Sticky Situations receives grant for next phase of WASSUP Diepsloot

By Mike Flenniken, IAPMO

Sticky Situations, one of the hosts of the Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) 2016 in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, South Africa, has been awarded a grant of approximately R500 000 to develop the next phase of the Water, Amenities and Sanitation Services Upgrade Programme (WASSUP) Diepsloot.

Sticky Situations has facilitated the inception, training, and growth of this community-led co-operative in Diepsloot ever since Global Studio initiated the programme, in collaboration with local government officials, in Johannesburg in 2007.

Health sanitation 002 webThe South African CPC 2016 team.

The Direct Aid Programme (DAP) of the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in South Africa approved the grant. The DAP supports non-profit organisations working in local communities on activities that support sustainable and equitable development, including education and skills, human rights, disability inclusiveness, and women’s social and economic empowerment.

The application outlined plans for a new workshop and training facility on the site of the Diepsloot Housing Authority office in the sprawling neighbourhood of Extension 1, combined with the renovation of an adjacent public toilet and washroom, as well as repairs and maintenance for 25 of the 643 communal toilet facilities in the surrounding area. These projects will be supported by the ongoing development of formally accredited, on-the-job training opportunities for local apprentice plumbers and other tradespeople, which will increase the WASSUP team’s capacity and encourage further collaboration with municipal authorities and industry partners, which can be replicated in other, similar locations.

Australian High Commission representatives Stacy Walker (first secretary) and Sarah Dippenaar (senior research and programme officer) were welcomed to Diepsloot during the Community Plumbing Challenge event in July 2016, and presented with a tour of upgrade sites across the township. Following this, the Australian CPC team was invited to meet with the Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Adam McCarthy, in Pretoria.

Health Sanitation 001 webToilets being installed at the 2015 challenge.

Sticky Situations facilitator Jennifer van den Bussche, an Australian who has lived in South Africa for the past decade, is responsible for this latest, successful funding application on behalf of WASSUP. “Adequate communal sanitation is a constant challenge for our Johannesburg communities and local government,” she said. “A great deal of time, energy and effort goes into applying for funding support across public and private sectors, as well as to international bodies for our ongoing endeavours. In this case, I am extremely proud that my home country will now be contributing to this ongoing, holistic programme that looks to improve sanitation conditions as well as work towards professional training for future careers.”

“Therefore, we continually work together to find solutions.”

Seán Kearney, an international project manager for IAPMO who helped write the grant, said plans are under way for a CPC 2016 follow-up project, designed to dovetail with the opening of the new WASSUP base and rollout of the DAP-supported sanitation works and plumbing training in Diepsloot.

More information will be communicated in the coming months, and the organisations concerned welcome all additional ideas, feedback and plumbing industry input as they continue to move forward with the programme.

“We are delighted to see our CPC 2016 hosts being awarded this grant as a direct result of our recent event,” Kearney said. “From a CPC organisational perspective, Australian government support for the next phase of the Diepsloot sanitation programme indicates the growing impact of our international collaborations. Ongoing support like this means more long-term opportunities for all involved, and is a legacy we will continue to aim for with our future CPC events.”  

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