What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?
Delivery of basic services to the urban poor based on findings of GIS based poverty mapping.
Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?
The Community-Led Sanitation Program at Sangli, Western India is assisting 3,500 households across twelve slums in the city gain access to adequate sanitation facilities. The initiative is a partnership between the local government (Sangli Miraj Kupwad Municipal Corporation); international agencies (USAID, Indo-US FIRE-D, Cities Alliance); a non-government organisation (Shelter Associates) and community based organisation (Baandhani). The Sangli experience demonstrates how spatial mapping, social surveys and GIS can be used to ascertain community sanitation priorities and to develop feasible technical designs. The model emphasises individual toilets as a solution to urban poor’s sanitation problems and also demonstrates effective community toilet management structures. The program effectively utilises donor, public and private funding along with facilitating households to invest their own resources towards infrastructure development. Provision of adequate sanitation facilities has proved to be an effective entry point for citywide slum up-gradation.
Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?
Scientifically collected spatial data in the form of maps drawn using plane table survey showing the location of houses and other community resources(4) along with socio economic data collected through settlement level and census household surveys(5) have been effectively fused using GIS platform. The data thus gathered has enabled detailed analysis of every slum community for ascertaining level of access to sanitation facilities; community needs, demands and aspirations vis-à-vis sanitation facilities; and for designing community specific interventions. This entire process was supervised and carried out by the SA/Baandhani team involving local community members. The community ownership of the data is very high as they were actively involved in data collection and analysis. This process has enabled development of effective solutions to sanitation problems and has resulted in a valuable data source for other interventions aimed at pro-poor service delivery that may be taken up by the local government in future.
How do you plan to expand your innovation?
First through dissemination of information on this project to build awareness. This model has been captured in a 13mins documentary film produced by Yashada an apex training institute in Maharashtra. The 33rd WEDC international conference has selected a paper co-authored by us for presentation this year. The Birmingham University is already supporting a project which is documenting the entire project in Sangli. Secondly we are in touch with ULB's to introduce them to this model and exploring ways of working on similar lines with them. Recently, RCUES and UNICEF has selected Shelter as member of the Task Force committee being set up for framing sanitation policies for the government of Uttar Pradesh. These are some ways in which we are trying to expand our innovation.
Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?
The initiative is being implemented through a partnership between various stakeholders, including the local government, NGOs, CBOs and urban poor communities working together to ensure improved access to sanitation facilities for the urban poor.
The program has been supported by various international agencies providing financial and technical support including Cities Alliance (CA), USAID’s Community Water and Sanitation Facility (CWSF) / Indo US FIRE-D Project, and the Institute of Governance (IoG), Canada. It is also supported by the Government of India and the Maharashtra state government.
The initiative has received support from both the executive and the elected wings (across party lines) of the local government. The recent declaration by the SMKMC to support 40 percent of the construction cost is a testimony of their support.
The initiative has also been successful in leveraging financial resources from private individuals - 'Friends of Shelter Associates' formed by a professor at Connecticut College has helped raise almost US$30,000 that will help extend the initiative to some more slum settlements.