They originated outside of the water and sanitation sector, emerging from broader efforts to address the shelter needs of people whose position in their own cities were socially and physically precarious, and not just for economic reasons.
They all involved changes in community organization, supported by NGOs with an intimate working knowledge of the communities and a strong commitment to the principles of participation.
They all achieved scale by working constructively with public and or private providers.
Despite these similarities, in every case a closer look demonstrates that success depended on adapting to local specificities: political, economic, cultural, social, geographical and so on.
Orangi Pilot Project (OPP)
The Orangi Pilot Project’s approach to sanitary improvement was a radical alternative to government provision in the early 1980s but is now national policy in Pakistan. Residents organized to take control of their lanes and build simple sewers, with technical and administrative support, while the government took responsibility for installing trunk lines to transport sewage for treatment. In early cases, where government did not take responsibility, the OPP sewers increased problems ‘downstream’. The OPP staff who supported the lane committees often supervised the contractors building the trunk sewers. This project did not have as large an impact on Karachi’s overall governance as its originators hoped. But it has had an enormous impact on the sanitary conditions and their governance in the low income settlements, improving population health and reducing health inequalities. The approach has since influenced sanitary provision in other cities in Pakistan, and inspired activists from many countries.
Source: Pervaiz A, Rahman P, Hasan A (2008).
The alliance of SPARC, NSDF and Mahila Milan
The approach of this alliance of Indian civil society organizations started out as a radical alternative decades ago, but has since influenced and become allied with the government’s new approaches. The NGO (SPARC) worked with women’s savings groups (Mahila Milan), and the Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), to design and build better communal toilet blocks. Various design features were tried out such as separate lines for women, and on-site caretakers. Community members undertook the construction with technical and financial