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close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
close this folderTraining case studies
View the documentBuilders training in Angola - Development workshop
View the documentPlot-holder education in Botswana
View the documentLeadership training - National Christian Council of Kenya
View the documentTraining In Socio-economic Skills - Mazingira Institute, Kenya
View the documentPlot-holder education in Lesotho
View the documentMobilization for self-help in Mozambique
View the documentCentre for housing studies - Tanzania
View the documentSkills training in Zambia

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.