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close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
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View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsThe settlements situation
Open this folder and view contentsTraining case studies
Open this folder and view contentsWorking group discussions
View the documentA final note
View the documentList of participants


Proceedings of a Workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia, 28 September - 4 October 1981

edited by
Diana Lee Smith

published by
American Friends Service Committee
PO Box 50141 Lusaka, Zambia
Mazingira Institute
PO Box 14550 Nairobi, Kenya

Front Cover
Self-help construction at Mji wa Huruma, Nairobi
Photo: NCCK, Nairobi

Back Cover
Mathare Valley, Nairobi
Photo: HRDU, Nairobi

The contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the individuals and/or organisations represented at the Workshop. The Editor accepts full responsibility for the contents.

Africa: Workshop participants came from the ten countries shown In Eastern and Southern Africa,


During the final evaluation session of the first Workshop on training human settlements workers in Eastern and Southern Africa, some of the participants expressed their concern that they had not spent as much time as they should have discussing training. Despite seven days of intensive morning, afternoon and evening meetings, they had not completely covered the topic. Nevertheless, it was agreed that some remarkable things had been accomplished.

On a shoe-string budget, twenty-five people from ten countries managed in only one week to learn enough about each other's countries and their work to realize that they shared a common concern for solving settlements problems by helping people to help themselves. They started an information network to continue their discussions and to include other colleagues in the region. They studied and visited projects in Lusaka, and still managed to discuss training and design the format for this publication which outlines their deliberations.

A lot of support was required to bring this all about and it was generously offered in the same small-scale and collective way that the Workshop was conducted. Initial encouragement from CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas) helped bring the Workshop to fruition and special thanks are due to David Beer, David Sogge and John Saxby in this regard. CUSO also provided financial assistance and the logistic back-up of the Lusaka and Ottawa office staffs was greatly appreciated. Additional funds came from the limited budgets of OXFAM UK and OXFAM Canada, whose grant was matched by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). Travel funds were also provided by UNCHS-HABITAT and the Ministries of Housing in both Botswana and Sudan. After the Workshop, Mazingira Institute in Nairobi provided its facilities for editing the proceedings. Congratulations and thanks are also due to the participants themselves for the serious efforts which were put into their presentations and for their ready friendship and collegiality. I am sure they would especially want to single out those who took on organisational tasks during the meetings.

This publication is designed to be as thought-provoking as the Workshop itself was, and hopefully it will only be the first step towards more exchanges of information and experience.

Barry Pinsky, Workshop Coordinator, November 1981, Toronto.


For many of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the achievement of independence triggered an explosion of rural migration to urban areas. The attendant problems of rapid urbanisation and lack of rural development remain the dominant forces shaping settlements patterns in the Region. Responses to these problems have more recently focused on people-oriented approaches: self-help housing and shantytown upgrading in the cities or village cooperatives in the rural areas. Although each country may be in a different situation and have different policies, the wealth of experience accumulated was thought to be worth sharing.

In 1980, a small group of people working on settlement issues in Southern Africa began planning a Workshop to bring together some of their colleagues in the region. Their idea was to compare notes and to benefit from each other's experience in training human settlements workers. With initial assistance and encouragement from a Canadian NGO, CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas), a lengthy process of correspondence and fundraising was initiated. The resulting Workshop which was held in Lusaka from 28 September to 4 October 1981 is reported in this publication.

The Workshop considered the training of "front-line" workers in the belief that training people who can help communities to help themselves leads to the most sensitive and worthwhile results. What distinguished the participants from those at so many other international gatherings was their level of operation and practicality. The meeting was an informal sharing of experience between people who, for example, train builders, run trade schools, teach school leavers, and train, assist or mobilise the residents of low-income areas. They came from Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Observers from the UN Commission for Namibia also participated. Some of the participants came from NGO's while others were from central or local government agencies in the various countries. The list of participants and their organisations is given at the back of this booklet.

The workshop

Zambia proved to be an ideal location for the meeting not only because of its centrality and good communications with all the other countries, but also because Lusaka's history of settlement improvement projects provided impressive evidence of what can be done when self-help is an integral part of the process. For seven days, the participants lived and worked together just outside Lusaka, making use of the conference facilities run by the Zambian Council for Social Development, the coordinating body for non-governmental organizations in Zambia. All of the days and most of the evenings were filled with presentations of training materials, working group discussions or descriptions of the settlements situation in the countries. The open-air conference room and simple accommodation provided the setting for intensive work, as well as opportunities for slide shows, films and the chance to get to know each other informally.

True to the principles of self-help and group work that formed the Workshop content, the tasks of managing the proceedings were shared by all participants, who performed the tasks of recording and chairing sessions, keeping a library and organizing projectors, meals and transport. On the first day, each member of the group identified the concerns that he or she wanted to be addressed by the Workshop, and the topics of the working group sessions were selected based on these concerns. The sessions were modified following a self-evaluation mid-way through the week and, somehow, time was found to discuss and visit settlements project sites in Lusaka.


By the end of the week, the value of regional sharing of experience was very evident to all the Workshop participants who identified as useful follow-up:

1. Writing up and publishing the proceedings.
2. Further Workshops on other topics.
3. Networking of people and information.

This publication is the outcome of discussions on the first item. The participants decided on the type of document and contributions were later sought to help with producing it. Two participants followed up by doing the editing and organizing printing, and thanks are due to CUSO Canada and UNCHS-HABITAT who jointly funded the publication.

The seven days were too short to share all the information we brought with us, both documents and ideas, and although the meeting successfully kept its focus on training, it was clear that there were numerous other topics the participants had plenty to say about. Furthermore, participants realized there were other people in other countries who would benefit and, have much to contribute to similar, discussions; human settlement workers in the Region constitute a large and active group of people.

There is scope for other similar gatherings, including smaller sub-regional meetings which could provide a forum for intensive discussions of specific problems (such as local building materials production independent of South Africa) or discussions in another language (for example Portuguese). No specific topics, locations or participants were suggested although it was considered important to stress that. future Workshops should have the following characteristics which made this one a success:

1. Focus on the practical issues of self-help.
2. Concern with work at the community level.
3. Focus on workers with secondary or perhaps primary school background.
4. Participants to include field workers and community leaders.
5. Participation by a mix of NGO and government organizations.
6. Informality and associated modest costs.

Finally, the idea of starting an information sharing network emerged and was refined during the Workshop. By the end of the week Settlements Information Network Africa (SINA) had been launched, each participant being a founder member and undertaking to activate more members in their own or other countries. The initiating members hope that SINA will increase the exchange of information in the Region by putting more people in touch with each other and with existing sources of information. For example, there are a number of institutions already which have information on self-help settlements projects, including:

Centre for Housing Studies, ARDHI, Tanzania
Housing Research and Development Unit, Nairobi
Centre for African Studies, University of Zambia
LEHCO-OP Lesotho
National Housing Directorate, Maputo
UNCHS-HABITAT Regional Film Library

The Network should put community development and other human settlements workers in various organizations and countries in the Region in touch with these sources and with each other. Although the first members are from a few countries in the East and Southern parts of Africa, it is expected that the Network will grow to include others. It will also be a way for people to promote and conduct future Workshops.

It is intended to collect a list of documents, audiovisual materials and other types of information available and circulate it to Network members. The first newsletter will consist of a -list of the membership as well as some items of news, requests and suggestions. The Network entry form is reprinted here and can be detached from the centre page and used to join SINA. This publication will also be sent free to the first Network members thanks to UN assistance. Further copies can be obtained by writing in and paying a small sum for postage,

The proceedings

It has not been possible to print all the papers presented at the Workshop in full here. Those interested in learning more about specific topics might contact participants through the Settlements Information Network. Their names and addresses are printed at the end of this volume. This will also help initiate and activate the Network.

These proceedings are divided into three sections:
1. The Settlements Situation Brief reports from each participating delegation provide some basic background to people who have no experience or very limited information about each country. They are not intended to be complete and some may disagree with their emphasis.

2. Training Case Studies These concrete examples of training case studies were very stimulating for the Workshop participants. They complement the settlements reports and illustrate some of the general issues that were raised about training.

3. Working Group Discussions The Working Groups raised more questions than it was possible to answer and sometimes each session began to sound like the theme for a future workshop. Nevertheless, these discussions can be a guide for workshops on training in people's own countries and workplaces. They might also assist those initiating and conducting training programs.

As the Workshop indicated, there is a need for ongoing discussion both about training methods and also about settlements issues in Southern and Eastern Africa. The delegates hoped that these proceedings might be read and used with the same spirit of exchange and questioning that characterized their own meeting. Any comments or criticisms can be directed to them and to all of our colleagues through the Settlements information Network.


About 80% of the seven million people in Angola live in rural areas where they farm, fish or keep animals. Most of the villages scattered throughout the 1,250,000 km² of Angolan territory lack basic services and public facilities. Timber latching and mud plaster (pau e pique) or mud block walls with thatched roofs are the commonest forms of construction. Villages near major cities increasingly use industrially produced materials, such as concrete blocks and sheet metal roofing, despite their scarcity.

It is estimated that the population of the capital, Luanda, doubled. between 1973 and 1979, and that about 70% are squatters. The war, and the lack of rural employment, goods and services, are some of the major reasons for this immense movement of people. The squatter settlements cover huge unplanned areas which are densely populated and without services.

Government effort to provide conventional, fully-serviced and finished housing units have not been sufficient to meet the rapidly increasing demand. The regulations for self-help housing (auto construcao) were approved in November 1980 and the government is now attempting to organise and mobilise self-help housing; simultaneous action in rural and urban areas is necessary to improve human settlements and reduce the rate of migration to cities.

The Development Workshop, an international group of architects, planners and researchers, is presently working in Angola with the National Directorate of Urbanism and Building and the Ministry of Construction on a program of 'construcao popular' in the rural and urban sectors. The training of builders in the use of improved locally available materials forms a major part of a proposal to the Ministry of Construction. The group has carried out training programs in Iran and Niger and it is proposed to use a similar method in Angola, although the details of the program are modified to suit local conditions. The proposal and the earlier work in Iran and Niger form the subject of one of the Training Case Studies.


Large in land area but with a population of only 800,000, Botswana discovered mineral wealth after independence, and this contributed to urban migration. At first the government assumed that the migrants could afford modern housing, so there was no provision for housing the really poor in urban areas. Consequently people started to construct poor quality mud and thatched huts in unplanned, unserviced areas in all the Botswana towns Lobatse, Gaborone, Francistown and Selebi-Phikwe. The need for providing these poor urban squatter settlements with services was apparent by the early 70s. The Government then started the self-help housing programme which assists the urban poor by providing basic, minimal standards (water, roads, plot rationalisation, land tenure, (etc.) at an affordable cost. The programme is administered by the Town Councils which all have a department called the Self-Help Housing Agency or SHHA. The SHHA has full responsibility for implementing government and Council housing policies for all self-help areas.

Each SHHA is headed by a Principal Housing Officer who supervises Community Development, Administration and Finance, and Technical Sections, and reports to the Town Clerk. Issues raised through local councillors are only conveyed to the SHHA via the Mayor and Town Clerk. This system, based on the British model of local government, avoids political interference in administration. However, Councillors, who may represent one of several political parties, also participate in the Ward Development Associations, bodies elected to deal wish' urban issues.

Settlement improvement projects implemented by the SHHA's have been funded by World Bank, USAID, and the Canadian International Development Agency through the Government Ministries of Finance and Local Government and Lands. Staff of the SHHA's have on-the job training, assisted by a Training Manual, Procedural Manual, and Seminars. The Training Manual helps staff members to identify the need for seminars and how to organize them. Junior staff such as Community Development Workers and Technical Assistants are also trained on the job. They begin with three months' field experience after only two or three days' orientation. After that they return to base for evaluation and further training, which is continuous. Plotholder education in Botswana uses a variety of techniques which provide material for one of the Training Case Studies.


One-third of the population of the capital and industrial centre, Nairobi, live in illegal squatter settlements, and there are similar problems in other urban centres in the country, whose total population is about 15 million. The urban growth rate is about 6 per cent per annum. Attempts to deal with the low-income housing problem through self-help date from the 1970s when the site and service and core house schemes funded by USAID, World Bank and EEC 'were developed. Previous attempts by the National Housing Corporation and local authorities catered only to middle-income earners. Self-help housing is handled by Housing Development Departments (HDDs) in the 3 largest urban areas: Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, coordinated thorough the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing and the Ministries of Local Government and Finance. The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing sponsors a Housing Research and Development Unit jointly with the University; this provides substantive research and has a library on self-help housing. Monitoring and evaluation research is also carried out separately through central government. Each Housing Development Department has a committee of elected councillors; committees are coordinated by the Mayor on the political side, while Departments are coordinated by the Town Clerk on the administrative side in each local authority, as in the British model of local government. In the low income areas, Village Development Committees are elected but have no direct relation to local authorities. In site and service areas, some people form small building groups based on ethnic affiliation, proximity, or common work place.

Upgrading is all based on sewers rather than pit latrines, and HDD's are still not able to cater to the poorest urban inhabitants. Non-governmental organizations, particularly National Christian Council of Kenya, have limited programs for this group. Half of the plots on a site and service scheme have been totally sublet to a slightly higher income group while illegal settlements continue to grow; large proportions of these are specifically built for rental. There are no specific training programmes for workers on self-help projects, as they normally have training in technical, community development or financial skills from various institutions. However on-the-job training is provided, and there are plans to establish a new training institution for this purpose. The Training Case Studies from Kenya concern development of leadership skills in the self-help builders' groups, and training of residents and school leavers in data collection and analysis.


A high, landlocked country surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, Lesotho has a small population and an economy which is largely dependent on migrant labour. The capital, Maseru, has a population of 65,000 although this is expected to double in ten years. All land is vested in the King and until recently was allocated by committees chaired by chiefs. The 1979 Land Act provides for 99-year leaseholds which may be mortgaged and inherited. Self-help housing projects have been run since 1975 by the Lower Income Housing Company (LEHCO-OP) a non-profit State-owned company which acts as a technical service organization and whose operations are overseen by the Ministry of Interior. There is no local government, though a Local Government Act is in preparation. LEHCO-OP, which provides newly serviced sites with subleases, is divided into Community, Technical, Administration, Accounts, and Production Systems sections. The Production Systems Section is the manufacturing arm of the company, producing up to 2,000 concrete blocks per day, plus door and window frames and other joinery. About 1,750 plots have been provided or are underway from LEHCO-OP from capital provided by the UN, World Bank or the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Training is provided for project beneficiaries, and this is described in one of the Training Case Studies. Staff training is done within LEHCO-OP using a training manual and working groups which generate material for the manual. Projects are small and, initially, staffing has been good in relation to numbers of plots, providing ideal circumstances for learning on the job. Staff also go out for formal training at various places including ARDHI Institute in Tanzania, and to Gaborone for training on small entrepreneur management, and there is a World Bank Training Project for regional exchange between three countries.


The settlements pattern of Mozambique reflects its colonial history; infrastructure was most developed across the country from Salisbury and Johannesburg to the city ports of Beira and Maputo, with no complete routes from north to south within the country. In the north, Niassa Province in particular was virtually inaccessible, the only roads being built for military purposes against the FRELIMO forces. The south was a source of migrant labour for South Africa. It is now planned to radically restructure the physical environment, but this has to be done with a minimum of resources. At the time of independence there were hardly any qualified Mozambican professionals, and, although the country is rich in natural resources, 85% of the population live as subsistence farmers, sometimes unable to meet their own basic needs.

Physical planning priorities have been established by the party, FRELIMO, which is also re-organizing local government. For example, the City of Maputo now has an assembly elected by delegates from neighbourhoods, schools, factories and other organizations. The assembly provides direction to the five departments of the Executive Council which administers the city. Neighbourhoods also have community-based committees called "Dynamizing Groups" with some responsibilities for management, and neighbourhoods are further organized into Block Committees with special responsibilities, or Sectoral Committees with specific responsibilities such as health. Some urban settlements have been successfully improved with almost no outside resources using self-help organized through Block Committees. In rural areas, development is focused on self-help in communal villages. The Training Case Study from Mozambique deals with two levels of training which are related:

  1. Acquisition of skills and mobilization for self-help in the community.
  2. Training programmes for physical planning staff.


Two of the Workshop participants came from Southern Sudan which has a Regional' Ministry of Housing and Public Utilities based in Juba. The Ministry is responsible for all technical functions relating to human settlements, both rural and urban. on behalf of the Regional Government. It is divided into six sections: Survey. Lands and Town Planning, Buildings and Works, Public Utilities, Housing and Research. and Construction, the first four of which also have Divisions at the Provincial level. Sudan has a single political party, Sudan Socialist Union. A hierarchy of organization links the grassroots with national leadership. and there is an overlap between party and administration. Every urban area has a party representative. However, the links to self-help organization are undeveloped in the Southern Region due to lack of such settlement projects to date. Major obstacles to housing development include the remnants of a colonial housing policy, an acute shortage of government and individual finance, and shortage of trained personnel at all levels.

Southern Sudan was always treated as a separate area by the British colonizers and was never able to develop. Civil war began in 1955, and in 1956 the British left Squatters began moving to Juba as result of civil disorder and returning refugees also moved there after the peace of 1972. Urban land was stratified by race and class under colonialism and the pattern persists in present First, Second, Third and Fourth Class housing areas. Transportation remains a problem since communications to the north along the White Nile are poor, and much material, including building supplies, has to be brought in from neighbouring countries to the south. Juba has a population of 100,000, living in semi-rural conditions. Such employment as exists is mainly in the civil service or in service industries. Remnants of the British Town Planning Act of 1947 still apply and this leads to confusion over roles and responsibilities between central and regional government.

It is planned to hold two workshops in Juba on Housing Policy and Strategy and Building and Materials Research. This is an attempt to organize the efforts of the Ministry towards a rational use of its limited resources and to begin planning for a selfhelp housing programme based on a realistic assessment of local potential and funds available through international donors. No Training Case Study was presented due to lack of any activity of this type so far.


The management of Human Settlements in Tanzania comes under ARDHI, (Kiswahili: Land) the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. Attached to the Ministry is the ARDHI Institute, which trains pare-professional and middle-level personnel. Other Institutions linked to ARDHI are the Building Research Unit (BRU), the Registrar of Buildings (which owns and maintains the building stock nationalized in 1971), the National Housing Corporation and the Tanzanian Housing Bank. NHC and THB have had some problems in fulfilling their mandate to provide low cost housing for rent and purchase and have mainly catered to the middle-income group. In recent years however, ARDHI has implemented a successful program of sites and services and upgrading in a number of towns.

Local urban councils were abolished in 1973, but were revived in mid 1978, and are now the vehicle through which ARDHI is to implement the urban settlements schemes, which are also implemented through the political party, CCM. Both urban councils and local party organizations receive directives from the Prime Ministers Office, so that urban councils sometimes get conflicting instructions. The base of the party organization is the ten-cell unit, which is used for neighbourhood organization and provision of infrastructure such as standpipes. Its potential for management of community services, such as block surveys, waste management and so on, are also being explored. The Centre for Housing Studies is administered through ARDHI Institute, and provides a variety of training opportunities described in one of the Training Case Studies.

ARDHI Institute la one of the parastatal bodies of the ARDHI Ministry of Tanzanian Government and also trains para-professional staff for the Ministry and its other parastatals


The National Housing Agency, NHA, is the Parastatal organization responsible for housing policy and implementation including squatter upgrading. Lusaka City Council has been carrying out site and service projects on a large scale since 1963, and adopted the policy of squatter upgrading in 1972. With 38% of its population living in urban areas and a population of 690,000 in the capital city Lusaka, Zambia has a different scale of problem from such small and less urbanized countries as Botswana and Lesotho. Although the size of its total population, and the size of its largest city, are smaller than in countries such as Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, nevertheless Zambia provides a useful example of what can be accomplished with a large and rapidly growing urban population by using the self-help approach. In this sense it provided an ideal location for the Workshop.

Large numbers of people in Lusaka, though by no means all who need it, are provided with some access to roads, pit latrines, water standpipes, and other services. Improvements in these areas are proceeding, with demand for individual water connections increasing while there is room in the layout for sewers where they are not yet provided. This enables a city with limited employment opportunities to provide for the eventual even distribution of urban services without penalizing those who cannot afford them immediately. Of Particular interest is the history of community organization and participation in the generation and implementation of self-help schemes. Zambia's single party, UNIP, is based on a 25-house unit at the smallest scale, and this is used for the provision of infrastructure. The party is also active at branch and ward levels in organizing pressure for provision of services, participation in planning, provision of training and other activities.

The Housing Project Unit to administer self-help housing projects in Lusaka was formed in 1974 in conjunction with a World Bank-funded project to assist 29,000 households through serviced sites or squatter upgrading. In 1981, the functions of HPU were taken over by the Periurban Section of Lusaka District Council under the reorganization of local government in Zambia. Documentation of self-help housing in Zambia is managed by a research unit in the Institute of African Studies, University of Zambia. Training of staff to administer self-help housing is carried out on the job. Lusaka is particularly fortunate in having a large force of community development workers to facilitate implementation. Early efforts to train community development workers and mobilize community action were helped by the American Friends Service Committee in _Lusaka who also participated in the Workshop. AFSC also has employment generation and training projects in low income housing areas. Other projects for skills training are assisted by other nongovernmental agencies and managed through the local authority and the party. One of these forms the subject of a Training Case Study: the Dzithandizeni Trades School, which was developed by local initiative within Garden Compound, a typically active community with a successful history of self-help through both conflict and cooperation with the housing authorities.


The present settlements situation in Zimbabwe has been determined by its colonial past. The 1930 Land Apportionment Act reserved urban areas for whites, blacks only being permitted if they had formal employment, and women only if they had marriage certificates and employed husbands. This led to a proliferation of male migrant hostels provided by the local authorities in urban areas. Under the Vagrancy Act, unemployed people were sent back to the Tribal Trust Lands. In the later part of the struggle for independence, this legislation was relaxed as large numbers migrated for security reasons and urban squatter settlements grew. The current rate of urban growth is very high, with the population of Salisbury and its largest adjoining area, Chitungwisa, estimated unofficially at one and a quarter million. Chitungwisa, 28 km from the city centre, was originally the first of a series of Urban Tribal Trust Lands planned by the pre-indepence regime.

The new government plans to control migration through an active rural development policy and requiring families to decide whether they will settle all together in either a rural or an urban area. However, as yet there is no urban housing policy, and urban budgets are being reduced while construction costs increase by 3% per month. Serviced sites without standards controls have been provided in Chitungwisa, and demarcated plots in another area. The other strategy being tried in Chitungwisa at present is the Ultra-Low-Cost House, a small, fully serviced contractor-built dwelling. Salisbury City Council's Glenview site and service project was monitored and evaluated by one of the Workshop participants. This will provide useful data for future planning of self-help projects. It was much more rapidly built and developed to higher standards than anticipated, apparently because the demand for housing was so great that capital was mobilized to fill the vacuum. At the moment, self-help is only mobilized on an individual basis, in the context of a strong administrative structure inherited from the British tradition of local government and a multi-party system. An overall strategy for self-help backed up by the necessary institutions, technical and financial assistance, training and mobilization remains to be developed.

Builders training in Angola - Development workshop

This case Study is based on a method developed in Iran and Niger and now proposed to be implement in Angola. Master builders or members of a village who specialize in building are selected or volunteer to take part in a group learning process where they build, test, research and improve upon their own methods of construction. Trainees can then take charge of the construction of most domestic-sized buildings needed by their communities, and can also train apprentices using similar methods as well as providing technical assistance to self-help house builders.

Each building stage, from foundations to roof covering and finishes, is discussed amongst the participants to combine each builder's experience and the trainer's knowledge. The best way of carrying out each stage is agreed upon collectively, then built and tested. Simple field equipment is used for experiments such as using different sand-clay proportions in mud-bricks and subjecting the samples to compression and tension or simulated rain; the necessary improvements are then made. Each building stage is constructed, demolished and reconstructed several times, until the trainees gain a sound practical grasp of carrying it out. Training includes the supervised construction of community buildings such as schools and clinics, as well as architectural drawing, principles of design, implementation procedures, and the construction and operation of small-scale building materials production units such as brick, lime and roof tile kilns. Illiterate trainees acquire skills of reading and writing focused on their work and also have extra classes on reading drawings and keeping accounts.

Another benefit of the training method is learning to be analytical. It was useful to compare this method with that used in skills training in Zambia, where functional training was emphasized - making things for immediate use to get over the difficulties trainees have in handling abstract instructions. Also, trainers from Mozambique and Angola compared notes on how to mobilize action at village level so that returning trainees are not left to act as development agents in a social vacuum.

Plot-holder education in Botswana

Participants in the SHHA site and service schemes in Botswana have to meet certain criteria on income, age and residency. After being allocated plots and given materials loans, they are then required to build a small house within one year and to pay a service levy which includes water, refuse collection, road maintenance and the SHHA administrative costs. Plot-holder education begins with orientation at the time of plot application and continues during self-help construction.

Since many applicants are illiterate, a number of training tools have been developed to communicate visually and orally - these include comic books, role playing, a complaints procedure, SHHA community fairs and displays at local agricultural shows. The purpose of all these is to make clear the rights and obligations of plotholders and to ease communication and conflict resolution. Role playing has been used, with a mobile theatre truck, to illustrate subjects such as loans, the Land Act and the service levy.

The service levy was a particular source of conflict because it was raised at one point from one pula to five pula, and because part of it went to pay for salaries of the SHHA officers whose duty it was to collect it. Therefore, people automatically suspected them of corruption, and the field workers bore the brunt of a lot of public hostility. Here is an excerpt from a Role Play which was used to explain the service levy:

Role Play


No, No, my friend, ! do not support the idea of demonstrating against a government policy. First, you should request to know how the P5.00 amount has been reached. I think this can be explained at our SHHA Ward office in our area.


I do not want to go to the SHHA office for any explanation what-so-ever. Those girls in the office are too young to sit around a table with me and discuss an issue of this nature. I would like to talk to someone mature enough to take up my complaint since it affects the whole SHHA community.


I have thought of something. Someone told me that a few months back the Town Clerk's Office arranged a seminar with the Ward Development Association to explain why the service levy has been raised to P5.00. Let's visit the Chairman of the W.D.A., I hope he will explain better.

Both plot-holders leave for the Chairman's home.

T/ou & Tau



Come in

Tlou & Tau

Morning Rra................


Morning Bo-Rra. How are you.


We are fine. The problem is, when it is month-end and when we have to search our pockets to settle our accounts, it is then that we think of the people who represent us in the Ward to try and look into our problems


What is your problem? I am surprised because both of you have not visited me before.

Tlou & Tau

Yes, it is true. Next time we shall not hesitate coming because we have seen your place.


O.K. Iet's hear your problem.

Another thing that helped defuse the public hostility to SHHA workers was a SHHA-sponsored fair where workers, residents and their leaders met in a convivial atmosphere with refreshments and films and other shows. However, Workshop participants also felt that it was wrong to place Community Development Workers in this awkward position to deal with a badly timed cost increase. It was compared with another example where party workers were charged with levy collection in Zambia and some failed to pass it to the authorities while others were merely suspected of corruption. A clear distinction needs to be made between officials responsible for assistance and the functions of revenue collection; records must also be clearly kept so that there are no abuses.

In Botswana, financial records were poorly kept at an early stage and some plot-holders were. incorrectly charged. Procedures have now been improved and clarified, and the use of an accounting machine in each Ward has substantially improved accuracy and accountability. Revenue clerks are trained on the job in the use of this machine, which does not require highly specialized skills or programming language.

From "Family Model's Housing Problems and How They Were Solved" by SHHA Botswana.

Leadership training - National Christian Council of Kenya

The Urban Community Improvement Programme of the National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK) is aimed at the "poorest of the poor", those who have little means of livelihood, (often illegal ones such as brewing or prostitution) and who cannot all qualify for other projects. "Mji wa Huruma" project was started to assist victims of a shantytown fire in 1968, though it took nine years to obtain a site and to service it. Assistance funds were directed towards construction rather than simply providing "welfare". To date 113 houses have been built using a revolving loan fund.

NCCK's programme emphasizes group work and community organization rather than social case work; local people are helped to organize themselves into cohesive groups for specific purposes geared mainly towards social and economic development; this maximises group efforts and promotes leadership. Such leaders are instrumental in stimulating social change; as insiders they can establish effective dialogue with others, they have inside knowledge of traditional ways of dealing with community problems, and can influence or change professional workers' thoughts about them. Also, local leaders can often perceive problems more realistically than the professionals.

The first leaders emerged in the days immediately following the fire. With the help of the NCCK community organizer, they helped the community articulate its needs to the relief organizations. By the end of 1975, key persons had emerged as leaders prepared to take responsibility for initiating change among the people and especially in the planning and implementation of the resettlement scheme. The most needy families had organized themselves into five cooperative groups of 146 people, to whom the loan money was channeled. Leadership in these groups now rotates annually, enhancing mutual trust, sharing of responsibility and acquisition of the skills of secretary, treasurer, etc. Groups decide on the office bearers, who builds first, who collects loan repayments, when and how much, and how conflicts are resolved. Training is through discussions and meetings with the community organizer, since most of the people are illiterate. Problems that emerged were: jealously of leaders who built their houses faster, distrust about handling of funds, repayment strikes and subletting of temporary shacks for profit. Despite its problems this project was a path-breaking one which had impact on the larger World Bank funded site and service projects in Kenya where similar building groups (with similar problems) were formed.

The Workshop participants discussed the implications of this type of training of local residents. Some leaders can become "co-opted" into the bureaucracy or see themselves as an elite, although there are always more potential leaders to replace them. It is also important that field workers who are employed by an organization are given proper organizational trust and support, or they may take out their frustrations on the community.

NCCK's economic development activities also include a toy factory, and workshops for manufacturing clothing, jewellery and leather goods. This provided a useful exchange with the Zambian experience presented in another Case Study. Future, more formal training is also planned through a Small Business Scheme which offers managerial assistance and simple bookkeeping courses.

Training In Socio-economic Skills - Mazingira Institute, Kenya

Seven school-leavers from a site and service project area in Nairobi were trained in a number of techniques including questionnaires, in-depth interviews, case studies, and keeping a community news diary. They have since progressed to data interpretation and assistance in developing survey methods with university lecturers and graduates. In Dodoma, Tanzania, a similar group of school-leavers had to learn technical skills in identifying simple types of construction and infrastructure, and basic measured drawing, in order to record the data. Two principles are most important in this type of training:

1. Developing a rigorous respect for accuracy.
2. Knowing why data is being collected.

Trainees develop judgment of the usefulness of data and can also evaluate its accuracy. Advantages of this type of training are:

1. It creates employment in the community.
2. Community members are motivated to collect useful and accurate data if it will benefit them.
3. They know more about the area than people from elsewhere.
4. It can forge linkages between settlement leadership and technical management; that is, it contributes to the potential for self-management.

Mazingira Institute, which presented this Case Study, has found this type of trainee much more effective than the average university graduate. In particular, much more reliable data on incomes has been gathered by these trainees when using their intelligence and a loosely structured set of questions than mechanically trained interviewers using a mechanical set of questions. The illustration shows a set of income questions used by these trainees; each person and source of income in a household can be identified, and the questions must be adjusted to the type of earnings: e.g. "flow many days did your brother work last month?" and, "What is the daily rate of pay?" These can then be multiplied by the interviewer who can then write down an accurate typical monthly income. (see over)

Example of Income data that can be collected by trainees.

Apart from doing routine data collection tasks, a resident field team will quickly detect important issues, especially where they are personally affected. Illegal activities, such as pressure on families to sell plots to outside entrepreneurs, have been monitored in this way. The issue of confidentiality and use of data is a difficult one; data which is sensitive may be used politically by one group against another (such as officials versus residents) or it may be used for positive action. An objective of participatory research should be to involve local residents and leadership by employing residents and jointly establishing the purpose of surveys. Similarly, action to be taken on data can be jointly decided by technical personnel, the residents and their leaders. A resident field team can also be trained to demonstrate upgrading, water supply planning or health and nutrition. It is important that those trained in data collection .and analysis do not become the employed, literate, decision-making elite.



The participants in the first Workshop on Training Human Settlements Workers established an Information Network so that they and others can continue to exchange information about their work. If your work has something to do with improving human settlements through community self-help, you may wish to join the Network. In this way you can regularly hear from other people doing the same kind of work. It is hoped to send out a newsletter every three months.

If you wish to receive the newsletter, fill in the form overleaf, pull out this page and send it in to:

Settlements Information Network Africa (SINA)
Mazingira Institute
PO Box 14550


1 Name
Telephone Telex/Cable

2 Name of Organisation
Address of Organisation
Telephone Telex/Cable

3 What work do you do? Please provide a short description of what you and/or your organisation are doing in human settlements.

4 Do you have any suggestion or requests for the Network and newsletter? (For example, information you need that others may be able to send to you, suggestions for topics future meetings, ideas you have about what should be the objectives of the Network, etc.)

5 Do you have any documents, training materials or other materials you think might be of interest to other members of the Network? (Anacin an extra page if the list is long.)

6 Do you know of interesting self-help settlements projects not mentioned in this document that might be of interest to the Network, or any other people or organisations you think might like to join the Network?

7 Please do do not (tick one) print my name or my organisation's name in the Newsletter.

It is hoped that the next Newsletter will include:

A list of all the members and the work they do
Documents and other information available from members
News about work members are doing
Comments and suggestions about the Network
Ideas for future Workshops
Requests for information

If you have any requests for information or suggestions about what should be included in the newsletter, write it on the form and it will appear in the Network, so other members can respond.

You can join either as an individual or as an organisation - just fill in the appropriate place on the form. It is intended that the Network be open to individuals and organisations, both government and NGOs.

You are welcome to pass on this form to other people or organisations that you think may wish to join the Network.

Diana Lee Smith, Mazingira Institute

The Case Study presented at the Workshop also showed how school-leavers can learn to analyze data by simple manual tabulations, be involved in discussions or interpretation of data they have collected, and carry out simple assignments of interpretation. For example, they can be asked to write a list of the differences and similarities of various areas surveyed, based on one or more tables. This makes them aware of the usefulness of the work they have put in, and also prepares them to carry out interpretation tasks later. In addition, it has the benefit of increasing sensitivity to good data, so that it makes sense and supports or supplements their experience.


"Tools" From the Training Manual "Build Your Own House" LEHCO-OP, Lesotho.

Plot-holder education in Lesotho

Procedures are very similar in principle to those used in Botswana: simple visual and oral communication techniques assist in informing the general public about self-help plots and successful applicants in constructing their houses and understanding their rights and obligations under the project. Publicity materials include posters, leaflets, public meetings and a weekly radio program. After plots have been allocated by random selection an intensive training session is held over a weekend at LEHCO-OP offices. A slide show explains self-help construction, different house types, sanitation, loan procedures and legal agreements. Each of these topics is followed up in intensive question-and-answer sessions. When participants have identified their plots they work with LEHCO-OP staff to plan their building using a scale model in the office. This helps them to understand quantities of materials, construction sequences and managing finances and materials as well as how to organize space for the family. The self-help construction process is also explained in a training manual that was specially prepared by LEHCO-OP.

"How to fix a window frame and a door frame". From the Training Manual "Build Your Own House", LEHCO-OP, Lesotho.

Mobilization for self-help in Mozambique

Maxaquene is a poor neighbourhood in Maputo where most buildings are made of reeds or corrugated metal; in 1977, like most similar areas of the city, it had almost no services. The newly-formed National Housing Directorate worked with the Dynamizing Groups established in the neighbourhood to mobilize the residents. Through public meetings and working sessions, priorities for the settlement were established and the physical plan for roads and water pipes was agreed upon. Although people's rights to occupy the land were assured, there was still potential for conflict in the need to move some houses. It was because people eventually realized that they actually controlled the development process (for example, through knowing that some of the leaders would themselves have to move their houses) that the plan was quickly implemented. This achievement made possible the installation of water pipes, the building of roads for emergency vehicle access, plot numbering and refuse collection, all with very small financial resources. The key element in training was mobilization of everyone's skills in problem-solving, leadership, collaboration and collective labour. Other training tools used were scale models for planning, direct demonstrations on site, and practice in simplified survey techniques.

Mozambique is just beginning to implement its long-term plans for training sufficient workers to assist self-help throughout the country. Trainees with 6 to 9 years of schooling take courses which alternate between classroom work in Maputo and field work in communal villages and provincial towns. They learn to carry out social and physical surveys, propose plans, demonstrate projects, identify needs for community buildings and services, improve traditional technologies, initiate cooperative production of building materials, assess natural and human resources at regional level, use and implement plans, monitor progress and train local staff. Many people in the National Housing Directorate are involved in training on an almost continuous basis because of the demand for skilled people, but this creates pressures on people's time. Another problem has been that the training material is not always fully absorbed, and in future, more emphasis will therefore be placed on teaching methods. The present program aims at specific performance targets for trainees after two months, eight months, and eighteen months. After further field work, it is planned that some trainees will do more advanced training, taking advantage of courses such as geography and engineering at the University. By 1990 it is hoped to have 40 to 50 fully qualified staff to supervise national and provincial planning.

Centre for housing studies - Tanzania

CHS was established in 1979 as a sub-regional centre to serve Eastern and Southern Africa. A joint project of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ARDHI Ministry in Tanzania, the Centre for Housing Studies falls under the general umbrella of ARDHI Institute. The Institute as a whole was established in 1974 to provide pare-professional manpower throughout the country in Planning, Building Design, Quantity Surveying and Land Management. Most Students take 3-year courses, and although the emphasis is intended to be on practical skills rather than office work, most students go on to take Masters Degrees and many occupy administrative positions.

The Centre for Housing Studies is concerned with training, applied research, documentation and information services. Training is aimed at middle- and high-level manpower in the sub-region, mainly through short courses, either three months or three weeks in duration. Three-month courses have been held on Rural Housing, Housing Finance, Planning of Sites and Services and Squatter Upgrading Projects, Village and Small Town Planning, and Construction Management. Three-week courses have been held on Sanitation, Aerial Photography, Cooperatives and Rural Housing Construction. Research activities are focused on the impacts of the site and service and squatter upgrading program in Tanzania, to determine the benefits to residents or problems experienced in. implementation. Information dissemination is through the Centre's library, which also has a variety of other documents on housing. Finally the Centre conducts conferences, which have so far been held on "Towards a National Housing Policy", "Natural Fibre-Cement" and "Rural Housing".

Participants in training courses are mainly administrators who need to understand technical concepts in order to evaluate and supervise proposals from experts and consultants. They need to have leadership skills and be good at coordinating many decisions and actors. Above all, they need to know how to approach and gain acceptance from communities rather than simply imposing their plans upon them.

However, in the Workshop discussion much attention was given to the problems of project implementation in Tanzania, given the various interests involved and the sometimes conflicting bureaucratic channels. At the lower levels, although there are technical and revenue collection workers in the field, Tanzania has no Community Development workers on urban projects to make the link between party organization and bureaucracy, and this was felt to be a training gap that needed filling.

Skills training in Zambia

Dzithandizeni Trades School in Garden Compound Lusaka was founded in 1972 by the Local Ward Development Committee coordinated by the Community Development Officer. The school is today producing furniture and clothing of as high a quality as is commercially manufactured anywhere in Zambia. Its development should be seen in the overall history of Garden Compound, which started out as a typical unplanned and unserviced area.

The party representatives began organizing water supply when refused by the City Council in the late sixties. In 1974 the City proposed to move the Settlement further away from Lusaka to be replaced by light industry but this was resisted by the community. In 1977 the Housing Project Unit collaborated with the local party representatives to establish a Road Planning Group for upgrading of the area. This was chaired by the local Ward Councillor and Secretary and was active in planning the area and mobilizing Labour. The achievements of this collaboration include:

1. Creation of road planning groups in new site and service areas.
2. The community was able to call for Council meetings.
3. Control of planning done on paper without reference to community priorities.
4. Avoidance of simplistic clashes between community and bureaucratic interests by providing for rational discussion of plans and actions.

It was in this context that efforts to provide training in productive skills such as carpentry were started from within the community in the late seventies. Self-help efforts were inadequate to provide tools, and in 1979 a proposal was prepared for outside funding for a building, tools, equipment and training. The school raised initial funds from various international voluntary and non-governmental agencies particularly in Denmark, and also the Zambian Council for Social Development which coordinates non-government agencies in the country. In 1980 the school was built by school-leavers who became the first students in 1981. Production units in both tailoring and carpentry were started immediately and the school quickly became economically self-reliant, having a surplus after paying its running costs including the salaries of counterpart training staff appointed through the Danish and Dutch Volunteer Services.

Trainees go through an eighteen-month course including a period of employment. Functional rather than formal training is the principle used in the school; trainees learn different types of joint and assembly on objects that can be put to immediate use. Training staff develop new methods of making the most of local materials which can then be put into practice to produce the high quality goods coming from the production units. Private orders are taken by the production units for quality furniture and joinery fittings while tailoring orders are taken form larger factories where trainees can also go for in-service training and future employment. This means the school's trainees can find jobs and the output finds a market to make the operation economically self-sustaining.

Why self-help projects?

All the countries from which participants came have insufficient resources to provide infrastructure and services for their population. Self-help means people making immediate use of the limited resources that are available with skills that are easy to acquire; this enables more people to gain access to affordable shelter and infrastructure. Direct self-help means people using their own labour, to dig trenches or lay water pipes for example, while assisted self-help means some basic infrastructure, institutional support and even training is provided by the State, as in site service or core house schemes. Experience shows that much self-help input is indirect in practice people may contribute capital rather than labour, by hiring and supervising other labourers. This is particularly the case in site and service schemes where income criteria must be met and therefore most people have jobs. Direct self-help prevails in poor communities where, as in Zambia for example, the community could compete against contractors for excavation work, thus earning income in the process.

Self-help may be only at the level of labour, or at the level of planning and decisionmaking, or both. Numerous examples were presented in the Workshop of people's participation in planning and decision making. Various types of training are applicable to self-help projects: training of residents and leaders, political mobilization of communities and public servants, skills training for productive employment, and the training of administrative, finance, technical and community development workers to staff assisted self-help projects. All of these were discussed in several dimensions by Workshop participants.

Politics & training: Mobilization versus control

Workshop participants came from countries with different types of political organization at the local level, as described in the section on the Settlements Situation. In countries with a well-organized one-party political system, settlement workers potentially have links to the population at all levels. When organized on a small scale (25 houses, the 1 0-cell system or block committees, as in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique respectively)' the party can provide two-way communication between community needs and technical inputs from government workers. Where this system of representation is weak, people's priorities are mediated through large-scale political representation (e.g Ward Councillors), through the bottom level of government workers (usually social workers or community development workers), and through those non-governmental organizations which voluntarily concentrate on the poorest sections of society.

Human Settlement workers are bound to be in close touch with communities whatever the system of political representation. Community development workers, in particular, can either represent community needs or act as the leading edge of a bureaucracy. A technical advisor may be helping someone to construct one day, and on another enforcing demolition of something built in the wrong place; a community development worker may be helping a family manage meagre resources to buy food and building materials one day and on another enforcing payment of plot charges. It is this dual nature of their role that led participants to the term "front-line workers" and to keep returning in their discussions to the conflicts between assistance and control. Communication between people and governments often needs to be articulated by trained personnel, and the purpose of the group was to explore the types of training needed, both in technical and social organizational skills.

Human settlements workers need to be in close touch with community leadership, yet they are also either government officials, or officials of other organizations. Several of the case studies and workshop discussions dealt with concrete problems of mediating conflicts that arise in this situation. For example, workers may be hired from among the community leadership and then either get co-opted into a controlling role or suddenly see themselves as a trained elite. Project management often wants to minimize public and political participation in the interest of efficiency: identifying community priorities and training residents may be time consuming, and technical personnel, if they are available, may get the job done faster, even if it is not what many people want or can afford. This creates an inevitable tension between the various interests in self-help projects, and these clearly vary with the level of development and availability of skilled people. Widespread skills training and political mobilization was advocated as the best long-term solution to the problems of reconciling these different interests; skilled settlement workers ought to be part of a community that is not only represented but also has a capacity for self-management.

Types of organization

Apart from the party political types of organization, the workshop discussed different types of governmental and non-governmental organizations. In some cases specific government organizations have been established to deal with self-help projects. Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania all have self-help projects funded through international agencies, and there is some uniformity in their institutional structures and training needs. Botswana, Zambia and Kenya have institutions at local government level responsible for self-help project implementation, structured into technical, community development and financial/administrative personnel. Lesotho's and Tanzania's self-help organizations function at the national level, though devolution is underway in Tanzania.

Where implementation is done at local authority level, there is need for coordination between the national ministries responsible and local governments. Numerous examples were cited in the workshop of lack of understanding by government officials of how self-help projects work. On the other hand, much experience and knowledge is generated in the field and needs to be fed back to all levels of government.

In the countries where settlement workers were government employees organized into the technical/financial/community development organizational model, the various skills were generally taught on the job. This enabled people who had some basic skills to learn the procedures of dealing with self-help builders. However, both Botswana and Kenya noted the pressures that on-the-job training created for those already working in understaffed departments -there was obviously a need for a training institution specifically dealing with self-help construction and skills training.

Internationally funded projects often do not cater to the poorest whose needs are only met by the non-governmental organizations. As a result, in squatter or improvement areas there were sometimes several organizations doing the same kinds of things often competing (for staff for example) instead of cooperating. This situation was observed in Kenya and Zambia, the latter having up to 25 institutions in the field on various projects. One of the undesirable results is that neighbourhoods are also in competition for projects, and a solution suggested was coordination through the party or other residents' associations.

Types of human settlements workers

Since official self-help projects are new in most countries (some don't even have them yet) there is a need for training at all levels so that government machinery can cope with them. The Workshop identified the following types of personnel (both new and existing) who needed such training:

Building assistants/advisors
Clerks of works
Community Development workers
Social workers
Health workers
Public officials and policy makers in related fields.

Even in countries which already have integrated self-help housing institutions there is still a constant need to train people to staff not only these departments but new ones as they are created in different towns, and other departments of government whose actions impinge on them.

Human settlements workers in the field on self-help projects need a wide range of skills, some may have primarily technical tasks, assisting with setting-out foundation trenches for example, while others are more like social workers.

However, in practice the actual people in the field often have to deal with problems which are both social and technical, as well as financial and managerial. A technical advisor does not work like a foreman, building inspector, or clerk of works on a conventional building site; in self-help construction some social skills are necessary as well. Similarly, the community development worker is called upon to help families solve problems relating to the management of construction and funds. Therefore, one of the fundamental questions in training is where to draw the line between social and technical skills: should they be vested in the same person - a generalized "human settlements worker" - or in specialists with knowledge of the skills of others they collaborate with?

The experience of Workshop participants was almost entirely with specialised workers who learned interdisciplinary skills on the job. Workers trained in social techniques are often the best at conveying information. In Lesotho it was found they were better at demonstrating the advantages of technical changes than the technicians. However, they are often not trained sufficiently themselves in construction, sanitation, reading plans or using models, while the technical staff are likewise not trained to communicate, and may treat self-help builders dismissively as "ignorant". On the other hand, it generally seems easier for the finance and technical workers to be specialized and get their jobs done, whereas the community development workers are the true "front-liners", having to deal with everything at once.

Training of community development workers

The Workshop identified a very wide range of material which should form the content of a training course for community development workers. The following is a list of all the areas identified as being important:

1. Social group work
2. Community organisation
3. Social casework
4. Public health
5. Nutrition
6. Housing construction and building regulations
7. Sanitation
8. Politics & government
9. Law
10. Development studies
11. Technology that is appropriate to the situation
12. Communication skills
13. Social psychology
14. Basic economics - physical, economic & social resources
15. Sociology
16. Social research
17. The structure and function of the agencies employing community workers, their policies, programs, goals, objectives (short-term long-term) resources, clientele and conditions of service
18. The concept of self-help and its implications for physical and people development
19. Basic accounting
20. Meeting procedure
21. Leadership training
22. Social ethics
23. Adult literacy
24. Management

This may sound impossible to cover for a low level training course. However, the fact remains that community development workers on self-help projects do cover such a range of activities, whether they are trained for them or not. The following is a list of activities carried out by community development workers on a Kenyan project:

1. Keeping files on all plots
2. Recording lease violations and preparing briefs for action and updating records.
3. Orientation for allottees including organizing training in book-keeping
4. Keeping financial records for building groups and assisting groups with formation and management
5. Conflict resolution
6. Advising on type plan choice
7. Checking construction progress and violations
8. Advising on maintenance
9. Tendering for refuse containers
10. Coordinating health workers
11. Supervising running of nursery schools and training of daycare centre workers
12. Supervising vegetable growing project and nutrition education classes
13. Managing revolving welfare fund including fund raising, disbursements of loans, financial records and collection of repayments
14. Liaison with non-governmental and charitable organisations on provision of community facility buildings and services
15. Interviews for allocations and reallocations of plots
16. Surveys of squatting in project areas
17. Public meetings
18. Conducting surveys of business. etc and analysing data

Training methods

Methods employed in the training of human settlements workers should be those that enable the integration of theory and practice; the following methods can be used in both full-time and part-time training programmes, in refresher courses and on-the-job training:

1. Lectures (should be used with other methods)
2. Field work
3. Seminars & workshops
4. Visits, trips and excursions;
5. Role playing
6. The involvement of resource people and agencies
7. Project tasks.

Several factors affect the success of any training programme for human settlements workers:

a. The educational level of the trainees.
b. Terms and conditions of service.
c. The venue of the training programme. (It was felt that training should be done in the country in which the workers will be employed)
d. The trainee's ability to communicate in the local language.

Obviously, the types of training for the various levels have to be different: public officials need a different kind of orientation from the mass of workers who are needed on a large scale to work in the field. Nevertheless, an important factor in common is that all the training should be practical and field-based, combining theory and practice. The workshop format was particularly liked because of its informality and possibilities of exchange. Many experiments have been done with workshops combining workers at different levels, not always with success. in Botswana it had led to conflicts, though other participants felt this was healthy as it could lead to better awareness of working problems. Several participants favoured workshops between working levels but thought that:

1. participants should be selected and orientated to the training purpose to avoid a "free-for-all". (Some found it only worked if "the boss" was absent).
2. the trainer should understand group dynamics and use techniques of facilitation, conflict resolution, etc.

The working seminar was also much favoured as a way of dealing with problems between different types of human settlements workers - for example, cashiers, community development and technical workers. They have different tasks to perform and may present a different "face" and give contradictory information to residents. Sometimes they don't understand each other's point of view. Conflicts can also arise between social workers and community development workers where their activities overlap. Role playing is a good technique here, as well as workshops, but although several participants used role playing for communicating with project residents, they had not tried using it for training their own workers.

Workers involved in skills training for productive employment need teaching skills as well as knowledge of their trade. They can be trained through example in functional and formal techniques (see the Zambia and Angola Training Case Studies) and in simple business management and book-keeping skills.

Working conditions

Human settlements workers have to be in the field at odd hours, and these are not the usual conditions of work for public employees. The terms and conditions of service for community workers have to take account of this. Plot-holder education sessions are often held at weekends, and other field work has to be done in non-working hours. Employees therefore need a carefully planned work programme with sufficient days off. However, incentives need to include funkier training and career opportunities as well: human settlements workers need to know why and for what they are being trained. In particular, they will need to discuss the conflicts in their role between assistance and control and how to handle their position in the community. They need a sufficiently all-around education as well as to know their rights and obligations through membership of a union or workers' cooperative.

Trainees for community development in Botswana sometimes had less skills than other workers, and were not highly motivated. This was not the case elsewhere, and the Workshop concluded that it was the selection process which was at fault: young women school-leavers were being assigned when they would have preferred clerical tasks, whereas motivated applicants might be rejected. In other places several cases were cited of success working with older community development workers, and with employing residents to work in their own communities. Another problem was different terms of service for counterpart staff or workers on internationally funded projects. This could lead not only to conflicts but also to difficulty in absorbing staff at the end of projects.

Training & the role of women

Several of the Southern African countries, particularly Angola, Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique, have economies that are still largely dependent on South Africa. For example, in Lesotho, 200,000 men out of a total population of 1.2 million are migrant labourers in South Africa; in Mozambique 135,000 men out of a total population of 12 million worked there before independence, but now that is reduced to 35,000. This causes a breakdown in family life and means that the women in rural areas carry the burden of subsistence production. The problem is compounded by South African treatment of migrant labour - the men get housing while the women squat. All the countries noted the tendency for men to be more urbanized, for men to own property and land, but for women to provide the labour. However, there are also large numbers of women in towns, and they are predominantly poor and single with children.

Some countries do not recognize the right of women to own land, and therefore poor women with families cannot participate in settlement improvement projects. Married women whose husbands are absent migrant labourers often can't act until their husbands return. Women in countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho and Mozambique have the same rights as men, but in Zimbabwe they do not. Even where the law permits women access to land, tradition may prevail. This is a problem in Sudan in particular, but also in countries like Zambia and Lesotho. Women seldom play much of a role in land distribution committees.

Where women are not marginalized by legislation they are often marginalized by social custom or the sheer economic pressure of their dependents and lack of skills. Thus they predominate in the low income groups. The majority of applicants for low income plots in Botswana and Lesotho were single women heads of household, and in Kenya about half were women. However, since women are among the very poorest urban dwellers they may fail to qualify for project plots or loans on the grounds of inadequate income, even though they often participate more in self-help and cooperative activities. In many countries, poverty-stricken women are only catered to by programmes for the very poor such as those of the National Christian Councils of Botswana and Kenya.

The group pooled their leas and experience in suggesting ways of overcoming these problems through training and settlements projects. One of the biggest constraints for women is lack of education, meaning lack of skills and employment. Only in Lesotho are women better educated, because traditionally boys are occupied with herding. Only 2 or 3% of rural women in Mozambique are literate; recent attempts to organize literacy programs on a large scale met with an .enthusiasic response until the timetable clashed with the need to work on the land - classes need to be planned near where women work and at a time they can afford to attend. In Mozambique most men are employed as wage earners whereas 90% of the cooperative farm activity is by women. Botswana takes its literacy programs to where women are; they are often combined with family planning meetings.

A lot of young girls have to stop classes because they are supposed to help older women look after their children, thus creating a vicious circle of unskilled women in low-paid employment. Day-care centres for small children are needed in settlement improvement schemes, and this has been successfully tried by UNICEF in a site and service scheme in Kenya.

Other factors than land title may prevent women having equal access to settlement schemes: in Zimbabwe, only wage employees are eligible for plot allocation, whereas women, as in other places, form a higher proportion of the self-employed. Zoning laws that restrict small-scale businesses in settlement schemes also discriminate against women.

Several members of the workshop noticed that women sometimes hesitate to take leadership roles. Training that focuses on confidence building is being tried in Lesotho: both women and men are helped by guidelines on procedures and construction cost control so that they can supervise building.

In Kenya, all-women groups were formed, as well as some groups with only a few men, so that women didn't hesitate to lead. In Mozambique, the-block committees responsible for managing their own areas have the same number of men and women representatives. In one case, the men were selected by the women and the women by the men. In Zambia, the party is represented at each level, Ward, Branch and Section of 25 houses, by equal numbers of youth, women and the "main" group (which may be men or women).

Sometimes only women are involved in health and nutrition training, whereas men need to take responsibility here as well - in Zambia both male and female grade 7 school-leavers are getting this kind of training. In addition the group thought women as well as men ought to be trained as paramedics and to run small pharmacies.

There is generally a problem of women lacking skills that lead to productive employment. In Sudan, although women build traditionally, the modern sector of construction is for men only. This applies to other skills as well - women are often responsible for heavy work, in farming or in brigade work in Botswana for exarnple, but excluded from technical training or wage-earning activities. The group thought it was not easy to start by trying to change employer's attitudes or to make women compete with men for the few jobs available. Immediate strategies were to encourage women's producer cooperatives in settlement improvement schemes, to encourage all-women production units, and to include women in training on book-keeping, running co-ops and workers' education Women are being trained in technical skills in Lesotho, and to some extent in Zambia and Kenya. In Mozambique women have been trained in plot subdivision and provide a surveying service to others in an upgrading area. Both technical and management training need to be extended to women so that they can establish economic means of livelihood.

A final note

The Workshop on Training Human Settlements Workers deliberately raised many more questions than it was able to consider. Nevertheless, it was an important step in regional exchange between people interested in community-based approaches to human settlements problems. Hopefully, this will lead to further workshops, settlements workers visiting and studying with their colleagues in other countries, and improved sharing of information and experience.

If you would like to participate in this exchange and/or have comments, criticisms or suggestions about the Workshop and its themes, please pull out the Settlements Information Network form from the centre page, fill it in and send it to us. If it has already been removed, write, directly to the Mazingira Institute, PO Box 14550, NAIROBI, Kenya. The Workshop delegates would like to see you at the next session!

List of participants





Mohamed DARAIE

Direccao Nacional de Edificios e Urbanismo, CP 3360, Luanda.
Development Workshop
Box 133
238 Davenport Road
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5R 1J6

National Agency responsible for building and planning.
Firm specializing in improved traditional construction techniques.


Moseki MAJE

Acting Principal Housing Officer
Self-Help Housing Agency (SHHA)

Department responsible for implementing all self-help housing under Francis town Town Council.


Self-Help Housing Agency (SHHA)
P/Bag 1 Selebi-Phikwe

Department responsible for implementing all self-help housing under Selebi Phikwe Town Council.


Kadzo KOGO

Programme Secretary
Urban Community Improvement
National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK)
Box 45009 Nairobi

Church-funded, non-profit, international non-government organization based in Kenya providing development assistance both technical and financial, especially to lowest income groups.


Board member
Mazingira Institute
Box 14550 Nairobi

Independent non-profit organization based in Kenya carrying out environment and development research and projects with focus on low-income groups.


Richard Beardmore

Housing Advisor
Ministry of Interior
Housing Division
Box MS174 Maseru

Central government policy formulating unit for housing and urban development.


Community Worker
Box MS 770 Maseru

Non-profit, State-owned Company acting as technical service organization for all self-help housing projects in the country.



Direccao Nacional de Habitaccao
2115 Avenida Acordos da Lusaka

National agency responsible for housing and physical planning.


Graham BOYD

Juba VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas)
c/o Box 44997 Nairobi Kenya. and:

International non-governmental organization based in UK providing technical assistance in developing countries.

Cornelius Goja Lado

Ministry d Housing and Public Utilities
Box 134 Juba

Ministry responsible for all technical functions relating to rural and urban settlements on behalf of the Southern Region Government.



Workshop Coordinator
Centre for Housing Studies
ARDHI Institute
Box 35124 Dar-es-Salaam

Centre for training, research and information on self-help housing in the sub-Region, funded by Netherlands Government under the training Institute arm of the central Government Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

Un Commission For Namibia


UN Commission for Namibia
Box 34550 Lusaka

United Nations body responsible for affairs of territory illegally occupied by Republic of South Africa.


(Seconded from NHA, Government of Zambia)

Zambian government para-statal responsible for housing policy, assisting with training programme for Namibia.



Institute for African Studies
University of Zambia
Box 30900 Lusaka.

Research Institute within the University of Zambia with a unit responsible for documentation of self-help housing

Harrington JERK

American Friends Service
Committee AFSC
Box 50141 Lusaka.

Church-funded, non-profit international non-governmental organization based in USA providing technical and financial development assistance.


Karsten JENSEN

Danish Volunteer Service
PO Box 35788 Lusaka and:

International non-governmental organization based in Denmark providing technical and financial assistance to developing countries.


Dzithandizeni Trades School
Garden Compound
Box 33416 Lusaka

Local training school administered through Lusaka District Council with a Board of local representatives, started with assistance from one Zambian and various International NGO's.

Isaac Mwendapole

Chief Housing Officer


Training Coordinator


Chief CDO
Periurban Section
Lusaka District Council
Box 30077 Lusaka.

Section of local authority responsible for implementation of self-help housing projects.



Department of Sociology
University of Zimbabwe
Box MP 167 Salisbury

University Department which includes research into low-income housing policy and service teaching in Regional and Urban planning.


Senior Admin. Officer
Salisbury City Council
Box 1976 Salisbury

Officer responsible for monitoring & evaluation of site and service projects implemented by the local authority.



472 Brunswick Avenue
Toronto Ontario M5R 2Z5

Person responsible for organizing Workshop.
Previously with National Housing Directorate Mozambique 1977-9, now developing non-profit housing coops in Canada and working internationally with the Development Workshop.