The government of India has accorded high priority to building sustainable, smart cities that are resilient and able to meet the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation. However, the voices of women in urban planning processes need to be further amplified.
How are we helping
Supporting the Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust to amplify women's voices in city-level planning processes by building their capacity to engage with city planners.
About the project
The 74th Constitution Amendment Act in India provided cities with greater financial and functional autonomy to help make them self-governing entities able to represent their constituents. The Prime Minister of India later launched the Smart City Mission in 2015 to promote inclusive and sustainable urban development with the intention of developing 100 cities across the country into sustainable and citizen friendly environments.
This project will support the Smart City initiative by amplifying the voice of women in city-level planning processes; the project will take place in Ahmedabad and Surat, two of the cities covered by the scheme. This will be achieved by creating a city level forum comprised of elected female leaders from community based organisations, who will act as the voice of their communities and a point of engagement with city planners. The project will then work on building the capacity of the forum to carry out awareness raising campaigns, engage city planners and ensure communities are able to make their voice heard via a mobile application.
By the end of the project,it is expected that community priorities, including the priories of women and girls,will be better understood by city planners, and avenues for future engagement will have been created.
Gujarat Mahila Sewa Housing Trust established in 1994, aims to provide good housing and living environment for poor women in the informal sector. The trust’s programme areas include: housing infrastructure needs, water, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, roads, and electrification. GMSHT facilitates access to information and services such as: financial, legal and technical services to support infrastructure towards improving the quality of lives and livelihoods of poor women. The trust works with community-based organisations to promote grassroots women’s leadership and civic engagement among citizens and slum residents. GMSHT believes that building capacities of public officials to design and implement pro-poor policies and programs is critical to ensuring access to services in cities. Funding support for the work of GMSHT has been provided by several organisations including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), CARE India and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Riso Centre (URC).
The Foundation is the Commonwealth's agency for civil society. We support people’s participation in democracy and development by providing grants, platforms for civic voices and opportunities for sharing expertise.