Addressing poverty remains a pressing issue in India with 172 million people living under $1.90 (~INR 125) a day (World Bank, 2015). However, it is the increasing external/internal threats that
can push poor communities into abject poverty, that pose an ever more urgent challenge. This
is critical, as in the state of abject poverty, the likelihood of individuals or communities to rise
out of poverty becomes negligible. In this context, ‘safety nets’, serve an important role of offering support mechanisms to poor communities at the right time to prevent such an occurrence. However, evidence suggests that in order to shape effective safety nets that protect poor communities from falling into abject poverty, it is critical to arrive at a clearer understanding and assessment of vulnerability among them.
This two part report is an outcome of five months of work by Sensing Local commissioned by SELCO Foundation, Bengaluru on the theme of Urban Vulnerability.
The larger case for this project by/with Selco Foundation has been from a need to respond to the observed trend where there are a multitude of NGOs working with poor communities on ground to help get them out of poverty. Yet, often times the cumulative actions have not had the expected impact. Several times, this is because of setbacks faced when communities move away due to undocumented external reasons; as a result, erasing deep rooted connections made between communities and organizations on ground. While in other cases, communities are hit by unforeseen threats retarding any on-going progress in support initiatives. It is also observed that in other cases, initiatives taken are not adequate to affect the scale of impact required to bring poor communities out of poverty.
The objectives for the project were as follows:
• Develop concept for archiving urban vulnerability in India
• Archive typologies, issues, policies, organization (build potential partnerships), solutions, of and for urban poor communities
• Coordinate efforts on developing a framework for an online portal for urban vulnerability