In 2013, the Alliance of Dialogue on Shelter under the Citywide Slum Profiling embarked on a process of documenting urban informality in the Bulawayo city. The four partners involved were the Bulawayo chapter of uMfelandawonye (Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation, Dialogue on Shelter, National University of Science and Technology (FOBE) and the Bulawayo City Council. Two MOUs were signed with both BCC and NUST and these outlined the areas of collaboration. As a result of these partnerships, 8 low-income neighbourhoods were profiled and mapped bringing out not only the deficits in urban services but also the huge opportunities upon which follow-up interventions could be anchored on. The Iminyela & Mabuthweni sanitation initiative that followed the profiles is a classic example. 

Read more: Citywide slum profiling - beyond documenting challenges

Over the past 14 years, The alliance of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and  its technical partner, Dialogue on Shelter has pioneered a multiplicity of alternative development options. These alternatives have been implemented in various towns and cities with a view of providing affordable options for the urban poor in their human settlements endeavors. The ten-year recession that Zimbabwe went through from 1998 - 2008, did not spare the urban poor in their struggle for secure tenure. In fact, the challenges for the urban poor mounted culminating with Operation Murambatsvina in the winter of 2005. In the latter, according to UNHabitat 700 000 urbanites were displaced due to nation-wide evictions which were launched by government in a bid to ‘clean’ the cities. On the other hand, local authorities were inundated with ballooning housing waiting lists with the official list for Harare reaching 500 000 in 2010. Meanwhile, restrictive urban legislation that are inconsistent with economic realities have even further undermined the capacity of already financially hamstrung city administrations.

Read more: Altering the urban development matrix

Unlike the previous global urban meetings, WUF6 will be remembered with a difference by the Zimbabweans. At this year’s World Urban Forum, the Mayor of Harare was awarded the UNHabitat Scroll of Honour - a prestigious global recognition given to an individual or organization for outstanding contribution to human settlements. The award is an acknowledgement of the role that the Mayor Masunda has played in the local government sphere in general. In particular, award recognizes the work done in partnership with alliance of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation and its technical partner Dialogue on Shelter under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Harare Slum Upgrading Project.

Read more: Harare Mayor Celebrates UNHabitat Award with Slum Dwellers

The recent Afri-Cities conference was held in Dakar, Senegal and took place under the theme - ‘Building Africa from its territories: which challenges for local governments’. About 5 000 delegates from African cities and beyond converged in the coastal  city of Dakar to deliberate issues confronting modern cities guided by the conference’s theme.

Read more: Beyond participation: SDI showcases partnership models at Afri-Cities Conference

ZW Office Contacts

Dialogue on Shelter for the Homeless in Zimbabwe Trust
Physical Address: 13 Harvey Brown, Milton Park
Harare, Zimbabwe

Telephone: (+263) 4 790935/(+263) 4 2600612-3
Fax: (+263)4 790935

SDI Offices Contacts

Slum Dwellers International (SDI)
Physical Address: 1st Floor, Campground Centre, Cnr. Surrey & Raapenberg Roads, Mowbray, 7700
Cape Town, South Africa
Telephone: (+27) 21 689 9408
Fax: (+27) 21 689 3912

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