Africa Camp Graz – Part 1

Notes from Africa Camp Graz 2011, 26.11.2011 in Graz. List of topics here. As there were parallel sessions I could only attend half of them.


Micro Credits as a measure to extend capitalist production

In the mean time more than 100 million people received micro-credits; counting all members of the family there are soon 1 billion people affected by microcredits

More and more institutions are entering the market (becuase they see the possibility for profit) which results into competition and more focus on profit than on information and assistance

Interest rates become higher and more and more people are not able to pay back the microcredits

  • many cases for this (India, suicide of farmers)
  • social pressure to pay back loans
  • sometimes physical force is used to pay back loans

People receiving microcredits often don’t make the step to become independent entrepreneurs and therefore become workers who have no option, only to sell their work force

–> Extension of the capitalist production circumstances

–> People become dependent on private companies/NGOs/institutions and not the state anymore (social system)

–> Makes situation of the people worse, not better

–> The assumption that “social capitalism” works is wrong, as soon as there is competition, the companies who don’t care about social standards win – in general and in our current system


Mojoproject –

Started as building project TU Graz – connected with ITHUBA
– Mojo fullscale stodio – not for profit
– Mojo architectural studio – for profit

Trying to improve the situation by providing education

Active in South Africa & Tanzania – 2 schools each

Building schools in townships & rural areas

  • Also important who runs the school
  • Focusing on educating women
  • Integrating young local men in the building of the schools – teaching them crafting skills on the job

Planning, building and also raising money themselves

  • student project as initial kickstart – half year of a lot of work
  • need project partners – universities, NGOs, companies, many sponsors

Open for additional projects from other organisations

Final aim – local people learn building skills and can act independently


Learning from the slum Kibera – from a land use planning perspective

Taking lessons from Kibera to architectural planning projects in the West

  • slum in Nairobi
  • ~1 million inhabitants

Hierarchy of space

  • 1. public spaces for all
  • 2. public spaces for private activities
  • 3. spaces for reaching other places
  • core elements – living space and courtyard

System that emerged without architects

  • Partition between public and private spaces much more logical & natural than in the west
  • clear borders between private and public – also athmospherical
  • small clusters of private spaces gathering around public spaces
  • spaces spiraling from public to private spaces

Systemic approach – inside vs. outside

  • clear “rules” that distinguish places inside and outside these different spaces structures
  • addition of structures from North to South
  • Kibera as an “island”

Public space as more flexible entity – created and changed based on community input

No strict partitions as in the West – no more fighting fore public space

Learning from “slum cultures”

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Africa Camp Graz – Part 1
was published on 26.11.2011 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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