All correspondence to: Manas Murthy 59 Vaishali Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi 110088 India E-mail : [email_address] Keywords: Slum Upgradation; Urban Community Development; Community Centre; Katha Khazana. The Role of Community Centres in Slum Upgradation Manas Murthy Sushant School of Art & Architecture, GGSIPU
Only about 27.78 % of the total Indian population resides in urban areas. But according to the most recent Census, growth of the urban population (31.36%) during 1991-2001 was much higher than the rural growth (17.9%). This was largely due to the accelerated increase in the populations of the class I cities of India. Slum population in Major Cities However, the data being accessed is not definitive due to various degrees of inadequacy in data collection, improper notification of clusters and for lack of accurate definition of slums and slum settlements (The Times of India, 17 Dec.2005, based on Census figures) INTRODUCTION 0.8 Million Total number of slum dwellers in Chennai 1.5 Million Total number of slum dwellers in Kolkata 1.9 Million Total number of slum dwellers in Delhi 6.5 Million Total number of slum dwellers in Mumbai
What is a Slum? “ ...actual living conditions rather than the mere physical appearance” The definition uses the word, “‘Substandard’ not in an objective or technological but rather in a relative social sense , i.e., specific to a given country at a given period of time” Firstly, the fact that a slum is always a community and hence calls for community action . Secondly, that the requirements of a slum are very culture specific and invariably need public participation in some degree, for identification of immediate and long term issues “ A slum is always an area” According to the United Nations’ definition of the concept:
What is the actual role of the State in such a scenario? The government is finding it exceedingly difficult to finance all large scale social programs and schemes by itself. Hence, with the increasing grip of the private or non-government sector on the market and economy, there is an undeniable need for civil society to take on the social responsibility of Slum Upgradation Best done through the process of Urban Community Development. Furthermore, how Community Centres may play the role of an important vehicle for carrying out this task at a micro level, remains to be seen.
The main dimensions of this study are:
What does the slum dweller realistically need? Is it shelter & tenure, nutrition, health, sanitation, water, education, employment alone, or is it recognition, acknowledgement & empowerment? Slum eradication/eviction was one of the earliest and most crude form of a solution looked at by the government. Besides being an extreme measure, it was also a failure in terms of its implementation. Other housing schemes looked at generating a general surplus of housing stock with special emphasis on housing for the poor and EWS (Economically Weaker Sections), they bordered on suggesting that the problem of the urban poor is mainly restricted to Shelter. Gradually it was acknowledged that slum communities are an integral part of any city’s infrastructure, and cannot be indefinitely shifted or removed. With this realization came the concept of Slum Upgradation. This involved the betterment of slums in-situ. SLUM UPGRADATION Photographs Courtesy : The Tribune [NCR] & Cities Watch
The earlier schemes tended to focus on the physical component. However, it has been established that all such efforts should adhere to local standards of physical development. Whereby reinforcing the concept of public participation. According to the Action Plan for Slum up gradation identified by the UNCHS and World Bank - Cities Alliance for Cities without slums : “Slum Upgrading consists of physical, social, economic, and organizational and environmental improvements undertaken cooperatively and locally among citizens, community groups, businesses and local authorities.” Community Development ------- Environmental or Physical improvements (Social, economic, organizational) (Physical & environmental) For the purpose of this study the physical aspect has been left aside in order to closely study the relation between the three concepts mentioned earlier, namely, urban community development, community centres and slum upgradation.
Infrastructure & Environment – related Programs:
Accelerated Urban Water Supply Program (AUWSP)
Low – Cost Sanitation
Community Toilet Complexes under VAMBAY & Sulabh schemes
Employment – related Programs:
Self – Employment Program for the Urban Poor (SEPUP)
Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)
Nutrition and Health related Programs:
Supplementary Nutrition Programmes, including Public Distribution
URBAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURE “ Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to effect change in their own communities.” On Oct.2 1952, Community Development became a part of "Integrated Rural Development", a strategy promoted by United Nations Agencies and the World Bank. Later, in 1958 the first pilot project began in Delhi, succeeded by one in Ahmedabad in 1960 and in Baroda in 1965. The seventh plan emphasized the need for active community participation and involvement of NGOs. “ The role of the Community Organizer is of special significance. It is his job to mediate between the local leaders and the government. It is also his prerogative to look for a balance between the felt needs of the community and the availability of resources in the city.” Project Officer Community Organizers Resident Community Volunteers Households
Community Development may have a different impact in each community. This is not only because of physical factors, but also due to the difference between local cultures of each community. Since all such development is directly related to the people of each specific community, the ‘ way of life’ of the people also influences the effectiveness of the community development. Thus, besides defining what community development is, it is also important to understand its relation with Culture . … CULTURE The Bengali Community Celebrates ‘Durga Puja’ The Gujarati Community Celebrates with the ‘Dandia’
According to a World Bank project called Services for the Urban Poor conducted by a team of researchers from MIT, in Cuba & Havana, in the end, it was established that “Culture is a development “asset” that can contribute to:
Improve development effectiveness
Contribute to economic growth
Enhance quality of life”
In the case of slums in India, Melas (carnivals), Natak (street-plays), Festival celebrations etc. become tools of cultural exchange and local culture specific community interaction. These are means of gathering a community which is otherwise tied for time and short of money to organize such gatherings Plays portray the life of their audience in a realistic manner and attract attention of the people. Also plays do not dictate people to do anything, like in lectures or talks. They guide and influence the minds of the viewers in order to change their decisions. … CULTURE
Culture based skill development & income generation
(E.g. Puppet making, traditional occupations.)
Therefore, while urban community development has certain established indicators or components for the urban poor, culture adds unique components to each community’s development that enforce the community development initiatives and yield positive results … CULTURE Economic capacity building is more specific to the peoples’ means of earning money, locally. When such development is promoted through traditional crafts, it becomes successful. An Indian Puppeteer An Indian Potter
CONTEXT OF THE STUDY Delhi ; National Capital Region F9 Zone ; South Delhi Govindpuri ; Slum Cluster
THE SITE Govindpuri is an area occupied by tailors, small roadside shopkeepers, vendors, house-helps, construction workers, factory workers and day laborers. They are people of many linguistic communities and many religious faiths, who have migrated from many different cities of India as well as neighboring areas to settle here in Navjivan and Bhoomiheen and Jawahar resettlement camps, in Govindpuri. Of all the failed attempts at improving the area, the singular positive initiative seemed to be that of Katha Khazana in 1994. It was established in the form of a community centre in the Bhoomiheen Camp. Katha Khazana ; The building Bhoomiheen Camp ; Govindpuri
It was observed that a number of women were either working in the center or were directly involved with its various activities, thus making Katha Khazana a direct generator of employment. Initiatives like the Ma Mandal (women’s forum), the school which currently educates around 1200 people ranging from small children to adults, and other initiatives helped in the community development. Community Centres, therefore act as centres for supervision and execution of Community Development. Through this community development the Slum Up gradation occurs. While, the use of local culture enhances these efforts Thus it may be understood that that the community centre is not merely a public neighborhood space but a tool for community development. THE SITE – KATHA KHAZANA Photographs Courtesy : Katha Khazana
Katha Khazana needs to be evaluated in two ways. Firstly, whether Katha Khazana has contributed considerably for community development. The second, whether it uses culture in the forms identified earlier, to aid community development. Katha Khazana has made a significant contribution to the upgradation of Govindpuri slums through community development using culture as a catalyst Here culture is termed as a catalyst because it encourages and supports community development, as discussed earlier. Specifically, in the context of a slum community. HYPOTHESIS Community Centres Community Development Slum Upgradation
The above diagram as a result of the earlier discussion represents the following:
A community centre is the physical entity, instrumental in supporting community development.
Culture is the metaphysical catalyst enabling focused Community Development.
Community Development is an integral part of Slum Upgradation.
Urban Community Development comprises of certain specific Socio-Economic indicators.
FRAMEWORK Slum Upgradation Community Centre Community Development Social Economic Cultural
FRAMEWORK Slum Upgradation COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENTAL OR PHYSICAL SOCIAL ECONOMIC EDUCATIONAL Including primary education, girls education, adult EMPLOYMENT Including skill development and vocational training GENDER RELATED Including midwife, balwadis ORGANIZATIONAL Including political empowerment, women’s fora SOCIAL EVILS Including awareness programs against drinking gambling CREDIT Including micro-credit and house investment INCOME Including marketing & entrepreneurship
In order to evaluate Katha Khazana on the basis of the identified framework two things need to be established; whether each component of community development initiatives are actually contributing quantitatively to the community. Secondly, to what extent these initiatives benefit the people and are accepted positively by them Katha Khazana, being a non-government entity, has no direct control over extensive physical infrastructure. Despite this, its independence from the government and the related institutional follies, lend it a level of efficiency and success which comes with focused community development The interview method was chosen over individual questionnaires because a portion of the sample was incapable of filling in questionnaires and a number of questions involved minor interpretation of answers given at site EVALUATION
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT A large number of children have received education at Katha Khazana and also seem to have benefited largely by it. Few adults had opted for the education provided by Katha.
The women’s forum seems considerably active within the community, though the men within the community do not consider the Ma Mandal to be too much of a help in the society and are largely unaware of it. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
When it comes to fighting social evils like drinking, gambling, etc., Katha organizes plays & lectures, but, the majority of the population remembers and relates more with the plays. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
While, only a modest percentage of the population has received training from Katha (60%), a moderate number (40%) of them feel vastly benefited from it. However, Katha does not attempt at training people in traditional skills. Here Technical training includes, computers, electronics, driving, etc. ‘Vocational’ includes tailoring and catering while ‘Traditional’ would include craftsmanship, pottery, etc. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Only a few people have received loans (26%) from Katha or arranged by Katha. But, this may be explained partly due to the fact that a number of people have chosen not to take loans, due to a sense of apprehension or pride. Also, the people who have received feel that the system is reliable and that it mostly helped them. It was also sensed by people that some amount of favoritism was being practiced. Katha Khazana has in the past organized programs for the benefit of shopkeepers in Bhoomiheen, to help them in improving marketing strategies, better sales, efficient functioning. These were seen to be well received, though some shopkeepers residing in the more interior areas of the camp complained of lack of knowledge. However, such programs were restricted to shopkeepers, leaving out hawkers, small entrepreneurs.
COMMUNITY CULTURAL ACTIVITIES While, the Mela , organized by Katha Khazana every year, is quite a success among the people of the community
It was also felt (by the community) religious festivals be celebrated at a community level, which are currently celebrated in narrow lanes, individually. A number of people felt that the facilities provided by Katha were sufficient in those terms. According to the survey conducted, 32% of the people felt that Katha Khazana, as a community centre, is unapproachable COMMUNITY CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Katha Khazana has contributed considerably to the education of children and has sufficiently empowered women in Govindpuri. Although, the social development is more oriented towards women, and children, social evils prevalent among men have also been fought against. This has been done through the use of culture, mainly, plays. In all it has contributed well to the social development of Govindpuri. Katha Khazana has imparted quality training to the people of Govindpuri, though; the use of culture has not been made due to which there is lack in enthusiasm among the people. It has not contributed greatly to the credit requirements of the people owing to slight controversy. However, it has helped the shopkeepers in the area organize themselves and do better. Hence, the contribution made towards economic development is moderate. The use cultural activities like plays and Mela has been made effectively to generate solidarity and aid development. But, there is a lack of religious functions or festival celebrations, which seem important to the residents. Hence, culture has been used considerable well. Yet, a number of people consider Katha Khazana unapproachable and attach a certain amount of ‘taboo’ to it CONCLUSION Katha Khazana has made a significant contribution to the Upgradation of Govindpuri slums through urban community development initiatives, yet does not fully utilize culture in the form of a catalyst. This is tantamount to saying that Slum Upgradation may be effectively carried out through the participatory process of Urban Community Development through the vehicle of a Community Centre and private players such as CBOs and NGOs have proved exceedingly successful in utilizing this methodology.
INTRODUCTION COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SLUM UPGRADATION CULTURE THE SITE – KATHA KHAZANA & GOVINDPURI EVALUATION SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CONCLUSION HYPOTHESIS & FRAMEWORK