Scene 8: Communication and Enumeration


Keeping track of who lives where and who owes what in an informal settlement has always been very difficult. In the reblocking process, updated enumeration documents have been crucial for the contractors and NGO’s since they have to keep track of who wants what size shack and how much that household has paid towards it. This data was also important for hiring workers through EPWP. If no household member has an ID book or number, then home affairs must be asked to issue IDs so all members of the community would be able to work to pay off their debts from their upgraded shacks. 

Cast of Characters

WPI Student Team Members: Charles, Chiana, Mike, Molly
Flamingo Crescent Residents: Elizabeth, Lenrika


The Flamingo Crescent informal settlement, in Lenrika’s shack.


In the previous days, Charles and Chiana spent time typing up the 2010 enumeration that was conducted by the City of Cape Town.  Even in this document, there was missing information that needed to be investigated. The next day the new document was presented to Elizabeth, and she seemed pleased by the work they had done.  One by one, they went over each shack to make sure that all the data was correct and that the current owners were making payments.  As they were working, Lenrika interrupted them with another document. Apparently when ISN and CORC started the reblocking process in 2012, they did their own enumeration without informing the city.  So the only people with updated information were Lenrika and Melanie, an ISN member.

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Organising the community’s savings

Pleasantly surprised, Elizabeth and the WPI team members continued to work on the document that the students made. Chiana then asked Elizabeth if Lenrika was the only one with access to the 2012 enumeration. She said yes, and Chiana then asked why, and Elizabeth told her that she holds all the important documents in her shack. Elizabeth then explained that the only document she didn’t have was the money-tracking book. She did, however, say that Lenrika often goes and collects money on her own and tells Elizabeth about it later.

Throughout the day, as Lenrika repeatedly brought vital documents after noticing our work, the lack of communication quickly became clear, and we saw an opportunity to help. 


This scene was very interesting to our project group, because we saw how having only one person in control over very important documents was a major road block for our process.  By creating an excel sheet with all the data on one document, we were able to distribute this document to multiple parties.  Not only would the document be available to see to the community at all times, but it will also be better for the community leaders in organizing the information. We wanted to make sure that multiple people have access to the document, in case of a fire or flood.  Because of this experience, we decided as a group to create a section of the guidebook, which reviews the process on how to compile and distribute for enumeration information. The guidebook will review the reblocking process from the beginning, using flamingo as an example case.  We would give each community leader a binder with much of this information for the settlement, including local ECD resources for crèche development, playground and gardening plans, and their enumeration data.