The price of water in Luanda

The most important map for us is always the price of water. As the water market is still highly privatized, especially in the areas with bad or no ‘normal’ access to water from EPAL (Impresna Publica da Aguas) at home. This means that water becomes a commodity that is traded, and the more distance there is between the source of water and the house, the higher the prices. In many of the high density areas there is no functional household water system. And roads are too small for tank-trucks with water. Water is transported by the women and girls in buckets and bidons, or delivered by boys with carry-alls.

The maps below show the variation of water prices across the city of Luanda based on a 20 liter bidon or bucket which is the common measure of sale at community stand posts or at the water tanks of private sellers.


2014 Luanda Map Prices of Water

2013 Luanda Map prices of water

2012 Luanda Map Prices of Water
It can be seen that there is still a wide variation in water prices and that water is still a major financial burden on families in some parts of the city. However in areas where the DW/Angolan Government-led community management system (MoGeCA) has been introduced, water can be found at affordable prices. The coverage of community management via MoGeCA has increased significantly in the fourth year of DW’s Voices of Citizens for Urban Change Program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Looking at the 3 years we have mapped, we can see shifts in the prices and the most expensive locations. This clearly indicates the improvements reached in some areas, and the deterioration in other areas. One main pipe burst, or a road blocked, or a heavy rainy season (like this last year) can influence the access to water for tens of thousands of people.

DW visits two Integrated Housing Development Program sites in Addis Ababa

Women on construction site - housing background Yeka Abado

Women on construction site – Yeka Abado housing in background

Ethiopia has one of the lowest proportions of citizens living in urban areas: only 16.7 percent. However, things are changing and the country is now urbanizing at an annual growth rate of 3.49 percent. The combination of high population and urban growth rates, coupled with a high prevalence of urban poverty, has placed enormous strain on Ethiopian cities, especially when it comes to affordable housing.

DW’s director Allan Cain participated in an Expert Meeting on Housing Finance convened by the African Development Bank and UN Habitat on February 18 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The mission visited 2 sites of the Integrated Housing Development Program in Addis, one in the urban centre and one in the periphery. Addis’ current housing project has a goal of constructing 400,000 condominium units between 2010 – 2015.

For details and to listen to audio recordings taken during the site visits please read about it here on our website.

Ayat II - Baldaras - Housing

Ayat II – Baldaras Housing

Neighbourhood Data Collection Workshop

Santa Fe ConferenceIn November, Development Workshop participated in “Acting Locally, Understanding Globally – Workshop on Building an International Community of Practice for Neighbourhood Data Collection” at the Sante Fe Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

We were very pleased to two of our projects: Voices of Citizens for Urban Change (supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Cities Alliance) and the GSMA Mobil Water Monitoring project.

A key finding we shared from DW’s programs: enabling local municipalities to co-own data from the beginning supports a sense of common ground in the defence of community interests in improving access to basic services, tenure rights and participative planning. Find out more here.

Supporting land tenure rights in Angola’s central highlands

Harvesting potatoes in Huambo, Angola.

Harvesting potatoes in Huambo province, Angola.

On November 28 Development Workshop and World Vision launched the Draft Land Management in the Central Highlands of Angola  in Kuito, Bié province. The project is the result of a recent agreement between the EU and the FAO to ensure the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT).

10 countries are involved: Angola, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Swaziland. This project is financed with funds from the European Union (EUR 33 million).

The 3 year project in Angola will cover 3 provinces: Huambo, Bié, and Benguela and aims to empower governments at national, provincial and municipal levels, non-state actors and local communities to facilitate the recognition of land tenure rights, forests and other resources.

Find out more here (text in Portuguese only):

Allan Cain on The Challenges of Community Water Management in Angola

“The poorest people in Luanda are paying a quarter of a billion dollars every year to buy water…” DW director Allan Cain gave a presentation to the Angola Field Group on August 28, 2014, about the challenges of Community Water Management in Angola. DW, together with the government, has developed a policy of community management of water as part of the Angolan Government’s Water for All Program, called “MoGeCA”. MoGeCA promotes an approach involving local communities in the planning, construction and management of water points, as a basic strategy promoting local development.

An audio recording of the presentation (in English) can be heard on DW’s website at

A MoGeCA Manual on Community Water Management and a set of cards to be used at training have been published and printed. You can download them both a PDF (in Portuguese) on DW’s website at The Manual has become the Angolan National Policy on sustainable water management.

Allan Cain also showed a new video about DW’s work in Integrated Community Water Project in Angola’s Peri-Urban Areas.


DW visits the Medellín Participatory Inclusive Land Readjustment

DW’s director Allan Cain visited the PILaR Candelbra Project in Medellín, Columbia with a team from UN-HABITAT in April 2014. The pilot is a joint initiative of Medellin’s Institute of Housing and Habitat (ISVIMED), Medellin’s Department of Planning and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). At a global level, the Project is developing a methodology to help apply participatory and inclusive land readjustment in low or middle income countries.

Watch a video tour of the the PILaR Candelbra Project and video of a workshop on participatory and inclusive land readjustment in Medellín led by Robert Lewis-Lettington on DW’s website here.

Hard life in the ‘mouth of the River’


Photo courtesy of the Cacuaco Forum Blog

Residents of the town of Cacuaco, Angola need water, hospitals, electricity, public transport, recreational areas for children and police patrols in order to meet the needs of the population explosion in the area. The town, located 10 km from the outskirts of Luanda, was originally inhabited mostly by fishermen, and then became the home to displaced migrants during the war. More recently Cacuaco is filling the need of people hoping to realize their dream of home ownership. Read the full story in DW’s Cacuaco Forum blog here.


African urban fantasies: past lessons and emerging realities

Now on our website, read DW director Allan Cain’s paper titled “African urban fantasies: past lessons and emerging realities”, published in Environment & Urbanization, the journal of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), April 2014. Click here to read the article.

The paper responds to Vanessa Watson’s article on the inappropriate urban development plans that are increasingly common in sub-Saharan Africa as governments seek to make their cities “world class”. It describes how the government of Angola has been able to use financing from Chinese credit facilities to build prestige projects that include support for the public-privately developed Kilamba city with 20,000 apartments. In the paper, Allan Cain argues that an opportunity is being missed to use today’s income from high-priced natural resources and the current easy access to Chinese credit lines and technical expertise to address the very large backlogs in urban upgrading of basic service infrastructure and housing for the poor. The paper also reflects on a previous post-independence period when a number of African new cities were built, leaving some countries with decades of debt and stagnant development. Can errors from the past offer lessons for future African urban development?

Angola Housing Finance Chapter in the 2013 Africa Housing Finance Yearbook

Development Workshop prepared the Angola Housing Finance Chapter for the 2013 Africa Housing Finance Yearbook, recently published by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. This is the fourth edition of the Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook and reflects the mood and temperature of housing finance markets on the African continent in 2013. The Angola chapter provides an Overview and Key Figures plus sections on: Access to Finance, Housing Supply, Affordability, Property Markets, Policy and Regulation and Opportunities.

Click on image to download.

Click to download.

“… For most Angolans, auto-construção or self-build is the predominant method of housing development. The concept of owner-managed building, a process that combines local tradespeople and family labour, is fundamental to the traditional way of building houses in Angola. There have been positive developments aimed at harnessing this self-build energy to create better settlements and prevent the development of slums…”

MAG’s life-saving work in Angola

MAG America will premiere their new documentary short film, Surviving the Peace: Angola on February 13 in Washington DC at the Goethe Institute, details here. Find out more about MAG’s work in Angola in the MAG Angola Country Report video (posted in August 2012):

MAG America’s Marketing Manager, Patricia Loria, recently shot the second Surviving the Peace film in Angola, where she was able to experience the real life danger of landmines first hand. While in Angola, she interviewed MAG’s Technical Field Manager, Jeff Mazziotta, and Community Liaison Manager, Evaristo Cambembe. Jeff and Evaristo discuss MAG’s work in Angola and how support from both governments and individual donors is critical for them to continue their life-saving work.”