COMMUNITY-BASED PLANNING (CBP): BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND RESIDENTS FOR IMPROVED SERVICE DELIVERY Case Study By: Martha Munyoro For the residents of Sakubva in Mutare, living with heaps of uncollected waste in illegal dumping points had become the norm. The illegal dumping sites had become a health time bomb, exposing the residents to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. “We were faced with a serious health hazard and despite our calls to the Council for the implementation of efficient waste management services, the situation was not improving”, said Llyod Chikonzo, a resident in Sakubva. Llyod Chikonzo’s dilemma is similar to many other residents throughout Zimbabwe who have been sidelined in the local authorities’ planning processes for years, which has resulted in their voices being excluded in service provision priorities. This, in combination with other factors, has resulted in poor service delivery whose current symptoms include erratic water supplies, failing waste management, poorly maintained roads, chronic sewerage blockages and unresolved tenure issues. But with the coming of the People Up projects all these problems are now history. In response to these challenges, Practical Action Southern Africa, has been implementing a four year project called Promoting Examples of Participatory Local Empowerment in Urban Planning (PEOPLE UP) Project. The project has been successful in integrating Community Based Planning (CBP). Funded by the European Union through the Non-State Actors Programme, the project tried to improve the living conditions of poor and marginalised urban and peri-urban residents by accessing and sustaining basic municipal and infrastructure services. The project is promoting the practice of community participation in urban planning through CBP, where in the past, poor communities have been side-lined in the planning processes, which has resulted in their voice being excluded in service provision priorities. This, in combination with other factors, has resulted in poor service delivery whose current symptoms include erratic water supplies, failing waste management, poorly maintained roads, chronic sewerage blockages and unresolved tenure issues. Community Based Planning is a process which empowers communities including vulnerable socio-economic groups and their leaders to demand and actively participate in development interventions that are relevant to them. In the urban planning context, CBP is a system that engages poor and vulnerable urban and peri-urban communities to improve the quality of their plans and services and influence resource allocation. This also increases the participation of poor urban residents in the governance of the delivery of basic municipal and infrastructure services. The desired outcome of this process is to influence resource allocation and ensure communities have access to resource support and extension messages required for improved crop and livestock production. “It feels great to be consulted when there is development which needs to happen in your ward, long back there were no consultations like this and we never saw progress”, narrated Mrs. Mary Maphosa of ward 3 in Epworth. “We had never been consulted by council when it comes to development in our area. Approaching the local board was such a daunting task. The coming of the project has helped us a great deal. There is now dialogue between us and the local board”. “As a result of the CBP process, we have, as a community, developed ward plans in our Waste management group in Sakubva Mutare various wards. These plans have our priorities which we then take to the local authority for consideration. As a result, one of the priorities of opening up access roads was taken up by the local board and we now have roads that were opened up in our ward”, said George Goremusandu a resident of ward 1 in Epworth. According to Sam Chaikosa from the Civic Forum on Housing, all the ward plans developed by the Epworth residents have been incorporated into the ELB’s five strategic plan for Epworth. “This process has empowered the communities to be drivers of the development initiatives. It’s a process which has brought dialogue between the local authority and the residents. The priorities and the aspirations of the Epworth community are now encompassed in the local board’s plans”, said Chaikosa. In Mutare, the results have been similar. “It has taken a lot of effort to be where we are today. The community-based planning process covered all socio-economic groups in Sakubva whose views were considered in drawing a master plan for the participating wards”. Whilst Local Authorities at large in Zimbabwe still face challenges in delivering services to citizens, the People Up project has aptly demonstrated how the transition from top-down approaches to more bottom-up approaches in planning for service delivery through Community Based Planning processes is equipping communities with the skills to understand and participate in the Ward 3 brick molder’s club municipal planning processes. Overall, the project has successfully tested a framework of promoting partnerships between local authorities, residents and private sector initiatives for the delivery of infrastructure services in under - served low income urban and peri-urban settlements. The successes that have been scored and most importantly the lessons that have been generated are providing an opportunity for replication and scaling up, not only in other local authorities in Zimbabwe, but in the Southern Africa region as a whole. “This document has been produced with financial assistance of the European Union.The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Practical Action Southern Africa and can no under circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position ot the European Union”.