Skills Building for Housing and Sanitation

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation | Housing

This project, which began in 2011, aims to increase and improve housing and sanitiation facilities across India, increase community participation by impacting state policy, demonstrate the role the community can play in project design and execution, and develop learning centres for both national and international SDI affiliates. The Alliance, which consists of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) has been awarded a number of contracts by the State as part of the roll out of its Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) subsidy scheme. Construction and/or upgrading of the housing and sanitation facilities is undertaken by the Alliance using revolving funds. At different stages of the construction or upgrade process, the Alliance recovers the money spent from the Municipality. The recovered funds are then used for further construction.

Location: National, India

Deliverables:

To date, five hundred (500) houses have been constructed and ten thousand three hundred and forty (10,340) toilet seats have been installed.

Community capacity:

The communities have been a part of the toilet block design, construction and maintenance processes. Their involvement throughout the project has helped foster a sense of ownership in them. Developing skills of Mahila Milan members who are already contractors and initiating new members to take on construction has been one of the bigger impacts of this project, showing that communities have the ability to participate in and maintain services provided by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional District Authority (MMRDA). 

Scale:

Demonstration remains the most vital aspect of this project. The model of this project has been replicated in the country, and has the potential to influence internationally as both local and international exchanges have occurred. 

Impact:

The Alliance’s reputation with the Government of India (GOI) has been strengthened through this project, seen in how housing construction in Nanded saw the Nanded Municipal Corporation approach the Alliance to take over the government’s Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) project in the area.

Recently the GOI has launched Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), a new national scheme that seeks to make India slum-free in five years by providing basic amenities, offering subsidized credit and granting property rights to slum dwellers throughout the country. SPARC has already begun preparatory work in select cities to develop communities’ capacity to win contracts under RAY and demonstrate, at scale, how communities can drive the development process.

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$300,000.00

Resources Leveraged:

A total of US$4,472,417 has been leveraged from various sources to date. 

State Subsidy:

Government at the State and city level provided a subsidy amount towards the project. This amount supports the community contribution and sweat equity in construction. Through the sanitation projects, a number of slum dwellers have been able to get access to improved sanitation facilities, which has improved health status in slums.

Costs recovered from community:

None. 

Sheela Patel sparc@sparcindia.org (+91) 22 238 650 53 View Website
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Project information updated: 11 March 2016

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The Alliance of Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Mahila Milan and National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) embarked on this project in September 2011.  It was influenced by the launch of the Government’s Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) scheme that seeks to make India slum-free, by providing basic amenities, offering subsidized credit, and granting property rights to slum dwellers. The Alliance started advocating for ‘defecation free’ cities in 2003 (which became national policy in 2009-2010), building on this under RAY – showing how communities can drive the development process. 

Deliverables:

In addition to upskilling communities and providing them with housing and sanitation facilities construction and maintenance training, this project aims to:

  • Increase and improve housing and sanitiation facilities across India, 
  • Increase community participation by impacting state policy, 
  • Demonstrate the role the community can play in project design and execution, and 
  • Develop learning centres for both national and international SDI affiliates.

Community capacity:

The intention is to equip community members with the skills that will enable them to undertake all aspects relating to the construction and maintenance of housing and sanitation facilities. 

Some slums had no Federation presence, something which improved throughout the project - community members being organized into Federation groups and starting savings groups. These slums are benefiting from an in situ housing upgrading scheme, and so communities will remain largely intact. As under the BSUP project there is a component of community contribution, the activity of savings and credit helps them save for their daily as well as housing expenses. Several savings groups were formed and are running smoothing. Initially they did have problems in convincing communities to start savings, yet with Mahila Milan’s experience sharing other members were motivated to save and participate in the process.

Scale:

The intention is to replicate the project both nationally and, to some extent, internationally. This is possible, given that:

  • The housing construction aspects of the programme fall under the subsidy scheme. It is hoped that the success of the current project will encourage the Government to continue the subsidy scheme and promote the processes and lessons learned during the rollout of this project as the model to be emulated.
  • Through international exchanges with other Federations, this project can be scaled up at an international level. 

Impact:

The intention is to impove living conditions for the urban poor by facilitating their access to decent housing and sanitation facilities. In so doing, their overall health will be improved and their dignities will be restored.

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$300,000.00 towards capital expenses. 

Resources Leveraged:

Government subsidies were leveraged in addition to SPARC/NIRMAN bridge funds which were used as start-up capital. These funds were also used when there were delays in payment from Government. Community-led Infrastructure Funding Facility (CLIFF) funds were also utilised.

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was in monetary form and came as repayments for the funds that the Alliance had utilised in the initial phases of construction. 

Costs recovered from community:

Recovered funds from the municipalities form revolving funds which are used to supplement further construction. Under this project, loans are given to the project and not indivudals, meaning community members do not have to repay. Loan recovery comes from Government authorities. 

Government of India. (n.d.). Rajiv Awas Yojana: Guidelines for Slum-free City Planning. [Online]. Available: http://www.citiesalliance.org/sites/citiesalliance.org/files/CA_Images/RAY_Guidelines_citywideSlum-freePlanning.pdf.
 
MacPherson, A.K. (2012). Taking the Reigns: Slum Dwellers Drive the Upgrading Processs in Pune, India. [Online]. Available: http://sdinet.org/2012/09/taking-the-reigns-slum-dwellers-drive-the-upgrading-process-in-pune-india/
 
SPARC, NSDF & Mahila Milan. (2012). Citywatch India: Talking about Toilets, July 2012. [Online]. Available: http://sparccitywatch.blogspot.co.za/2012_07_01_archive.html
 
SPARC, NSDF & Mahila Milan. (2012). A Call for Sustainable Sanitation Facilities for the Urban Poor. [Online]. Available: http://sparccitywatch.blogspot.co.za/2012/07/a-call-for-sustainable-sanitation.html
 
SPARC, NSDF & Mahila Milan. (2012). SPARC's Strategy for Community Toilet Block Construction and Maintenance. [Online]. Available: http://sparccitywatch.blogspot.co.za/2012/07/sparcs-strategy-for-community-toilet.html
 
SPARC, NSDF & Mahila Milan. (2012). Incorporating the Urban Poor in RAY Revisions. [Online]. Available: http://sparccitywatch.blogspot.co.za/2013/07/incorporating-urban-poor-in-ray.html.

Funding Information

Raised:

$300,000.00

Funding type:

Grant funding

Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)


Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC)


National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) and Mahila Milan


Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs


The Rockefeller Foundation