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UK and South Africa team visit case study sites

Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou and Dr Isis Nunez Ferrera from the University of Westminster were delighted to visit the South Africa project team and our case study sites in Durban this June. Alongside Dr Claudia Loggia, Judith Ojo-Aromokudu, Professor Oliver Mtapuri, Dr Sithembiso Myeni, Vincent Myeni, Ronald Ncube and Njabulo Zungu from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, they visited the three communities at Piesang River, Namibia Stop 8 and Havelock.

Piesang River: this photo gives a sense of the Piesang River community, and the building types in the area. This case study site will be used in the development of the ISULabantu toolkit.

Each of these three communities has been identified as an important case study for the project. They have all experienced informal settlement upgrading with strong community involvement, including participatory enumeration activities, savings groups, participatory design and planning workshops, as well as the consolidation of Community Construction Management Teams (CCMTs), among others. These examples of community involvement are key for the project's aim to improve understanding of barriers and drivers for community-led upgrading.

The visits were made with the objective of deepening the team’s (particularly the UK team) understanding of these communities and their experiences, and building familiarity with the key actors in each of the areas, and the local community itself. As sites for the project's fieldwork, a strong understanding of these communities prior to formal fieldwork in November is vital in maximising the quality of our research.

Piesang River: an optimistic and pro-community message

(Left) Namibia Stop 8: this shot gives a sense of the housing in this area in the northern outskirts of Durban. Community construction management teams (CCMTs) played a vital role in the upgrading of the settlement. This case study will be used in the development of the ISULabantu toolkit.

As well as visiting the sites, the team took part in a Youth Day event, open to members of all three communities, organised by project collaborator Jeff Thomas from the uTshani Fund (an organisation providing a credit mechanism for locals). The event was a fantastic chance for the team to get a sense of the community spirit in the area, and even involved one of the project team giving an exhibition of Honduran dancing!

Namibia Stop 8: The team discussing with members of the Community Construction Management Teams.

(Right) Namibia Stop 8: Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou (centre left), Dr Isis Nunez Ferrera (right), with Dr Claudia Loggia (left) and Judith Ojo-Aromokudu (centre right). The team took the opportunity to continue building their understanding of the communities, and plan future fieldwork.

Havelock is the third community case study. Located in the north of Durban’s suburbs, Havelock presents different living, housing and land tenure conditions as well as levels of community organisation. As a settlement that is currently undergoing negotiations for land tenure and that is undertaking participatory activities for incremental upgrading, it allows the project to build understanding of these key issues and test the toolkit in a ongoing process of community-led upgrading. Havelock will be part of not only the toolkit development but also the toolkit testing.

Right: a closer look at the housing conditions in Havelock. The age of the structures, and poor conditions under-foot are clear.

Havelock: With his local knowledge, collaborator Jeff Thomas from the uTshani Fund helped guide the team through three the sites.

#Durban #CaseStudies #PiesangRiver #Havelock #NamibiaStop8 #Exchangevisit #Communities

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