The goal of the study was to explore how environmental and community sustainability can be promoted for informal settlement communities in Namibia and South Africa.
The study employed an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design, which as such combined qualitative and quantitative research approaches in two successive study phases. The study adopted a collective case study design and a cross-sectional survey design. The researcher sampled 91 and 531 participants respectively for the qualitative and quantitative study phases which included child and household participants, social workers, NPO, environmental health and human settlements practitioners in Windhoek, Namibia and in Orange Farm and Region G of the City of Johannesburg in South Africa.
The findings indicate that social and economic inequalities contribute to a lack of access to urban land, adequate housing, security of tenure, education, employment and basic services and to polluted and degraded environments in informal settlements. The study concludes that the social, economic and environmental challenges that informal settlement communities in the study areas experience are interrelated and rooted within broader national and urban level contexts that reinforce social and economic exclusion. As such, realising environmental and community sustainability for informal settlement communities transcends the geo-spatial boundaries in informal settlements and requires the mobilisation of multi-sectoral partnerships and resources that promote human and environmental well-being in poor communities.
The outcome of the study is an integrated strategy for promoting environmental and community sustainability for informal settlement communities. A key recommendation is for local authorities, informal settlement communities and stakeholders from the political, social services, housing, labour, health, education, water, energy and environmental sectors in Namibia and South Africa to partner in piloting and adapting the strategy to suit their local contexts.
Sustainable Development Goals
Environmental and community sustainability
Informal settlement communities
Developmental social work
Environmental social work
Green social work