Charity Kalombo is a Senior Community Development Officer in the department of community development and Social Services at Lusaka City Council. She is responsible for four informal settlements which account for 75 percent of the city’s population. Kapwepwe Ward 25 in Matero Constituency is one of Lusaka’s 37 informal settlements.
The biggest problems in the ward are crime and garbage.
The aim of the “Know Your Neighbour Project” is to change the mindset of residents and other stakeholders towards crime and garbage, to make them aware of their responsibilities when it comes to creating a safe and clean environment.
“This is an important project on inclusive political leadership as it is the first of its kind in Zambia. It will promote a safe and sustainable Kapwepwe Ward 25 and further seek to provide an interactive environment where the community and decision makers interact and discuss local development in unplanned settlements,” she says.
She represents the Lusaka team that is taking part in ICLD’s international training programme ‘Inclusive Political Leadership’.
‘Know Your Neighbour Project’ can bring change in the way people manage their waste and to create collaboration among residents, law enforcers and city authorities in fighting crime.
“The launch was a success as it attracted more stakeholders than anticipated. We have had community meetings, monthly cleaning days, and publicity awareness through electronic and print media,” she says.
She states further that community participation is key as it will empower the population to a higher level of responsibility and ownership.
“There is an overwhelming response at community level – actually the community is not waiting for any formalization but performs activities where there is a need. The monthly cleaning days are carried out by the community and supervised by the Know Your Neighbour-clubs,” she says. “In fact, the neighbouring ward of Matero east, are taking their problems to the councillor and the ‘Know Your Neighbour’-clubs of Kapwepwe ward 25.”
Astrid Nunez, Programme Officer ITP at ICLD is satisfied with how the project was launched and the community response:
“It was very pleasing to see that so many people are involved in this project, both locally and from the city’s management,” she says.
The first cohort of ICLD:s new International Training Programme ‘Inclusive Political Leadership’.
Charity, how do you inspire local politicians and other stakeholders to take part in this project?
“The local politicians are inspired by the publicity the initiative has created. There is an overwhelming political expectation – the Mayor of the greater city of Lusaka wants the initiative to be a citywide project using the same concept. Parliament referred to the initiative as a solution to the problems with crime. I try to inspire people to be professional and open-minded to community initiatives.”
What would you say is key when it comes to the success of this project?
“To include visible partnership and increase the number of people attending developmental community meeting within their household clusters. To kick-start the project without dedicated funding from a partner and then get stakeholders on board to support the initiative.”
“A project with the combined goal of reducing crime and improving waste management is interesting, and we should be observant of the outcome and see if it is clear that these two goals help and enable each other”, says
Charity Kalombo is hopeful about the outcome of the project.
“Yes, I hope I wake up every morning feeling positive that this project is the right one. The initiative cuts across all boundaries and calls on everyone to take responsibility and contribute positively to keeping this county clean.”