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.
The Iminyela & Mabuthweni sanitation initiative that followed the profiles is a classic example. Below is a summary of some of the lessons from the experiences;
- Documenting slums opens up space for possible responses
- When slums are documented, awareness is built around the challenges and more fundamentally priorities
- Interventions that are anchored on agreements like MOUs generate trust amongst the partners
- Agreements like MOUs can be useful tools through which resources can be mobilised and leveraged