Cover Image
close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
close this folderWorking group discussions
View the documentWhy self-help projects?
View the documentPolitics & training: Mobilization versus control
View the documentTypes of organization
View the documentTypes of human settlements workers
View the documentTraining of community development workers
View the documentTraining methods
View the documentWorking conditions
View the documentTraining & the role of women

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.