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DAWN (Development Alternatives for Wider Network) was conceived in 1988 by a group of social researchers with a vision to bridge the gap between research and grass root level action. Registered in 1992-93, the professional group of DAWN is drawn from multi disciplines. The field workers recruited from concerned communities provide a vital link between the organization and the people. DAWN team started working with informal unorganized poor of rural and urban areas of Orissa through spontaneously emerging self-reliant people’s organization. We believe in and profess to be a non-hierarchal, non- religious, non-political organization. It is an equal opportunities organization and will not consciously perpetuate direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, class etc. The organization is decentralized in character, in terms of authority and decision-making process with balanced degree of centralization to encourage accountability and transparency. We endeavor to be gender sensitive in terms of work culture having major percentage women at management, co-ordination, and operational levels.


Savings Process Creation:

Savings and Crisis loan

Within a span of five years, women collectives having thousands of members emerged from a process of daily saving and crisis credit scheme in seven cities and towns of Orissa and West Bengal. In this process there have been about 700 leaders in all these cities to meet crisis needs of their groups and communities having about ten thousand members, serving triple number of families. This process has served thousands of its members in availing emergency loan. This process of daily saving, delivery and recovery system has also brought about genuine change in the process of network building, which creates space and resources for women and poorer section.

The experience of savings activities have been extended to the rural areas in 2008  of Narasinghpur, Cuttack where about 50 women self help groups are formed and a federation of these groups has been emerged in the process of orientation and capacity building.

Housing top off Loan and Credit Linkage: with Bank :

After these collectives got mobilized through daily savings, business loans are channelized through these collectives for proper and right delivery system from Orissa Slum Dwellers Federation loan for entrepreneurship. Through this there has been at least hundreds of families have been directly benefited through some income generation activity.

DAWN has formed and organized 43 Common Interest Groups and accessed DRI loan from Punjab National Bank as people’s contribution (10% of the total housing cost of Rs.1,70,000/-) for the construction of 800 houses with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation for the slumdwellers of Bhartpur and Dumduma Slum under BSUP programme of JNNURM in 208-2009.

Process creation towards urban resources centre :

Community enumeration and surveys:

This becomes a tool in the hands of people to formulate, plan, and programme needed for them for proper rehabilitation.DAWN/ Mahila Jagruti/ OSDF together conducted thousands of families of with detailed survey having jointly verified by Authorities. The tools are basically to do hut count, then house hold survey, cadestrial mapping, land/facility survey by the federation themselves to use them for negotiation, planning for the settlement. The survey conducted by DAWN has become a base for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation for conducting Slum profiling in the city of Bhubaneswar and involved DAWN to carry out the Survey in 2008 with the support of USAID.

Socio-economic survey and preparation of rehabilitation action plan

DAWN professionals have conducted consultancy services for Monitoring and Evaluation of Project Affected families under Water Resource department of World Bank Assisted Project, Socio-Economic survey and preparation of RAP for Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd. in different States and Needs Assessment of Livelihood Development project for the families affected by Railway in Keonjhar under Asian Development bank coordination with the Department of Sociology, Utkal University

In 2008, a Socio-economic survey and Rehabilitation Action Plan was conducted in two villages of Dhenkanal district for and on behalf of MGM Steels, Bhubaneswar. The study involves 81.20 acres of land acquisition at Nimidha and Haladiabahal of Dhenkanal District for the establishment of 0.25 MTPA integrated steel project through coal based DRI-BF-IF route along with power generation. The study found 263 project affected persons who lost their agricultural land and 5 project affected families as displaced persons. Accordingly, a rehabilitation action plan was developed for the livelihood restoration of the PAPs in the form of Rehabilitation assistance and coMMunity development prograMMes for the project affected villages.

In 2009, a Socio-Economic Survey of the Project Affected Persons is being carried out in Dhenkanal  for and on behalf of CESC Limited, Kolkata. For the construction of the power project, the Govt. of Orissa  will acquire 1094.13 acres of land. Of the total, 882.96 acres are private land and the rest 211.15 are Government land. It is found that there are 610 project affected persons who will loose their agricultural land.

Database and Process documentation :

A process of collection of information through Mahila Jagruti and federation is assembled and database developed for every data collection, updated simultaneously for each settlements. This makes our data - peoples data more authenticated, updated, much more than the data available on the basis of which lots of decisions get influenced. This is also a weapon to show that demolition does not solve the problem of having informal settlement unless partnership and participatory approach is taken in to account. Documentation process paved a way for negotiation two successful case studies e.g. Rasulgarh (Bhubaneswar), Munda Sahi (Cuttack) for its tenure and housing rights through OSDF. 

Institution building for federation and Mahila Jagruti :
Federation building exercise- "learning from each other :

Our process of people centered, women focused, and partnership and solution based approach makes it inevitable for conducting different forms of interactions, to develop leadership qualities, communication skills, transparent and disciplined schemes for emergence of natural and genuine federation.


Inter and Intra-city exchanges helped us to develop few partnerships to demonstrate the strength of effectiveness of rehabilitation and sanitation programmes when executed and managed by people organizations- Mahila Jagruti and Federation with the NGO to facilitate and guide them. Besides horizontal exchanges of leaders communities at city, state, inter-state, community levels.

There are many officials from Municipal bodies, Development Authorities, High court lawyers Police officials, Planning CoMMission, visited our federation meetings.  It provides a platform for the federation members to get acquainted with the officials to ventilate their grievance, and in finding solutions together.

Ashoka Change Makers Award for Low Cost Housing :
Visit Website : www.changemakers.com/en-us/node/11805/winners
Disaster and crisis relief :

Besides their regular work the federation members have also shown great participation and cooperation during any natural calamity/fire accidents. They have responded to the relief needs in few settlements. This process  is promoting the spirit of mutual/ self-help.

Dealing with displacement/demolitions :

Experience of coercive actions against poor- demolitions, never solves the problem rather aggravates, incites further possessions by wrong elements. It also helps in politicizing the issue or involving muscle power in grabbing land again creating a process of exploitation poorer communities by putting them in the category of rented status. So the city federations have helped communities in terms of organizing them for managing evictions and initiate coMMunity and Government negotiation processes.

Women Empowerment

The process of women empowerment through the formation of "Mahila Jagruti" (Women together), has occupied a central place in the programme activities. The whole process of learning by doing, learning from each other creates an effective network to interface with Government machinery, activates the inner potentialities of women to take up the responsibility of community management role and put them in a position of bargain as equal/primary partner in all its development processes.

Mahilamilan is also controlling alcoholism in few of their settlements. They are also handling cases relating to violence and crime against women. They are in interaction with police/Women Commission on these matters.


Negotiation with government :

In each of our federation's activity we try to involve, update and influence Government to take part in it.  A Mahila Jagruti leader says before we used to come and be on queue nobody pay any attention now we sit down, offered tea and are consulted having being associated with Mahila Jagruti. The community has been empowered with information to negotiate with Government for pro-poor policy or evolving coMMunity driven partnership. And this informal service every section of people need for their survival and growth. So naturally these people having lived for decades cannot afford to purchase land in the markets. Then question is where do they go unless an alternative patch of land shown for them. Rehabilitation needs to be there in the policy of slum settlements as demolition intensifies the issue than solving. So a partnership and solution oriented negotiation and dialogues always taken up by the alliance partners.

Secure land tenure and housing

Secure tenure and Housing is the key to solve the impoverishment risks of landlessness and homelessness. Poor spends as much as or more on their survival than middle or upper middle class. Federation does the household surveys, slum profile, on BPL, Ration cardholders, status of electricity, water, drainage, toilet, and housing and how to establish linkages.  Federation with the help of technocrats e.g. architects, engineers, surveyors, concerned communities start a process of housing besides housing savings by the people to ensure community housing.


Housing Exhibition

Housing exhibition is a method in which multiple options of life model houses are displayed in an affordable price with the contribution of the people. This is another tool in the hands of people to demonstrate ideas of the poor to city authorities and financial institutions for their feasible, planned concept of community housing and calling for partnership for a secure habitation.

Exhibition on Land, Water and Forest :

An Exhibition on Land, Water and Forest was conducted in the rural area of Narasinghpur of Cuttack district for conservation and protection of Natural resources for the sustenance of people’s livelihood and in resultant check rural migration.

Rehabilitation and Resettlement :

In recent years, the development projects have entailed the displacement of people due to land acquisition. In effect, it causes disturbances in the socio, economic and cultural life of the displaced people. Rehabilitation measures have been taken up to restore the incomes, livelihoods, and social systems of the displaces. The organisation makes social preparation efforts of mobilising, organising, providing multiple options, building negotiation skills among people and transforming displacement into development. Various RR projects are being discussed with Government for a propoor projects e.g. Hairanpur.

Water and sanitation

Few demonstration projects are developed by people in the areas of community toilet building, group connection of water and electricity, community management of public distribution system Community toilet/ community school is under construction in Balijhara(Paradeep), and Patas colony (Cuttack) and one constructed in Mundasahi. Water.

provision is made in Patas colony and in 4 other sites through negotiation with authorities. These small demonstrations create precedents for other settlements, cities, states and countries.

Training and Capacity Building:

a. Good Governance
b. Livelihood and Food security
c. Creation of Eviction communication
d. System of savings, planning and construction analysis/feed back, & articulation of best practices
e. People’s Institution building mechanism.
f. Gender Training/Mainstreaming
g. Skill development training (Horizontal)

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