hundreds of locals gathered for the grand opening of the brand new Community Development Resource Centre in George Compound, Lusaka on the 26th July. The celebrations were the culmination of two year’s intensive work on behalf of members of the Lusaka Savings Groups as well as key alliance partners brought together to regenerate a deprived part of the city.
In 2010 the Centre was identified as an essential part of the community-led slum improvement plan for the area. It will be used not only as a secure meeting place for Federation members and place where savings can be properly administered, but also as a place where women, orphans and other vulnerable members of the community can be offered sanctuary and essential support. The centre will also be used to help members of the local community find work and get formal training for the new jobs springing up across the neighbourhood as a result of the regeneration project.
The land had previously been used as a general dumping ground and before work could begin the team had to demolish a dilapidated building and clear over twenty years of accumulated rubbish. However, once the 280m2 plot had been formally purchased for the project, construction began with members of the Lusaka Savings Groups including ten local women undertaking much of the work. Technical training and support was given by volunteers from the Zimbabwean Homeless People’s Federation, who have also been supported by Homeless International.
A member of staff from People’s Process on Housing in Zambia said “The George Resource Centre is not just a building, it signifies the impact that it will have on the community and the changes it will bring to the lives of many”. Thanks were offered to Slum Dwellers International (SDI) through the Urban Poor Fund International (UPFI), Homeless International (HI), International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED) as well as the Royal Netherlands Embassy for their financial contributions to the project.