The designs include toilets for men and women, a wash area and a kiosk on the ground floor. The second floor will contain a crèche and soup kitchen that will be managed by the community. After conducting a survey with Zwelitsha’s families about amenities to be included in the facility, community leaders chose to exclude showers due to their infrequent use in the Langrug WaSH facility. The community also chose to make use of Enviro Loo toilets after they visited Enviro Loo in November 2013 and received detailed explanations on how the toilets are maintained and operated. The Enviro Loo is a waterless toilet system that provides a safe, non-polluting, cost-effective solution to sanitation.

Co-designing with Touching the Earth Lightly

Co-designing with Touching the Earth Lightly


Co-designing the WaSH facility

Model of Siphumelele WaSH facility

Model of Siphumelele WaSH facility

Building the Team: Community-led Implementation

Apart from the partners already mentioned, the community has put together different teams to lead the implementation process. These include a leadership committee, a savings group and an Informal Settlement Upgrading Team (ISUT). This team is led by 8 women and includes a Community Liaison Officer, a storekeeper and a project manager who spearhead the construction process. After an exchange to a savings scheme linked to the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP), the community set up their own savings group in July 2014 so as to manage finances to maintain and operate Siphumelele WaSH facility.

Building a voice of the urban poor in Langrug

The foundations for both WaSH facilities were laid when Stellenbosch Municipality signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the community and ISN / CORC in 2011. Since this date Langrug’s community leaders have been developing a formal relationship with the Municipality and are making a strong case for how urban poor communities successfully organise themselves to lead their own upgrading processes, and how co-design and co-planning is a step towards a more tangible ‘inclusive city’.

(Photographs: Stephen Lamb, TEL)

Phase 1 of construction

Phase 1 of construction

The construction team

The construction team

Durban and Port Elizabeth Leaders on Sanitation Exchange

By CORC, iKhayalami, ISN, SDI No Comments

By Stefanie Holzwarth and Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)

Over the past years, the communities of Midrand in Port Elizabeth and Havelock in Durban have been upgrading their settlements, step by step. Last week’s exchange (8-11 July 2014) – in which community leaders visited Cape Town settlements – formed the next step in activating solutions to their specific needs for water and sanitation upgrading.

Site visit in Kuku Town

Site visit in Kuku Town


Midrand and Havelock

Midrand is located on municipal land but is not yet listed on the municipality’s database and therefore experiences great difficulty in accessing services. The community consistently experiences severe flooding. Havelock, on the other hand, is built on privately owned land and has been earmarked for “interim services” by eThekwini Municipality, indicating a willingness to deliver basic services in the short term and habitation in the long term. It is built against a hill with high shack densities that have led to shack fires, flooding and torrents of water flushes in the rainy seasons. Read more background on Havelock and Midrand.

The exchange

During the four-day exchange about ten community leaders visited five settlements in and around Cape Town. The exchange was linked to the SHARE Program (Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity) linked to Shack Dwellers International (SDI). Read more about SHARE here. It was facilitated by the Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and iKhayalami. It centrally focussed on how communities can use sanitation as a tool for upgrading and mobilisation, particularly in response to ever present and severe flooding.

Midrand community leaders, for example, spent time investigating the most suitable and relevant options for sanitation upgrading in their settlement:

  • Communal toilets and wash facility at the edge of the settlement (ablution blocks) without re-blocking
  • Sanitation and wash facility in the centre of the settlement with partial re-blocking
  • Individual sanitation facilities in courtyard (one-on-one sanitation) with settlement wide re-blocking

These would all require engagement with local government institutions.

Havelock’s central challenge is drainage. The settlement has already engaged with local government about constructing a sanitation unit as well as providing more sanitation units in the centre of the settlement. This would coincide with the communities’ already existing plans to re-block its settlement. Midrand and Havelock’s leaders therefore visited upgrading sites that provided an example of different options available to them.


Example of sanitation in a community-run Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) facility

One-on-One Sanitation in Kuku Town

The visitors spent the first day in Kuku Town where the community recently completed re-blocking with individual sanitation per upgraded structure. They were particularly interested in how Kuku Town managed to re-block without having to relocate people to other areas. Other questions focused on why the community chose individual toilets. Kuku Town’s leaders explained that

“single toilets are manageable because the owner is responsible for their own toilet and because there are no conflicts within the community with regards to hygiene.”

The leaders also reflected on Kuku Town’s successes and challenges throughout planning and implementation. The visitors learned how Kuku Town approached the municipality for support in terms of infrastructure services. Both Midrand and Havelock were impressed by the Council´s successful involvement in providing water and sanitation.

6. After reblocking 3

Sanitation and water services per upgraded structure in Kuku Town

Sanitation facility in Langrug, Stellenbosch & BM Section, Khayelitsha

In Langrug, Franschoek. the visitors saw an example of upgrading that included relocating 16 families, the construction of a second access road and grey-water and drainage channels, and a community designed, multi-purpose Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Facility. The visit offered insight into the WaSH facility, the drainage project and the local playground. The subsequent discussion facilitated an exciting learning environment with questions about the maintenance of the WaSH facility and funding. They also discovered the opportunity of hot water provision via solar heating systems in summer. The afternoon centred on projects in BM section, Khayelitsha. Its similarity (due to an uneven slope) to Havelock made it an ideal site for the exchange and delivered an essential input for its visitors.


Interior view of Langrug’s WaSH facility



Courtyard in BM section

Shared Sanitation in Mtshini Wam & ongoing re-blocking in Flamingo

The visit to Mshini Wam provided valuable lessons for the visitors – particularly in the field of funding and engaging the local authority. The visitors took special interest in understanding how Mtshini Wam managed to convince some residents to share toilets on a cluster basis while others had single toilets. The challenges relating to communal toilets were thoroughly discussed.

“The main idea was to have single toilets but due to the number of shacks and the limited space, the plan was diverted in order to accommodate communal toilets. The maintenance and cleaning of the toilets depends on the cluster groups.”

The visitors concluded their site visits in Flamingo Crescent, an ongoing re-blocking project. During a walkabout the visitors observed how shacks were broken down, how ground works were installed and how the new structures were erected.

Site visit in Flamingo during re-blocking

Site visit in Flamingo during re-blocking

Midrand community discusses the way forward

On the last day, Midrand leaders and iKhayalami discussed the sanitation options available to the community and the future steps each would imply. Community leaders agreed that re-blocking with one-on-one services would be the most realistic and feasible option.

“The ablution block won´t work for us because there is lots of friction. No one wants to wait for a long time when using the facility. Community blocks won´t work because some of the people are not responsible. They leave it without taking care.” (Community Leader, Midrand)

Midrand’s leaders agreed to start saving to upgrade their structures instead of solely blocking out. They hoped to convince the municipality to come on board. Re-blocking would be conducted in phases – identifying clusters for incremental re-blocking.

One major challenge in Midrand is the lack of space. Part of the settlement land is still in private hands – which causes major tenure insecurity. Together with iKhayalami the leaders discussed various solutions. While the community leaders resolved their questions, the next step is to share these with the rest of their communities when they return.

The exchange not only offered a learning space but also enabled leaders to grow their ability in community-driven upgrading,

“I have learned a lot by being a community leader and by being part of this exchange. It has built up my confidence and my professional experience. I was a very shy person before – now I can stand up and work for our development goals.” (Midrand community leader)

Midrand Consultation

Andy Bolnick (iKhayalami) discusses sanitation options with Midrand community leaders

“We Build Ourselves” – FEDUP Permaculture Exchange 2014

By CORC, FEDUP, uTshani Fund No Comments

By Nozuko Fulani (on behalf of FEDUP)*

We are Siyazakha Savings Group. We are a group of 26 members and first started to meet in 2010 in Siyahlala informal settlement in Philippi, Cape Town, where I live. We decided to form the savings group when we got introduced to the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP). It was during a time that we were stuck on private land and did not know how to start organising ourselves. The savings group was a good way for us to improve conditions for ourselves and for our settlement. We chose the name ‘Siyazakha’ because it means ‘to build ourselves’. The name was my idea – it reminds us that we are the only ones who can build our families and ourselves. This is why we save.


Visiting permaculture gardens at Makhaza Day Care Centre


Nozuko Fulani

Over the years we have been saving towards different things. Some savings are long term and others are short term. This winter, for example, we are saving for paraffin heaters. Every member is going to save R150 from which we want to buy 3 heaters every month. We use long-term savings for things like school uniforms and groceries. This is a strong support because we don’t have to worry about taking loans. At the moment we have 15 active members and many new members joining, especially older mamas who are the most energetic.

As a savings group we also have a permaculture garden in my yard. I helped to develop this garden after I became a permaculture trainer in 2013 through uTshani Fund and FEDUP. At this time FEDUP and uTshani Fund introduced Project Permaculture as a new income generation and skills programme into the Alliance. Project Permaculture taught us the skills we need to grow fruit and vegetables. By growing our own food and reselling it, the permaculture gardens help us to make sure that we have enough food and can even make an income.  Many gardens are in crèches and day care centres. (Read this blog for more background on Project Permaculture.)


Mama Darkie from Makhaza hosts the first day of the exchange


Clearing the Grass


Preparing the Soil

Three of us from Siyazakha savings group decided to do a permaculture exchange at Masizame savings group in Makhaza (Cape Town) from 24-26 May 2014. We chose Masizame savings group because we heard that many members were no longer active.  Mama Jim, Thembiso and I went around door-to-door and managed to collect 5 women from Masizame savings group for the exchange.

On the first day we explained that permaculture is about using all available materials and that there is no need to use chemicals or to buy anything. Permaculture believes that before you start with the garden you must design it and check up on things like rainfall and wind direction. Permaculture also uses the idea of mixing the vegetables we plant. This means that we plant onions and garlic next to spinach – because these plants chase away insects. It is also important to alternate the seeds between plants that grow above and below the ground.

On day two we went straight to the vegetable gardens at Makhaza Day Care Centre. As we were gardening I showed the women how to prepare the soil by using old grass called mulch and layering it with water and old food. This makes the soil fertile. We also cleaned some vegetable beds and replanted seedlings. We learnt by using what we can see and touch.

On the last day the women said that they were very excited because permaculture gardening is a method that they know from home. Through the permaculture exchange they could see how alive a savings group can be. If you see that something is happening and that a group is active, it is very motivating. The ladies were so excited that they collected some money to buy spinach, cabbage and herb seedlings for their own garden. They decided that now they wanted to meet as a savings group every Tuesday to catch up on the meetings they had missed.

*Photos taken by Nozuko Fulani, blog compiled by Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)


Day Care Centre in Makhaza