Maintenance for social and economic gain

Maintenance for social and economic gain

How can we solve a lack of capacity for infrastructure maintenance?

The direct consequence of investing in roads is the generation of:

  • jobs
  • incomes
  • transport links
  • business opportunities (particularly if the development and maintenance of these rural roads is targeted in favour of local resource based methods)

Longer lasting impacts such as improved access to goods and services and greater productivity, further contribute to sustainable poverty reduction and local economic and social development.

Impacts will only be sustainable if the roads are maintained. A lack of maintenance affects the stream of future benefits and reduces the economic returns.

Local labour can continue to reap the benefits through helping to maintain the infrastructure.

Some consequences of not maintaining roads:

  • Farmers may be reluctant to grow a marketable surplus second crop because it cannot be sold or because of the difficulty and expense of transport
  • Information, goods and services don’t reach the population
  • School enrolment is low and absenteeism is high
  • Standards of health care are low because clinics are hard to reach and health workers cannot travel easily
  • Food and medical aid cannot reach areas in crisis

Serve local poverty reduction and employment needs, by meeting the need for road maintenance

Zibambele Poverty Alleviation Project, Durban, SA

This project links the need for maintenance of rural roads to the alleviation of extreme poverty in the rural townships.

Communities meet and nominate the poorest households and these households are then given the tools and training to maintain a stretch of road close to where they live. In return they are paid.

In addition the communities are offered help and advice to register as citizens, open bank accounts and are encouraged to form cooperatives to collate money from which people can apply for loans to start their own businesses.

The women gain a sense of pride because they have earned money for their family and can use it to pay their children’s school fees. Their position in society is elevated and a renewed sense of confidence and worth has enabled some to use the cooperative money to continue employment.