Durban has a population of 3.5 million people and is located on the east coast of South Africa. eThekwini Municipality, the local government for the city, has been a member of the SCI Network since 2005. In 2006 eThekwini Municipality, in partnership with Sustainable Cities, initiated the Imagine Durban project to develop a long term plan for the Municipality. The Imagine Durban project is now in the process of promoting implementation of the plan. Sustainable Cities interns are placed with the Imagine Durban project team and focus on promoting the involvement of youth and women in the Green Economy.
Stephen Charters- Project Officer : Green Economy Development
Originally from Fredericton, I spent the last seven years in Montreal. My interest in urban sustainability developed on my daily cycle-commute through Montreal, observing the incredible complexity and diversity of the city and its residents. I recently completed a Masters of Urban Planning at McGill University, specializing in economic and community development. Since then I worked with a number of local organizations engaged in various urban sustainability projects, including a small business start-up that I created with two colleagues (including co-SCI intern Jill Merriman, currently in Dar es Salaam) called Made in Montreal. This project is a grassroots urban planning firm dedicated to supporting small manufacturing entrepreneurs in Montreal.
Now, I am in Durban, South Africa, the last of the Green Economic Development Project Officers interning at the Imagine Durban office on behalf of Sustainable Cities. Here I will be partnering with a number of local organizations to push forward some amazing green economy projects, some already underway! This will include working with disadvantaged youth from the surrounding townships setting up green micro-businesses and with informal recyclers trying to carve out a space for themselves downtown.
I am thrilled to be in Durban, immersed in this vibrant (and warm) city and culture. I already I feel welcomed here with open arms. I am excited to find some local hidden gems like the best coffee, to learn a little isiZulu so I can start to understand what's being said around me, and to break out my sneakers for some runs along the beachfront. I expect to learn and grow a lot during this internship, with perhaps a few missteps along the way, but I look forward to the adventure!
Brittany Morris - Project Officer : Outreach + Communications
I grew up in Shawnigan Lake, a small town on Vancouver Island. My fascination of the intersections between humans and their environment led me to Vancouver where I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA in Human Geography this spring. I have worked and volunteered with various NGOs and on community-oriented, youth empowering projects in Canada and abroad. I am thrilled that my experiences and interests are leading me to South Africa, and I am very excited to be the Outreach and Communications Project Officer for Imagine Durban as part of eThekwini Municipality.
I will be working on the launch and long-term strategy of Durban's Green Map Project, and will collaborate with youth and not-for-profit organisations to continue development of the project in other communities. Through photography and creating online resources, I will document the process of a publically consulted park revitalization project, a pilot of the eThekwini Municipality's Sustainable Public Spaces Programme. Further outreach includes writing press releases, and pieces for the Imagine Durban blog. This position offers an opportunity where I can combine my interests in urban sustainability and participatory community development. I am looking forward to learning more about Durban's sustainability initiatives and urbanization in South Africa. During my time here I hope to learn to surf, hold a conversation in isiZulu, experiment cooking with local food and flavours, explore this new, vibrant urban landscape, and take time to try new things.