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Research Report

Taking money to making money:: SPARC, NSDF and Mahila Milan transform low-income shelter options in India

Sheela Patel
Aseena Viccajee
Jockin Arputham
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2017
Pages: 40
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 8-11)

    In this paper, we examine the finances and associated financial processes and structures (or architecture) that have evolved within the Indian Alliance, a grouping of community organisations and professional/technical support agencies. We show how the innovative use of monies, particularly through revolving funds (a fund that is continually replenished as withdrawals are made), has simultaneously built local ownership and accountabilities, secured the partial return of investments, and facilitated the leverage of state monies. Strong local ownership has led to demonstrated effectiveness and supported policy reform to legitimate community-managed development. Not only has the financial architecture helped to ensure effective development...

  2. (pp. 12-14)

    Our purpose behind this paper is to reflect on how the alliance’s model of financing urban social movements has evolved both to share our experience with external readers, and to reflect on what this model offers to a community-driven processes. Tracing the evolution of the alliance through its financial strategy offers new insights into its unique processes and systems of administration that remain centred on local community priorities recommended by the NSDF and Mahila Milan who continue to set the agenda for all activities.

    From the beginning of its work, SPARC has drawn on donor finance. In the early years,...

  3. (pp. 15-23)

    The alliance’s strategy assumes that the creation and mobilisation of large networks across cities of the urban poor living in informal settlements is a crucial ingredient in development investments for transformation. Hence, SPARC and later SSNS developed proposals for international development assistance that sought to produce the capacity within federations to manage first small and then large projects. This later helped the federations develop their role as trustees of development assistance. In this section, we report on financial flows to the alliance, and introduce developmental phases that have emerged from this reflection.

    When SPARC was set up, there were three...

  4. (pp. 24-29)

    As the Indian Alliance, we have undertaken an analysis of our own data to see what emerges and how this can change the understanding that we and others have about how to finance long-term community-driven processes. The discussion below describes and analyses financial flows and Section 5 reports on the outcomes of associated construction and the households that secured improved shelter.

    As noted above, the cost centres for federation-building, community-strengthening and general administration activities by the alliance at both the federation and professional levels established in Phase 2 continue to be of importance throughout the period. They were augmented by...

  5. (pp. 30-31)

    In total, the alliance has received 6.4 billion rupees in funds of which 1.2 billion rupees has been from overseas. This section reports on the assets that the alliance has created and transferred to individual households (in the case of housing and individual toilets) and communities (in the case of block sanitation). The scalability, robustness and impact of the process is evident.

    Table 11 reports on the numbers of households who have benefited. Those benefiting from housing include both those with whom housing has been constructed and upgraded, and those that the alliance has assisted to be relocated. Up to...

  6. (pp. 32-34)

    In this paper, we have described how the alliance has sought to develop solutions that have embedded within it the processes that will both maintain investments and scale up delivery. At the centre are organised communities, able to make decisions, learn from experiences and build on development assistance to produce new ways to make communities of the urban poor drivers in development. The alliance believes that what people do for themselves transforms their perception of themselves and their capabilities, and this is more valuable than any external money or goods given to the process. Resources, however modest, that are generated...