Asivikelane Campaign

In March 2020 the International Budget Partnership South Africa (IBP South Africa) and its civil society partner organisations launched the Asivikelane Initiative. This initiative gives a voice to informal settlement residents in South Africa’s major cities who face severe basic service shortages.

Through this campaign, DAG has worked with residents across 108 informal settlements in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Knysna. These residents have been provided with a platform to share their experiences of accessing basic services within their settlements. Informal settlement residents are equipped with tools to collect and submit data about their experiences accessing basic services. This data is then carefully compiled, cleaned, and analysed by DAG, culminating in an accessible and informative report. The report is then shared with all stakeholders, including the community, partners, local municipalities, and the media.

The campaign also works towards empowering informal settlement residents to advocate effectively for improvements in service delivery and maintenance. Asivikelane’s efforts concentrate on capacitating residents to hold municipal officials accountable for any shortcomings in service delivery. The Campaign’s key objective is to foster a collaborative approach between residents and municipal officials, working together to devise solutions that enhance the lives of informal settlement residents and facilitate participatory upgrading processes. Asivikelane empowers residents to take ownership of their services and infrastructure, while also holding their local authorities accountable for the provision and maintenance of these services.

Through the Asivikelane Campaign, DAG strives to create a transformative impact, empowering communities to take charge of their service delivery and actively participate in shaping a better future for themselves and their neighbourhoods.

Since 2021, through DAG’s work with the Asivikelane Campaign, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in residents’ capacity and agency when engaging with local government. Additionally, through Asivikelane’s work in 2022, we increasingly saw residents’ interventions leading to improved and dignified access to water, refuse and sanitation services.

What we do


DAG appoints Community Facilitators in informal settlements who identify residents willing to participate in the campaign. Every month residents are asked several questions, via an SMS/WhatsApp or telephonic survey. These questions unpack residents’ access to water, sanitation and refuse removal. Responding residents are encouraged to provide further insights into their experience with these services by sending photos or videos (The Asivikelane Campaign supports residents with mobile data to enable this). DAG captures the residents’ answers and analyses the results. Once analysed, the results are shared with relevant government departments to assist them with identifying where service delivery gaps and issues exist. All the results are published on a 1-page, easy-to-read document which is shared with Community Facilitators and on social media.

Data collection and published results
6.3 Asivikelane Community Capacity Building DAG - Mossel Bay-19

DAG undertakes regular capacity building training with the Community Facilitators to equip them to engage with their informal settlement residents, ward councillors and municipal officials.Community Facilitators are equipped to understand municipal processes such as the formulation of budgets and to recognise the importance of IDP processes. Specific training is also provided to residents to enable them to assess government expenditure against basic services provision and to verify these services using social auditing tools. Community Facilitators are supported to implement identified Community Initiatives in approved Community Action Plans that address a more Gender Responsive Approach to service delivery including the separation of shared sanitation services according to gender.

Community Capacity Building

The data collection component of the Asivikelane campaign provides an accurate and updated advocacy tool for residents to raise their concerns about the challenges they face as the end-users of the services offered by their local authority. The Asivikelane Campaign enables municipalities and residents to engage in structured platforms to identify basic service challenges and co-create solutions. Residents engage in monitoring process ranging from the identification of un-coordinated service provider interventions in Solid Waste efforts, to the dissemination of black bags and wheelie bins and the accessing of resources to compact muddy rural roads that hamper the access of service delivery vehicles. Asivikelane has also pioneered the inclusion of a Gender Responsive Procurement Transparency system in the provision of shared sanitation services in Knysna through submitting recommendations for revised specifications in new tenders.

Advocacy and Lobbying



In 2022, the Asivikelane Campaign grew from being active in 16 informal settlements at the start of the year, to 64 at the end of the year. 235 registered residents answered the Campaign’s survey on a monthly basis with 70% of these residents being female. There were 159 instances of improved services reported within 8 months.


In 2022, the Asivikelane Campaign progressed from being active in 3 settlements to being active in 18 informal settlements by year end. 145 registered respondents (with 77% being female) answered the monthly surveys. Within 8 months, the campaign recorded 64 instances of improved services.
Gender Responsive Procurement
In 2022, the campaign initiated a Gender Responsive Procurement pilot project. In Knysna, a Social Audit was undertaken to verify services in 17 informal settlements across 7 wards. The results of these audits informed recommendations for the amendment of specifications for a new Chemical Toilet tender which the Knysna Municipality has advertised.

Most Significant Change Story

Knysna communities pave the way for female-friendly sanitation

Asivikelane Community Facilitators Siphosethu Mamayo and Martie Tietties have carried out an initiative to advocate for separate toilets for males and females across three informal settlements – Nkandla, Soccer Valley, and Uitsig. Their efforts are helping to make sanitation safer for women and children.

Many of Knysna’s informal settlement residents rely on portable chemical toilets. These toilets are not cleaned regularly, are shared by multiple households, and are often left in an unhygienic condition by men, leaving female users vulnerable to contracting infections. Martie knows of several women who have contracted infections as a result of the toilets, placing an extra burden on women and clinics. Women and girls also worry about the risk of violent crimes when using toilets.

Communal toilets are hotspots for crime, especially when they are clustered and placed in isolated locations with no surveillance. Residents believe that gender-separated toilets, located closer to where they live, will make it safer for them. As a result of her Asivikelane training, Martie made contact with her ward councillor to request the provision of extra toilets. “When the new toilets arrived, I saw the opportunity to make it safer by having separate toilets for men and women,” Martie explained. In the past, the municipality installed toilets with little or no community consultation, resulting in toilets being placed in unsafe areas. This time around, residents decided. “We chose a visible area, a safe spot for the women’s toilet to be located,” said Martie. Siphosethu also met with her ward councillor to address this same issue. With his support, Siphosethu’s community now has clearly marked, gender-separated toilets.

A few weeks in, this female-friendly solution was already making a difference for all. “The residents were very happy and excited about this initiative, especially women because they feel safer” said Siphosethu. Several women have also said they no longer get infections. Having separate toilets has given them more privacy and improved their well-being. This community-led initiative is a small step in the right direction. It lays a foundation for further solutions to make sanitation in informal settlements safe and sustainable. Asivikelane will continue to advocate for female-friendly services across Knysna and the rest of South Africa to protect the health and safety of women and girls.

project Partners