Between last July 28 and 30, a delegation composed of political representatives and technicians of the eTthekwini Municipality, as well as of representatives from the academia and civil society of Durban, visited the Housing Secretariat of the City of São Paulo (SEHAB). The visit continued the cooperation project between São Paulo and Durban on housing issues, as part of the METROPOLIS Initiative “Mentoring on Upgrading Informal Settlements”, which also counts on the support of United Cities and Local Governments.
The first two days of the meetings between representatives of these two METROPOLIS member cities were held at the municipal offices in São Paulo. During these days, participants were exposed to the various social housing programs run by different stakeholders from the public and private sectors in the city level, as well as in the regional and national levels. On the third day, both teams made a technical visit to a slum upgrading project in an area called Favela do Sapé.
The outcomes from this visit will base the main debates about the closure of this Initiative during the 11th METROPOLIS World Congress in October in Hyderabad, and serve as a pilot project to be known and replicated by other cities.
At least 12 people from eThekwini Municipality (Durban) participated in the study visit to São Paulo. The delegation included four councillors, two senior managers, four municipal officials, one academic, and one member of a local nongovernmental organization in the area of Welbedagt East. “There is a lot that has been learned from the Brazilian experience, and a lot will be documented and used in future”, reported Fezile Njokweni, Chief Policy Analyst at Durban’s Municipal Institute of Learning (Mile).
"This event allows an exchange of experiences on social housing between the two countries. It is very enriching. Technical cooperation allows us to plan a strategy that meets the housing needs of the South African city and thus also qualify our technicians" concluded Mr. Jose Floriano, Secretary for Housing of the City of São Paulo. The activities of the visit were followed closely also by the Housing Production Director from the Brazilian Ministry of Cities, Mrs. Maria do Carmo Avesani, and the Executive Superintendent of Caixa Economica Federal (the Brazilian financial institution which supports the Minha Casa Minha Vida program), along with representatives from the São Paulo Housing Department and Urban Development Department staff.
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