Collective Participation and Action
The Equality Collective campaigns are driven by community needs and intersect key socio-economic rights. We provide the support (research, technical and organising support) for the collective participation and action of marginalised communities. Our campaigns to date involve the right to early childhood development (ECD) and the right to water.
Right to water
The Mncwasa Water Scheme was built by Amathole District Municipality in 2010 and became operational in 2015. The Scheme changed the lives of people in this region. Access to quality, clean water near households brought along with-it improved health outcomes, reduced infant mortality and increased quality of life for all.
The Scheme feeds water to approximately 6000 households (33 000 people) across 40 villages. It has 32 reservoirs, 200 break-pressure tanks and thousands of taps.
While this is an access to water services success story for post-democratic South Africa, maintaining and ensuring consistent and reliable access to clean water is becoming an increasing challenge. Although most of the villages have access to communal taps, there are areas that have not had water for months, many taps that are not operational and 100s of leaks all around the system. There are also many homesteads that do not have a tap within 200 metres of their home as legally required.
To respond to some of the systemic or structural reasons why our communities do not have consistent access to water, we are doing the following:
We conducted a social audit of water delivery in our region together with our partner, Viva con Agua. This social audit is being used as a baseline for further engagements regarding remedial measures with Amathole District Municipality (ADM). A summary of the social audit can be found here and a more comprehensive report can be found here.
We know that failing local government is ubiquitous but what can we do as community members? Together, we have built a community monitoring system called 'Amanzi Kumntu Wonke' for the Mncwasa Water Scheme. We have 32 water volunteers across 40 villages messaging us everyday about the availability of water and whether there are any broken taps, leaking reservoirs or taps etc. We record that data, consolidate it and send daily, monthly and weekly reports to ADM. Our goal is to identify issues so that ADM can respond quickly and our hope is that this will lead to more reliable water. Our community members have taken ownership of the project and we work hand-in-hand with ADM to solve this issue in our community.
We build the capacity of community members to participate in existing local government democratic processes and become leaders and activists for the right to water.
The Equality Collective is building a coalition and supporting civil society to become more active participants in ADM processes and to hold ADM accountable.
Right to water
Mncwasa Water Scheme Survey Video
Right to ECD
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is essential for the growth and development of millions of young children in South Africa. Our vision is to ensure an enabling policy, legal and regulatory environment that guarantees that all children in South Africa can access the right to ECD. The Equality Collective, as part of its collective action and participation pillar, seeks to provide the infrastructure that facilitates wide-spread participation and action in support of this vision. That is why we helped found the Real Reform for ECD Movement (RR4ECD). The Movement is a broad-based alliance supported by over 200 organisations and led by an elected Steering Committee. The Equality Collective serves on this Steering Committee and currently, together with Ilifa Labantwana, provides coordination and the secretariat support to RR4ECD. We also assisted Real Reform for ECD formulate a 24-month strategy which will lay the foundation for further collaborative support on key law reform issues for ECD.
We believe that progressive change in the early childhood development legal regime is only possible if the sector stands united around a common understanding of its challenges and solutions and maintains the pressure for change. As experts in social justice advocacy, the Equality Collective provides this kind of support and assistance to the Real Reform for ECD Campaign.
Right to ECD
Real Reform for ECD ‘Make Local Government Work for ECD’ Campaign Toolkit