Sponsor: Community Organisation Resource Centre

CORC is an NGO affiliated with SDI in South Africa. At its core, there is a mixture of professionals from various fields as well as grassroots activists. Together, they form a team that supports informal communities in every step of the upgrading process. It primarily supports two fronts (SA SDI Alliance, 2012), both related to the core SDI “rituals” mentioned in the Background Research section. The first one is the organisation of informal settlement networks focused on community upgrading. The main purpose of the network is to foster the spread of knowledge and skills in as many communities as possible. This allows communities to assess and implement solutions to their issues more effectively. It is CORC’s belief that a united network of communities can negotiate issues of land tenure, construction and services more effectively than individual groups (CORC, 2012). Additionally, CORC facilitates the technical training and support to effectively conduct enumerations and community-mapping initiatives.

The second focus of CORC support is on women-based saving schemes. It supports and trains women to form savings collectives. This way, part of their incomes are pooled to finance upgrading and reblocking processes. By organizing women, who are often the heads of households in informal settlements, the community is able to contribute financially its initiatives and have an important stake in its success. This ensures continuous community input on its upgrading process. Additionally, it empowers the community to realize the financial ability it can wield.

As one of the primary organizations supporting Langrug’s upgrading process, CORC will provide resources to help the co-researchers and ourselves improve communication amongst the key stakeholders.  With community-driven upgrading, it is crucial to maintain clear and fluent channels of communication within the community and outside agencies. The co-researcher group can be relevant actors in managing this communication flow. So if the functioning of their group bogs down, the whole upgrading process may be affected. The expertise found within CORC’s staff could help the group identify important players with whom the co-researchers should be familiar.  Additionally, their past experience with other communities could point out possible obstacles that we can be aware of during our work.