Work of SPARC, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan, The
This paper describes the work of an Indian NGO, SPARC and its alliance with the women’s cooperatives (Mahila Milan) formed by pavement dwellers and the National Slum Dwellers Federation. This Alliance has shown how work in many different areas such as community-based savings and credit groups, pilot projects, housing construction, the development of toilet blocks and the management of resettlement can contribute to poverty reduction, as long as these are based on what communities can do for themselves and the communities retain control. This implies the need for changes in the relationship between urban poor groups, government and international donors. The Alliance has also demonstrated the need to work at different levels, including securing policy and institutional changes through mass mobilization, based on precedents that are developed by the poor.