Urbanisation and unplanned development can lead to several problems. This is no different in Zambia. This is the issue Alumna Cecilia Mbati set out to help tackle.
One month after Cecilia completed her Masters of Environmental Management and Development at the Australian National University in 2011, she assumed a new role as Provincial Planner at the Physical Planning and Housing Department in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in the Central Province of Zambia.
Prior to obtaining her Masters, Cecilia started working on an Integrated Development Plan, which stipulates how any particular district is to be developed in a holistic manner. The plan looked at Kapiri Mposhi’s development. Kapiri Mposhi is a district located north of Lusaka in the Central Province of Zambia with a population estimated at over 250,000 people.
Upon returning from her studies, Cecilia resumed working on the development plan on a larger scale. In her new role as Provincial Planner, she led the formulation of an Integrated Development Plan for Kapiri Mposhi.
The plan is meant to guide the planned growth of the district, including the provision of social services and infrastructure. Social services include health, education and solid waste management, while infrastructure includes roads, schools, telecommunications, hospitals, market centres and energy. Preparation of the plan, expected to be completed at the end of 2013, involves broad-based consultation with local authority staff and the community at large to ensure ownership and support.
“The environmental assessment and cost-benefit analysis skills I gained during my studies in Australia were invaluable to the role I played in this project,” explains Cecilia.
Beyond the plan, Cecilia’s intends to contribute to policy setting. She has, more recently, been appointed to the position of Principal Planner at the headquarters of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. She is thus part of the team that oversees such development plans in various districts in the country, putting her in a good position to influence policy making in this area.
Cecilia believes strongly that the process of development and housing delivery needs to be based on a clear understanding of the dimensions of the housing problem facing Zambia, and that priority should be given to shelter in overall socio-economic development.
“It helps to define the technical, financial and administrative framework needed to carry out housing programs and to identify the agents from the public and private sectors responsible for implementation,” adds Cecilia.