Addressing the scale of the urban crisis requires multiple stakeholders to collaborate around a common vision of change. The partnership between CORC/ISN and Habitat for Humanity South Africa centrally recognises that if a vision of change is not community centred, it will most likely yield less impact. Moreover, development which is conceptualised and implemented by an external agency will most likely not be able to scale up and reach a city-wide impact. For this reason, the Alliance signed a partnership agreement with Habitat for Humanity South Africa around two key around: 1) collaboration around a to-be-determined schedule of projects, and 2) setting up a city-fund.
The time of saying that any organisation is better off doing things by themselves is over. We have to take hands and work together if we are going to change the way the City works and if we want communities to have a say in development that affects them. That is the kind of space that we share as organisations… This [Memorandum of Understanding] brings us together around different kind of approaches to settlement upgrading. It also creates a space for us to collaborate on setting up a city-fund, which will give communities access to funding for upgrading.
With these comments, Bunita Köhler, director of CORC, introduced today’s proceedings. Salisha Lauton, Programme Development Specialist of HfH, agreed and added that the organisations represented have an opportunity to collaborate around practical areas of intervention.
Since the shift in our strategic direction, we recognise a community-focused approach to housing development. We can not only build houses in formal [greenfields] areas, but we also need to look into ways of housing people in informal settlements. We are so fortunate to partner with well established organisations that have credibility in the communities. We embrace this opportunity to explore the opportunities this partnership will bring to the forefront. We are really excited to journey in this venture with you.
After the signing of the MoU, the partners caucused around future meetings. It was agreed that a stakeholder engagement meeting will be organised and each partner will present on key strategic programme areas, workplans, operations, and other dynamics. Vuyani Mnyango, who signed on behalf of the ISN, wrapped up the meeting.
This partnership has been coming since 2011, and we are happy to sign now. We think that this partnership will help all the partners and communities involved, instead of having a partnership signed where the communities do not benefit. At the end of the day, all the partnerships are meant for the people on the ground, not for people who have signed. We need to see results now, and we as the community leaders will take this forward and bring the communities on board.