Promoting community-driven women and children-centric development for safe habitat is key to real growth with resilience


UDRC bases its work in a grassroots, community-led approach, adapting the structure and core processes followed by the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) and its alliance with Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers Federation.

The process is built on empowering communities and negotiating with local authorities for habitat improvement with the aim of altering traditional relationships, creating partnerships and advocating a pro-poor agenda. By remaining invested in the community model, work can continue despite bureaucratic and political changes and during lulls in negotiations and unlike reforms initiated from above, these improvements are likely to be sustainable because they arise organically.



Mobilizing Community 

Setting up Area Resource Centres 

Managed by community federations and women’s groups, these centres act as a place of congregation and mobilization around the activities. The Alliance is active in six cities of Odisha – Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, Paradip, Berhampur and Jajpur across 184 settlements and in 3 cities of West Bengal - Kolkata, Kona and Kalyani across 20 settlements.

Creating a Women’s Fund

A network of women collectives (Mahila Milan) is being created across slums around the activity of daily savings, thus mobilizing communities around financial and organisational systems and creating relationships at community, inter-slum and inter-city levels. The savings are used to make small loans for purposes of house repair, health or education.

Training for Enumerations and Mapping

UDRC collaborates with community based organizations to carry out data collection, helping slum dwellers create their own identities in cities that have long neglected to map them and to better articulate their needs to access resources. Each of the city-level federations have completed settlement profiles which they update every two years.

225 settlements in 2 States, 8 Cities with 11000+ members organised into savings groups.

200+ women community leaders built.

600 groups in 250 slum settlements save and have accessed a total credit worth US$ 83,242.

50 lakh rupee community funds used for improving basic services.

710 slum profiles and surveys & mapping of about 120,000 households undertaken by the Federation and Mahila Milan.

Demonstrating Alternatives

UDRC supports communities to demonstrate the sustainability of their ideas as pilot interventions which when successfully implemented can become scalable models for cities. Precedent setting activities include construction of model houses, community toilet blocks, electrification of settlements & provision of water facilities. These activities indicate not only to poor communities but also government officials and other stakeholders the potential of community-led, solutions.

55+ Model Houses built to demonstrate local solutions.

Facilitating Peer Learning

Community exchanges and meetings are based on the premise that the poor learn best from each other. Exchanges take place within & across cities, regions & countries, allowing members to visit each other’s settlements, learn about their challenges & achievements and build a pool of knowledge & skills around habitat improvement and pro-poor governance. This is also a way of breaking isolation and powerlessness, as poor communities associate with a larger collective and interdependent process.

1000 Inter-City peer exchanges

20+ State to State learning exchanges.

Forging Partnerships

UDRC regularly negotiates with local and state authorities to enable access to amenities and challenge the top-down narrative of projects. The larger goal of UDRC is to advocate for pro-poor policy changes on the basis of grassroots experience. We aim to create space for NGOs to participate in government programs but also to create collaborations with professionals and academic institutions to co-create habitat solutions for the urban poor.

7 City Municipalities and Authorities

15+ Academic and Professional Collaborators.