March 31, 2016

Kanaan C Studio, Community, and Students mapping informal settlement

 Date: 18-20 March 2016 
Students and Community members 
The planning studio is a platform that brings the residents of informal settlements and students from the University of Science and Technology (NUST) Town and Regional Planning department, shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia and Gobabis Municipality officials to work together in planning for the settlement; the process gives 
the students a practical experience in planning with the community.
Happy about collecting data
The students and community carried out a situational analysis as part of the studio. The Kanaan C planning studio follows the successful planning and design of the freedom square layout for Gobabis, for 2014-2015. Community, students, lecturer, and a Municipal official held a meeting to introduce the students to the community and have a discussion around the development needs of the community and completed a settlement profile through a focus group discussion. Activities carried out by the community are part of implementing participatory planning, community members were given the opportunity to point out their development needs and discuss the challenges they are faced with within the settlement and propose solutions. Community members also stressed that there are too many meetings taking place and discussions around development, yet no change is happening in the settlement. This exercise is the first step to getting improvements in the settlement, as we first have to combine the information and plan accordingly, the community was reminded during the discussions.

Overview of settlement boundaries 
        Development needs of Kanaan C
1.     One of the development priorities pointed out by the community was the need for toilets, community member emphasised the importance of access to toilets and informed the meeting of the dangers they are faced with, “people use the bush, it is too risky for women and old people in the settlement, and it is unhygienic.” Community members further shared their views on the need of more public water taps, they pointed out that currently there is only one tap used in the whole settlement, and this is not sufficient. A community member narrated how some people are forced to get water from the open water source at the edge of the settlement , that is not fit for human consumption, “the place is dirty and smelly, it’s unsafe” a community member iterated.
         The Community indicated there is a need to increase the number of high mast lights within the settlement since the current lights do not give enough coverage for the whole settlement, most areas are too dark. Additionally, they elaborated on the need for a mobile clinic in the settlement, the elderly people with disability and women are finding it difficult to go to the clinic as it is faraway. Additionally some community members felt that it would be good if the settlement had a mobile police station, as police response takes more than an hour, “when we call for help it takes time for the police to come to the settlement, we do not feel safe” said a concerned community member. Proper roads were also identified as a need, due to the haphazard formation of the settlement, it is a challenge for emergency vehicles to drive in the settlement or find a way.
The field exercise started by viewing aerial images of the settlement for the community to show their boundaries and students to be familiarised before going out in the field. The students and community members were divided into three groups/teams, the first group was responsible for the environmental impact assessment, and the second team was responsible for the mapping the settlement boundary and the last group were tasked to carry out a structure count and mapping.
GPS group preparing  for field work
Environment impact assessment team
The team carried out an assessment on the availability of public taps, public toilets, dumping sites, and indigenous trees in and around the settlement. The team identified the open rainwater source that is used by some community members for washing and drinking. The community informed the meeting that the open water source is not a pleasant site and too risky to their children, which is a huge health concern. Some people in the settlement use the trees close to structures as toilets; this is a huge concern as the smell becomes unbearable...
Open water source used by the community 
          Boundary mapping team
This group was responsible for mapping of the settlement extent by walking around the settlement considering all the structure around it. The team used hand-held GPS devices to mark all the boundary points, which the community and students will use to draw the final settlement map.

           Structure mapping and counting team
Structure Numbering 
This group was responsible for taking the GPS points and numbering structures according to the blocks of which each structure is located. The settlement comprises of 18 blocks of which only nine of the blocks were mapped from Saturday to Sunday. The aerial images accessed were for 2011 and could not be used, as they did not reflect the situation on the ground.

The structure-counting group, counted all the structures in the entire settlement regardless of the use or the ownership. This was aimed at giving the community and students an idea of the total structures and population.
Community members identified fenced off areas in the settlement, which community representatives say, are for people:
·         Renting in the settlement but do not have enough building materials to put up their own structures
·         living out of town, who are reserving the land for themselves
·         Residents in the settlement , who already have structures but are keeping the plots open to rent
·         Residents in the town who already have formal houses , but have fenced off areas in the settlement for ownership
It was greed that the ones in need are those renting in the settlement and is currently saving up to build to build their structures, should be considered in the numbering.

2.4.        Feedback on total structure and challenges
Clarifying the challenges

Charisma Town and Regional Planning student  giving feedback from field activities 
During the fieldwork exercise, some challenges were encountered by the participants and were presented back by group representatives during a reflection of the day session in the Gobabis community hall. The reflection on the progress was an opportunity for the different teams to offer their views on challenges encountered in the settlement, during data collection, clarity on how data was to be collected and offer solutions of improving the process after the break fieldwork continued with teams having more clarity. The Challenges in the settlement after the data collection exercise:

  • Some of the temporary structures
    A place called home 

    Gardens in the settlement
    Structures are built in a disorderly manner
  •    ·         no popper roads in the settlement,  hence poor movements or access to some areas
  • ·         Too many churches and shebeens in the settlement.
  • ·         Dispersal of household units making it difficult to take points to the borders of the settlement (exact boundaries).
  • ·         No toilets
  • ·      only one community tap and it hardly opens
  • ·         un equal access to community facilities
  • ·         no demarcation of  clear boundaries per land use such as dumping site
  • ·         Unsanitary water source (open rainwater).

  • Reflection of the data
Student giving feedback
   Greg Andries student   “the day was awesome and it was a good practice I gained experience. The environment I witnessed in the field was very emotional one, because after 26 year of independence people are still suffering and living in unpleasant living conditions, I hope this can change for the better after the planning.” 
Advice for the Residents 
    Raymoth Mbeha said it was a good experience, what he was taught in class was clarified during the fieldwork. He encouraged the community members to work as one team and take the problems they are experiencing up with the town council officials responsible for development, if they sit idle and do not do anything, not much will change in the settlement.

    Ms Mbaeva a community member expressed her gratitude, she feels happy to understand and know that they are being recognized, as they are finally given numbers on their structures and planning for services, which they have been requesting from council for a long time. She therefore encouraged her fellow community members to work together for development of their settlement; she gave thanks to NUST, NHAG, and SDFN for helping them in the process and further urged them to continue showing their support.
Other community members also gave their gratitude’s, to students that helped and worked with them and they worked as if they were working for themselves. Community members said they are happy with the activities, which   finally shows where their settlement is going in terms of development. Community members want to change their lives so this fieldwork shows that there are directions for them. 
On Sunday the 20th of March, a new group was formed that was responsible for enumeration to help teach the community members how to carry out the enumeration for their settlement. The structure mapping and counting activity also continued.
The first phase of the studio was then closed off with the discussions on the way forward on the planning of the development for Kannan C with the Municipal Official and honourable councillor Nauadueb, representing the councillors.
Meme Inga , federation member from Windhoek , advising the community to work together

TheHonourable Councillor of Gobabis said he owes community members feedback; he further shared some of the progress that council have for the settlement. The Councillor informed the community members that the council was busy with upgrading the water reticulation network. The main pipeline will pump water for the whole Gobabis town and the distribution of water for the settlement and in the end, public toilets will also come and he further informed the community members that the Councillors would give feedback on their concerns to the community.

         Way forward
  • ·         Community members to complete the mapping, counting, and the numbering of all the structures in the settlement, and with the enumeration process.
  • ·         students  will be working on a draft proposal for a  settlement  layout  after all the data is collected and return to work with the community on the final layout to be proposed to the Town Council
  • ·         Community workshop involving all representatives for the informal and formal areas to look at an inclusive Citywide plan once all the concerns of the residents in Kanaan C have been responded to by the Gobabis Municipality.