Background Research


Approximately 5,000 people live in informal settlements in Langrug, with little or no access to personal hygiene and sanitation goods and services. In 2011, an innovative project called WaSH-UP was introduced to the Cape Town Project Center.  This facility’s purpose was to bolster access to sanitary facilities and increase education throughout the community of Langrug.  For the past three years this project has been wonderfully successful and the facility has been continually run.  The issue that is being dealt with now is a lack of funding to support this facility.  Although the facility had previously been supported by the Non-Governmental Organization, CORC, CORC has begun to run out of money to support this endeavor.  This presents a new challenge of creating a model that will be easily translatable to the facility while also making it effective enough for the facility to be able to be completely self-sustaining.  This presents a challenge because the original idea of a WaSH-UP facility was very innovative so expanding on that idea and combining business with it makes this project that much more unique and innovative.  So far in researching possible ways to execute the business plan, we have two main ideas to build from: the savings group and establishing a social enterprise.  Currently in Langrug, there is a savings group consisting of 10-14 people.  A savings group is a group of people that set aside a little bit of money every week (or whatever time period) and from that pool of money it can either be given to people on a rotating basis, given out for small loans to people with some interest paid on return, or used for emergency situations for the members or their families.  This savings group is currently in charge of looking after the operations and upkeep of the facility.

The main avenue through which we looked to strengthen this group and create sufficient revenue to maintain the facility was to create a kiosk within the facility that would sell products that could be used at home in order to further the access to HEW goods and reinforce the importance of sanitation throughout the community. During the 7-week preparatory period of Fall 2014, our group worked to gather and organize background research that would be beneficial to our project goals once we arrived in Cape Town. Explore the links to learn about the history of our project site, business models, research methods, and more!

Informal Settlements in South Africa

Shared Action Learning (SAL)

Community Assets

Possible Models for Small Businesses and Savings Groups

What Business Institutions/Models Will Best Serve the Community of Langrug?

How to Start a Small Business in Informal Settlements

Research Questions

Ethical Considerations

Sources and References