Nodepage

Integrated urban services

Delivering Decentralisation: slum dwellers’ access to decision making for pro-poor infrastructure services

More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas. Cities in the developing world are growing rapidly and by 2020 the number of people living in urban slums is predicted to rise to 1.4 billion.  

Urban services (water, sanitation, hygiene, waste management) operate in cities, but are often not accessible to poorer communities. This is a combined failure of planning, financial and management capacity and governance.

This project focused on improving the lives of 40,000 slum dwellers by enabling communities to engage in the planning and decision making processes of local government.

‘Harijans’ or Dalits are the lowest in the Hindu caste sytem and are frequently exploited.  We worked particularly with this group, helping them to form effective representative organisations to ensure that they are able to improve the delivery of public services in their area.

The project took place in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

  • Locations: Faridpur & Jessore (Bangladesh), Butwal and Bharatpur (Nepal), Kurunegala and Akkaraipattu (Sri Lanka).
  • Date: April 2012 - March 2016
  • Partners:  SUP (Faridpur) – Society for the Urban Poor; DHARA (Jessore) – Development of Health and Agriculture Rehabilitation Advancement; LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter (Nepal); FEED-Sri Lanka (Akkareipattu) – Federation of Economic and Environmental Development
  • Funded by the EC and UKAid

Impact

The main objective of the project was to empower slum dwellers to engage effectively in decision making process and delivery of improved services at local level.

More than 40,000 men and women in the 82 slums and their organisations and 6 local government authorities built their capacity through our initiative to plan, deliver and sustain community-led infrastructure services in these countries.

Beyond that we have targeted for disseminating the lessons learned at Asia regional and international levels. The project played the role of catalyst for communities, local authorities, provincial, national and regional associations and others learn and adopt new practices through strengthened linkages at all levels.

The project completed its tenure in March 2016 reflecting its success through its achievement both at national and regional level. The project has been financially supported by the European Union with matched funding from UKAID & Practical Action.

Project overview

Overall objective:
To promote systems of decentralised urban governance in three countries and the South Asian region in which slum dwellers are empowered to engage effectively in decision-making and delivery of improved urban services.

This project followed a former EC-funded project (2006-9) in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in three of these six towns.

This project aimed to scale up previous work by spreading to all slums in these towns and to three new towns. It aimed to deal with some particularly disadvantaged communities (women in Nepal, Hindu sweepers in Bangladesh, and returnees in Sri Lanka).

It had a significant influencing agenda in terms of getting practices of participatory planning and delivery of urban services embedded in both Local Authority processes, and those of some of the big national programmes run by large and influential donors in each country. Beyond that we had targets for disseminating the lessons learned at Asia regional and international levels.

Expected results:

1. Representative organisations of slum dwellers in 6 towns and 78 slums are able to formulate, implement, review and effectively engage with LAs and others about their participatory plans.
2. LAs and other key stakeholders in 6 towns effectively use systems and adopt behaviours which mainstream the participation of poor communities in local decision-making and resource allocation for pro-poor infrastructure.
3. Prioritised infrastructure services are delivered in partnership with relevant stakeholders, in ways which are community-led, boost incomes, and improve the urban environment, directly benefitting 9,300 people.
4. Communities, LAs, Provincial, National and Regional Associations and others learn and adopt new practices through strengthened linkages at all levels.

Who we aimed to help:

We aimed to build the capacity of 44,260 slum dwellers, their organisations and 6 Local Authorities to plan, deliver and sustain community-led infrastructure services in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Delivering Decentralisation Calendar

Art Work developed for the Nepalese component of the project.

Nepal Decentralisation Information Leaflet

Artwork for Delivering Decentralisation

TECHNICAL BRIEF participatory planning for inclusive urban governance

Practical Action Bangladesh have implemented a four-year long (2012 - 2016) multi-country (Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) project named Integrated Urban Development (IUD)-II project, focusing participatory planning for inclusive urban governance. It came as a follow-up of IUD-I project had been implemented from 2006 to 2009. We have worked in Faridpur and Jessore Municipalities with the aim of promoting decentralised urban governance to empower the slum dwellers through effective engagement with the Municipality Governance., Practical Action Bangladesh have implemented a four-year long (2012 - 2016) multi-country (Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) project named Integrated Urban Development (IUD)-II project, focusing participatory planning for inclusive urban governance. It came as a follow-up of IUD-I project had been implemented from 2006 to 2009. We have worked in Faridpur and Jessore Municipalities with the aim of promoting decentralised urban governance to empower the slum dwellers through effective engagement with the Municipality Governance.

Information on the Nepal Component of the project

The Sushasan Pariyojana facebook page has lots of up to date information on the work taking place in Nepal. 

Case study: Bina Turung

Bina is chairperson of a group which has been involved from the inception of the project in Nepal.  With the help of a consultant her group has prepared a baseline survey, with vital information like household numbers and income statistics.  They went from door to door in the community to gather this information.

They will be involved at the municipal meetings to influence decision making. They will also find land for the community centre, which will provide the women with specific help on issues like violence and empowerment.  They will be fully involved in the community action plan.

“Youth here are turning to crime and drugs as there is no way to generate income, we want this to change. We want to send all our children to school as they will have more prospects for the future.  We have to do labouring jobs as we are not skilled, we are not trained to do any other jobs”

“We now know where we need to go. We need to knock the door on the local councils.”

Asked how she feels about being facilitators of change they reply "It feels good about being part of the scheme to prevent domestic violence scheme from the start.”

They want to Increase their voice to the municipality and development of this type of group by the government is moving forward and building pressure on local government.

Delivering Decentralisation

Practical Action is implementing this project to empower urban slum dwellers to engage effectively in decision making and delivery of improved urban services in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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Slum-dweller engagement in city plan becomes the norm

28th Feb in Dhaka saw an achievement for slum dwellers from 82 communities across 6 cities in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. With Practical Action and our implementing partners we held a workshop to mark the end of a four-year project funded by the EC and UK Aid. Over that time, we have seen remarkable changes in both levels of empowerment and living conditions.

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Progress reports

The first year of this project has been laying the foundations for future progress - strengthening partnerships with key people and building the capacity of slum dweller organisations, so that they can take a lead in their own development.  

We have created 32 community action plans and engaged with all the targeted slum improvement committees in Bangladesh, and most of those in Sri Lanka and Nepal. Significantly, in Faridpur, the municipality agreed to authorise a single integrated plan for each community.

A feature of this phase has been the use of peer-learning among slum dwellers.  Those involved in the preceding project are helping to train their peers who are new to these processes. In Nepal, our target slum communities have been connected with the nationwide federation of slum dwellers through town-level committees. Similarly exchanges between municipal officials across the towns in each country have been valuable. For example, visiting Faridpur helped convince officials from Jessore of the value of the approach, and encouraged them to adopt similar structures and practices.

Delivering Decentralisation: End of year executive summary

Participatory planning and inclusive urban governance

This blog is mainly based on the experiences and learning of Bangladesh (Faridpur and Jessore Municipalities). Practical Action has worked in 82 communities (slums) across 6 cities in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka from 2012-2016 with partners following a participatory planning process in collaboration with municipalities. A regional workshop was held on 28 February 2016 in Dhaka to mark the end of the project by sharing its learning and experiences, which, showed remarkable changes on the empowerment and living conditions of the extreme poor. Participatory planning is an effective tool in mobilizing, engaging and integrating a wide range of stakeholders including community, GO-NGOs and municipality ...

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Dalit communities plan their own future

Would attending your local council budget setting meeting be high on your wish list? Certainly not on mine! But the Dalit community of Jessore in Bangladesh, consider the right to attend these meetings one of their proudest achievements. The minority Dalit community who live in slum areas previously faced exclusion because of their caste from all political, social and economic activity and traditionally work in very low paid jobs as road sweepers, pit latrine emptiers and cleaners ...

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A step towards a just world

The people of Shreeramnagar, a slum settlement at Butwal – 4, Rupendehi district of Nepal have to go to the neighbouring localities to collect water, which is a time consuming and tiring work. The settlement is not recognised by the government which does not support any development of infrastructures in the community so the people have nowhere to turn to seek help. But the people of the community – had had enough of this injustice and took charge to solve their own problem ...

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Giving voices to slum dwellers – a step towards reducing inequality

The rapid urbanisation over the past decade does not go unnoticed in a developing country like Nepal. As a result of fact, it not only brings economic instability but also a reasonable rise in slums and squatter settlements which needs a proper attention. By 2030, about 3 billion people will need proper housing and access to water and sanitation systems ...

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Access to information reduces inequality

Wouldn’t it be an ideal context when people in need are informed that resource allocation is made for them, they have right to enjoy these resources, are able to develop their own practical plans? What if they are trained well enough to push relevant authorities in materialising their plans?

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Towards Inclusive Urban Development in Bangladesh

Do we think that ‘Urban Poor’ is an entity in contrast to simply poor or rural poor? The study of urban poverty was started by Oscar Lewis, a famous humanitarian social scientist who is reputed for his noble work ‘Culture of Poverty’. In the early sixties Oscar Lewis conducted an ethnographic study ‘Five brothers of Sanchez” of a family in Mexico city. He showed how a group of people lead stereotypical lives which do not take them forward but rather pull them backwards ...

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