ASF-UK have recently hosted an intensive international workshop with partners SLURC (Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre) as part of the Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) project in Freetown between 15th-26th July 2019. Based upon ASF-UK’s Change by Design methodology and looking at ‘co-designing platforms and tools for informal settlement profiles’. The workshop brought together SLURC’s community data collection team and international participants from eight countries to explore how the dissemination of information about informal settlements can contribute to more inclusive urban planning in Freetown.

To kick off the 2-week workshop, a symposium with a lively panel discussion between Freetown City Council, CODOHSAPA (Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation) , FEDURP (Federation of Urban and Rural Poor) and SLURC framed the challenges of data collection and dissemination in Freetown on the first day.

The workshop team of 34 diverse members split up in to four groups, each focusing on how information is accessed and shared at a different scales: policy and planning, city, community and home. The groups engaged with different stakeholders relating to their scale: interviewing individuals residing in Dworzark; holding group discussions with active community groups, interviewing key community leaders and holding discussions with city officials.

From the interviews and discussions held in week one the workshop team collaborated in developing proposals for outputs that will address issues and potentials discovered. The outputs include on the one hand identifying ways in which data needs to be systematised to make it useful and shareable and on the other hand how to make best use of existing lines of communication, such as community groups, megaphones and WhatsApp groups.

An exhibition held at the Community Centre in Dworzark showcased the process of the workshop as well as the proposed outputs and marked the end of the two week workshop.

Following the participatory workshop, SLURC, with the support of ASF-UK, will begin to test the recommendations and proposed outputs from the workshop. Over the coming months community-led data from Cockle Bay and Dworzark will begin to take shape in a number of different ways.

A big thank you to all participants, SLURC staff, community members, institutions and ASF-UK associates that supported and engaged in this workshop.

Architecture Sans Frontières UK is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1123786.
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