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ISULabaNtu Phases 3 and 4 begin fieldwork activities

In May 2017, Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou and Dr Priti Parikh visited Durban to begin fieldwork for their own Phase 3 (Integrated Closed Loop Environmental Management Systems) and Phase 4 (Project Management and Skills Enhancement in Construction), respectively.

Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou (left) with Dr Priti Parikh (right)

The Phase leaders initially provided training to the community researchers from the three selected case studies (Namibia Stop 8, Piesang River and Havelock) on the tools and instruments used. These included a transect walk, community mapping, seasonal calendar and parallel focus group discussions. Thereafter, then the UK team, together with SA project members Dr Claudia Loggia, Prof Chris Buckley and Dr Alfred Odindo visited the three case studies.

The project team with the community researchers in Namibia Stop 8.

For Phase 4, Namibia Stop 8 and Piesang River posed the interesting feature of the collaborative building helping FEDUP delivering larger (circa 50sqm) homes against the municipal RDP ones (circa 40sqm), both connected to electricity and water main. This was achieved through sweat equity and group savings schemes. Differences were noted house sizes and building material (roof tiles, external plaster). Piesang River is a well-established settlement featuring also double-storey houses. However, these are currently less popular, as they are dark inside and pose difficulties for older or disabled members of the community.

For Phase 3 both communities raised interesting points about the extent and reliability of water supply, need for clarity on issues such as access routes and billing for water and energy services. Residents discussed the value they placed on activities such as vegetable farming both at individual and communal scale.

FEDUP house with extension in Namibia Stop 8.

PP leading Phase focus group discussion in Piesang River

In Havelock, the discussions focused on construction skills the local community would like to develop, as the upgrading has not yet taken place. Typical materials used for building the shacks include wood and canvas, mostly cover from trucks as it is relatively waterproof. The transect walk started from top side of Havelock where there are 6 (3 male and 3 female) ablution blocks built by the eThekwini municipality in April 2016. Issues of population increase, lack of electricity, access routes and mobility were discussed, together with the process of community enumeration as a powerful tool to demonstrate to the Municipality the community needs.

The project team with the community researchers in Havelock.

The Transect Walk highlighted solid waste management, flooding and water quality management challenges near the stream on-site. Phase 3 leads noted potential environmental and health risks due to poor waste disposal practices. Phase 3 focus group discussion also highlighted other environmental and social risks such as fire hazards due to cooking and electricity cables, lack of safety near ablution blocks and flood risks.

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