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close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentBackground
View the documentThe workshop
View the documentFollow-up
View the documentThe proceedings


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.