Scene 5: Progress Behind Closed Doors



After a series of intense meetings throughout the week, it was decided that on Friday, October 31st, the final crèche plans would be presented. Several stakeholders were expected to attend the meeting so that these plans could be approved and the construction process could start as early as possible.

Cast of Characters

The WPI Flamingo Team – Jacquelyne, Malina, Andres, Justin, Kristin

Community Members – Mark, Elizabeth, Lenrika, Auntie Mary

Advisors – Scott and Steve

CECD – Eric Atmore, Sarah Atmore

Crèche Consultant – Olwethu Jack

City of Cape Town Urbanisation – Levona Powell

City of Cape Town- Leon Polemon

City of Cape Town Social Development & ECD- Andile Woishelc, Lwazi Rotwana

ISN – Melanie Manuel

City of Cape Town Urbanization & Informal Settlements – Reg O’Brien



Centre of Early Childhood Development

Saint John’s Waterfront Lodge



The day started at the CECD where we waited for several stakeholders until 10:00 AM. The purpose of this meeting was to present the final crèche design and a bill of quantities (BOQ). Presenting these two crucial factors would give the other stakeholders a better understanding of how to budget and abide by city regulations. The team was eager to hear from Olwethu, the crèche designer, on what the status of the design was.

CECD office

The Centre for Early Childhood Development Cape Town Office

The meeting kicked off with a brief introduction from everyone sitting at the table. At the beginning, everyone was on the same page expressing interest in the collective goal of erecting the crèche within the limited time frame. While this idea carried through the whole meeting, the lack of specifications from the design team slowed down the overall goal of the meeting.

Unfortunately, the design was not fully conceptualized. Olwethu, along with our team, struggled to explain the design’s specifics. This led to an inefficient meeting with the discussion going nowhere. Several ideas were brought to the table such as changing the column types, using shipping containers, along with many others. Even though some ideas were unanimously declined, none were decided upon. From a design point of view, there was close to no progress. Design specifications were postponed again, and the team met with Olwethu again later on this day.

Regardless of the design setbacks, two key concepts were clearly understood around the meeting table. The City of Cape Town representatives recognized the Flamingo Crescent community’s efforts; Levona Powell specifically said, “the partner that needs the most applause is the community, they have proven to the entire city that they can do it, they can make it and for that we are all so proud of them.” This shows how far this community has already managed to come and how much other informal settlements can learn from their process. Additionally, the City of Cape Town was confidently on board with the project. It was a unanimous consensus that regulations should not stop the team from coming up with innovative ideas. Challenging current regulations can set precedents for improvement in other informal settlements. As our advisor Scott implored, “Can’t change the policy, if you can’t change people’s imagination on what is possible.”



Our patience with the whole design process was beginning to run short. The number of stakeholders and different opinions proved to be the toughest challenge for this project. By the end of this meeting, we realized that specifying everyone’s responsibilities is very important. For instance, it is crucial to set a specific date and time on when things need to be completed with our stakeholders and get verbal consent from them. By doing this, everyone can hold each other accountable and things will always move forward. Finalizing the design process has been very frustrating; however, now we have a clearer idea of what our role is as a team. We realized that in our efforts to keep the project progressing within our time frame we had overstepped our role by getting too involved in the actual design and costing of the crèche. These components of the project were intended to be completed by the professionals involved while we focused on playing more of a facilitating role.