Providing Basic Infrastructure: The Pilot Slum Networking Project

The Objective

The Components

Unique Features
The Area Profile
The Project Achievement
Participant Speak

In consonance with its objective, SHARDA joined hands with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and SAATH, a local NGO to improve the quality of life in slums, chawls and other distressed areas. These organisations launched the Slum Networking Project in Ahmedabad in 1995. The concept of Slum Networking was developed by an Ahmedabad based Structural Engineer Himanshu Parikh. The project was successfully demonstrated at Indore and Mr Parikh was awarded the World Habitat Award for his contribution in 1993 along with many national and international awards.


The objective of the project was to improve the physical and social infrastructure of the slum by providing good quality basic physical infrastructure to the individual households.



Physical Infrastructure included

(1). Roads and paving, (2). Individual water supply, (3). Underground sewerage for very house, (4). Storm water drainage, (5). Street lighting, (6). Solid waste management, (7). Landscaping,

Social Infrastructure means

(1). Setting up neighbourhood groups, women's groups and youth activities. (2). Mobilising community savings for undertaking physical works. (3). Mounting educational activities for pre-primary age children, school dropouts, and illiterate adults. (4). Launching community health education and other interventions related to mother and child-care. (5). Supporting income-generating activities by providing vocational training, job accesses to the unemployed persons. (6). Developing linkages for formal sector finance to help people start small businesses and trades.


Unique Features

A unique feature of the Project was that it was a partnership between Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, business houses, NGOs, and the residents of the project areas, the true example of Public - Private - Community Partnership.

Active participation, including monetary and otherwise, was the other distinguishing mark of this initiative. Every household in community shared one third of the cost (rupees two thousand only) for upgrading infrastructure facilities and the SHARDA Trust and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation shared the remaining two third (rupees two thousand each). In addition, each household contributed rupees one hundred towards creating a community corpus for maintaining the facilities. Therefore, each household in the distressed area participating in the project contributed rupees two thousand one hundred for upgrading and maintaining the facilities.

The three partner organisations launched a pilot project under the leadership of SHARDA Trust, to test the feasibility of carrying out the ideas of the Slum Networking Project in Sanjay Nagar, a slum in north Ahmedabad. The work commenced on 5 August 1996 and was completed on 19 April 1997, in just about eight months.


The Profile of Sanjay Nagar

Sanjay Nagar situated on a two-hectare, triangular plot is bounded by major roads on all three sides. There are 181 households in Sanjay Nagar with an estimated population of about 1200. This area had no basic infrastructure. It had no underground sewerage, and paved roads; facilities for drinking water were woefully inadequate.


The Project Achievements

SHARDA created good quality basic infrastructure in Sanjay Nagar at low cost. The following table gives a broad picture of the infrastructure the project created in the area.

Infrastructure Created in Sanjay Nagar

Type of Infrastructure Units Quantity
Pathways Kms 1.000
Electric Poles Number 18
Sewerage Kms 1.184
Manholes Number 55
Water Supply Lines of Which . .
Main Line Meters 700
Connecting Line Meters 750


Participant Speak - What the Sanjay Nagar residents have to say?

The research wing of SEWA Bank conducted interviews with the Residents after the completion of the project. Laxmiben & Champaben said.

Recognition by United Nation's Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)

So innovative was the Trust's approach that on 7 August 1998, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS) has included Sanjay Nagar project in their "100 Best Practices Global List". The UNCHS Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme identifies, documents and disseminates the lessons learned from Best Practices.



SHARDA Trust has documented the experience of completing the Sanjay Nagar project in a book titled "Alliance for Change, A Slum Upgrading Project in Ahmedabad." Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi, has published the book in 1998. The experience of implementing other projects of SHARDA like skill upgrading programme and the medical help programme and what other partners are doing after the Sanjay Nagar project is being documented in a sequel to the first book titled "Change After Alliance." The Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi, is also publishing this book. "Change after Alliance would be published by December 2000.