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HABITAT DEBATE. 1996 Mar; 2(1):20.Zambian communities in 21 settlements have developed partnerships with District Councils and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with the aid of the Community Development Programme. A Training Programme for Community Participation in Settlements Improvement was implemented by the government from 1984 to 1994 with the support of the UN Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) (Habitat). Although seed money for physical settlement improvements was not included, integrating training with the actual process of upgrading enabled the participating communities to make the improvements. The selected communities, with the support of District Council staff, produced project documents to solicit the support of NGOs. The partnerships consisted of three groups; 1) Resident Development Committees, which represented the communities; 2) NGOs; and 3) District Councils. The first group mobilized the communities in the identification of priority needs and in action planning. The second group supplied equipment and funds. The third group provided technical services and created a legal framework in the form of a memorandum of understanding, which was signed by all partners. Sustainability, maintenance, and management of services after the phasing out of NGO support were defined in the memorandum. Schools, clinics, storm-water drainage, and road improvements were some of the benefits obtained from this tripartite partnership.