“In several large cities, over 40% of the population lives in slums, in a degraded environment, that make up less than 10% of the city's area. The city needs their services as much as they need the city’s. We need to push for more equitable distribution of resources. You cannot have homes that lack the most basic services.”- Pratima Joshi, Executive Director of Shelter Associates.
“Shelter Associates told us that if we wanted a house on an alternate site, then we should start saving. But we could not trust anybody because so many had made false promises in the past. We went to Shelter's office one day and over the months Shelter helped us earn our livelihood from making saree bags and then build our home in Hadapsar. In our new home we have a toilet, bathroom, kitchen, loft, and a big hall. There is a lot of space for us to live comfortably.”- Chaya Chandane, beneficiary of Kamgar Putala rehabilitation project
“I have known Shelter Associates for over a year as Pune Municipal Corporation has partnered with them to implement the individual sanitation program in slums of Pune. The model [One Home One Toilet] is robust and can be easily scaled to other urban areas within the state or even the country. With such a partnership model in place we are confident of achieving the targets under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan [Clean India Mission].”- Kunal Kumar, Municipal Commissioner of Pune.
“... [Shelter Associates] got architects to visit my house and draw a plan for a toilet considering my physical disability. Within days of signing the contract with them we received good quality material at our doorstep. I felt blessed and happy as I don't have to be dependent on anyone for my needs anymore. Because of the toilet I can live my life with dignity.”- Babita Manjalkar, beneficiary of the individual sanitation project in Rajeev Gandhi slum, Pimpri-Chinchwad.
SA is engaged in a process of collecting, organizing and publishing slum data gathered through surveys and mapping efforts. The slum data is collected by member of the community, spatially organised using GIS software and presented as an overlay on Google Earth® remote sensing imagery. This data source will be published online over the next few months.
India is the largest open defecating nation in the world, where almost 600 million people have no access to sanitation which has a detrimental impact on the health, education, financial security, and safety of people living in informal communities.
SA facilitate access to sanitation in informal settlements by: (1) setting up a very robust spatial data platform to pinpoint families who lack access to basic sanitation, (2) facilitating the construction of individual toilets, (3) conducting workshops to increase awareness within the community of environmental issues, (4) providing a forum for sanitation issues to be discussed and (5) establishing solid waste collection systems.
From 2001, we have engaged with municipal corporations of Pune and Sangli-Miraj to provide community led sanitation solutions using an inclusive approach. We devised technical solutions, user-friendly designs and efficient maintenance systems that enabled use by people of all age groups. The installation of our community toilets was carried out with the beneficiary communities who have either employed a caretaker or maintain the toilets themselves.read more
It has been our observation that wherever families were provided individual toilets, they not only maintained them but also upgraded them over a period of time. We are convinced that whenever possible, individual sanitation is the most sustainable and scalable solution.
Our expertise in housing the poor has matured through the implementation of three major resettlement projects in Pune and Sangli-Miraj. These projects demonstrate a workable alternative to the typical slum rehabilitation projects that are prioritised by the government which: fail to take cognisance of ground realities; do not view the issue of housing for the poor at a city-wide level; and which are implemented in an intrusive and opaque manner.
The housing projects implemented by us are: (1) based on accurate data which has been spatially organised; (2) generated from a city-wide approach which considers housing as an integral part of the city along with areas of employment, healthcare, education, and convenience; and (3) implemented in partnership with beneficiary communities.
In India there is currently a lack of adequate data to guide urban planning; this lack of up-to-date information leads to ineffective planning policies. In response to this predicament, we create and maintain poverty maps of peri-urban areas which guide our needs-based interventions. We carry out research to facilitate better understanding of the needs of the urban poor, and design of effective solutions to meet those needs.
The findings of our research initiatives are used in our own projects and are publicly available to help local government bodies form policies that will enable needs-based, effective, replicable and scalable interventions. Our research data is also available to support the efforts of other CSOs and concerned citizens.
Outputs of our research and documentation work includes articles, films, photographs, flyers, blogs and tweets, providing life stories and in-depth analysis of land use and socio-economic factors. Examples of our research and documentation outputs which have influenced interventions include the Sangli Sanitation Project and Thane Poverty-Mapping and Redevelopment Project.
We also undertake critiques of relevant government policies and programmes, such as Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana (VAMBAY), as it has been implemented in Sangli-Miraj and the Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP), as it has been executed in Pune. In the light of steps taken by Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), we have come out with a study called ‘Comprehensive Rehabilitation Strategies for Urban Poor in Pune’,and our papers on affordable housing and good governance have both been published by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).
Comprehensive settlement and household level data are methodically collected and linked with accurate maps using geographic information systems (GIS) technology in combination with remote sensing technology (Google Earth®). The data is collected by community members, who have been trained to gather household level socio-economic data and upload it to our system through mobile phones. The data is arranged spatially across cities where we work and used to generate targeted interventions.
Our unique, data-led approach is a key component of inclusive planning, and is central to our philosophy of acknowledging informal communities as integral parts of any city. This approach earned us the title of Google Earth Hero (2009).
Below are some pdfs of our projects that you can download :
The organisation comprises architects, social workers, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysts and community workers.
Pratima Joshi is one of the founding members of Shelter Associates (SA) and has been working for SA since its inception in 1993.