Submitted by: Asha Community Health and Development Society
Implemented country: India
Title: Delhi Slum Improvement Program
Under the leadership of its Founder and Director, Dr. Kiran Martin, Asha has established a pioneering and innovative model for sustainable improvement in the slum environment in the capital city of Delhi. Recognizing that the upgrading, as opposed to physical removal, of slums is a better long-term solution, this model of on-site slum development was established for the first time in Delhi in collaboration with the city's government and the efforts have led to a process of obtaining land tenure through a housing cooperative. The creation of mechanisms - financial, political and institutional - that provided a well-conceived package of service, infrastructure and the establishment of land tenure were the most important steps in alleviating the health risk and economic hardships that the residents endured. The improvements led to an increased desire to upgrade the physical quality of the dwelling units themselves and the project then identified and established locally sustainable processes of continued slum improvement. It is a unique example of how holistic and lasting improvement in the slum environment can be made possible by the collaboration of the NGO, the government and the slum communities. The project has completely transformed swampy, dirty, overcrowded slums into lower-middle class colonies with decent houses and sound physical infrastructure. This exceptional model has been recognized as a trailblazer for slum development both nationally and globally. It has paved the way for Delhi´s Slum Housing Policy, taken as a prototype for India´s National Slum Policy and has been replicated in many parts of the city. The Asha model has also been recognized and highly validated by the US Congress and Parliaments of the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and they have raised funds for Asha.