Critical analysis of the livelihood strategies of slum dwellers: the case of Jika Joe, Pietermaritzburg.
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Service delivery and livelihood strategies in informal settlements are generally below par as communities find it hard to maintain a suitable standard of living. The provision of basic services, and social and economic up-liftment initiatives for the community are very important in transforming Jika Joe informal settlement. The primary objective of this study was to ascertain the livelihood resources and strategies available for achieving a sustainable livelihood for Jika Joe’s dwellers. The study analyses the livelihood strategies adopted by residents of the informal settlement of Jika Joe in-order to sustain their livelihoods. The study involved qualitative research using the methods of interviews and observation, to conduct the study. This study investigated about the livelihood resources and strategies that is available for achieving sustainable livelihood for Jika Joe slum dwellers, and to identify determinant factors influencing strategies that were identified during research which is adopted in the area to improve their welfare. Results from this study outlined that slum dweller from Jika Joe around dairy activities do not rely much on one livelihood pathway but they link multiple strategies together to improve their standard of living. The study, therefore, conclude that their dairy daily activities that are complementing with urban livelihood pathways available can be trusted as a reliable and sustainable livelihood source to reduce poverty in informal settlements. A purposive sample and Snowballing of 20 participants was selected and field data were collected over a period of one month using in-depth interviews and observations. A combination of data collection methods was employed in order to explore different perspectives. Data collected also highlights a low literacy level within the community which limits people’s participation and access economic activities which adversely affects their livelihoods. This methodology was used to explore survival strategies employed by poor urban households in Jika Joe informal settlement within the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach. The framework creates space for local people to explore their own views in relation to the conceptualization of livelihood strategy and its impact, and to examine their survival strategies based on available assets in their community. The findings further shows that people from the settlement resist top-down development even when it is accompanied by the promise of a better life. Overall, the study indicates that perceptions of poverty in Jika Joe relate to a lack of access to basic needs such as proper housing, security, employment and food. The coping strategies adopted by the community reiterate that, despite challenges, people have strengths and assets that can be used to improve their lives. The study concludes that policy reforms and people-centered approaches are required to address poverty in informal settlements.