|Training Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)|
|The settlements situation|
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.