As part of the NRF funded CEP in Bertrams Priority Block, ongoing engagement with partners at 1to1 and ICRC are informing further interventions in the area. The goal is to affect broader change than at a singular building level, and thus the exploration begun to look at the neighbourhood as a whole.
Following the Know your neighbourhood campaign held in September 2020 by 1to1 & ICRC, the process to develop a strategy for the open space in the centre of the priority block began in October, with an engagement workshop where residents were invited to participate in a SWOT analysis of the site. Thereafter, a mobilisation effort took place on 3 October, to invite residents to attend a public meeting. The objective was to encourage the members of Bertrams to come together as volunteers to actively participate in improving their living conditions. The open plot was identified as an opportunity for a social condenser to help bring about positive change. Posters & flyers of invitation were distributed throughout buildings that were marked a priority by 1to1 Agency of Engagement partnered with the Inner-City Resource Centre (ICRC) and Planact.
During the Know your neighbourhood Campaign and the SWOT analysis workshop, residents were engaged around the possibilities and opportunities of the open space as described above. The conversation revealed mostly how the community envisage the use of the open space and how it could be used to encourage a positive impact in their lives. From these discussions the following ideas came about;
- A hair salon.
- A food market focussed on green produce.
- A children’s recreational park.
- A carwash.
- A place where they can sell things.
- A communal garden to help transform the open space to a healthy environment.
The public meeting took place on the 10th of October 2020, the following Saturday morning in the subjected open space between 1to1, ICRC, TUT/NRF and other stakeholders, together with the community of The Priority Block. The meeting took place, and the ideas of the community were bounced back as confirmation of what would best suit the community as a design, planning and implementation intervention. Amongst other concerns and needs that revealed through the engagement was the need for safety and security, a mobile clinic, a temporary police service station and access to clean water and sanitation services.
The community engagement meeting developed into a water and sanitation analysis of the Bertrams Priority Block. The aim of the analysis was to inform a possible solution to help alleviate these issues of basic needs and services. The analysis highlighted some of the worst challenges the community faces daily. Through a conversation with one of the residents named Kho, it was discovered that a building consisting of about 20 occupied rooms only have one toilet that has no access to running water and that most of the time some residents would have to use the ablution facilities of a neighbouring building. The image below is the current condition of the only one toilet/ bathroom that exists within the premises, consisting of just a water closet, no bath, no handwash basin, no taps, no access to running water.
The meeting was very insightful as we saw most community members participating in the conversation and volunteering to actively participate in improving the living conditions within the Bertrams Priority Block
– Setshaba Raseroka & Suzette van der Walt