India: slum work receives attention

Friday, March 05, 2010

A partner of Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO) has been working to improve living conditions in slums in Delhi, India, since 1988.

The situation of women especially receives greatest attention.

ASHA recently expanded its activities to service over 30 slums, as requested by communities and the government. ICCO supports one of ASHA's programmes, which is aimed at five slums in particular.

ASHA's programme runs until 2011.  It is comprised of several parts. Volunteers who work in health care receive training and maternal and child care, family planning, prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted diseases are also on its agenda.

Another important topic is improving the environment. Slums receive water and sanitation and ASHA lobbies with the government on these issues. Lastly women, men and children are united to expand on their own capacity to lobby, set up networks and create awareness of their rights and opportunities.

An external evaluation in 2003 lauded ASHA's work at a programmatic level, as well as financially and organisationally.  ASHA sets an example to other ICCO partners in India. ICCO wants to look into whether ASHA can play a more active part in the exchange of experience and knowhow.  Especially when it comes to women's empowerment, gender conflict resolution in communities, housing and water supply.