Community and; Stakeholder engagement events in Overcome Heights, Sweet Home Farm and Delft

During the months of April, May and June 2022, SLF facilitated three community & stakeholder engagement events in each of our UKRI GCRF Water & Fire research sites on the Cape Flats. Hosted by our co-researchers from Overcome Heights, Sweet Home Farm and Delft, each event served as a platform for local co-researchers to present their research outputs to community leaders, City of Cape Town officials, researchers and the media.

The research outputs were co-created with the SLF research team over a period of two years using participatory visual methods to produce a series of digital stories, a large collection of photographs collections and a set of community maps. The co-researchers developed informative programmes to showcasing their visual materials to illustrate how runaway fires, localized flooding and water shortage affect them at individual, household and neighbourhood levels. Each event culminated in the presentation of ‘Best Bets’, a selection of community-driven potential interventions to manage disaster risks and counteract climate change impact.

The community & stakeholder engagement events were attended by CoCT officials from the Resilience office, Water and Sanitation, Informal Settlements and the Mayoral Committee. Officials engaged with community members and researchers alike, discussing how resilience can be bolstered and how the community and CoCT can work together more productively. Evidently, communities in informal settlements are the most severely affected by governmental issues plaguing the country as a whole, e.g. lack of service delivery and infrastructural collapse. In a time of increasing climate change impact, inefficient governance has a compounding effect on damage caused by fires, flooding and water shortage. The ‘Bets Bets’ provides, among other things, a framework for communities and the city to hold each other accountable to work together to build resilience.

Before the Water & Fire project comes to an end in October, SLF will be hosting a Policy Engagement event, where research outputs will be presented to high-level City of Cape Town officials. SLF stays committed to disseminating the research outputs and findings delivered by co-researchers, to make sure that the ongoing issue of inequality and climate change impacts are acknowledged by policy and lawmaker

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Postdoctoral research position available

We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher to join our team, based at the University of the Western Cape. We are seeking a Global South-experienced researcher with interests in interdisciplinary research and experience a relevant field such as social sciences, environmental science, sustainable development or disaster risk management.

The deadline for applications is 25th July 2021.

Click on the link below for more details and information about how to apply.

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Podcast: ‘Township in Lockdown’ (Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation)

South Africa is currently in the midst of a 21-day government-enforced social isolation lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, this series of 5 minute podcasts (updated daily) from Phumzile Ntozini focuses on Philippi and efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Click here to listen. #stayhome #covid

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COVID-19 Community Engagement In South Africa: The Time Is Now

Written by Dr Gill Black, Co-Director of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and Co-I on this project, Gill gives us insights into what is needed for short-term and long-term engagement with Covid-19 in South Africa. Read the article here.

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Opening sites for 20,000 new informal traders will help offset economic ravages of Covid-19

“If municipal authorities used the legislative and management tools they already possess to open just one new street trading site in each middle-class suburb in their jurisdiction, this would collectively represent thousands of new trading opportunities and markets for street trader businesses”. Leif Petersen, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation Co-director and Co-Investigator on this project gives insights on what the potential for opening street trading sites could do for street traders during the pandemic that is COVID-19. Petersen also shares some insight on the household interviews done during lockdown in the Cape Town township of Delft, as part of this project. Full article can be found here.

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A free-to-use COVID-19 app is the best way to reach marginalised communities

Priorities have been set to address Covid-19 in South Africa. But a dedicated effort to engage marginalised communities on the disease and its prevention is absent. There is an urgency to fill this gap through a focused, accurate and reliable mobile intervention. The time is now. Dr Gill Black, Co-Director of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and Co-Investigator on this project gives us insights on a free-to-use COVID-19 app for marginalised communities in South Africa. Full article here.

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600 interviews completed

Between April to July 2020, we successfully completed Phase 1 of the project activities, and undertook 600 telephonic/socially-distant interviews using the digital data collection platform ComCare. There were 200 interviews undertaken in each of the three sites – Sweet Home Farm; Overcome Heights; and Delft. Tremendous thanks goes to the residents who gave of their time to share their experiences of the socio-environmental disaster risks they faced (flood; rapid fires; drought/water access issues), and the ways they intersected with other stresses – COVID-19, unemployment, an absent state, poverty, violence and crime. Tremendous thanks also goes to the GCRF Water and Fire Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and researchers working in the field, who come from these residential areas on the Cape Flats, and who have also experienced these stressors.

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Project launch

On Friday 20th November 2020, the University of Stirling announced that the UKRI GCRF Water and Fire: Enhancing Capacity and Reducing Risk through 15 ‘Best Bets’ for Transformative Adaptation with Vulnerable Residents on the Cape Flats, a project working with marginalised residents of township communities in South Africa which are facing crises and systematic risks exacerbated by climate change has received £1million in funding.

Led by the University of Stirling, and supported by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund’s (GCRF) Collective Programme, the research works closely with local people to address interrelated socio-environmental hazards affecting township communities in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, and support their efforts to reduce disaster risks. The project is building a partnership between residents of the Cape Flats region of South Africa, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and academic researchers from a range of backgrounds at the University of Stirling, University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape in an effort to mobilise existing local knowledges and practices, and hence co-produce new approaches to disaster management in the face of protracted environmental crisis.

It is one of more than 140 projects, announced today (Friday 20 November), supported by the Programme – a £1.5 billion fund which will enhance the overall impact in the areas of global health, education, sustainable cities, food systems, conflict and resilience.

Read the full article on the University of Stirling website here.

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