| Daughters of Sysiphus |
|Infrastructure - physical and social|
1. Adequate water supply is a critical factor in women's lives. The current policy of installing water supplies on a total-cost-recovery basis can lead to severe deterioration in the water-supply system, a deterioration which has a particularly negative impact on women and children. The costs of not providing water through a public standpipe system and of not allowing private water connections without owner-occupier status being provable may well be higher in the long term than the cost that these connections would entail to the national economy. Indirect costs of lack of water are particularly important with respect to increases in health problems.
Further work should be carried out on women's real access to water and the effects that it has on their and their children's lives. Implications for national water policy should be clearly delineated and steps taken to act on them.
2. Information on safe pit latrine construction techniques should be made available to women as well as men who live in areas where no mains sewer system exists. This information should preferably approach the whole question of sewage disposal from the perspective of a woman. such as Deula, who has responsibility for designing her own system and should be well illustrated with women evident in the illustrations as active participants in the building process.
3. Many low-income settlements lack the social cohesion normally associated with the term community. Shelter interventions often ignore this fact. The most successful interventions have often been those that have incorporated, from the beginning of the project. a community development component. Unfortunately budgetary cuts within the public sector often entail the cutting of the rare community-service divisions of housing development agencies. Community-service divisions should. on the contrary, be strengthened so that their capacity for outreach is improved. In addition community-service workers should be trained in appropriate community development methods.
4. Non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations often operate very successfully at the community level because of their ability to relate to low-income people directly. Their activities should be supported and their capacity to act in shelter-related areas should be strengthened. A special emphasis should be placed on support for those organizations that have a clear policy of support for women's activities and concerns.