Sunday, 19 November 2006

From Informal Settlements to formal Settlements

Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean 37km off the east coast of Africa. Politically it belongs to the United Repluc of Tanzania. The archipelago of Zanzibar consists of two major islands which are called Unguja and Pemba. Unguja, which is referred of Zanzibar, is the larger island with 1658sq. km, with estimated population of 206,000. Zanzibar Town consists of two main parts, Stone Town and Ng’ambo (is Swahili name means the other side). The Ng’ambo area is the one with faces rapid growth of informal settlement, originally ¾ this part of town is inhabited by African people, while Stone Town is inhabited by mix of Indians, Arabs and Africans.

The current urban development is determined by the growth of informal settlements. The government is not able to cope with the vast stream of migrants and the fast growth of the informal settlements, which leads to a shortage of basic infrastructure, such as water supply, sewerage systems, solid waste management or storm water management. This situation creates problems for the rural-urban migrants concerning housing conditions, health conditions and the quality of life in general.

The growth of informal settlements in the Zanzibar Town is the result of high demand housing, jobs land for building purpose and services, while the government falls to provide these demands. From this growth of informal settlement, some area have develop a local governance that will enable to integrate the rapid use of land and environmental.

The other factor which contributes a lot in merge of informal settlement is unclear municipal boundary. In Ng’ambo area there are two part of area; planned area according to 1980 Master Plan and unplanned area. In the Master Plan which was designed by government of China and implemented by Department of Survey and Urban Planning fail to show the boundary of Zanzibar Municipal. Even if the Act which establish The Zanzibar Municipal Council “Act 1995” fail to state exactly the boundary of Municipality.

There other contradiction of government institutions which on way or other dealing with planning and implementing the master plan. Each Department has legal power on supervising the use of land. Namely; Department of Survey and Urban Planning, Zanzibar Municipal Council, Department of Land and Environments and Stone Town Conversation and Development Authority.

Planning system especially the provisional of building land at the urban fringe of Zanzibar town is inefficient and too slow to meet the demand of the settlers. To get a land title, the settler has to apply for it at the government, because according to the law building plot can only be provided by the government institutions. The process of provisional of land is start by surveying the agricultural used area, followed by laying building plots which are legalized as layout plan for building before handed to the applicant. Because there are many settlers on the application and on other hand the government faces lack of manpower, technical equipments and finance, this formal way of application of land cannot deal with the rapid growth of settler from rural area who wanted to settle in the urban area.

The failure of formal application process forces many settlers to get plot from informal land market. The informal land management does follow any accepted planning principle, instead the settlement layout process of action and negotiation between different actors. It also doesn’t consider the future problem which may arise due to the layout. During the process there are different actors involved. First the vendors, who are the TAP-grantees (The government confiscated all former plantations and subdivided them into Three Acre Plots of 12.000 sq m size. They were allocated to peasant families with a Right of Occupancy strongly restricted for agricultural use around Zanzibar Town.)

sell their land that they have the Right of Occupancy for farming use for, directly to purchasers as land for housing. During the process of selling the land, the grantee becomes the allocator. In some cases an allocator turns to a middleman, who brings vendors and purchasers together. The purchasers can be split into two groups. Most of the people buy land to construct a house for own usage while some are speculator.

The last institution involved into the process is the Sheha (He or She appointed by Regional Commissioner and responsible for all government activities own its area) or the Councilor. (Member of local government selected through voting and leader of a Ward. One ward may consist of two Shehia.) Although the subdivision of land for housing is illegal, he confirms the transaction as a witness and ensures the land tenure. Allocators are usually not trained in planning issues. They are interested in selling the highest possible amount of land as fast as possible. The faster they sell, the less is the danger of being compensated by the government and thereby losing their land for a low compensation. Therefore they sell plots according to the wishes of the customers concerning size, shape and location. It is obvious that this procedure creates a highly random settlement pattern that causes inefficient land use, blocking of access and prevents the implementation of technical infrastructure. The buyers do not feel pressure when undertaking the illegal process, because the government would have to compensate them for residential land and is not able to do that in terms of financial means. Settlers’ seldomly buy more land than they need for their building purposes and do not preserve land for infrastructure. Indeed they often only realise that they have not left enough space for access or other important needs when the house is finished and they start to live there. And even if the allocator fixes a quite structured layout, the purchasers can turn it into a highly unstructured and dysfunctional settlement.

From the discussion above we see simply the how the informal settlements formed in Zanzibar town. Every settler was aware of the problems facing them. There was no place for infrastructures and the housing was built in the random way and cause may difficulties to the settlers themselves. And at this time small groups of settlers was formed through in the neighbourhood and initiate community based organization (CBO) and NGOs with the aim of solving particular problem facing them. Examples, construction of drainage system, collection of solid waste, open spaces, flooding and control of future construction of houses. The term governance at this point means that; the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Beside of involving the settles, these organizations were also having members from the local government. The method which was used to tackle the problem is the bottom – up approach. This method enables the community to solve the really problem which is facing rather than waiting the government. The first and most important step towards a successful working CBO is the awareness inside the settlement since the whole concept bases on the willingness of the residents to contribute. To ensure a democratic bottom-up development with the involvement of all residents, then the good approach to the residents is Word of mouth as it can plays a major role as it is already the common way to spread information. In order to create a better understanding in the younger generation it is important to involve the nursery schools, the primary school into the awareness.

To ensure a continuous participation of all interested residents, the members have to feel the importance of their work. This includes the resident’s personal role inside the CBO and the aim of the whole CBO. Therefore the structure and the decision making process of the CBO have to be transparent to everybody. The general assemblies, where the process of the work is presented and important matters and strategies are discussed, are held regularly. Additionally information on the progress and new occurrences are presented in a showcase or on posters. To attract more people to participate in the general assembly. Determinant for the success of the implementation concept is the willingness of the residents to contribute. The awareness campaigns and the general assembly need motivated and convincing individuals who understand the pay-offs and advantages of CBO work.

Through this approach some part of informal settlement in Zanzibar Town such as Maili nne, Mtondooni and Jang’ombe Urusi have successes in solving their problems cause by informal settlements. In Jang’ombe Urusi the community was faces a flooding problems every year. But now they have built a drainage system which collects all rainwater. The maintenances and supervision of the drainage is under the community through their CBO. The residents of Mtondooni now they are enjoying the integration of CBO and local government after the completion of 5km pipeline for tap water which have reduce the burden of carrying water for long distance.

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