East Delhi is one of the most densely populated districts in Asia. It is characterized by unauthorized settlements, with migrating populations, un-engineered buildings and a lack of adequate services. Besides these stresses, the area is at high risk from floods, earthquakes and sporadic fires.
Local governance systems are complex with fragmented accountabilities between the district government and the Municipal Corporation. The lack of single window creates huge gap between policies and practice.
How we helped
The aim was to facilitate informed citizen-led action to improve the resilience of high-risk East Delhi communities.
A vibrant citizens’ forum namely ‘Purvi Dilli Apda Prehari’ meaning East Delhi forum for DRR, was put in place in 2012 (see Building Local Resilience through Citizen Platforms). Over the years, it has grown and evolved its action plan. Now established as an institution, linked smaller community action groups have come up that work within specific neighbourhoods. This push has bridged socio-economic and political divides. It’s fostering a sense that risk is a collective responsibility.
The groups run advocacy and awareness campaigns and improve links with district officials.
Over the duration of the project, the forum has been successful in building these constructive engagements – including with government and the private sector. Their activities also further aims of SDG Goal 11 on resilient cities!
There is a visible improvement in the neighborhoods that were represented by the forum. Training of masons, mock drills, school safety programmes, numerous awareness drives are all slowly bringing change. Children and youth especially have ensured their voices are heard and echoed in the resilience agenda.
The issues taken up through the forum have not just been about disasters, but equally on daily stresses. From girls raising their voices on female street abuse to better hygiene practices to even pioneering a touchless toilet!
Leaving a mark
The many diverse aspects to the programme allowed for outreach to varied community partners from children to masons, from citizen forum and action group members to school staff. Overall, the programme has reached out to 50,410 local residents of East District, Delhi.
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