11 / 1995
Kandy Municipal Council
Kandy is the most urbanized municipal council area in Sri Lanka after the Colombo metropolitan area. About 25% of its total population of 110,208 in 1991 were living in poor urban areas. Over the last 20 years Kandy Municipality has been making arrangements to meet the basic shelter and infrastructural needs of the low income families under the several development programs. Two of these programs were the UNICEF assisted Urban Basic Services Programme and the Urban Housing Sub-Programme of the Million Houses Programme (1985-1989). Apart from these programs Kandy municipality have been providing water supply and toilets through common facilities. Both programs - UBSP and UHSP, were introduced to municipality by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA)
While UBSP was providing water and sanitation facilities, UHSP was focused to introduce a complete upgrading package (Land - Housing Loans - Infrastructure and Social Promotion Activities). Kandy Municipal Council (KMC)had identified 17 settlements for the implementation of both programs. In both programs, participatory approach was made essential in programme design and implementation. Department of the Chief Medical Health Officer in Kandy Municipality was responsible for community organization and to provide basic amenities with resources available under the said programs
Compared with other activities in the municipality, participatory approach had been introduced to the municipal administration by external government agencies. There were no provision under the municipal administration to use its own resources for the land regularization (or the provision of alternative sites for relocation)and the provision of amenities for families who are living in squatters settlements and slums which are normally considered as illegal under the municipal regulation. Therefore, the people’s participation in these programs, sometimes, means the provision of free labour to keep their environment clean and healthy and to perform certain activities in construction of water and sanitation facilities on the request of the municipality. Until 1993, such a partnership arrangement between community and local authority had been carried out for shelter upgrading
With the introduction of Community Action Planning (CAP)approach for settlement upgrading, it was found that people were not really happy about the amenities provided by the municipality and many low income settleents lack basic amenities. On the other hand, people were not involved in the decision making process. Introduction of Participatory development programs into the local authority administration without changing conventional top-down procedures was one of the reasons for this situation. Local authority had been unable to have access to innovative community based approaches under the conventional contractual arrangement. People were considered as beneficiaries or recipients of development done by local authority
At the latter part of 1993, SEVANATHA - a NGO working in urban low income shelter and environmental issues was requested to introduce the community contract procedures in order to offer infrastructure construction to CDCs in Kandy municipality. SEVANATHA has been working in Kandy as an intermediary support organization to strengthen the local authority and community organization relationship for shelter upgrading. Local Government -NGO collaborative partnership arrangement has been a successful arrangement to recognize community as a grassroots level institution to carry out all infrastructure construction activities and to undertake environmental management functions in low income settlements. The important part of this partnership is the change of conventional construction contractual procedures in the municipality in order to offer contracts to user families in low income settlements. At present, community contract system has been an effective mechanism in Kandy municipality to provide amenities according to the requirements and the satisfaction of the low income communities.
The proposed case study under the Action Research Project on Government-NGO cooperation will be presenting how this partnership is working in Kandy Municipality in order to improve the living conditions of urban low income families.
JAYARATNE, SEVANATHA, 1995/11 (Sri Lanka)