Urban Cell

Sahjeevan’s urban cell works in Kachchh to harness the power of responsible citizenship to respond to issues around management of commons. Bhuj has grown rapidly, both in terms of size and population, during the last 15 years. There has been significant displacement of residents, with new housing colonies being set-up, and an influx of people from other regions of Gujarat and the country. Bhuj, like many other urban areas in the country, has faced degradation of commons and encroachments at a rate much faster than rural commons.

The city demands a multi-level collaboration between local community groups, civic society actors and government administration to move towards effective and sustainable governance of natural resources. For such collaborations to be effective, it is important that different social sects acknowledge each other’s importance and share a platform that allows negotiations on an equal footing.

Sahjeevan’s urban unit works on developing a system of responsible and accountable citizenship, which works on the pillars of governance, conservation and livelihood towards protection of the urban commons. Currently the focus is on establishing a participatory, environmental friendly and sustainable Solid Waste Management systems and to conserve public places and common lands. This is done by creating awareness,enforcing environmental regulations, participatory planning and improving the socio-economic status of marginalized communities of Maldharis (Pastorals) and waste pickers. The marginalized are supported to form their own institutions that engage in both policy advocacy and enhance incomes and livelihood options for their own communities.

Sahjeevan’s solid waste management programwas developed on the idea that a clean city is central to developing a sense of pride and ownership among citizens, and hence the need of an effective waste management program

The urban unit’s other major initiative is to work with Maldharis in Urban areas to protect traditional grazing lands and form CBOs that can communicate their importance to fellow citizens and work to protect their rights to common resources.