In order to ensure that community members assume ownership of their own development and project, the involvement of the community from the onset is key. Hence, community participation should be undertaken within the context of a structured agreement between the municipality and the community.

Facilitating Community Participation

International best practice has proved that one of the factors contributing towards the successful upgrading of informal settlements is the role of the community, targeted by the development intervention, will play in the process. It is of the utmost importance that the community is involved in all aspects of the settlement upgrading process.

First and foremost, fragile community survival networks which are the hallmark of poor communities must be preserved to ensure the future sustainability of the community and the settlement. This can be achieved by enhancing the capacity of the community to actively participate in all aspects of the planning and development of the settlement.

Secondly, the community has deep routed knowledge of its development needs and preferences. This knowledge must be harnessed to ensure that a township design and services standards as well as the housing solutions and the economic and social facilities opted for, are targeted at satisfying the actual needs and preferences.

The community must be assisted and encouraged to achieve the required level of competency for meaningful and realistic participation in all aspects of their development.

To ensure that the objectives of the community participation are achieved, the UISP programme has accordingly been designed to facilitate extensive community capacitation to achieve the intended participation.

Community Based Participatory Planning (CBPP):

Community Based Participatory planning is an urban planning paradigm that emphasizes involving the entire community in the strategic and management processes of urban planning; or, community-level planning processes, urban or rural. It is considered as part of community development. Through this process, marginalized groups have an opportunity to participate in the planning process of the project.


In addition, a stakeholder communication and management plan for ongoing relationship with beneficiaries and community groups have been developed.

The communication management plan developed for the project entails a collaborative structure whereby all major stakeholders in the project are involved at different levels within the overall project. The verified beneficiaries in the 28+ informal settlements have been captured. A Beneficiary Liaison Committee (BLC) has been elected in each settlement area and from the BLCs, certain representatives have been elected to form an Informal Settlement Executive Task Team. Representatives of the Informal Settlement Executive Task Team also sit on the Steering Committee Sub-committees that report back to the Project Steering Committee. Various professionals are involved in the implementation planning of the project.

The community based participatory planning and management structure of the project is illustrated in the image below:

For more information on any CBPP or community facilitation aspects, contact Anne Timms – Community Development Specialist, anne.timms@zutari.com


Deepening of the Community Capacity Building Interventions to enhance quality of life and active citizenship:
The following supplementary/complementary aspects are being focussed on with the assistance from an NGO (Development Action Group: DAG) engaged by the WCDoHS to assist the municipality:

  • Community Capacity Building Interventions (focus on strategic institutional arrangements)
  • Skills Transfer Interventions (focus on participatory upgrading)
  • Sustainable Livelihoods Interventions

For more information on DAG, visit their website: