1. Action Research Project on Urban Poverty: Multi-Sector Initiative in Urban Slums of Bangladesh

The former BDI launched a multi-year, multi-site action research programme to test out new ideas and new strategies to address the problems of urban poverty in its more concentrated form – the urban slums. The programme, “Building Capacities and Creating Communities: Towards a Multi-Sector Initiative in Urban Slums of Bangladesh,” sought to create sustainable livelihood pathways for the poor, construct a more liveable built environment, provide access to basic services, and develop systems of collaboration and governance that can allow for a  more empowering future for slum dwellers in urban Bangladesh.

The action research programme included a range of interventions to address the multidimensional nature of the problems that slum dwellers face. These include:

•    Spatial planning and construction of a more environmentally friendly community
•    Infrastructure, such as drainage, roads, water supply, street lighting, etc.
•    Access to services, such as health, schooling, finance, etc.
•    Housing and tenancy rights
•    Market development and creation of livelihood opportunities
•    Effective governance
•    Insecurity and violence, especially gender violence

The team undertook a survey under the broad objective of this programme. The institute also conducted a four year action research programme, which included a range of interventions for urban poverty alleviation through improving the quality of lives of slum dwellers in five Bangladesh slums. The focus of interventions included seven most critical problems that the slum dwellers confront. They are: i) land entitlement and tenure;  ii) access to basic services including electricity, water and sanitation; iii) development of livelihood strategies and access to finance;  iv) access to health care; v) schooling and child labour; vi) disaster preparedness and climate change; and vii) community mobilisation. The intervention period ranges from 2011 to 2012.

As a part of this programme a four month long ethnographic study was conducted. A situation analysis report was published that used data collected throughout the study in order to analyse the situation in five slums in secondary towns in Bangladesh.

Finally, the institute organised a day long national workshop to bring in urban experts, developmental activists, local level elected leaders, community organisers and slum dwellers to facilitate the national and local level policy dialogue. Findings from the action research and general lessons learnt were shared with all stakeholders and their feedback was incorporated in a report.

•    Workshops:

  1. Day-long National Workshop on ‘Building Capacities and Creating Communities: Towards a Multi-Sector Initiative in Urban Slums of Bangladesh’, 29 December 2011.