The drive to empower urban poor through community led mapping

PRIA along with its partners has been working across the country to ‘Strengthen voices of civil society on urban poverty issues’. This process is facilitated by a community led mapping of urban poor settlements by the resident community itself. The aim is to empower the community with self knowledge and a platform for negotiation with the service providers. Once the community has an authentic set of data, that is even available in the public domain, the community holds the power to communicate, demand and obtain its ‘rights’ from the government.

With help of local NGOs and Settlement Improvement Committee that have been formulated in each ‘intervening’ urban poor settlement, PRIA has equipped with community with a GPS instrument, given the necessary training to operate the instrument and given regular hand holding to the community for the survey.

In Bhopal, GPS mapping has been done in five slums of Deeksha Nagar, Gautam Nagar, Om Nagar, Sanjay Nagar and Shri Ram Nagar in 2013 with assistance of local State NGO – Samarthan, Bhopal. The survey carried out beyond physically locating each slum and its physical characteristics, identifies household information including the status of water and sanitation, displacement and education in these slums. In this activity youth volunteers were identified from each slum and trained on using the GPS instrument. Then with the help of expert each household in the slum was depicted on google earth map. These maps were also shared with ward councilor and municipal community organizers, so that in future if they plan some infrastructure in these slums they may understand the situation of existing resources available in slum and their distribution in each lane of slum. The youth members that participated in mapping process are engaged in other community development work too as volunteers and in future they may take up other initiative of development in their slum also.

A similar exercise has been carried out in Bhojpura basti in Jaipur. The map can be accessed at : https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=206436946251815631253.0004f72622b8ebd7b01cb&msa=0&ll=26.897159,75.792537&spn=0.001457,0.002642

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