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CCS Seminar: Co-Production of Knowledge - Lessons from Innovative Sanitation Service Delivery in Thandanani and Banana City informal Settlements, Durban

Speakers: Dudu Khumalo, Catherine Sutherland, Sibongile Buthelezi and Anthony Odili
Date: Wednesday 17 October 2018
Time: 13:00-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

Almost a third of the world’s population, 2.3 billion people, still lack access to basic sanitation. As the world increasingly becomes urban, with 70 percent of the world’s population – 6.4 billion people – expected to live in towns and cities by 2050, cities are faced with the challenging task of finding innovative ways of providing water and sanitation services for their growing populations in the face of depleting water resources. New solutions are, therefore, needed that increase the efficiency of present water and sanitation services by deploying innovative and sustainable solutions. Utilizing a knowledge co-production model, comprising of multiple stakeholders and employing a mixed methods research design, the research presented here identifies the prospects and challenges of knowledge co-production in field-testing innovative sanitation prototypes in two informal settlements. It examines the involvement of members of the communities in the sanitation prototypes field-testings and the social processes triggered during the design and planning stages. Findings reveal the responses of residents to their current sanitation situation, to the introduction of the prototypes into their community, and the nuanced power relations evident in the testing process. The research argues that testing innovative “off-the-grid” technologies in a society, which lacks basic services, raises social, political, economic, and environmental questions. The study revealed that there is potential for a platform that integrates both “expert” and local knowledge, which will enhance the outcomes of the testing process and redefine the positionality of the communities with respect to negotiating with the state around service delivery issues.

Speaker Bios:

Dudu Khumalo is a Development Practitioner and Community activist who works with peri-rural and urban communities especially on service delivery and other social issues. She has worked with Umphilo WaManzi focusing on Climate Change and Water Adaptation and Urine Diversion. As part of Water Dialogues – S.A. Team, she facilitated workshops using participatory methods on water and sanitation delivery in Ugu and Ilembe District Municipalities supported community inputs into local dialogues. She has also worked for Centre for Civil Society (CCS) based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a community scholar, bringing grassroots experiences into the academic realm and assisting visiting academics with their field work. She is currently working as a Researcher on the Climways Project and based at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, UKZN.

Catherine Sutherland is an urban geographer in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban. Her research focuses on environmental governance with a specific focus on water and climate governance and the relations between peri-urban housing, informal settlements and the environment. She was an advisor to the municipal team producing Durban’s Resilience Strategy and so has developed experience in building urban resilience in the African context. She also works on innovative water and sanitation technology in partnership with the Pollution Research Group at UKZN and eThekwini Municipality. Her research is locally focused and action based, as result of her strong commitment to building participatory governance in cities.

Sibongile Buthelezi is a researcher in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has extensive experience in conducting community based research in cities, with a focus on water and climate governance, housing, the economic development trajectories of the urban periphery and innovative sanitation technologies. She has a strong interest in participatory environmental governance and is engaged in a large number of action research projects in Durban in partnership with eThekwini Municipality. She is an expert in methodologies for the co-production of knowledge, combining scientific knowledge with local knowledge.

Anthony Odili is an emerging researcher in the field of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH). His masters thesis focused on knowledge co-production with communities in sanitation services and the intersections between sanitation and other basic services. An advocate for an evidence-based approach to policy-making, Anthony holds a masters degree in Development Studies and a B.Soc.Sc.Hons. in Political Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently based in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he undertakes mixed-methods research on community participation and social acceptance of innovative water and sanitation services.

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