4 - Self help

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Incremental settlement is an initiative of Afesis-corplan

MLS Contents

Module 4 explores what you can do, once you have basic tenure and basic services to house and develop yourself without waiting for government to give you a house.

The following steps are involved in the aided self development phase.

  1. Aided organisational development
  2. Aided local resource mobilisation
  3. Aided local tenure administration
  4. Aided self build
  5. Aided self growing
  6. Aided self work
  7. Aided health and safety
  8. Financing aided support

Decision questions: After working through this section you should be able to answer the following questions:


Exercise 1:

Read phase 3 on aided self development

If you part of a group, discuss amongst yourselves what you take from this section as important and /or interesting. If you doing this alone, spend a few minutes reflecting on what you have read.

Exercise 2: local resources

In Pamela’s story found here, what local resources did Pamela and her friends use?

Do you think there may have been other local resources that they missed or never considered? What would these be and how could they find these resources?

See the suggested responses section and compare you response to those suggested.

Exercise 3: self build

Read the article "A home of your own". What approaches are suggested in this article for building a house?

Can you think of any other ways you could build houses? What would the advantages and disadvantages be of these approaches?

Exercise 4: Local jobs

How has Pamela and her friends, the church, the support organisation, the municipality and others tried to help people get work in Pamela's story found here.

What more could have they done?

See the suggested responses section and compare you response to those suggested.


Note that many of these assignment can be done right at the start of the project, you don’t have to wait until this self development phase. By this self development stage you should be well on your way to implementing what you have decided

Assignment 1: savings

Start a group savings scheme in your community. Find out about other savings schemes in the area and go and visit them to get advice from them. Remember that the benefits of savings schemes are not just to save money, but also an opportunity to start to organise your group and for people to meet. You can also use your savings to demonstrate to government and others that you are a group that is serious about development.

Assignment 2: survey community assets

Establish a task team to do an asset inventory analysis and mapping exercise. Go house to house or member to member and find out what skills, resources, networks, etc they have. Make a list. Discuss how you will expand and maintain this list over time.

Call a general meeting at which you organise community members into groups of about 6 people each. Each group to then draw a map of the community showing on the map where they think various assets like buildings, rivers, roads, halls, support organisations, etc. are found that the community can build and draw on to help develop the area. Discuss these asset maps with the bigger general meeting.

Assignment 3: Group build

Call some of your friends together and discuss how you can help each other build each other’s house. Maybe you can organise a stokvel for building materials, or you can spend a few days helping each other build each other’s house. Consider child care and food for making this easier for people to help.

Discuss as a small group, and share ideas with each other on other ways each household or the group as a whole can arrange to build houses.

Assignment 4: Local jobs

Find out more about the community works programme – start here and here.

Go and meet people involved in this programme and discuss if this programme can be used to help with the incremental development of the roads, water, storm water, community gardens, refuse removal, etc in your community.

Assignment 5: Business support

Find out what departments and programmes there are in your community providing small business support. Visit these departments and programmes dealing with small business support, and explain to these organisations what you are doing. Ask them how they could help you?

Examples of departments to approach include

Next module

Click here to go to the next module, 5 - Upgrade.

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