Show your Team’s Investment

Another important aspect involved in reblocking is letting the community know the genuine interest the team has in the project and, more importantly, the community itself. In Flamingo Crescent, we accomplished this through small upgrading projects. The community expressed interest in increasing the safety for the children through a playground in the community. However, with the reblocking process approaching, rather than build permanent structures, the community thought movable park elements built from recycled materials would be a better temporary solution. The community had access to recycled tyres and pallets and were very interested in helping with construction and painting. We then facilitated the construction of several elements including tyre cubes, tyre rollers, tyre seats, a drum, and a wooden bench.

The community was highly involved in construction. The dedication that the community showed in working together with us showed their investment in the project and ownership of the constructed elements. The painted colours and designs of each element come from the children and other residents, further making it their own. In addition to the park elements, the community expressed interest in gardening. With similarly constructed mobile planters made from recycled materials, the community could beautify their shacks and yards, in addition to growing vegetables or fruit. The designs included different kinds of tyre planters and a vertical pallet garden. We facilitated construction of these alongside community members in a similar fashion to the various playground structures.

The park and garden elements acted as a tangible product of our team’s efforts to work with the community, empowering the residents to upgrade their own community with simple designs. The final product was not simply the physical structures, but also a sense of ownership and pride in the sustainable park and garden elements. The implementation of small investment projects such as these builds momentum in the community for the long, hard reblocking process ahead.