• Category ., Current Studies

The ‘Good City’ study builds on pre-existing data from the “Rapid assessment of urban communities to optimise Public Health Interventions: water infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa” (RINSS) study. It will bring together interdisciplinary scholars of social sciences, public health, engineering, community engagement and political economy from the United Kingdom, Zambia and South Africa. Theoretical considerations of urban systems (social stability, open/closed urban systems, hope and local governance) will be applied to a daily and pragmatic service need (water and sanitation), urban youth and data. Researchers will work with adolescents and young people (AYP) and the range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) actors within local governance systems in the cities of Cape Town and Lusaka in South Africa and Zambia respectively. The project focuses on the constraints and agency of AYP (aged 10 to 24 years) growing up and navigating water and sanitation services, both formal and informal, in two sub-Saharan cities, by using theories of relevance to urban systems to ask questions of and with AYP in order to work towards a better city with better water and sanitation services. In the process, the study will engage with WASH governance systems (formal and informal) and take advantage of a current moment in the history of these two countries when AYP are expressing their experience and frustrations with service delivery within municipal and political arenas.

Under the leadership of a social anthropologist and other investigators in public health, two socio-behavioural scientists (study coordinators), will work with AYP in four communities (two in Lusaka and two in Cape Twon) and municipal authorities to carry out the research on AYP. The outcomes of the project will use a practical and theory-based perspective to co-create development space with and for AYP that can be applied to service delivery, other cities and enhances hope and action for better WASH services amongst AYP. Outputs will include theoretical contributions to synthesized community-level understandings of urban systems, recommendations for strategies for involving AYP in WASH governance within local systems, and pragmatic governance policy briefs aimed at communities, local authorities and service providers, co-produced with AYP.

In Zambia, the study will be conducted in Chaisa and Kamulanga communities of wards 23 and 9 respectively (the same communities where the RINSS study was conducted). These urban communities are geographically bounded civil administration areas recognised by municipal/city council authorities, who helped select them for RINSS. Collectively they demonstrate both similar and different challenges with water and sanitation infrastructure development, including a mix of formal and informal WASH infrastructure across planned and unplanned areas. The study will use a mix of participatory, co-creation and ethnographic approaches to ask questions and establish the advocacy role of AYP in bringing about access to safe water and sanitation services. The study population are AYP (aged 10-24-years-old) who are growing up and navigating both formal and informal water and sanitation services in the study communities. Research activities for this study will include a theory workshop, two community-level workshops, recruitment and training of eight Young Person Ethnographic Researchers (YPERs, aged between 18-24 years), who will collect data for the study with support from study coordinators. Data collection will include observations at water points and sanitation facilities in the communities and household and the community generally focussing on WASH; in-depth-interviews (IDIs) with young people and community stakeholders; a participatory workshop with AYP aged 10–15 years and focus group discussions (FGDs) with AYP (16-24 years).

We will work with local stakeholders including municipal leaders, religious organisations, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations and community leaders (whom we have established relationships with through the RINSS study) to identify study participants.  For the initial community workshops, we will approach stakeholders to recommend AYP that could be included in the activity. Recommended individuals will be approached and asked to participate if they meet the eligibility criteria. During the workshops, we will ask participants for their views on the best approach to use to recruit YPERs. We will use the recommendations made by the AYP in the workshops to recruit the YPERs. This may include advertising in the community using flyers placed in common communal places or word-of-mouth referrals in the study communities. The study coordinators will oversee the selection process for YPERs but will also involve community representatives from AYP and local leaders to ensure transparency during the recruitment process.

The YPERs will recruit FGD, participatory workshop and IDI participants using existing networks. AYP will be recruited based on the different sections of the community they live, varying religious affiliations, a mix of both young people in school as well as out of school, institutions, or organizations they belong to as well as their involvement is WASH service delivery. These will include established connections with young people’s networks, local school governing bodies, health portfolios in the municipal/ward councils. All ethical considerations for involving young people in research will be adhered to and the YPERs will be trained in research ethics. Research findings will be disseminated through participatory community dialogue meetings in each community and a national level dissemination meeting with AYP and stakeholders. Research findings will also be disseminated through open access publications, blogs, policy briefs and papers.