Scene Three: Sustainable Livelihoods Meeting

The Sustainable Livelihoods department meets regularly with other city departments and interested organisations, forming the Sustainable Livelihoods Network (SLN).  Another WPI project working on rooftop gardening was asked to present at the most recent meeting.  Our advisor thought it would be beneficial for our team to present at the meeting as well.

Cast of Characters:
There were several departments and organisations present at the meeting including Economic Development, represented by Hilary Joseph and Hanif, Sustainable Livelihoods represented by Cindy Jacobs, and Rob Small on behalf of Harvest of Hope.

Our team did not know much about this meeting and so we arrived with an open mind and hoping to network with potentially beneficial offices.  The following are some questions we hoped to answer:

  • What other organisations can give useful information on our project?
  • Are any of the organisations interested in creating a long term partnership?
  • What is the current potential for funding a pathway project?

Shahbaz and Sarah walked to 44 Wale Street and arrived on the seventh floor.  There some confusion as to where the meeting actually was since some members of the offices thought it had moved to the eighth floor.  In the end, we met in a boardroom on the seventh floor with about twenty seats, fifteen surrounding a large, oval table and five against the wall.  A man brought in a projector and a laptop for the future presentations.

As we were waiting for the meeting to start, Hilary Joseph from the Economic Development department introduced herself to Shahbaz and Sarah and had us talk a little bit about our project.  The meeting began at 13h15 as people took their seats.  Cindy arrived with an agenda and introduced herself as a chairperson for the Sustainable Livelihoods Network.  She opened the floor for the attendees’ introduction.  Our presentation was the second item on the agenda after a presentation from the Economic Development department.  Their presentation was about a program for an assessment tool for agriculture business management.  Their requirements for eligibility in the program are for a somewhat established plan that is viable.

After we presented, there were a few questions and comments.  The first of which was about the bridge spanning the M5 and how that can be a costly endeavor.  We responded by explaining the need and talking about other approaches, such as adding a footpath to existing motorized bridges, instead of building a completely new bridge.  Another attendee asked for us to send the presentation out so he could share it with another department.

After the meeting, Shahbaz met with Rob Small, from Harvest of Hope, who gave feedback on our presentation.  Rob said that the idea of community supported agriculture along the river is possible but would require significant training, funding and a clear framework.  He also offered our team a chance to visit the Harvest of Hope facilities.

Cindy also offered a chance for everyone in the meeting to visit the rooftop garden on the 44 Wale Street building.  We took the elevator to the twelfth floor and walked through facility areas to reach to latter encased garden.  It had many indigenous plants, vegetables and a sculpture with glass engravings.  The wood that held the structure was from invasive trees that pose a threat to Cape Town’s available water supply in the dry months.

Reflection and Learning:
This meeting was a useful step in building a network of information sources and for finding potential issues with this project.  One of the biggest issues in this meeting was that we could not understand a lot of the names or organisations that people were saying.  Luckily, an intern for the Environmental Resources department recorded the meeting and will be sending minutes so that we can understand some of the information we may have missed.  Something that was repeatedly brought up was funding and the different sources of funding.  For example, the Expanded Public Works Programme has funding for employment positions.  We also learned that simply adding a foot bridge may be economically impractical.  An alternative is to add a footpath to an established, motorized bridge.

Plans for future scenes:

  • Connect with Hilary Joseph from the Economic Department to discuss potential for agriculture business planning.
  • Talk with Hilary about the Expanded Public Works Programme and its potential for funding in the pathway development.
  • Connect with Rob Small to visit the Harvest of Hope facilities with Martin, Scott, Bob and other interested people.
  • Speak with Cindy about her potential involvement in future planning.

To view the presentation from this meeting, click here [PDF, 729 KB]