Urban Self-help in Zambia

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         July, 1996

Source : ICA News 2/1996

                    Urban Self-help in Zambia

Up to 1990, Bauleni in S.E. Zambia was an unregulated area
where people with poor means had settled. The authorities have
since then accepted the settlement, but they have not had the
resources to develop any infrastructure or public services.
Bad quality housing, poor health conditions, high
unemployment, and low income for those lucky enough to have a
job, have plagued the area. The residents of Bauleni contacted
HUZA* (Human Settlements of Zambia) for support and in 1990
the Project Urban Self-Help was launched. The main objective
was to improve living conditions in Bauleni through support to
self-help activities that enabled the residents to develop the
area. The project is based on community participation at
decision-making level, and the work is organised and carried
out through different committees such as Bauleni Residents'
Committee, the Health and Water Committee and income
generating clubs. Successful achievements have made the area
attractive to an extent that the population has more than
doubled since the project started. 

Better Houses and Ventilated Pit Latrines

A problem in Bauleni was that houses made of sun-dried clay
broke up during the rainy season. Through the project HUZA has
introduced new building methods like adding cement in the
local clay to strengthen the bricks, and producing rooftiles
from local sisal and cement to replace the corrugated
ironsheets previously used.

HUZA provides motivation and training in these new building
methods, and also cement which people can buy for building
their own houses. As a part of the income generating
activities HUZA has also trained a group of young men whom the
residents can hire to do the work.

A sanitary improvement in the area is the system of pit
latrines. When a new house is built, the clay for the bricks
is dug out on the plot, sufficient for a round hole, 4-5 m.
deep. Here the latrine is built and can be used for about 10

Improved Nutrition and Health Conditions

Information and education are given on improving the nutrition
and health conditions and courses in family-planning and
pre-school activities are also arranged. Together with
improved types of latrines and better water drainage systems
these activities have increased the awareness of nutrition and
health issues. However, these efforts still need to be given

Training for Income Generating Activities

In January 1994 the Bauleni Skills Training Centre was opened
to provide training and education in different crafts like
carpentry, bricklaying and tailoring. This will be the main
factor of economic promotion. A revolving fund has also been
established to facilitate  investments for working groups. 

Roads, Water Drainage, and Water Supply

The dirt roads have been improved by gravel and a new profile
to facilitate the evacuation of water. In order to avoid
collection of water and rapid streams during the rainy season,
comprehensive drainage has been done. The current water supply
is insufficient and a new borehole has been constructed. 
However, as more than half the population is still without
easy access to water, further supply must be a priority.

A Better Environment

Efforts are still necessary to upgrade the area and improve
the environment. In addition to the water drainage and the
sanitary improvements, the planting of trees and organised
garbage collection are important activities which will make
the area a nicer place in which to live.


*HUZA is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1982 to
promote self-help, self-reliance for social and economic
development in the field of human settlements. HUZA is funded
by the Federation of Norwegian Co-operative Housing and
Building Associations (NBBL), the Royal Norwegian Society for
Rural Development (NRD/NORCOOP) and a number of European
Church organisations. It also receives contributions from
local sources.