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Initiating the Neighbourhood Approach Addis Ababa

New urban renewal concepts use an integrated approach and work on an improvement based on neighbourhood level. Integrated concepts will put into consideration all the aspects that come into mind when urban development and renewal processes are being put in place.

One of the aspects about the neighbourhood approach is to ensure that improvements are made on the neighbourhood level with the goal of creating and executing an integrated neighborhood plan that contributes to building flourishing communities in Addis Ababa. This will help improve on housing, sanitation and employement in the region wher the project takes place.

One of Except projects in Ethiopia was ‘Initiating the Neighbourhood Approach Addis Ababa’ that was part of Cordaid’s urban matters program. Under this program, Anteneh (Except Integrated Sustainability) conducted a study in Addis Ababa together with Erasmus University Rotterdam-IHS to identify a suitable neighbourhood for a sustainable neighbourhood development pilot project in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The neighbourhood approach refers to a bottom-up approach for an integrated sustainable development at a neighbourhood level.

Established in 1886, Addis Ababa is one of the oldest and largest cities in Africa with about 4 million populations over 540km2 of land. Addis Ababa is home for about 30 percent of the urban population of the country and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the continent. Addis Ababa is a self-governing chartered city with its own city council. The city is organized through smaller units called sub-cities and the sub-cities are further divided to smaller administrative units called Woredas. Therefore, the city is sub-divided to 10 Sub-cities and the sub-cities, in turn, are sub-divided to 116 Woredas.

The study included a description of stakeholders in Addis Ababa city and the selected Woredas, capacities of these institutions, relevant channels for participation (based on relevant policies, programmes and practices), the understanding, perspectives and interests (positive or negative) of stakeholders in the neighbourhood approach and potential (donor) support. Stakeholders included the public sector at its various levels, private sector (large, medium, small and micro scale) and civil society (NGOs, CBOs, other community initiatives and households).

The objectives of the study were:

-To identify a geographical area (a woreda or part of a wereda) for the successful implementation of the neighbourhood approach based on set criteria and endorsed by the stakeholders and Ethiopian Government

-To analyse opportunities and stakeholder capacity for integrated neighbourhood development within the selected woredas.

The first step was to identify the potential sub-cities followed by identifying potential woredas within the sub-cities that could be suitable or ripe for an in-depth study. For this purpose, two sets of criteria were developed to narrow the selection of sub-cities and to identify the suitable woreda.

Both sets of criteria used for the selection of the sub-cities and woredas focused on assessing the political will, stakeholders and their priorities, collaboration and cooperation culture, capacity and priority of civil society organizations, the level of poverty, the capacity and willingness of the private sector to engage in sustainable development, population density, development strategy, economic viability and legal requirements.

One of the most interesting findings of the study was how the government controls and channels development funds from several sources as shown in the figure below. Though the donor funding is slimming down in the country, the RLGDP, GTZ/KFW, Cities Alliance, Gates Foundation, French Development Fund, Finland Embassy, USAID, and The Urban garden Program are still providing large amount of funds for Urban Development Programs. It can be seen, in the figure below, that most Government and donor funding is channelled through the government system, from the Ministry of Works and Urban Development to the Woreda. These offer real opportunities to co-fund initiatives at Woreda level, relevant for a Community of Change. We highly recommend using these available funding streams.

For the woreda selection, we had identified the actors involved in development activities in the neighbourhood using a stakeholder matrix and network analysis. The following figures show an example network diagram of actors, their influence and the interaction between them.

The conclusions of the study were

1.The capacities of the Woreda Development Committee (WDC) differ from one Woreda to the other. The WDC prepares plans that go up the system and look for funding opportunities from other development partners besides the government budget. However, in most cases, the independence of this committee is doubtful. In some of the cases, the WDC’s job is to bridge the gap between the government, the community, the CBOs, NGOs, Private Sectors and other potential development partners.

2.The private sector in Addis Ababa is not very strong when it comes to neighbourhood development activities. The Chamber of Commerce is getting stronger again in the city. However, the economic activities within the settlements are mostly for daily consumption and survival.

3.There are two academic institutes in Addis Ababa that provide specialised education in Urban Management and Development: the Addis Ababa University (AAU) and the Ethiopian Civil Service College (ECSC). They are both Public Universities, while the later is considered more politically biased. The institutes are enthusiastic to provide support for the Woreda in the planning and management aspects of the neighbourhood improvement program.

Addis Ababa offers opportunities for the approach to succeed, as the government is development-oriented and not very corrupt; funding streams can be tapped in particular through regular government channels and donor agencies; and NGO’s are in dire need for a new approach, where the fragmented and sectoral capacities come together. Of course, the approach also faces serious challenges in Addis Ababa, in particular due to a paternalistic government and a relatively weak civil and private sector which is not yet well explored. These, in combination with increasing levels of urban poverty indicate a need for the neighborhood approach.

Recommendation: The neighbourhood approach
1.The objectives of the integrated neighbourhood approach is to give the urban poor a voice and bridge the top/down approach of the government to development with the bottom/up approach to improve the livelihood of the urban poor. The strategy should be linking to the regularization policies and the funding streams of the government and use local academic institutes for capacity building.

2.For a successful implementation of the ‘Integrated neighbourhood Approach’, the Community of Change (CoC) should be established both at the Woreda and City level. The process should not be driven by one actor but a partnership of the different development actors involved in the process.

3.There is a chance to access the big capital investment fund for local governments. This requires helping the local governments prepare feasible development plans, and getting support from other stakeholders.

The figure below shows the recommended institutional settings for the integrated neighborhood approach in Addis Ababa.

Finally we recommended one of the woredas studied for the implementation of the integrated neighborhood approach because in the woreda:

-The program has strong support from the Addis Ababa City Administration and it is in line with the city’s development programs

-Both Sub-city and Woreda are highly enthusiastic about the program, has prior experience in working with other stakeholders, and the local government is very close to the people

-The neighbourhood has high poverty level and can benefit from the program

-The CSOs and CBOs in the Woreda are well organized and can take lead in the program. Especially the Neighbourhood Development Committee at the Sub-city level is very strong development partner.

-Local Development Plans are prepared and are made public through workshops, these plans clearly show need for improvement and are known by the majority of the residents

Currently, the program is going forward and so far the following activities are completed:

-Participatory urban appraisal/community mapping by IIRR and Cordaid and withsupport of local partners

-WASH feasibility study by Cordaid, Hollandse Delta and Waternet

-Urban Change Laboratory (physical mapping and proposals of the area) by EIABC and Cordaid with input from community, Woreda, Ministry and other stakeholders (ongoing)

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