Knowledge and Action towards Risk Assessment and Resilience Building

The action research is an attempt to “crowd source” community wisdom and capacity, and co-build knowledge about urban poverty/vulnerability alleviation, engaging Slum Community groups in assessing risk, building, and applying risk prevention, mitigation and resilience approaches.

Approach & Methodology: The processes that form the core of this project are community organizing and collective action, periodic community assessment (measurement), capacity building, and interfacing with local authorities. UHRC’s work has demonstrated that a focus on developing and supporting slum community groups can lead to improved risk resilience of urban vulnerable communities through social cohesion and new skill-sets such as negotiation skills. it can also lead to steadily growing financial security and literacy through programs such as the collective savings and loan program, which is operated and administered by community women’s group members.

The action research project undertakes qualitative health equity and risk assessments bringing the knowledge and wisdom of slum women’s groups to the fore. The assessment, largely be based on the qualitative indicators which put community knowledge at the center, minimizes cost, and prioritizes the response component. This is accomplished by developing a set of simple, actionable qualitative indicators inspired by the firsthand experience of slum community group members and UHRC’s social facilitators. Because women’s group members live the risks and challenges every day, know their slums situations better than anyone else, understand underlying causes and consequences of urban vulnerability and challenges through their outreach and advocacy work with UHRC, they are able to assess these simple indicators using a three-color scale: red for weak performance on an indicator, yellow for moderate performance, and green for good performance. The response component is brought to the forefront by facilitating community group members to develop action plans based directly on the results of the qualitative assessment of the indicators. The indicators are described in simple non-technical manner such that less educated/ illiterate communities understand the indicators just as well as qualified academic researchers.

Support: AXA Research Fund, Paris, France.

Research Products:

1. REPORT: Knowledge and Action Bridge towards Community risk assessment and Resilience Building Supported by AXA Outlook Award. First Interim Report by Urban Health Resource Centre (UHRC). November 2017. Available here

2. CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: Assessing and implementing practical ways to address slum health determinants: Learning from India. (2020). By Siddharth Agarwal, Shabnam Verma, Neeraj Verma and Kanupriya Kothiwal. European Journal of Public Health. Available here. [Selected among top three abstracts at World Congress of Public Health 2020]

3. PRESENTATION: Assessing and implementing practical ways to address slum health determinants: Learning from India. Presentation by Siddharth Agarwal at the 16th World Congress of Public Health. Available here.

4. ARTICLE: “When Indian women negotiate with local authorities to improve their lives in a slum” by Siddharth Agarwal, Shabnam Verma, Neeraj Verma, Kanupriya Kothiwal and Shrey Goel. The Conversation. March 2018. Available here.