Workshop Brings South African Shelter Experiences to Wythenshawe

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 10:46:00 BST

The University recently facilitated a workshop bringing together three activists from South Africa with Manchester community groups to share experiences, tactics and ideas relating to inequalities experienced by individuals irrespective of their location in the world.

Sophie King (UPRISE Research Fellow) and Professor Diana Mitlin (Managing Director of the University’s Global Development Institute) invited Alinah Mofokeng (Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor), Nkokheli Ncambele (Informal Settlements Network) and Charlton Ziervogel (CORC), to meet with community groups in Wythenshawe. All three South Africans are part of the Slum Dwellers International Federation which the Global Development Institute has close links with.

The South Africa Alliance activists met mothers involved in Mums’ Mart – a group of parents who came together after speaking to each other in the playground at their children’s school in Wythenshawe. The mothers realised they shared experiences of isolation and their children didn’t have opportunities to take part in everyday activities within their communities.

After the University’s exchange workshop, members of Mums’ Mart have started to emulate the Slum Dwellers International savings model by holding weekly savings meetings alongside their income-generating activities and monthly committee meetings to review progress. They also have new ambitions on how to bring about practical social change beyond their immediate group over the long-term.

Nkokheli - who was initially surprised that poverty existed in the UK – also visited a homeless group in Manchester. Nkokheli said: “The exchanges are very important to us, because it mobilises the community. The systems are not the same, but the look of things are the same – there are things we can learn from Manchester, and there are things Manchester can learn from us”.

You can read more and watch a video on the Global Development Institute's blog.