Community-led Upgrading for Self-Reliance in South Africa: Integrated Construction and Environmental Management Systems in Informal Settlements

Lead Research Organisation: University of Westminster
Department Name: School of Management

Abstract

This project focuses on 'informal settlements' in South Africa (SA), which are often characterised by the lack of basic services and infrastructure (eg safe sanitation, reliable electricity), poorly performing building materials (eg wood, cardboard, metal sheets, mud) without any building plans approved and often on illegally-accessed and hazardous land. The idea that the communities in informal settlements should be involved in improving their homes and neighbourhoods is often discussed in the international development community. However, the tools and processes needed to ensure a successful upgrade of environmental and construction management are poorly understood, and top-down policies used by central and local government in SA have not been successful to date. If communities can improve their neighbourhoods through participatory techniques, enhancing construction skills and using available materials, then there could be local, regional and national environmental, social and economic benefits. The research seeks to explore the underpinning barriers and enabling drivers for communities to upgrade their informal settlements in SA.

The central question for this research is how can participatory approaches be utilised in an environmental and construction management strategy to achieve self-reliance in informal settlements in Durban. This question will be investigated under six discrete project phases.
Phase 1: Local Context and Gap Analysis (UKZN)
-Examining factors that have helped communities in Durban upgrade their housing and communities, and barriers to upgrading.
Phase 2: Mapping Urban Transitions through Community Participation (Westminster)
Through a participatory action-research methodology, the project team will produce findings on bottom-up construction and environmental management in Namibia Stop 8 (NS8) with the involvement of the community living there. NS8 is a good practice case study in Inanda, Durban.
Phase 3: Integrated Closed-Loop Environmental Management Systems (UCL with UKZN)
- Exploring the potential of closed-loop systems where wastewater generated from NS8 can be reused for agriculture.
- Investigating the processes, partnership models and business models required to ensure resilient infrastructure is provided.
Phase 4: Skills Enhancement in Construction (Westminster)
- Mapping the skills developed and enhanced through the 'self-build' approach adopted in NS8.
- Transferring lessons from the UK Government Construction 2025 Strategy.
Phase 5: Developing and Testing an Integrated Collaborative Toolkit (Westminster and UKZN)
- Bringing together the key findings of individual Phases 1 to 4, this toolkit will take the form of a dynamic decision-making model, which will map potential ways for communities, businesses, and policymakers to collaborate. It will also identify the resources required, skills developed, and the business models created for mobilising private sector involvement and economic growth.
Phase 6: Project Management, Communication and Dissemination (Westminster with UKZN)
- Allocating around 10% of the total cost of grant to communicate and disseminate findings to a varied audience. The dissemination strategy will include: project website, branding, social media, dissemination material, and dissemination events (UK and SA).

The research findings are intended to impact on SA government policy and practice in the field of sustainable urban transitions, building on best practice from the UK. However, this does not negate the potential to transfer knowledge from SA back to the UK or elsewhere. The intended target audience includes local communities seeking to enhance their quality of life and well-being and local authorities enhancing their planning. The research outputs can be also utilised by international agencies (eg UN), policy-makers and practitioners working on upgrading programmes, plans and policies, particularly under the SDG post-2015 development agenda.

Planned Impact

Direct beneficiaries of the proposed research are South African (SA) local communities seeking to enhance their quality of life and local authorities enhancing their infrastructure and planning processes. The research outputs can be also utilised by international agencies (e.g. UN), policy-makers, implementers and practitioners working on upgrading programmes, plans and policies, particularly under the SDG post 2015 development agenda.

Impact on society and the environment: The proposed research has a significant societal impact by demonstrating how community-driven upgrading is a workable approach for integrated housing construction and environmental management services. Disseminating the project findings and applying the Collaborative Toolkit (Phase 5) in practice will impact on other informal settlements in Durban (e.g. Havelock project), SA and the wider Africa, thus building capacity for achieving self-reliance in resource-constraint contexts. During the project, local inhabitants will: a) become active co-investigators involved in the toolkit development and testing (Phase 5); b) be directly involved in community-level communication and dissemination activities (Phase 6); c) will have access to a workable toolkit. The Skills upgrade (Phase 4) will promote human capital and employability by improving technical, management and communication skills among community members, thus enhancing well-being. Associated sustainability benefits include environmental education and broader sustainability benefits (e.g. emissions reduction, re-use of water) related to resource efficiency in Phase 3.

Impact on economic growth: The toolkit (Phase 5) is a grassroots, frugal innovation that can be used to mobilise economic growth. If up-scaled and integrated into business models of organisations that have been / can be involved in the community upgrading process, this can have cumulative impacts to the socio-economic development of both Durban (regional) and SA (national). Direct beneficiaries include community organisations / enterprises (e.g. FEDUP) and the private sector, such as construction, wastewater or utility companies, particularly local SMEs. It will also have an impact on overcoming isolation in informal settlements and increasing possibilities for receiving support during institutional formalisation.

Impact on international development: This project will enhance the capacity of community organisations and other support NGOs working in community-led upgrading, such as the Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Slum Networking, 100 Resilient Cities, and Cities Alliance. These organisations provide horizontal knowledge-transfer across affiliated country-based organisations located in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This offers opportunity for synergies amplifying the impact in the practice of these organisations and the communities they work with. Likewise, knowledge exchange will offer opportunities to disseminate the toolkit and discuss its relevance to different urban contexts across an extended network of affiliated organisations and the channels, within which the researchers and international co-investigator operate.

Impact on policy: The findings will be of direct use to the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes the city of Durban as well as the SA Department of Housing and the Department of Human Settlements. As these bodies have predominantly used a top-down approach, this research will provide a practical guide to work effectively with communities as partners and beneficiaries, thus integrating the Collaborative Toolkit into existing planning policies, building regulations and housing codes.

To maximise the above direct impacts, around 10% of the total cost is allocated for a comprehensive dissemination strategy (Phase 6) including: project website; social media; dissemination material; and dissemination events in London and Durban (detailed in Pathways to impact).

Publications

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Title Dr Priti Parikh (UCL Co-I) Engineering Showoff - Stand up comedy on Sanitation Challenges in informal settlements 
Description Dr Priti Parikh who is a Co-I in ISULabaNtu from UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering was filmed at Engineering Showoff, part of the Science Showoff family of events. Engineering Showoff is paid for by the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of their Ingenious funding scheme 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Dr Priti Parikh performed stand-up comedy as part of @Engineering Showoff to raise awareness of sanitation challenges in informal settlements. There were about 60 members in the audience from the general public who wanted to learn more about engineering and what engineers do. This was an all female lineup (except 1) as part of the Royal Academy of Engineering funded drive to promote diversity in engineering. Proceeds from this event where donated to the charity Engineers Without Borders. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEXlHW1SEY0
 
Title Havelock Cardboard model and dissemination posters 
Description In May 2017, the project team carried on fieldwork activities in the Havelock community. Havelock is a wholly informal settlement, with approx. 400 residents living in approx. 200 shacks made of wood, plastic sheets, and corrugated zinc. The community are relatively well organised currently, though upgrading progress has been slow for a variety of reasons (including political). Successes so far have related to the provision and improvement of ablution blocks, a successful participatory enumeration, a profiling and re-blocking exercise in 2012, the establishment of collaborations with different organisations and municipality departments, and the on-going advocacy and negotiations for the inclusion of Havelock in current upgrading plans of the city. The project team worked with community researchers to carry out a participatory planning exercise (cardboard model making) to explore community dynamics, gender differences and attitudes to negotiation in the upgrading process. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact In May 2017, during a fieldwork debrief session, the community researchers discussed their views on preliminary research findings from Phase 2 activities and provided suggestions in terms of language and representation on how to better communicate the findings to the rest of their community. In September 2017, the project team implemented those suggestions provided into posters, which were then translated in isiZulu (with the help of uTshani Fund). In April 2018, the SA project team members and uTshani Fund partners will print those posters (mounted on durable material) so they are fed back to the community and get displayed on a permanent basis there, together with the cardboard model (which was left in Havelock since May 2017). 
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2017/06/14/Phase-2-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%98Mapping-urban-transitio...
 
Title ISULabaNtu: Havelock informal settlement documentary 
Description This documentary, created by the ISULabaNtu team demonstrating what life looks like in an informal settlement. It is narrated by Lindo Ntuli Thembelani (ISULabaNtu Community Researcher) who himself is a resident in Havelock. He adopts a transect walk approach where he takes the viewer around, showing his house and the different parts of the settlement. It quickly becomes clear what the key challenges are: small spaces, barely passable paths which become dangerous to walk on in the rain, illegal electrical connections which pose fire and electrocution risk, and an overall poor infrastructure and access to services. However, there are also opportunities, such as vegetable gardening and recycling which can provide viable livelihoods. Unfortunately, the settlement experience a devastating fire on December 19th, 2019, during which most of the houses as shown in this documentary perished. The settlement is currently being rebuilt by the community, with the help of the eThekwini municipality and local community organisations. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact This documentary has been one of the key outputs of the ISULabaNtu Resource Framework (a set of tools and resources for local communities, local authorities and practitioners working in the informal settlement upgrading space). It helped the project team community and disseminate the project findings to non-academic audiences (such as eThekwini municipality, third party organisations) and share the importance of adopting co-production strategies and action research based tools in participatory upgrading efforts. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBTRcxjuT1o
 
Title Project newsletters and logo 
Description The project team continues to disseminate newsletters, including the design of the ISULabaNtu logo used in all academic and non-academic communication and dissemination channels and activities. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact A distinctive and clear logo, together with regular newsletters have facilitated wider communication and dissemination of research activities as well as networking with other academic and non-academic (policy, industry) organisations in various settings (e.g. ESRC Urban Transformation Portfolio; 9th World Urban Forum, Habitat III conference; international conferences; etc). 
URL http://www.isulabantu.org/
 
Title Video featuring Phase 1 fieldwork activities 
Description A short video was prepared by Phase 1 colleagues (led by SA PI Dr Claudia Loggia at the University of KwaZulu-Natal) which documents the experience during focus groups and household interviews in the fieldwork case studies. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact This video was presented in the ISULabaNtu side event in Habitat III (17 October 2016) as a means to introduce the audience to the barriers and drivers for community-led upgrading in informal settlements in Durban (SA), from the perspectives of the local communities themselves. 
 
Description THE CHALLENGE: Across Africa, informal settlements struggle with poor housing, limited services and environmental hazards. But despite an increasing emphasis on participatory upgrading, communities are often constrained by lack of resources or technical knowledge to lead these processes, particularly when urban policies are designed and implemented without a clear understanding of local conditions.

THE ISULABANTU APPROACH - Significant new knowledge generated/ new or improved research methods and skills developed:
ISULabaNtu sought to shift from the dependency syndrome on municipalities as providers of subsidised housing and to support communities by strengthening their capacity to guide urban development themselves. With a focus on Durban Metropolitan Area, the project undertook data collection, capacity building and community mapping, in collaboration with residents, to feed into the creation of an integrated toolkit- a set of guidelines and recommendations drawn from lessons learnt over the course of the project. These activities not only built capacity of residents on community-led approaches to construction management and service provision, but also promoted the creation of partnerships with other stakeholders such as local businesses, policy makers and academics. Three case study sites were selected among the Durban Metropolitan area; namely: Havelock, Piesang River and Namibia Stop 8. In order to select the most appropriate case studies, interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders of the upgrading projects implemented in Durban were carried out and a set of criteria and related indicators were developed. A systematic analysis according to the criteria led to the final selection of three most suitable study sites.

ACTION RESEARCH AND CO-PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE: Participatory action research endeavours to bring new forms of knowledge - rooted within the everyday experiences of ordinary people - to bear on issues, such as: health, migration, race and ethnicity, community development and sustainability. It emphasises the importance of research with as opposed to research on. It typically has the objectives of prompting learning among the project participants and promoting direct change within chosen case studies. ISULabaNtu utilised this method and approached 'co-production of knowledge' as the process through which both residents in our case study areas, as well as community organisations, South African policy makers and practitioners, have had an active role in the research. Community members were trained to be co-investigators in the project and were instrumental in co-developing the tools, data collection, knowledge base and local dissemination, as well as community mobilisation. A series of data collection tools was co-created and customised for the context, including transect walks, focus group discussions, collaborative mapping and household interviews.
Community members benefited from access to the finalised toolkit and training to improve technical, management and communication skills which further enabled residents (particularly in the Havelock case study which is currently under incremental upgrading) to advocate for environmental improvements. As part of this effort, a range of community events were organised, such as in-field training sessions, called critical conversations to get feedback from the community and discuss important issues, participatory workshops, and also awareness raising events just before the beginning of fieldwork in a specific area.

Below are discussed the key findings (Phase 3 and Phase 4) through the lenses of particularly noteworthy new research networks/collaborations/partnerships, and increased research capability generated from training community researchers in specialist skills.

PHASE 3 - ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT:
As part of ISULabaNtu Phase 3, an assessment of the current environmental management systems in three settlements around Durban was conducted. Acceptability of environmentally friendly solutions for residents and linkages between sustainable environments with respect to appropriate sanitation technologies and improved livelihoods, job creation and food security were explored and tested. Finally, by focusing on the residents' experiences and perceptions of the provision of infrastructure and their realities, questions around how environmental management systems can be designed to be user-centric and sustainable have been addressed. In this brief, solid waste management (SWM), flooding, access to water and sanitation and electricity, as well as urban farming across three settlements (Havelock, Piesang River and Namibia Stop 8) in Durban, South Africa, are discussed.
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT: Despite weekly solid waste collections in the settlements, there are still challenges with SWM due to several factors such as lack of space for waste storage and collection services capacity which is often insufficient (i.e. not all waste gets collected). Whilst there are informal recycling activities (e.g. cardboard and plastic recycling), there have been issues with collection, appropriate recycling and segregation facilities. Transport of waste is also a challenge for those willing to engage in recycling activities. Additionally, solid waste dumped in the rivers/streams, especially during heavy rains, leads to increased flood risk due to blockages and overflowing. There are, however, opportunities to tackle SWM:
1) Forming cooperatives to formalise and systematise SWM;
2) Recycling stations;
3) Improved links between waste/recycling collectors and markets for livelihood facilitation for livelihood creation;
4) Initiatives such as the Shilanzimvelo Stream Project.
FLOODING: In all three settlements, houses closest to the rivers/streams are the most vulnerable to flooding. This is further made worse due to poor SWM. Heavy rains and overflowing streams do not only cause house damages, but they also pose health risks to the community and safety threats, particularly in settlements where electrical wiring is laid unsecured on the ground, which increases the risk of electrocution and fires.
Piesang River, Namibia Stop 8 and Havelock all experience heaviest rains between November and January. In Havelock, they frequently result in houses getting washed away. In Namibia Stop 8, the main road has been built higher than the houses and when the water overflows it floods the houses. Drying the houses can take days or weeks, meaning residents have to withstand dampness which can be detrimental to health, in addition to damaging furniture and flooring. Recommendations for tackling flooding and associated risks include hazard mapping in the settlements supported by early warning systems; informal channels of transmission (e.g. instant communication channels such as WhatsApp, SMS); adaptation strategies co-developed with communities for a better chance to be sustained over the long term instead of top-down flooding evacuation strategies.
ELECTRICITY: The above challenge of no lighting around Community Ablution Blocks(CAB) links to the issue of access to electricity. In Havelock, electrical connections are informal and currently not extended to the CABs. The erratic power supply also causes damage to appliances. Moreover, unsecured electrical wiring laid on the ground poses high risk of fires and electrocution. To avoid it, residents wear gumboots. Overall, the cables, challenging terrain (steep slope) and uneven footpaths make it hard to move around, especially In Piesang River (PR) and Namibia Stop 8 (NS8), electricity connections are legal and paid for by the residents, but tend to unreliable with frequent outages. Electricity is used to power various appliances (TVs, electric stoves, radios etc.). Solar geysers for water heating are installed on rooftops- a solution which could be applied in other similar settlements. Another opportunity, particularly in Havelock, could be small-scale solar panels for lighting in the community and during rains and at night especially near CABs.
WATER AND SANITATION: There are several challenges with access to water sanitation and those differ between Havelock (an informal settlement) and NS8 andPiesang River(townships). In the latter two, where access to both is provided, there is a lack of clarity on the pricing of services, resulting in confusion, complaints and mistrust in in the provider. At times when water supply is erratic, water tankers are provided for residents to stock up water but this is a challenge for households which have flush toilets as they either cannot use them or use them with a high risk of clogging. In Havelock, whilst there is water supply (through communal taps) and CCABs, there is no access to hot water, no cleaning products and toilet paper. CABs also lack appropriate lighting. Currently, there are only skylights but no light bulbs to ensure a lit up, safe environment at night. Residents are willing to pay for toilets in houses as they see them as more convenient and safer. Both the safety and cleanliness of the CABs should be addressed, and individual household toilets should be considered in the future, if/where feasible.
URBAN AGRICULTURE: In all three settlements, there is a strong interest in fruit and vegetable farming from older women who have pre-existing farming skills. However, challenges in implementing and sustaining urban farming activities remain.
Among them availability of land, sufficiency of water supply, lack of seeds and necessary training. To address water scarcity, support for greywater reuse for farming using pragmatic low-tech solutions (such as perforated pipes, watering plants at roots, low-tech water filtration systems built from plastic pipes, drip irrigation, or vertical farming) could be applied, thus reducing pathways to infection. There are also opportunities to set up more community-led cooperatives, provide water and seeds, and training, which could include facilitation of cross-learning among skilled women in the community and other interested residents.

PHASE 4 PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND SKILLS ENHANCEMENT IN CONSTRUCTION
SELF-BUILDING 'BEYOND JUST HOUSING': In South Africa, around 50% of the population lives in urban centres, where more than 2,700 informal settlements exist. Reflections on past upgrading efforts in South Africa suggest that top-down policies have not been successful to date. By contrast, participatory techniques in the design and construction of housing have been used to enhance community empowerment and a sense of local ownership.
The ISULabaNtu project has been framed around the concept of sustainable bottom-up urban regeneration with the holistic view that informal settlement upgrading is not about physical housing per se but rather a socio-technical approach that delivers social capital, livelihood development, empowerment and skills to local residents
Self-help housing involves practices in which low-income groups resolve their housing needs mainly through their own labour and financial resources, topping up government subsidies. Self-help activities are interrelated with community self-reliance and are not new to South Africa, as since the 1950s incremental, step-by-step, self-building approach on serviced sites was considered the cheapest and most efficient solution to slum upgrading. Community participation derives from self-help activities and refers to grassroots planning processes where the local populations decide themselves about the future of their own settlement.
SELF-BUILD HOUSES IN NAMIBIA STOP 8: The housing built in Namibia Stop 8 (NS8) was a mixture of government-provided Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing and 96 houses built through the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP). uTshani Fund (South African SDI Alliance) provided the finance facilities to FEDUP who acted as community contractors and led the provision of self-build housing. The project used the participatory People's Housing Process model that is predicated on a community-driven participatory approach. FEDUP construction was slower but this collaborative approach delivered substantially larger (56sqm), better-designed and better-sized houses than those constructed under the government-driven RDP model (40sqm). FEDUP households developed a sense of ownership and control and invested in self-building through helping community contractors and builders. This made the construction process quicker and reduced labour costs. The construction method entailed delivery by community contractors and the establishment of Community Construction Management Teams (CCMTs), supervised by uTshani Fund and approved professional contractors. In terms of procurement, CCMTs and uTshani Fund compared three local hardware stores and chose the supplier based on a cost-benefit assessment of quality and cost. However, people that were offered RDP houses had little input on those discussions and the self-building process overall.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN PIESANG RIVER: Since the early 1990s, Piesang River has undergone a gradual process of formal development. Key criteria for the procurement strategy included price, quality, durability (in terms of water tightness), cost (affordability), and safety when visiting different hardware stores for a quote. The reason behind community-led building was to improve the living conditions in mud houses and issues with water shortage. Women in Piesang River are strongly empowered. They initiated group savings and were responsible for bookkeeping and treasury management. Group savings demonstrated to the government that Piesang River is an organised community. Subsidies were then received from the Government through uTshani Fund. In particular, uTshani Fund enabled FEDUP to support housing construction through a process of pre-financing (bridging finance) by making a loan to assist 'sweat equity' (time and labour) allowing beneficiaries to repay the loan at a later stage. Thereafter, the community undertook the actual housing construction. A Steering Committee was established dividing semi-skilled inhabitants into seven groups of four to ten members, each according to their specific skills, namely:
- technical (design and construction): bricklaying, foundation, plumbing;
- management: supporting labour, finance (bookkeeping), quantity surveying and costing;
- social facilitation: mobilisation, negotiation and communication around a 'shared' vision.
CAPACITY AND SKILLS ENHANCEMENT: The capacity of a community and the existing skills can be an enabler of upgrading processes just like the lack thereof can be a barrier. To ensure leadership in upgrading efforts, capacity building and skills enhancement of community members is critical and can determine the sustainability of such efforts. Piesang River demonstrates that women can actively participate in project management and the construction of the houses. For instance, women were trained on how to lay out the foundation of the houses. FEDUP brought professional (skilled) builders on-site to provide assistance and on-site training to the individual groups. The community was open to learn new skills (e.g. bricklaying) and this process facilitated formal skills transferring to the community. In contrast to Namibia Stop 8, FEDUP members in Piesang River engaged in training youth groups and managed to pass on the culture of savings to the next generation. In Namibia Stop 8, the community emphasised the need for training or hiring skilled workers for future upgrading projects, as the youth were not engaged in group savings post project completion.
PROCUREMENT:
Trade companies assisted the self-build construction in both Namibia Stop 8 and Piesang River. Cost and time of construction, together with the quality of used materials, are among the critical factors driving the success of and satisfaction with the upgrading process. The construction method and selection of building materials was similar in both case studies. FEDUP community leaders reported that criteria for the procurement strategy included price, quality, durability, cost (affordability), and safety when asking hardware stores for a quote. Formal building materials used were cement, sand, bricks, paint, wood, tiles, corrugated metal/zinc. There is also a correlation between the number of quotations for materials and services and the level of satisfaction with the final product: the higher the number of quotations received, the higher the satisfaction with the final cost and quality of work. The majority of participating households were satisfied with the housing upgrade, including house improvements and the establishment of a relationship with builders whom they could refer to in future construction, refurbishment or maintenance projects.
CHALLENGES AND LESSONS LEARNED: Households in both Piesang River and Namibia Stop 8 highlighted challenges and lessons learned in the process of self-upgrading. FEDUP households did not receive their title deeds which caused some issues when installing water meters. Piesang River features double storey buildings. However, their construction was not successful due to the need for additional reinforcing metal to support the structure, which increased total costs. A community member mentioned that accepting customs and culture in the upgrading process is key: He stated that "People prefer to live in their own houses and the two-storey construction caused issues with older and disabled people".
In terms of community engagement and participation, residents pointed out that it was challenging to carry on investing in group savings and labour when an individual house was completed. This lack of long-term engagement can have detrimental consequences to the overall process of settlement upgrading as community support diminishes and completing upgrading for the remaining households can prove challenging without it. Research under ISULabaNtu points towards the need to ensure that capacity building and skills enhancement is integrated into community-led processes for settlement upgrading as otherwise the sustainability of the achieved outcomes might be compromised due to the common lack of the necessary technical and management skills ahead of such participatory processes taking place. Long-term community engagement can further boost the chances of completing settlement upgrading successfully and ensure sustainability of the achieved results.
Exploitation Route ISULabaNtu advocates that the establishment of a trustful relationship between communities (informal settlements dwellers and community leaders) with other stakeholders involved in the upgrading process, such as municipality officials, ward councillors, project managers, NGOs and Community Development Organisations, is critical. At the start of the project, the team developed a Community Engagement Strategy, which included specific guidelines on how to engage with community groups, municipality officers, NGO officials, academic staff and students.
"Before [ISULabaNtu] there was no partnership with the municipality but now we signed an agreement with them- everything will be easy and success is in our hands, if we are united. I also thank you for the pictures and maps as they made a huge contribution to us because we usually have sub-regional meetings in this area and we invite other communities, so they will see that ISULabantu have made positive contributions to informal settlements." (Community Researcher, Havelock)
The developed strategy to reach to local communities and community based organisations consisted of six interrelated components:
1) Mapping key stakeholders' roles and responsibilities in order to clarify the common goal;
2) Co-designing strategies and solutions for informal settlement upgrading by merging scientific and indigeneous knowledge to co-produce solutions which are appropriate and successful (i.e. address the actual needs) for their end-users; this has been achieved by applying a set of action research tools ( Figure 1);
3) Establishing new partnerships beneficial for the project, e.g. partnership with Ethekwini Water and Sanitation, the Human Settlements Unit and with NGOs (such as uTshani Fund, Slum/Shack-dwellers International (SDI), etc.);
4) Assessing various stakeholders' (e.g. students, community members, policy makers, local administration representatives, NGOs, etc.) expectations so that strategies and solutions are well aligned;
5) Developing communication and dissemination strategies not only within the academic environment but also, and most importantly, within the involved communities by organising community participatory events to feed the findings back into the communities and providing ownership over the findings;
6) Following an established ethics protocol (agreed by all project collaborators and participants) at every stage of the process.

One important aspect of ISULabaNtu's approach was the training of Community Researchers (CRs) to equip them with the tools to collect data and engage with other community members themselves. CRs were not only co-investigators on the project, but were also responsible for liaising with the local leadership and mobilising community members. The project has identified a number of factors which can enhance community engagement, including effective communication, particularly translation to local languages; organisation of formal and informal social gatherings; an active involvement of youth and women.
Since August 2019, The findings of ISULabaNtu are already taken forward by eThekwini municipality (Human Settlements Unit, Water and Sanitation( and local communities (Havelock) that are currently into an incremental upgrading processes. Phase 5 delivered a resource framework with key resources and tools that map potential pathways of effective collaboration for participatory upgrading, thus reconciling:
• the key roles of involved stakeholders (e.g. local populations; community organisations, such as FEDUP and uTshani Fund; local authorities; the private sector; government; and international agencies) with
• the resources required and skills developed during these collaborative interaction, thus mobilising the environmental, social and economic viability of community organisations involve in community-led upgrading.
However, it is important to note that the level of a successful upgrading project is measured differently between local authorities and communities. For eThekwini municipality, it refers mainly to the successful delivery of a given number of housing structures. Empirical data from the two communities, instead, revealed that a successful project is about full ownership of the upgrading, social cohesion, livelihood development and tenure security, ultimately achieved by obtaining title deeds. This means that upgrading is not just housing delivery per se but the development of social fabric, such as access to job opportunities, health facilities, schools, and public transport.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.isulabantu.org
 
Description The findings seek to demonstrate the effectiveness of community-led, bottom-up upgrading of informal settlements to local and central government policymakers, and detail how to work effectively with communities as equal partners and beneficiaries. In particular, the project findings have had significant impacts on the following non-academic stakeholders: 1) LOCAL COMMUNITIES/ COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS: - Enhancing skills of local populations through community training and large community dissemination events: In this research, community members were not just objects of study but grassroots co-researchers or co-investigators involved in the data collection (fieldwork activities). In addition, community events have been organised in Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4 and Phase 5 (large dissemination activities in Durban and London) for community participants and the wider community (in the three case study). This has created a collaborative learning environment, where scientific knowledge is blended with the indigenous knowledge from grassroots co-researchers. The findings impacted on neighbourhood planning; housing (Reblocking, building materials); and the impact of community self-reliance and self-building on policy and planning. - Establishing close working relationships with community organisations: In the participatory, action-based research, a good working relationship was essential at all levels of community engagement; from powerful incumbents to the residents in the most difficult socio-economic circumstances. In order to ensure these relationships were in place, the project team worked successfully with a credible, local NGO (uTshani Fund, project partner under National Research Foundation, South Africa) with excellent working relationship and links in Namibia Stop 8 (NS8), Piesang River and Havelock (the selected case studies). Through uTshani Fund the project team was connected to the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), both under the Shack/ Slum Dwellers International (SDI) international network. This close relationship from the outset of the project established a solid foundation for the development of the resource framework (developed in 2019-20), allowing continuous feedback on the propose tools, methods and processes. 2) POLICYMAKERS AND PRACTITIONERS IN DURBAN (AND WIDER SOUTH AFRICA): The project team engaged formally with policymakers and practitioners at local (Durban) and National (South African) levels working in the informal settlement space. These include: - eThekwini municipality (Human Settlements Unit and Water and Sanitation Unit) in Durban, who became key external project collaborators particularly in the case study of Havelock, which is currently under incremental upgrading. ISULabaNtu acted as an intermediary to establish a trusful relationship between the community of Havelock and eThekwini municipality. - National Treasury (Cities Support Programme); and, - the South African Department of Human Settlements. The project team engaged with these stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, from fieldwork activities through to the development and launch of the collaborative resource framework (Phase 5), the validation and dissemination of the final project outputs both in Durban and London.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Design and implementation of consultation and participatory planning process and writing of report and recommendations that contributed to the granting of the Collective Land Title to the Afro-Colombian Community of Tierra Baja, in Cartagena, Colombia. The Land Title was granted by the National Land Agency, by resolution No. 369 on the 29th of November, 2016.
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact A collective land title is a specific land tenure system applicable to Afro-Colombian communities, which allows them to own their ancestral land as collective assets and allows them to develop their own ethno-development urban plans and regulations. Tierra Baja is only the 3rd Afro-Colombian informal settlement granted Collective Land Title in the Caribbean region of Colombia. As a result of the collective land tenure being achieved, the community will be entitled to infrastructure and service improvements by the District Municipality that were not possible before due to its informal, not-recognised condition, and will have access to dedicated funding channels for productive activities through the INCODER (Colombian Institute of Rural Development).
 
Description Election of Dr Claudia Loggia to the UKRI International Development Peer Review College
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL https://www.ukri.org/research/global-challenges-research-fund/ukri-international-development-peer-re...
 
Description Review of the - Analysis of the Human Settlements Programme and the Subsidy Instruments - paper under the South African Urbanisation Review
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Dr Claudia Loggia (SA PI and project partner) was selected by the South Africa National Treasury Cities Support Programme, in partnership with the SA HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) and MILE (Municipal Institute of Learning) of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Durban) as paper discussant/ respondent of the South African Urbanisation Review. The SA Urbanisation Review is sponsored by the World Bank and the Cities Support Programme and under this framework Dr Loggia responded to the paper entitled "Analysis of the Human Settlements Programme and the Subsidy Instruments", authored by David Gardner (consultant) and Nick Graham (Director, Palmer Development Group). The review involved the following aspects: 1) tracking the performance of government subsidised housing considering the impact this has had on subsidy beneficiaries; 2) understanding the role of finance, municipal investment, job creation, social capital, community development in enhancing this performance; and, 3) helping in developing policy recommendations to overcome identified barriers and improve the potential for housing asset performance.
 
Description The SA PI (Dr Claudia Loggia, Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal) has recently become a member of 100 Resilient Cities (RC) reference group (Durban) because of her involvement in the ISULabaNtu project. This is a multi-stakeholder group involving members from eThekwini municipality, NGOs and community-based organisations
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Dr Loggia has been the only representative from Academia in South Africa participating in the reference group. The objective has been work closely with the 100RC Team to consolidate and finalise the Resilience Building Option 1 - RBO1: 'Integrated informal settlements co-management' - outcomes, interventions and actions. The resilience strategy for the Durban metropolitan area was approved in August 2017. In consolidating the feedback from the conversations, the following key features have underpinned the Durban Resilience Strategy: 1) Addressing inequality, unemployment and crime; 2) Rebuilding the 'societal fabric' that allows standing stronger in the face of change: a society built on warmth and generosity; 3) Ensuring the provision of key services (water and housing); 4) Planning an economy that enhances human wellbeing, equality and ecological infrastructure; 5) Planning differently to incorporate ecosystems as key ecological infrastructure; 6) Securing water supply; 7) Enhancing transport infrastructure; 8) Energy infrastructure for a low-carbon future; 9) Preparing for climate change; 10) Brave and visionary leadership; 11) Building active and engaged citizens; 12) Building human resourcefulness and supporting existing creativity; 13) The important role of a stable and capacitated local government administration in leading key processes; 14) Promoting adaptive governance that incorporates critical reflection and learning into processes; 15) Strengthening partnerships between government, business and communities; 16) Building a political environment that facilitates Durban's ability to respond to change; 17) Facilitating 'platforms for conversation' to inspire new thinking and innovation; 18) The importance of good data in informing planning and decision-making; 19) Sound financial practices; 20) The need for catalytic and transformative interventions; 21) Rallying the city to action through communication forms that are simple and accessible. Monitoring and evaluation of those impacts will start taking place in Spring/ Summer 2018.
URL http://www.durban.gov.za/City_Services/development_planning_management/environmental_planning_climat...
 
Description Training to Dr Claudia Loggia (SA PI) and her research group at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact UK PI (Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou) with UK project team members have provided training for Dr Claudia Loggia (SA PI under NRF) and her research group involved in ISULabaNtu (group of academics, researchers, post-graduate and doctoral students) in the areas of: - Action Research and Participatory Design - Project Management - Procurement - Digital Construction (introduction to Building Information Management and Modelling as knowledge transfer and lessons learned from its implementation in the UK). The training material has been used to inform curriculum design in MSt programmes at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies. It has also strengthened academic intellect and research capabilities from SA colleagues and young career researchers involved in the research design activities of Phase 1.
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2017/03/14/Training-and-Capacity-Building-Workshops
 
Description Citizen-led Smart City Development in UK and Kazakhstan
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 05/2017
 
Description University of Westminster Sustainable Cities and Urban Environment Fund: To help Dr Georgiadou's team consolidate the findings from ISULabaNtu and apply for a large GCRF bid by July 2020
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SRO02361/8 
Organisation University of Westminster 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 07/2020
 
Title Development of a methodology to map insurgent spaces and informality 
Description Dr Loggia and Mr Viloshin Govender have been working on developing a methodology to map insurgent spaces and informality since 2017 and have already tested it in three case studies in Durban. The methodology combines drone imagery and collaborative mapping to reveal the real attributes of the settlements and to understand how they can be reinterpreted and adapted. The outcomes of this research allow for a more accurate (lived 4D) mapping of scenarios affecting cities today. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The outcomes of this research allow for a more accurate (lived 4D) mapping of scenarios affecting cities today. 
 
Title Participatory action research design for coproducing knowledge with local communities (3 informal settlements as fieldwork case studies in Durban metropolitan area) 
Description Phase 2 has set the foundation of a participatory research methodology that are currently used (2017-18) in Phases 3 and 4. This methodology focuses on: 1) GROUPS AND PROCESSES [savings, construction, project cycle]. This included interviews and focus groups with community groups and civil society organisations involved in the upgrading of the three selected case studies. Specific data collection tools utilised include: in-depth interviews / mapping the project-cycle; focus groups with Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and other organised groups; community interactive events: priority exercises, visual tools, city mapping. 2) HOUSEHOLD UPGRADING: These activities were undertaken with homeowners, using a variety of methods to facilitate a better articulation of their positive and negative experiences, particularly with regards to the quality of construction, spatial arrangements and affordability. These methods included in-depth interviews and recording of their everyday activities within the house through personal timelines. Particular data collection tools included: personal housing narratives and historical timelines using in-depth interviews and focus groups; mapping of use and post-occupancy transformation of the house; photo voice in conjunction with in-depth interviews or focus groups. 3) NEIGHBOURHOOD and CITY ISSUES: These activities engaged residents in a critical discussion of their neighbourhood upgrading and current situation, including the existence and/or condition of infrastructure, public spaces, street and corridors and the surroundings. Residents were also involved in discussions about their settlement and everyday life in relation to the city of Durban. Specific data collection tools utilised include: participatory / mind mapping exercises; photo-voice exercises; mapping city trajectories; community interactive events: priority exercises, visual tools, city mapping. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This dataset will provide the basis for data analysis in individual Phases 1 to 4. Most importantly, it provides key guidance for the co-production strategy, which will be implemented in Phases 3, 4 and 5. In Phase 5 (2018-20) of the research, the project team seeks to develop and test a novel Collaborative Toolkit bringing together the key findings of individual Phases 1 to 4. This toolkit will take the form of a dynamic decision-making model, which will map potential pathways of collaboration, thus reconciling: • the key roles of involved stakeholders (e.g. local populations; community organisations, such as FEDUP and uTshani Fund; local authorities; the private sector; government; and international agencies (predominantly Phases 1 and 2)); and • the resources required (procurement) and skills developed (through project management) during these collaborative interactions (Phase 4); and This validation process will offer opportunities for refining the toolkit itself (internal validity), if necessary, but also to account for different local contexts (external validity and reliability) when transferring findings to South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) and elswhere. 
 
Description Royal Society International Mobility Grant 
Organisation University of KwaZulu-Natal
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The mobility grant enabled Dr. Priti Parikh from UCL and Dr. Alfred Odindo and Prof. Chris Buckley from Pollution Research Group to assess the potential of decentralised systems in Durban. University of Kwa Zulu Natal have successfully implemented a wastewater treatment plant with the treated water being reused for agriculture. UCL team managed to visit the plant and assess challenges and opportunities for application to townships. This also led to the development of Work Phase 3 - Environmental Management Systems for this collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution University of Kwz Zulu Natal have invested in a prototype waste water treatment plant which resuses treated wastewater for agriculture. Dr. Odindo and team have contributed by sharing findings collected by their team leading to development of the ESRC-NRF proposal and in particular linking of waste water treatment and agricultural systems.
Impact Presentation by Dr. Parikh at the prestigious WISA conference in Durban for the paper titled 'Impact and multiplier effect of water and sanitation provision in informal settlements' in May 2016. This paper focusses on the socio-economic impact of water and sanitation services in informal settlements.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship - Dr MC Georgiadou (University of Westminster, London) with Dr C Loggia (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa) 
Organisation University of KwaZulu-Natal
Department School of Built Environment and Development Studies
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Members of the UK team (Dr MC Georgiadou, B Fagan-Watson, Dr I Nunez Ferrera, Dr P Parikh) have provided extensive training and capacity building for the South African (SA) Principal Investigator (under NRF) Dr Claudia Loggia and her research team at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. The topics covered were: - April 2016 (in London): Action Research Methods and Participatory Research Design (Dr I Nunez-Ferrera and B Fagan-Watson) - July 2016 (in London): Policy Evaluation and 'Smart' Regulation (Dr D. Greenwood - University of Westminster) - February 2017 (in Durban in parallel to ESRC fieldwork activities): Project Management, Procurement and Digital Construction (Dr MC Georgiadou) - June 2017 (in London): Cities, Communities and Homes: The Future of Urban Planning (Dr MC Georgiadou)
Collaborator Contribution The above training sessions were primarily focused on strengthening research excellence at Dr Loggia's research group. However, whilst in Durban the target audience also included local authority officials, NGOs and industry representatives working on informal settlements upgrading processes. A key outcome of the training workshops was that Dr Loggia was able to enhance intellectual input from her research group in Phase 1 of the ESRC ISULabaNtu project (which was led by them at the University of KwaZulu-Natal). In addition, the support and capacity building provided to key stakeholders from the Municipality, NGOs and the private sector enabled gathering of raw data for Phase 4 of ISULabaNtu which is the phase focusing on project management and skills enhancement in construction. In Durban, the training workshops were held at the University, which also provided opportunities for postgraduate and doctoral training. A number of students attended the session and got useful feedback on the final projects/ doctoral thesis with access to information and knowledge transfer from the UK.
Impact Attendance in four conferences: 1. Georgiadou, M.C. and Loggia C (2018) Construction Management and Skills Enhancement in Informal Settlement Upgrading in Durban, South Africa, The Good City: Urban Transformation, Comparison and Value, ESRC Urban Transformations Global Conference, University of Oxford, 18-20 April 2018. 2. Georgiadou, M.C. and Loggia C. (2017) Project Management and Skills Enhancement in Informal Settlement Upgrading in Durban, South Africa, AMPS, Architecture_MPS Conference, University of Derby, 22-23 June 2017. 3. Georgiadou, M.C. (2016) Building Information Modelling in UK construction projects: A state of the art review, Construction, Building and Real Estate Research (COBRA) conference by RICS, Toronto Canada. 4. Loggia, C. and Georgiadou, M.C. (2016) Community-led upgrading for self-reliance in informal settlements in South Africa: A review, Construction, Building and Real Estate Research (COBRA) conference by RICS, Toronto Canada. This is a multidisciplinary collaboration spanning from built environment (Architecture, Construction and Civil Engineering) disciplines to Urban Geography, Social and Political Sciences.
Start Year 2016
 
Company Name HEDON Household Energy Network 
Description HEDON Household Energy Network is an exempt charity and a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England under number 7477778. HEDON is a knowledge sharing and networking platform for sustainability-related solutions in developing countries. HEDON also publish a practitioners' journal entitled "Boiling Point". HEDON entered into a 5k agreement with the University of Westminster (February 2016) to undertake dissemination activities for ISULabaNtu, including advertising, networking, and publication in three (3) Boiling Point issues. These involved: a. To provide one full page of content and a full colour logo in one issue of Boiling Point for 2016, 2017, and 2018 and 20 copies per issue delivered to any one address. b. To represent the project at related sector events, including invite only events, where Boiling Point issues with project news will be readily available. c. To include relevant news and project updates in the HEDON monthly newsletter. This also includes representation in the HEDON 'Partner of the Month' section. d. To share and promote project news and online updates within the HEDON network, both on the HEDON website and on social media platforms. e. To provide the Principal Investigator with monthly reports on the activities outlined above. 
Impact HEDON has recently faced difficulties and asked the University of Westminser (March 2016) to cancel the agreement. The University have not made any payments to HEDON to date and the Contracts Team have already contacted the Research Council (email from Lauren Sullivan , Bid Support Manager to grantspostaward@rcuk.ac.uk on Monday 13 March 2016) to: 1) notify the Research Council about this imminent change, 2) ask for permission transfer the £5k 'within and between directly incurred costs', which is stated in the original ESRC Offer Letter to the University of Westminster (28 January 2016).
Website http://www.hedon.info/tiki-index.php
 
Description 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9) Side Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The ISULabaNtu team was selected to organise a side event (WUF9 Side Event n.3177126) at the United Nations World Urban Forum 9 (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur (7-13 February 2018). The event was entitled "Grassroots approaches in informal settlement upgrading in South Africa: the ISUlabaNtu Project, in Durban - Informal Settlements Upgrading Led by the Community". The event included a brief project overview together with an interactive panel discussion with three key speakers; namely: Faizal Seedat (eThekwini Municipality, Informal Settlements Unit), Rose Malokoane (South African Slum/Shack Dwellers International) and Emily Mohohlo (Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor). In addition, representatives from the National Department of Human Settlement attended the event and participated in the discussion. The event also attracted NGOs representatives and private organisations working on community-based projects. The project team received positive feedback on ISULabantu research findings, particularly with regards to the co-production methodology and action-research methods adopted. A key outcome of the discussion and recommendation was the to align ISULabaNtu Phase 5 (toolkit development) work with similar toolkits developed by the South African Human Settlement Department, in a collaborative manner. Future plans involve meeting with SA Human Settlement officers in March 2018 to discuss the way forward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://wuf9.org/programme/thematic-itineraries/slum-upgrading/
 
Description Disruptive community energy in South Africa and the United Kingdom 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The aim of the workshop was to get a conversation started between those interested in energy access and provision to informal settlement communities in South Africa, and those representing community-focused and off-grid energy solutions in the UK. It was part of a larger multi-year project on energy access in South African informal settlements and communities, and has involved South African and UK-based researchers. The participants were interested in thinking about disruption broadly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description ESRC funded project ISULabaNtu on Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ISULabaNtu held an interactive side event at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador on the 17th October 2016. Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which takes place every twenty years. The objectives were to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess accomplishments from the last twenty years, address poverty and identify and address new and emerging challenges.
Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou (Project PI) presented an overview of the research programme, including a short video showing the Durban context and our fieldwork so far, followed by a panel discussion with five high profile experts working on informal settlements upgrading in South Africa: Beryl Mphakathi (Head of Human Settlements in eThekwini municipality, Durban), Prof Marie Huchzermeyer (University of the Witwatersrand), Emily Mohohlo (SDI), Dr Graham Alabaster (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Urban Basic Services Branch), and Dr Zoleka Sokopo (South African National Department of Human Settlements). The discussion focused on critical questions affecting upgrading in informal settlement. It is essential to build trust with the communities, who should take ownership of the upgrading process. This should be reflected in the skills and capabilities that communities and local authorities need to develop further for effective community-led upgrading, including: 1) the development of effective interim tenure forms to enhance the occupational rights of local communities, 2) local administration and central accounting that incorporate community self-regulation and microfinancing schemes.
The project team were delighted with the attendance and discussion at the event, an important element of the work as an applied research project focusing on accurate and on-the-ground research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2016/10/19/Habitat-III-side-event-reaction
 
Description Engineering Showoff - Stand up comedy on Sanitation Challenges in informal settlements 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I performed stand-up comedy as part of @Engineering Showoff to raise awareness of sanitation challenges in informal settlements. There were about 60 members in the audience from the general public who wanted to learn more about engineering and what engineers do. This was an all female lineup (except 1) as part of the Royal Academy of Engineering funded drive to promote diversity in engineering. Proceeds from this event where donated to the charity Engineers Without Borders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEXlHW1SEY0
 
Description Guest speaker at the Newton Fund Global Challenges Research Funds (GCRF) Global Engagement Meeting in Kenya 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Claudia Loggia was invited as a guest speaker to share her experience with the Newton Fund in the Global Challenges Research Funds (GCRF) Global Engagement Meeting in Kenya (January 30-2nd February 2018). Her presentation was entitled "Newton Fund Project: The ISULabaNtu project in Durban, South Africa". The meeting was organised by the Research Councils UK (RCUK) to showcase opportunities available through GCRF, bringing together developing countries and UK researchers and to discuss opportunities for maximising the contribution of GCRF into policy and practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2018/02/19/GCRF-Global-Engagement-Meeting-in-Nairobi
 
Description ISULabaNtu Dissemination Event in Durban 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On November 27th-28th, ISULabaNtu held its (first round of) dissemination events, namely a multi stakeholder workshop at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and a community event in Havelock- an informal settlement in Durban North which the project team have been working with extensively in the last 4 years.
First day was attended by various stakeholders, including the eThekwini municipality (Human Settlements Unit), eThekwini Water and Sanitation, South African Slumdwellers International Alliance (SASDI) and Project Preparation Trust (PPT). Some presented current issues and approaches around informal settlement upgrading in the eThekwini municipality with a specific focus on incremental upgarding. ISULabaNtu team also presented the 5 phases of the project, the research findings and accomplishments to date, as well as plans going forward. A draft of the "Grassroots Approaches for Informal Settlement Upgrading. A Practical Guide for communities" was also launched, together with a video documentary entitled "Living in Havelock informal settlement".
A common message in all the presentations was the need to accept informality and work with it, instead of trying to eradicate it. There was a call to go beyond participation only and to promote deep facilitation- i.e. self-reliance and self-upgrading of the communities and by the communities in need of settlement upgrading. Meaningful participation, therefore, should be the goal. Moreover, strategic partnerships were hailed as critical to achieve that goal, as have been new, innovative solutions in regards to data collection, technical design and capacity building. Questions around access to water and sanitation, access to energy and the sustainability of urban agriculture in the context of the broader challenges of infrastructure provision and improvement were also discussed.
During roundtable discussions, when participants broke into smaller groups, they were asked to think of any research gaps they could identify in light of what the project has achieved, to provide input into future planning for the project's next steps, and to inform any pressing research questions that could be taken on by the project's team and/or other stakeholders involved in ISULabaNtu and beyond. They also shared feedback on the practical guide prepared by the Havelock community researchers and the UKZN project's team.
Solid waste management (SWM) was among the key themes seen as needing attention, including finding ways of more effective waste removal and more awareness raising and education on SWM and recycling. Opportunities for both recycling and upcycling were discussed by several roundtable groups and ideas were shared on how waste could be creatively used in the self-upgrading processes. Participants further stressed the importance of working with communities to build coping mechanisms for shocks such as flooding, fires, and other common hazards threatening many informal settlements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2019/11/27/ISULabaNtu-Dissemination-Event-in-Durban-Day-1
 
Description ISULabaNtu Dissemination Event in Havelock Community (Case Study) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact On 28 November 2019, the community researchers from Havelock informal settlement, with the support of the UKZN team and uTshani Fund, organised an event to discuss the ISULabaNtu progress with the wider community and brought together different stakeholders who have been a part of it, particularly UKZN, NGOs, and local partners. The ISULabaNtu team also showed the recently shot video documentary on Havelock, the production of which was facilitated and supported by the UKZN team and the community researchers. A draft practical guide for communities was shared with the wider community to gather further feedback to ensure most important aspects of ISU are captured. A key objective was to transfer the ownership of the guide to the community itself and to stimulate its use and share with other settlements. In fact, the Havelock settlement is currently under incremental upgrading and represents a good reference for the numerous informal settlements that have not started the process yet.
The residents opened up the event with a prayer, uniting everyone in contemplation. Grace was given through short speeches and through songs. It turned out to be a day filled with residents' performances and discussions around the needs of the settlement, as well as the progress that has been made since the start of the project. Key challenges faced by the community were also highlighted. They include, among others, lack of hot water provision in CABs, lack of lighting around the CABs, intermittent electricity provision and no efficient strategy on SWM which contributes to the challenges associated with poor housing conditions and difficulties of moving around on narrow, uneven foot paths.
The event closed with a shared meal prepared by the community and was followed by a closing prayer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2019/11/28/ISULabaNtu-Dissemination-Event-in-Havelock-Day-2
 
Description ISULabaNtu Final Dissemination Event in London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The University of Westminster led project ISULabaNtu, in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and University College London, hosted a final dissemination event at the Boardroom, Regent Street Campus on Friday 31 January to mark the release of the academic findings from the project. The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Research Foundation (South Africa) under the Newton Fund programme.
The dissemination event communicated key project findings to a (primarily) non-academic audience; namely, policy makers and practitioners working in the field of Urban Regeneration, Low Cost Housing, Environmental Management and Sustainability. The event included short keynote presentations, a panel discussion, a site visit to a London-based social housing development and an open discussion.

Across Africa, informal settlements often have a lack of resources and technical knowledge to improve their dwellings, and struggle with poor housing, limited services and environmental hazards. These communities are also facing intense pressures from rapid urbanisation and unstable political, social and economic constraints. The ISULabaNtu project adopted participatory action research methods to combine research with practice, supporting communities in the Durban metropolitan area and improving the infrastructure and housing of settlements that were deemed unsafe. The team meaningfully engaged communities to understand the barriers and drivers of community-led upgrading, focusing on environmental management and self-built housing construction. Working alongside residents from the settlements, the project undertook data collection, capacity-building and community mapping to create an integrated framework of resources.
The event was attended by 65 delegates, including South African external stakeholders and project collaborators from eThekwini municipality (Human Settlements Unit), eThekwini Water and Sanitation, South African, Shacks/ Slums Dwellers International Alliance (SASDI). The project team presented current issues and approaches around informal settlement upgrading in the eThekwini municipality with a specific focus on incremental upgrading. The booklet on "Grassroots Approaches for Informal Settlement Upgrading. A Practical Guide for Communities" was formally launched, together with a video documentary entitled "Living in Havelock informal settlement", which also informed the dissemination event and activities in Durban in November 2019.
A common message during the event was that informal settlement is not just technical provision of housing. Strategic partnerships between communities, community support organisations, local authorities and the private sector are critical to achieve innovative solutions that integrate self-building and housing construction with infrastructure delivery, environmental management systems, waste/ wastewater management and livelihood and community development.
Talking about the event, lead researcher Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou, Reader in Applied Management, said: "It is very exciting to see the journey of ISULabaNtu over the past four years. For us, meaningful community participation is key and it involves accepting informality and working with it, instead of finding ways to eradicate it. We have been working extensively with three communities in Durban and we hope to carry on our efforts through a next round of funding including the potential for implementation strategies in the incremental upgrading of Havelock case study".
Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou was recently awarded £10k under the University of Westminster Sustainable Cities and the Urban Environment Research Community. This will act as seed funding in collaboration with colleagues from University of Westminster Architecture, University College London and the University of KwaZulu-Natal to prepare for a large Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) application by July 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2020/02/07/ISULabaNtu-Final-Dissemination-Event-in-London
 
Description ISULabaNtu Final Dissemination Event in London_Press Coverage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 31st January 2020, the ISULabaNtu team hosted a final dissemination event communicating key project findings to a primarily non-academic audience, including policy makers working in the field of Urban Regeneration, Low Cost Housing, Environmental Management and Sustainability. The event included short keynote presentations, a panel discussion, a site visit to a London-based social housing development and an open discussion.
The event was attended by 65 delegates including South African external stakeholders and project collaborators from Ethekwini municipality (Human Settlements Unit), eThekwini Water and Sanitation and South African Shacks/Slums Dwellers International (SASDI) alliance.
The project team presented current issues and approaches around informal settlement upgrading in the eThinkwi municipality, with a specific focus on incremental upgrading. The booklet on "Grassroots approaches for Informal Settlement Upgrading: A Practical Guide for Communities" was also formally launched, paired with a video documentary entitled "Living in Havelock informal settlement", which informed the dissemination event and activities in Durban.
A common message during the event was that informal settlement is not just technical provision of housing. Strategic partnerships between communities, community support organisations, local authorities and the private sector are critical to achieving innovative solutions that integrate self-building and housing construction with infrastructure delivery, environmental management systems, waste/wastewater management and livelihood and community development.
Talking about the event in a University press interview, lead researcher Dr Maria Christina Georgiadou, Reader in Applied Management, said: "It is very exciting to see the journey of ISULabaNtu over the past four years. For us, meaningful community participation is key, and it involves accepting informality and working with it, instead of finding ways to eradicate it. We have been working extensively with three communities in Durban and we hope to carry on our efforts through a next round of funding including the potential implementation strategies in the incremental upgrading of Havelock case study."

Dr Georgiadou was recently awarded £10,000 under the University of Westminster Sustainable Cities and the Urban Environment Research Community. This funding will act as seed funding for a large Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) application by July 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.westminster.ac.uk/news/university-of-westminster-hosts-final-dissemination-event-for-the...
 
Description Integrating green infrastructure in dense cities of the global south - presentation at World Water Week Stockholm 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact • Diep, L. and Parikh, P., "Integrating green infrastructure in dense cities of the global south" at World Water Week conference for the session titled "Water, 'Ecosystems and Human Development', Stockholm, Sweden
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation at the Newton Fund Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Global Engagement Meeting (GEM) in Bogota 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In October 2017, Dr Claudia Loggia was invited to attend the GCRF GEM At the GCRF Global Engagement Meeting in Bogota. This was a two day workshop, including also a site visit. During the workshop, case study presentations were followed by breakout sessions where Dr Loggia had the opportunity to share ISULabaNtu findings and to discuss with other attendees the practicalities of international collaborations and the impact of cross-disciplinary projects in the areas of sustainability and urban development in the Global South.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.isulabantu.org/single-post/2017/10/18/GCRF-Global-Engagement-Meeting-in-Bogota
 
Description Presentation on the impact of water and sanitation provision in informal settlements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact • Parikh, P. "Impact and multiplier effect of water and sanitation provision in informal settlements", Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) Conference, May 2016, Durban.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Rethinking Sewers - World Water Week 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Invitation from World Bank to join and deliver a panel session jointly with World Bank, Programme Solidarite Eau and University of Leeds for the session titled 'Rethinking sewers' for World Water Week, Stockholm. This is the most influential event for those engaged in the Water Sector and attracts city leaders, practitioners and academics globally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Training of Community Researchers. These are approximately 18 people living in the selected three (3) fieldwork case studies of Phases 1 to 4 of the project; namely: Namibia Stop 8; Havelock and Piesang River informal settlements all based in Durban Metropolitan Area 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2016-17, Phases 1 and 2 organised community engagement events as part of training community researchers in the Namibia Stop 8 and and Havelock case studies. Some events took place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and others in the communities themselves. In 2017-18, Phases 3 and 4 organised community engagement events in the Namibia Stop 8, Havelock and Piesang River case studies. Again, some events took place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and others in the communities themselves. All events were organised together with uTshani Fund (NGO, project partner) engaging with the communities and sharing experiences and lessons learned from ISULabaNtu.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017