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On 27 August the HDA, in partnership with the Project Preparation Trust (PPT), presented a workshop to launch the Livelihoods and Early Child Development (ECD) Guidelines for practitioners, in support of the implementation of the Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme (UISP).

Sustainable livelihoods and ECD have emerged as critical issues in informal settlement upgrading centres, as a result of challenges such as lack of access to resources, adequate infrastructure services and facilities.

The development of the guideline publication was informed by the critical need to incorporate the provision of infrastructure services with improved livelihoods and stronger local economics within informal settlement communities.

It also looks to identify ways in which informal ECD centres can be more effectively and incrementally supported, capacitated and improved.

The workshop presented key principles and practical approaches that can be implemented in parallel with existing state service-delivery programmes for livelihoods and ECD. The workshop also presented methodologies and alternative responses that can be considered for livelihoods and ECD, as well as outlined the roles of municipalities and communities in achieving livelihoods and ECD improvements.

HDA CEO Taffy Adler, CEO of the HDA, welcomed everyone to the workshop. He gave a brief introduction to the Agency and its work over the past five years. He explained how the HDA’s expanded mandate works, which now includes planning for the 50 catalytic projects and the Mining Towns Project, and the importance of incorporating Sustainable Livelihoods and ECD components to these projects.

Monty Narsoo, governance adviser of the NUSP, set the scene for the workshop. He reminded the workshop that when we work on informal settlement upgrading projects, we are dealing with people in the settlements and not just the settlements.

He added that the social aspect in upgrading is very important, not just the technical aspect. “We need the ability to engage with the combined socio-technical approach to informal settlement upgrading,” he said.

Mark Misselhorn (PPT) acknowledged the HDA for its work on the social aspect of informal settlement upgrading, and complimented the Agency for taking such a bold approach. He said that if we continue to only focus on the technical aspects of informal settlement upgrading such as infrastructure, housing and tenure, “then down the line it will be difficult to deliver on sustainable human settlements”. He added that we need to be thinking about livelihoods and ECD now, at the beginning of the upgrading process, not at the end.

The workshop was well attended by representatives from various provinces and municipalities, as well as a variety of sector partners. “The focus on ECD is a welcome first,” said one of the participants, adding that it “highlights human settlements in a much more substantial way than just building houses”.