Case Examples


Example of:

    Community Organization and Participation

    • Including Women in Development

    • Scaling Up of Upgrading

click for a map of Bangladesh


SIP is a UNICEF-funded, community-based effort in Bangladesh to improve the slum environment, provide primary health care, and empower poor women living in these communities. Beginning in the mid-eighties, the first phase took place in 57 slums in 5 medium-sized towns. The second phase started in 1990 and by 1994 had grown to include 25 cities and towns and 185 slum clusters, reaching 40,000 women. The program emphasizes community involvement with a special focus on an “enhanced role for women in project activities.” Activities are aimed at connecting existing urban services to slum communities and improving institutional capacity to work with the urban poor. The project emphasizes interagency collaboration. A three level national, city, and community management structure was the basis of the program.
For further information:
Menon, Balakrishna. “Informal Settlement Upgrading in Dhaka: Sector Study, Urban Housing and Informal Settlements in Bangladesh: A Background.” (Washington, D.C.: World Bank). Good overview of the state of affairs in Asian upgrading efforts with several case studies, lessons learned, and suggestions for effective medium and long term potential approaches.

  • At the national level there was the Central Coordination Committee (CCC), with representatives from various ministries;
  • UNICEF and the city governments “provided policy inputs, coordinated activities and controlled financial and technical matters” (Menon, 16);
  • “A project implementation office (PIO), was established at the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) to act as a secretariat to the CCC;” and
  • At the city level, Project Implementation Committees (PIC), were “headed by the Municipal Chairperson, with representatives from the relevant departments, and with an engineer from the LGED as the Project Manager” (Menon, 17).
What worked and why?
  • “Successful organization of women of slum communities around various social and economic activities;
  • improvements in the physical environment of slums with new/upgraded footpaths, access roads, drains, latrines, tubewells, and so forth;
  • increased family income as a result of the credit and savings component; and
  • on the social capital side, an increased awareness of health, sanitation, and community participation and a reduction in diseases like diarrhoea, respiratory problems, and scabies” (Menon, 17).
What didn't work and why?
  • SIP did not require community monetary investment in capital costs or O & M. It only required the contribution of their labor and Tk 500 per tube well and latrine to a community fund that was to be used to pay community workers that would eventually replace UNICEF support.
  • “there were problems due to dual management (municipalities and LGED) at the municipal level;
  • inadequate preparation during the various phases of expansion of the project;
  • inflexibility in the implementation of the physical components and bias towards physical/technological solutions, instead of a community-based approach;
  • lack of adequate arrangements for cost recovery, community ownership, and maintenance of utilities provided under the program, leading to doubts over the sustainability of the investments made;
  • errors in social mobilization in areas such as, identifying the target groups (household less than a monthly income of Tk. 2000), group formation process, training, and community planning process; and
  • conservative attitude towards participation of women.” (Menon, 18)

Associated with this project are several complementary projects, among them, the Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women—a credit scheme much like the Grameen Bank but in the urban context; the Mirpur Dhaka Bastuhara Project, a successful government-built low-income housing project, and the Secondary Towns Infrastructure Development, an ADB project directed toward improving infrastructure in secondary towns (Menon, 18).

To Learn More:

Viloria, Julie. “Dialogue on City Poverty and Livability.” Urban Upgrading Module Series (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, March 1998).

Thoroughly describes all the pieces to be considered when planning an upgrading project, step by step, in a dense presentation that includes lessons learned, things to consider, case examples, and approaches to take.

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