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Who We Are?

The Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence works to create enabling environments for pro-poor urban and social policy through inclusive planning and governance, multi stakeholder partnerships, institutional capacity building and urban reform. The four pillars of CURE’s work include one, pro-policy advocacy; two, implementing comprehensive and sustainable slum upgrading solutions; three, development of community-based information systems on a GIS platform; and four, research.

Our approach to slum development is citywide, comprehensive and sustainable, pursued through strong people partnerships and spaces for the poor to participate in inclusive city planning for demand-responsive, networked, service delivery systems. We also seek to create enabling frameworks legal and administrative – for local action by paying attention to the tiniest detail, listening to the communities, taking actions at the smallest level, and building incrementally and in a plural manner. We learn as we work, bringing in innovative and contextualized solutions.
Our Work crosscuts all sectors of development: municipal services (water, sanitation, transport); housing; social services (health, education, nutrition, welfare); livelihoods, environmental improvement, institutional development and financing for slum development. It intersects all tiers of government (ward, local, state, national) to create a seamless link between groups, sectors and systems for sustainable change.

At the core of our work are mobilized, organized and empowered communities, in particular women and young people, ready to engage with local agencies in participatory planning and implementation for a better quality of life.

Core Competencies

1) Community Mobilization

CURE’s strength is in its process based approach. We recognize the importance of involving communities in the design, implementation, management and oversight of community-based initiatives; in particular for the development of community infrastructure, promotion of livelihoods and improving access to health care and education services.
As part of different projects CURE has mobilized women and community groups, which have participated in the identification and prioritization of needs, preparation of community action plans and monitoring service provision. The effort has been to ensure representation and compact with the poorest and marginal groups.

    CURE facilitates a range of groups as per project needs :-

  • Livelihood groups for small and large business enterprises
  • Community groups for development of action plans to improve access to basic service such as sanitation, water, power, social welfare etc
  • Toilet / HH Savings Groups to enable families to save up for investment in toilets / housing
  • Youth groups (boys and girls) for youth led community development and civic engagement
  • Women’s groups for gender empowerment
  • Self-Help Groups for small savings, access to credit, loan swaps etc
2) Participatory Planning Assessment

Inclusion and participation is at the core of CURE’s philosophy and community development strategy. We believe that people are the best judge of their needs. Demand based services have more sustainability due to greater ownership.

Inclusion, in CURE projects follows a participatory hierarchy; moving from need identification to prioritizing and planning for interventions to engagement in civil works through oversight, contribution in labour and resources and community management of services. The effort is to incrementally increase the level of participation, responsibility and ownership and to set up and institutionalize voice platforms for government and community engagement.

CURE uses a range of participatory tools for community and local area planning. These tools have been adapted by CURE to address sectoral issues and make qualitative assessments that enable policy level decisions.

3) Pro Poor Policy Research and Reform

CURE comprises a team of strong professionals who undertake policy based research blending both quantitative and qualitative information. Research studies feed into poverty reduction policies at the national, state and local levels; in particular for urban slum upgrading and for specific sectors.

    Reform Plan Projects:-

  • CURE has supported the national and local government (Agra) to develop its reform implementation plan and road map under sub Mission II on poverty as part of JNNURM.
  • Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP)
  • Internal Earmarking of Budgets for the Poor (IEBP)
  • Community Participation Law (CPL)
    Research Projects:-

  • CURE’s policy research studies
  • The Economics of Resettlement: A Comparative Study of Near and Far Site Relocation; South Asia Network of Economic Institutions
  • Water for all?: An assessment of ADB’s Water Policy for the Poor; Water Aid India
  • Status of Water Supply in Urban Slums of Delhi; Developing Policy for 24×7 network supplies to urban poor communities; Water and Sanitation Program-The World Bank and Delhi Jal Board
  • Strategic Approach To Mainstreaming Access And Demand In The Health Systems Development Initiative: Department of Health and Family Welfare, West Bengal with DFID
  • Livelihood Chain Analysis for Slum Dwellers in Agra; Crosscutting Agra Programme, USAID and Chemonics
  • Assessing Social Impact of e-Governance Initiatives for Haryana; Department of Information and Technology
  • Socio economic Survey in Savda Gehevra, a Resettlement Site in Delhi; Bhagidari-Sanjha Prayas, GONCT
  • Analyzing the Burden of Poor Water Quality: The Water Kiosk Project; TERI and Toyota Foundation
  • City Wide Slum Mapping
  • City Wide Livelihood
  • Dipstick survey
  • Andhra assessment report
4) Community Based Information Systems

CURE’s core competency is in the development of Community Based Information Systems (CBIS). CBIS is an organic information and pro poor management tool, which captures community perceptions and needs of slum dwellers through the use of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) instruments and integrates these on a spatial platform using the map based GIS (Geographical Information System) software.

A CBIS is capable of collecting multiple layers of data at the household, community, ward, and city level as also across all sectors of development such as water supply, sanitation, livelihoods, education, health, etc. At the community level, the process of information collection encourages communities to meet, discuss, and analyze data at a neighborhood level and develop mutually agreed community action plans for implementation. The process helps strengthen community leadership structures and enables communities to get included in city planning processes. At the city level, it enables local governments to take appropriate decisions for service delivery that respond to community demands and monitor implementation.

    TCBIS projects of CURE :-

  • City wide slum CBIS for Agra Municipal Corporation; USAID and Cities Alliance
  • City wide heritage and monument CBIS for Agra; USAID and Cities Alliance
  • CBIS for Savda Ghevra; Bhagidari-Sanjha Prayas GONCT
  • CBIS-Jal (Water) for Delhi Jal Board on Access to Water in Urban Slums in Delhi; WSP, The World Bank and DJB
  • CBIS for Disaster Mitigation for Andaman Islands for SEEDS, India
  • City wide slum CBIS for Ludhiana Municipal Corporation; Cities Alliance and NIUA
  • Sustainable Urban Livelihoods for Savda Ghevra; Bhagidari-Sanjha Prayas GONCT
5) Slum Upgradation and Physical Infrastructure Development

CURE’s team of social architects and engineers have considerable expertise in slum upgrading and physical infrastructure development, in particular in the participatory design development and construction of toilets, drain and pathways, Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Systems (DEWAT), water supply network development and water kiosks for quality water supplies.

CURE has constructed over 60 household toilets in various slum settlements in Agra with the financial support of USAID and Water Trust, UK (hyperlink to HH toilet with photos). It has also helped construct 2 community toilet complexes through funds mobilized by it from the Agra Municipal Corporation and a local charity, 2 school toilets (hyperlink to designs and pics) as also improve the drains and pavements in Kuchpura slum settlement in Agra. It is in the process of constructing the DEWAT to treat the gray water before its discharge into the river (Hyperlink to DEWAT).

6) Capacity Building

CURE’s capability lies in its capacity building work in the areas of poverty reduction, development of slums and low income settlements, community mobilization and participatory learning and pro poor policy and reform. In particular, CURE focuses on training in the use of PLA tools for community mobilization, participation and assessment. Other focus areas for capacity building in CURE include gender empowerment, gender based development and budgeting, and CBIS. CURE’s approach to capacity building is hands-on and experiential through participatory workshops.

CURE has helped build city capacities for sustainable urban livelihood development (hyperlink to CAP total livelihoods approach and Bhagidari Ajeevika programme), total sanitation development (hyperlink CAP), access to water supply (hyperlink DJB) etc. CURE has strengthened capacities of government officials,

NGOs and community trainers (hyperlink to Oxfam), sensitizing them to urban poor issues in city development planning.

CURE has a core team of field facilitators with competency in use of PLA tools for qualitative and quantitative information collection and community mobilization.

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