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I am passionate about:
improving people's quality of life everywhere while also promoting environmental sustainability.
A little known fact about me is:
I once worked on a historical canal boat in various roles, one of which included being a mule walker which led to me getting kicked by a mule. It was a small kick so luckily it only left a small mule-shoe U-shaped bruise for a few weeks.
Show my name on the attendees list for events I am attending:
"treat others the way that you would want to be treated"
I recently completed a PhD program at the University of Cape Town researching urban sanitation. I am interested in developing a better understanding of how to effectively incorporate sustainability and equity considerations into international development.
My experiences outside of school have been varied ranging from internships with the National Park Service, to working with private and non-profit organizations in South Africa involved with environmental and social advocacy work and healthcare policy research.
Hi Taru, thanks for your responses. I figured that there probably was a lot more detail about the planning process that couldn't be described in the project description so I'm glad to hear that you've connected with some key stakeholders. I primarily did my research in eThekwini, Cape Town and Johannesburg municipality so I am not as familiar with Stellenbosch, but I would be happy to discuss some of the insights (and pitfalls) that I observed during my research. My Skype username is bluesoccerberry if you want to contact me there. (Note: I'm based in the US so there might be a bit of a time difference issue.)
Firstly, I agree with the previous commenters that this is an impressive submission, and there is definitely a need for a variety of affordable housing options. I have a few comments and questions.
I lived and conducted research in South Africa for ~ seven years in sanitation for informal settlements in Cape Town, and as I am sure you are well aware that community dynamics can be very volatile in addition to the complicated relationship between various community based organizations, government, etc.
COMMENTS 1) In terms of getting buy-in, I would recommend getting in touch with the Sustainability Institute who have worked in Enkanini for a number of years with the iShack project (http://www.ishackproject.co.za/) who could probably offer some insights and also might be a helpful local partner. Just as as a note, from my experience, there is an understandable wariness related to pilot projects in which they may unintentionally be left to feel like guinea pigs rather than active participants or co-designers. 2) Additionally, within a single settlement there can be multiple political/other social divisions so it is important to note that if only a small number of households can be served by the pilot, it is important to work very closely with the community (again there may be MULTIPLE communities within one settlement to consider) to select participants. 3) Getting in touch with the local municipality's housing department would also be highly recommended if you haven't already done so (sorry I know there is probably a lot on the back-end you couldn't post but just wanted to offer some advice I picked up during my research).
QUESTIONS 1) How do you plan to select participants for the pilot project 2) Who are your local partners? 3) Do you see local government as being the buyer for this product or individual community members? 4) Do you have an estimate on how much you think each unit would cost? (I know this is still early stages, but if it's going to be purchased by residents themselves or with assistance from government subsidies it would likely need to fall somewhere between the cost of the 'shacks' or government housing subsidy currently provided: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/service/all-you-need-know-about-housing-subsidies).
I hope this doesn't come across as overly negative, but I am familiar with the complex and fraught social/political dynamics in South Africa, especially in informal settlements so I just wanted to share some of my insights to hopefully help you avoid or work through potential pitfalls!
Great idea, and I love including children as co-designers. It's so easy to dismiss the abilities of children, but that is when I think we are the most creative as humans so what a powerful and great way to tap into that. Well done!