Construction of George Compound Community Hall, LusakaBack To Projects
This project, which began in 2011, saw the construction of a community hall in George compound, Lusaka. The George Community Development Resource Centre as it is known, will host savings meetings and community activities and discussions. It will also act as a safe house for victims of gender-based violence. It was also envisioned that the building would also function as a place where training would take place. Since its inception it has fulfilled most of what it was envisioned for.Location: George Compound, Matero, Lusaka, Zambia
A two storey building with two water tanks and running water. Construction has been completed and the George Development Resource Centre is open.Community capacity:
The Federation members - men and women alike - were intimately involved in the construction of the centre. They also mobilised community members around the project. Great strides have been made in bringing on board other community development players to form the informal settlements network.
A management committee has been established to ensure oversight of the facility. Challenges to running of this centre, as well as the other community centres which have been piloted in Senanga, Mongu and Livingstone, include vandalism, theft, and insufficient funds.Scale:
The project has the potential to be scaled up if more stakeholders get on board. The Federation has partnered with the Sustainability Through Economic Strengthening Prevention and Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (STEPS OVC), a local USAID funded project, to construct more community centres in areas where they have a presence and where land for the structures can be negotiated for with the Government.Impact:
The project has greatly impacted Federation methods and has gone a long way towards illustrating to non-Federation members the effectiveness of community-led approaches. The centre is a model of what can be accomplished when community members in conjunction with other stakeholders, can achieve if they work together.Finance: SDI Contributions:
SDI contributed US$10,000.00Resources Leveraged:
The Federation was able to leverage US$36,000.00 from various stakeholders.State Subsidy:
The Federation has engaged with local authorities throughout this project – starting with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and the Federation.Market Generated Returns:
None to date.Costs recovered from community:
None to date.
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Project information updated: 11 January 2016
Project in depth
Many people have settled in George Compound due to the high levels of economic activity in the area. The area has been declared "improved" by the Government, meaning that development can take place without fear of eviction or demolition. A large proportion of Federation savings groups in Lusaka come from the settlement, hence the need to construct a community centre in which groups can meet in the area.
The intention was to build a two storey hall with two water tanks and running water. Construction of this hall has been completed and the George Development Resource Centre is open. It was officially opened and handed over to the community on the 26th of June 2012 by the then Minister of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo.
To date, the Alliance has acquired assets such as: plastic chairs, plastic tables, a wooden table, notice boards, a white board, a freezer and curtains.The alliance plan to install an industrial cooker, bookshelves so that resource materials such as enumeration reports and other reports can be kept there. Computers internet connection, photocopying and printing services as well as more chairs and tables are still required to improve the services of the centre.Community capacity:
Federation groups within George compound and the surrounding areas meet regularly in the hall and plans are underway to upscale the activities taking place at the centre. Such meetings have given the opportunity to assess the overall performance of each group, to raise issues related to the operations and to find appropriate solutions. The resource centre has been rented out in particular during the weekends, the Federation saving groups have not met difficulties in finding available space for their meeting during weekdays, which are still the most favourable days for the saving groups’ weekly activities.Scale:
There is potential for the project to be replicated in other settlements across Zambia. Costs recovered will be utilised to build similar facilities in other regions of the country.Impact:
The construction of the resource centre has renewed the hopes of the George community. Women and youths feel they have a space in which they can learn different survival skills. Furthermore, the hall continues to attract new members to the Federation. The involvement of the Federation throughout the project has demonstrated the capacity of the urban poor to deliver amenities. The project has the potential to influence national policy around the need to prioritize recreation centres and social amenities within urban poor communities.Finance: SDI Contributions:
SDI contributed US$10,000.00 for capital expenditure.Resources Leveraged:
The Federation was able to leverage US$36,000.00 from various stakeholders. These stakeholders include, but are not limited to, the private sector and other governments namely the Dutch Embassy.Market Generated Returns:
None to date.Costs recovered from community:
The community hall will be hired out for private functions to recover some of the costs. The Alliance has used the resource centre as a venue for meetings of the George area informal settlement networks. The space has also been used to host national Federation meetings, sanitation team training, community mobilisation workshops and most recently the Resilience Mapping workshop which was held in conjunction with the Huairou Commission.
Cost recovery is critical as it assists in the maintenance of the facility and in scaling up the project across the city. To date this money has been used to pay for utility bills and repairs. Management has been working with the community to ensure costs are recovered. However, this process has not been easy due to the low-income level of the surrounding community. The Alliance has been attempting to attract clients from beyond the immediate area through collaboration with other community centres that offer similar services. Savings schemes from multiple areas (not just in the immediate vicinity of the centre) have continued to participate in the project.
As of June 2014 there has been an increase in the amount of revenue collected with the venue being hired for number of events. The centre hosted private events, including wedding, birthday parties and baby showers which generated an income of US$523; weekly church services generated US$913, and; two (2) workshops organised by the United Nations (UN) International Labour Organisation (ILO) which have generated US$1,794 in income for the centre.
Hendler, Y. (2015). Savings Symposium: Strong Savings Make Us Alive. [Online]. Available: http://sasdialliance.org.za/savings-symposium-strong-savings-make-us-alive.
Lusaka Voice. (2014). STEPS OVC Calls for Strengthened Capacity in Communities. [Online]. Available: http://lusakavoice.com/2014/02/21/steps-ovc-calls-for-strengthened-capacity-in-communities.