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Slum Networking Project

Concept note

Namesh K Summer Intern IGEP, GIZ India

1. Introduction - Slums and re-development

The twenty first century is being characterised as the first urban century with a majority of the world population living in cities. India is the second largest urban system in the world after China with an urban population of more than 300 million people. India's slum population is projected to 93.06 million in 2011, or approximately 31% of the total urban population majorly due to poor local governance, inappropriate and haphazard planning, rigid master plans, critical infrastructure shortages. Slums are neglected parts of cities where housing and living conditions are appallingly lacking. Slums range from high density, squalid central city tenements to spontaneous squatter settlements without legal recognition or rights, sprawling at the edge of cities. Alleviating poverty is a priority in developing countries but it consumes an enormous portion of fiscal allocations and sustainability is often difficult, resulting in sporadic and non-integrated development. Upgrading - or slum improvement on the other hand is a package of basic services: clean water supply and adequate sewage disposal to improve the well-being of the community with minimal financial allocations.

2.Benefits of upgrading model:

In the upgrading model, dwellers obtain an improved, healthy and secure living environment without being displaced. The investments they have already made to their properties remain and are enhanced - this is significantly better than removing them to costlier alternatives that are often less acceptable to them. Recognizing title and security of tenure makes a positive contribution to both the economic prospects of the poor, as well as to the national economy. Experience has shown that slum upgrading projects are associated with social and economic benefits that are particularly high. To make upgrading work and successful the most important element is commitment by all: the city, the community, and the families. A sense of partnership must be developed among them. And secondly upgrading must meet a real need - people must want it and understand the value. To implement right institutional arrangements are must: give incentives for agencies to work with the poor, keep everyone informed and coordinate between stakeholders, and define clearly the roles of the various agencies. And to keep upgrading going, sustainability concerns must be a priority in financing, institutions, and regulations.

3. Slum Networking Project

Slum Networking Project (SNP) conceptualized by Himanshu Parikh1 is one such model of upgrading which is a community based sanitation and environmental improvement programme that regards urban slums not as resource draining liabilities but as opportunities to make sustainable changes and improvement to the city as a whole. The concept of the networking project is to integrate the slums into the main stream of the city through a city wide approach - connecting create and efficient urban infrastructure that in turn would help to upgrade the slums. SNP started in Indore which helped in alleviating the poverty of the slums, and later similar networking programmes successfully have been taking place in cities of Baroda, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Mumbai. Detailed case studies of Indore and Ahmedabad are explained in detail in this note.

3.1 Indore
Indore is the first city to implement the idea of Slum Networking under Indore Habitat Project - a slum upgrading scheme launched by the Indore Development Authority and funded by the Overseas Development Administration of the British government. In 1995 Indore city had a total population of 1,400,000, 28 percent of whom live in the slums. The objectives of SNP in Indore are (1) A holistic approach to environmental issues in order to upgrade the slums and the entire city (2) A significant reduction in the cost of the utilities and housing (3) The mobilization of material resources for the development of settlements (4) The increase in community responsibility and control and (5) The improvement of overall quality of life in terms of education, health and income. The objectives were realized through innovativeness and low cost engineering solutions like connecting slum sewerage lines to the main artery along the river. This solution was implemented at two levels. At the city level, a main sewerage artery funded by the Indore Development Authority and Great Britain's Overseas Development Administration (now DFID) was constructed along the river bank. At the slum level, slum dwellers paid for and built their own toilets and connections to water and sewerage lines at an average cost of Rs. 10,000 per family. A state government ordinance that gave Indore Slum dwellers long term land leases, effectively legalising their unauthorised colonies, was an investing for making the sewerage investment. In the 1980s, slum improvement projects typically provided facilities such as community toilets and wash rooms. Sharing such facilities gave rise to communal riots, crime and abuse. For privacy, women frequented the toilets early in the morning, where they were often subjected to rape or assault. Now, with each house equipped with an individual toilet and washroom, not only is the housing upgraded, the slums are also nearly crime free.

Indore slum before and after SNP

Slums and river correlation in Indore

Above: The important project components of Indore Habitat Project namely Physical works, community development and various monitoring and information gathering activities that support those programmes.

Right: The success of the project is due to the continuous collaboration of local authorities, professionals, NGOs and aid agencies with the community.

3.2 Ahmedabad
In the mid 1990's Ahmedabad city had about 20% population comprising of 1,76,754 families lived in sub-human (slums) conditions at 710 pockets. There profile could be described as under: Total or partial absence of critical infrastructure like water supply, drainage, roads, toilets and street lighting. Over populated and congested. Temporary structures with inadequatemaintenance. Lack of basic minimum education andinsufficient skills. Low income and poor standard of living.

From 710 slum pockets, as per Town Planning Department of AMC it is possible to provide the services to 417 slum pockets. Out of which 190 slums comprising of 47,300 families are living with inadequate facilities. These slums are prime target by AMC for the provision of basic services. The Slum Networking approach adapted by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), though based on the slum networking approach of the Indore Habitat Improvement Project (IHIP), is substantially different in its settlement level approach and to partnerships with NGOs and communities. In Ahmedabad, SNP is undertaken only in those slums where all slum households arrive at a consensus for contributing a proportion of the implementation costs (Rs 2000) for getting household level water supply, sewerage and drainage connections. NGOs partner with AMC for generating awareness about the project and in motivating all slum residents to agree to participate in the project. This task is quite difficult because simultaneously, other government schemes enable slums residents to access community level services at no cost. The well-off households in the slums often have illegal connections and hence participation in the programme is not a priority for them. The approach for provision of a package of basic infrastructure services at the household and slum level in an affordable and sustainable way has evolved since it was first introduced in Ahmedabad as a partnership project with the Private Sector in 1995. The first requirement was to make slums part of the city by providing service-activity linkages between the two. These included Provision of Solid Waste Management service Strengthening of sewage network Extension of city storm water drains to reach slum concentration and low lying areas Improvement of water supply pressures around slum localities Plantation Improving the city roads on the periphery of the slums The second step was to make the project participatory by involving the slum dwellers in the decision making process and in the maintenance of essential services. Various neighborhood groups, womens groups and youth groups were given credit facilities and were trained in income generating activities.

Type of partner support

Monthly Monitoring Meeting: AMC as well as the NGO partners hold monthly meetings to review the progress of the work. The meetings provide a forum for all partners, including the community to share their views and facilitate the implementation of the programme. Joint Planning: The layout plans of the design though prepared by AMC, are shared with the partners, and necessary amendments made. Trainings: The AMC engineers jointly conduct trainings with NGO Mahila Housing Trust (MHT), to orient the community on the technical aspects to ensure community consent and support for smooth programme implementation. Interaction with Public: The post lunch office hours of the AMC officials are allocated for open interaction with community and partners

SNP has sustained itself since its inception maintaining its partnership character. It has grown tremendously reaching 8,703 families, making a significant contribution in the lives of 43,515 people over 41 slum communities of Ahmedabad. The key elements that made this programme sustainable are: Long Term Commitment: The AMC has set up a separate cell for implementing the programme. The AMC provides the people a written assurance that they will not be evicted for 10 years if they

2 join the scheme. Last instalment of Community contribution is released only after the work is completed to their satisfaction. Community Involvement: Complete involvement of the slum dwellers at all the stages of the programme, is ensured by setting up neighbourhood groups which are duly registered by MHT and SAATH. The cost sharing by the community instills a sense of ownership in the slum dwellers. Demand based innovations: Introduction of Demand Based Innovations, like inclusion of individual toilets in the programme by the SNP Cell. Financial Viability: Following an amendment in the BPMC Act in 1978, the Corporation has been regularly spending upto 10% of funds from its own revenues towards improvement of services in the slums. So far the slums were being treated as a separate entry devoid of linkages with the city level services. SNP brings about complete transformation of the slum to integrate into the main stream of the society.

Lessons Learnt
In-situ upgrading of slums is better than transfer of slum dwellers to another place. Land tenure for ten years has given adequate security and comfort to slum dwellers to invest money for shelter upgrading. This helps in sustainability of the project. Slum dwellers are willing to contribute for the services if they get quality and reliable services. If slum dwellers were treated as partners in the project rather than beneficiaries they are more responsive to the maintenance of services. The lessons learnt through implementation of the SNP in Ahmedabad have been incorporated in the draft Gujarat State Urban Slums Policy while the design of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of SNP was prepared with the support of the Cities Alliance and Water and Sanitation Programme, All stakeholders involved in implementation and scaling up of SNP were involved in the processes for preparation of the Draft GSUSP and proposal for the SPV.

3 Himanshu Parikh was trained as a structural engineer and after a number of years working in the United Kingdom, he returned to India to work on a low-income housing scheme in Indore. Based on this experience, Parikh went on to develop a plan to address the housing problems evident in slums throughout India, calling that plan Slum Networking. At the heart of the idea was the belief that the slum problem could only be addressed in the context of the entire city and not in isolation. Parikh, therefore, rejected the notion that slums could be eliminated by simply providing better quality alternative housing for the slum dwellers, and instead, he stressed the need to improve the infrastructure in the slum settlements as a means to integrate them into the rest of the city. The networking approach also visualised providing in-house services under individual control, as opposed to common facilities envisaged under most of other methods. If these things were done, Parikh believed, then the slum dwellers themselves, inspired by the improved surroundings, would upgrade their own dwellings, consistent with the available resources and their needs. Two other principal features of the networking strategy were the stress it laid on the slum dwellers' financial participation in the project in order to foster their commitment its success, and also the emphasis placed on the need to improve the quality of life for slum dwellers. Thus, providing medical, educational, recreational, social and cultural facilities through an integrated community development programme (CDP) was considered to be as important as the upgrading of the physical infrastructure, while the need for training and income generation programmes was also recognised. In the opinion of Parikh, such an approach would enhance the slum dwellers' sense of selfrespect, add to their self confidence, develop their capacity for self help, and reduce, if not altogether eliminate, the dependency syndrome that he believed characterised the life of poor communities. In a lecture for Engineers Without Borders (UK), Himanshu Parikh explained that his research into the growth of slums had led to the realisation that slums always develop along the natural drainage paths. Therefore the cheapest way to provide sewerage to a city is to build major sewers through the slums and connect the higher (and usually richer) areas of the city to them. This then provides sewerage to the whole city for a lower costs than just providing sewerage for the rich areas.