Svensk partner: Gävle kommun

Electricity Master Plan – Electricity Maintenance System Phase II

Maintenance of the electrical network is crucial to ensure the safe and continuous supply of electricity to consumers.

BCM currently carries out maintenance through archaic maintenance plans without effective monitoring and record of the maintenance being done. A maintenance system is required that will adequately log and monitor the maintenance of the electricity infrastructure in BCM.

The project started in September 2008 and because of administrative problem Gävle achieved only 50% of the planned aim. To end the project the teamwork calculates a requirement of six months of work for implementation of the Maintenance system.

Good Governance – Civic participation and planning for housing

Providing affordable, safe and comfortable housing is an essential aspect of service delivery for local governments.

Housing forms one of the basic democratic rights. South Africa however, faces a housing crisis for the poor. Local municipalities like Buffalo City are still battling with informal settlements (shacks) and there seems to be no real progress on speeding up housing delivery. The delivery of houses is affected by land issues, reliability of contractors to deliver, cost of materials, community needs versus realities of types of houses that can be delivered and sometimes the internal municipal processes.

The South African Government makes a subsidy available for low or no income earners but the quality and standard of houses delivered can be questioned. These are the issues that plaque politicians, and although civic participation within the housing delivery processes is rather high, it still takes a long time, and the quality of houses is seriously compromised. Sweden on the other hand delivers housing according to demand and usually of good quality. However in Gävle, whilst houses are delivered the civic participation in planning for housing or other municipal matters has declined in recent years.

The project aims at examine, trends, obstacles and the possibilities that lies in civic participation that are affecting both Buffalo City and Gävle communities and civil society.

By examining the trends one would be able to better understand people’s needs and hence increase the chances to deliver according to these needs and within the grants or subsidies provided by government. But more importantly examine how people need to participate in matters relating to the crucial aspects of housing. The aim is to pilot the project in three wards/areas of Buffalo City and Gävle. Studies through questionnaires would be conducted in a sample population of these wards/areas and interviews will be conducted to understand what people expect in terms of housing delivery and the types of houses they require.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To increase civic participation in the chosen three wards/areas of both Buffalo City and Gävle pertaining to housing.
  • To establish structures that will enhance participation for housing delivery. E.g. ward committee in Buffalo City.
  • To conduct a study through questionnaires to understand people’s needs and expectations in terms of housing.
  • To find solutions and strategies to improved housing delivery

Ambulance Services

The Ambulance services in Buffalo City and Gävle were earlier involved in the project “Disaster management”. It was successful and it opened our eyes to issues in the ambulance organization in both South Africa and Sweden, but more importantly it showed how both countries could assist each other to develop the ambulance services.

The projects aim is to develop the ambulance service in both countries in order to serve the citizens better and meet the demands of today and by learning from each other both cities could be better equipped with skills and knowledge from the project to be able to save lives and prevent poverty in the society and also get better internal work environment.

The emergency care internationally is constantly developing and the technique and skills are moving forward and the ambulance services are an important part of that. The demands on the ambulance services around the world are increasing with every day and the services needs to keep on developing to meet those demands, regardless of where you serve.

The demands on the ambulance services have gone from transport organizations to highly developed prehospital emergency care units, almost small hospitals on wheels, during the last two decades. Another outcome of that development is the extended demands on the organizations and the internal working environment

Good Governance and Decision Making

The overall objective of the Good Governance Decision Making project is a more democratic society – improved decision making powers of local government, its citizens and groups within the community in order to find sustainable ways to meet social, economic and environmental needs and improve the quality of lives for all who live in the municipal area.

The Buffalo City and Gävle Partnership aims to implement global strategies such as the Millennium Goals and Agenda 21 locally. By working together through different forms of exchange of experiences Gävle and Buffalo City Metro Municipality will have improved their service delivery for their citizens and bettered dialogue with citizens, NGO´s and enterprises.

The objective of the project is increased knowledge and capacity of elected representatives and civil servants in Multi-level governance, Steering and Management and Public Private Partnership work.

Renewable Energy Pilot

The overall objective of the project is improved organizational structures and preparedness for energy-related issues.

With the help of this project we see that in 10-15 years the following has happened:

  • more micro production in South Africa and Sweden – meaning less preasure on existing power grids
  • solar panels will be more commercially viable in 10-15 years, meaning more clean energy in our cities
  • Gävle and Buffalo City will both have reached the EU 2020 target of 20% improvement in energy efficiency
  • mercury lighting is abolished in both municipalities
  • a reduced energy consumption per capita in both municipalities

When the project is finalized, both Gävle Energi and Buffalo City will have exchanged methods for improving energy efficiency, established pre-requisites for implementation of renewable energy sources (pilots) and improved organisational structures and preparedness for energy-related issues

The Blåklockan – Masimayane partnership to strengthen responses to violence against women

The overarching vision and longterm objective is to end violence against women and girls in South Africa and Sweden. This project will contribute to the awareness of and prevention of violence against women and girls. And also contribute to strengthen the support mechanisms for women and children who do have experienced violence in Gävle and in Buffalo City.

  • A strengthening in responses to violence against women and girls in both countries.
  • Increased knowledge and public awareness in both countries.
  • Established programmes preventing violence against women and girls in Gävle and established programmes supporting violated women in Buffalo City.

Youth Engagement

The project tackles the issue of the challenge of including youth in the local democratic processes. In today`s situation, the strategic and political decisions in the municipalities concerning youth are not always knowledge-based. The knowledge on the situation of youth, their opinions and how they lead their lives, is inadequate. In addition, the knowledge and information at hand is not being used efficiently.

Due to the lack of innovative platforms for youth influence in both municipalities, Buffalo City and Gävle have a challenge of including youth in the democratic processes – youth councils, elections, public participation and citizen dialogue. The municipalities need effective tools to reach and include youth in local democratic processes.

Today both municipalities face a risk of higher number of youth that experience social exclusion, and also increased youth unemployment level. If youth are not included in the society, long term effects like increased poverty, crime, violence and inequality can emerge. In addition to that, there is the risk that educated and motivated youth move away, to find better opportunities. Both municipalities need to build trust in local government and institutions and achieve youth participation in local government processes. The project will carry out activities that aim to achieve that strategic and political decisions on youth related matters to be more knowledge-based.

Innovative platforms for youth influence will be implemented, and the Youth Councils capacity will be strengthened to be used as a tool for the Municipalities to reach and include youth in local democratic processes.

Non-Discrimination in Local Governance

The ”Non-Discrimination in Local Governance” project aims to reduce intolerance amongst local communities especially related to vulnerable groups (different races/gender/displaced/refugees/foreigners/sexual orientation/disabled etc) and strengthen integration of these communities for a more united society and non discriminating community.

The project objective is to strengthen municipal knowledge, understanding and capacities on issues of discrimination in order to improve policies and platforms for integration in the municipality.

This will be achieved through study visits, workshadowing of partners, workshops, seminars, and presentations. The aim is also to create improved platforms for communication and dialogue on discrimination in the municipality. The activities will aim to raise awareness as well as spread knowledge and experience on non-discrimination in a wider perspective in the organization.

Discrimination runs against the most fundamental values of a modern society. In fact, it is a threat to democracy, which is predicated on the idea of a society in which arbitrary hierarchies and preferences based on, for example gender, ethnic origin, and wealth have been eliminated with a view to achieving equality. Democracy recognizes worth and equal rights of all whereby, equality prohibits discrimination which is also the cornerstone of human rights.

Discrimination not only forms a menace to the society, but also to the individual who is subjected to such an adverse treatment as it is a direct denial of the equal worth of the victim. It is a violation of a person’s identity. The consequences of discrimination match the severity of the offence, a causal link to alienation, exclusion, radicalization and decreasing psychological well-being.