In 2019, DAG partnered with the Provincial Department of Human Settlements to work in eleven informal settlements in the Western Cape to strengthen the capacity of local civic organisations and leaders to actively participate and lead their informal settlement upgrading projects. As a result of this partnership, DAG was selected as one of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in partnership with the Mossel Bay Municipality (MBM), informal settlement leaders and Aurecon to implement the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP).
1. How did this approach come about?
As part of implementing Interim Basic Services (IBS) for informal settlements in Mossel Bay, DAG supported the leaders and the community members to take more ownership for the cleaning and maintenance of the shared toilets. The janitorial programme took significant time to build consensus and involved several meetings with community residents to plan and discuss its rollout.
On a practical demonstration, we compared pictures of vandalised toilets and those that have been managed by community residents. Several allocation options were also discussed and ultimately it was decided to assign specific toilets among families and develop cleaning schedules for each toilet. Over the December/January holiday, not a single toilet was vandalised as the respective communities took ownership and responsibility for their IBS facilities as proof that the Janitorial strategy is working. While the interim basic services are a long way from the provision of more sustainable and permanent upgrading programmes, it is a step forward in building solidarity and strengthening community structures.
2. How was this funded and the approval process?
During the last few months, DAG developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Community Work Programme (CWP) in order to employ community members as registered CWP workers. This relationship bore fruits and CWP employed and inducted the first batch of 18 members from various settlements to clean identified IBS facilities in their own informal settlements. Two weeks subsequent, the lockdown put a halt to this process.
During the lockdown, DAG is working with the leaders utilising WhatsApp COVID-19 Response group. This has enabled the leaders to discuss the realities of the pandemic and raise awareness within their communities.
From these discussions, DAG supported the leaders and requested MBM and Aurecon to assist them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning materials to sanitise and keep the shared toilets clean. Working with the partners, DAG developed various costing models and a three-month budget, which MBM approved rapidly. Most items were procured and delivered within weeks of the lockdown.
3. How is the Management of the Janitorial fogging / Dis-infestation Services Undertaken?
MBM contracted a service provider to sanitise around all IBS in all 21 settlements. In addition, the MBM and DAG distributed the PPEs, cleaning materials and equipment as per DAG’s distribution matrix based on the number of households and toilets in each area. These are all replenished every two weeks. The supplies are handed over to the respective leaders who in turn distribute it to the various families who work on a schedule for cleaning the shared toilets.
The Mossel Bay communities are grateful and appreciative of this programme that is being implemented by MBM and DAG to help them combat the spread of COVID-19.
4. For how long will this process be rolled out?
The initial timeline is 3 months
5. What are the sustainability measures put in place post lockdown?
Post lockdown the Janitorial Programme (cleaning of the toilets) will continue with the CWP employed team members based in each settlement. It is hoped that the MBM can continue to supply cleaning material and equipment. This initiative is also leading towards a comprehensive informal settlement upgrading programme that will be implemented in the coming year.