How the VPUU integrated team works on the Informal Settlement Support Program (ISSP)

Through the Informal Settlement Support Programme [ISSP], the Western Cape Government Department of Human Settlement has appointed VPUU NPC and seven other NGOs to involve communities living informally across the Western Cape in the collection of information for planning, prioritisation and implementation of future interventions.

At VPUU, five of our teams are working together on the ISSP: Community Participation, Participatory Planning, ICT4D, Project Management and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

 Here’s how it works:

  • The Project Managers are the glue that holds everything together: they guide everyone and facilitate relationships between all stakeholders. With their support, the VPUU staff working on each settlement become an integrated, area-based team that works together.
  • The Community Participation team lays the groundwork, allowing for community entry, capacitating community leaders and facilitating relationships amongst them and between them and the municipality. This team is responsible for signalling to the rest of the team when the community is ready for each phase. The Community Participation team has made a crossover between VPUU’s accredited capacity-building programme, Citizen’s College, and the ISSP possible through Leadership Training.
  • The ICT4D team conducts survey research prior to developing GIS-based field maps, survey forms and digital tools to support the household surveys. They capacitate, contract and supervise community members to utilize smartphones linked to cloud databases, to ensure prompt and accurate data collection. Microdata is continually checked and cleaned, then aggregated to develop statistical and graphic analyses.
  • The Participatory Planning team facilitates community ownership by engaging community members in participatory mapping. They also assist in analysing the data and providing recommendations based on their urban design expertise. Using their design skills, they also work with the MEL team on communications to all stakeholder,s which make the findings easy to understand and use for future planning and interventions, including from within the community.
  • The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team collates field reports and data analysis to develop comprehensive reports about each of the settlements. Using their content development skills, they also work with the Participatory Planning team on communications to all stakeholders.

As you can see, each team facilitates community ownership in various ways.

Altogether, this makes ISSP projects work!

The work that we do provides support to the Western Cape Government, municipalities and communities through information, capacitation, recommendations and brokering relationships.

Our work can allow for integration to happen outside of VPUU, too – within provincial and local government. We hope that these spheres of government will follow our lead in working together as integrated, area-based teams! We have learned from experience that effective Area Coordination Teams (ACTs) deliver better violence prevention and service delivery – and that improves people’s lives.

 We have found that we do this best when we are working together as integrated, area-based teams. This allows us to deliver better violence prevention and services, leading to a better quality of life.