The east coast city of Durban is South Africa’s third largest city with a population of about 3.5 million. Durban is a commercial and transport hub, and has the busiest port in Africa. Since the decline of key manufacturing industries in Durban, informal employment in the municipality, renamed eThekwini in 2000, has been increasing.
In 2014, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and Asiye eTafuleni (AeT) launched a pilot project, the Phephanathi Project (“phephanathi” means “be safe with us” in isiZulu) aimed at empowering informal traders to be part of city planning through participatory disaster risk management. The intent was to collaborate with city of officials and thereby build a foundation to develop a more resilient city for all.