Community Development beyond the Build
Habitat for Humanity SA has spent many years in its projects fulfilling its mission to build homes, communities and hope. What starts as a shelter-related need which gets addressed by infrastructure development, ends up as so much more.
Habitat for Humanity SA’s overall programmatic goal for all projects (formal and informal contexts) is to use shelter to contribute to meaningful social change and development in the households of poor and marginalised communities by enhancing capabilities and capitalising on existing resources to build strength, stability and self-reliance. As part of Habitat for Humanity SA’s FY17 – FY20 strategy, we have identified that this goal can be reached through a well-designed community development programme which engages the community as a whole and offers dedicated training programmes to both event-related crew members and the households we partner with during build events. The intention is that this programme offers a standard service that can be offered to communities in all the provinces we work in.
Our service offering therefore has a specific scope that will ensure that we deliver a discernible and tangible service to a community, while also creating transformational volunteering opportunities and offering impactful proposals to a range of donors.
Habitat for Humanity SA aims to see practical changes and improvements to the skills, assets and capabilities on both a community and a household-level as a result of our programme. Therefore the programme identifies 4 consecutive stages/levels of engagement with a partner-community:
Community leadership training and capacitation
The first stage of engagement occurs during the pre-build event phase is focused on engaging, upskilling, and training toward strong leadership structures who are able to continue leading their community towards a sustainable and self-reliant future.
This stage consists of the following activities:
- Habitat SA hosts an initial meeting with the particular community’s ward councilor to (a) discuss a proposed build event (b) introduce the organisation and our programme and (c) to understand the current situation in terms of leadership structures in their community.
- In the event that there is no suitable community leadership structure, Habitat for Humanity SA will facilitate a process to elect a Community Leadership Committee.
- Habitat for Humanity SA will host one workshop with either an existing or newly elected Community Leadership Committee on ‘How to operate a successful committee.’
The second stage of engagement is with the community as a whole, and takes the form of a door-to-door campaign.
The door-to-door campaign consists of two themes/topics and can be conducted as two separate campaigns:
- Infrastructure protection – Habitat for Humanity SA will run a campaign to raise awareness on the importance of safeguarding community assets (schools, churches, libraries, clinics, etc.) and offer information on where and how to report vandalism and strategies on how to prevent it.
- Disaster risk, reduction and response – Habitat for Humanity SA will run a campaign to raise awareness on fire safety in the home and responsible use of gas and paraffin.
Community build event crew member training
The community crew training is key to ensuring that a larger number of community members are involved in the build event and have the opportunity to gain additional skills through build event-related training. These crew members are also key to ensuring that the build events are hosted successfully. The training is offered to community members that are selected with the assistance of the construction partner and/or the Community Resource Officer (CRO) in the community. To be selected as a community crew member, a potential member has to be: older than 18 years of age, a South African citizen with a valid ID book and unemployed during the time of the build event as well as the pre-build engagements.
Engagements with crew members are limited to the pre-build stage and each crew member that successfully completes the training and the activities during the build event will receive a certificate recognising the completion of the training and their service to Habitat for Humanity SA and each crew member will receive a stipend for their services during the event.
The crew member training consists of the following activities:
- An initial meeting between Habitat for Humanity SA representatives and the selected crew members is held to introduce them to Habitat for Humanity SA and invite them to become crew members for the duration of the build event. At this point the Habitat for Humanity SA representative will also explain the training programme that each participant is required to complete in order to become a crew member and invite the participants to the training workshop.
- The training workshop (pre-build) can potentially consists of a 5-day training workshop (the number of days is subject to the amount and type of content required and can therefore, in some cases amount to less days) during which participants will be trained on the roles of crew members (including crew leaders, logistics teams and car marshals) and each crew member will be allocated a specific role. During the last day of the training each participant will be expected to complete a practical training session that will test their skills and knowledge and complete a training evaluation form.
- Following the build event, each crew member that successfully completes the training workshop and his/her duties during the build event, will then receive their certificate and the appropriate stipend.
Pre-event household-level engagement
The direct engagement with the home-owner is the core of the unique service offering that Habitat for Humanity SA offers to the households we partner with during a build event and it is this programme that will set a ‘Habitat House’ apart from any of the other houses that are built in the area. As with any IRDP project, the homeowners are selected from the official housing beneficiary list that Habitat for Humanity SA’s construction partners receive from the local government and a number of homeowner are then allocated to Habitat for Humanity SA by the relevant construction partner.
The pre-event household-level engagement programme consists of the following activities:
- An initial meeting between Habitat for Humanity SA representatives and the identified homeowner is held in their home to introduce them to Habitat SA and our programme and to invite the new homeowner to participate in the programme.
- Once the homeowner agrees to participate, they will undergo pre- and post-event programme that can potentially span over a period of 18 months.
- The completion of a household-level scoping survey during the initial meeting. This survey will also be used to create a homeowner story for donor and partner communications.
Post-event household-level engagement
Following a build event, Habitat for Humanity SA will re-engage with the homeowners who chose to participate in the programme.
The post-event household-level engagement programme consists of the following activities:
- Homeowners attending the 1st of two homeowner training sessions which covers topics of roles and responsibilities, municipal services and asset management. This session will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity SA and each participant will receive take-home information sheets with relevant contact numbers and notes regarding these topics.
- Homeowners attending the 2nd of two home owner training sessions which covers topics of home maintenance (DIY), first aid and fire safety. This session will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity SA and each participant will receive information sheets regarding these topics as well as a DIY starter kit, a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher/smoke detector for their new homes.’
- Enrolling each of the homeowners in a financial literacy and livelihood strategy development programme that utilises the Poverty Stoplight Tool.
‘Poverty Stoplight’ is a tool that uses stoplight colours, photographs, tables and simple software to create maps that enable households to see and understand the ways in which they are poor and to progress out of poverty by empowering them to understand and map their own choices. Habitat SA has successfully used this tool in the past with high rates of success.
How the proposed programme fits into our overall strategy
Through these pre – and post event engagements, the build event is inextricably linked to community development and becomes a true catalyst for a longer term programme which builds strength, stability and self-reliance in the communities and the households we partner with. It is proposed that this programme will provide a standardised flow of activities and tasks (with accompanying materials and guidelines) that will be implemented as part of each and every build event that Habitat for Humanity SA hosts.
This document positions the training programme within Habitat for Humanity SA’s overall approach and vision and contains a series of activities to be done on community – and household levels and all the templates of some materials that have already been developed.
Training modules and supporting materials
In order to ensure that this programme is consistent throughout all three provinces Habitat for Humanity SA is active in, and to ensure that the impact of the training is monitored and measured in a consistent and continuous manner, a range of training modules and supporting materials will be made available to all staff members that are facilitating the engagements or conducting the training workshops.