"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Location: India

Website: www.sparcindia.org

The Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) is one of the largest Indian NGOs working on these issues. SPARC supports two people's movements, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan, in organizing the urban poor to come together, articulate their concerns and collectively produce solutions to the problems they face.

Together, these organizationsknown as the Allianceare active in over seventy cities across India and in global networks spanning over twenty countries, working to improve the lives of slum dwellers in India and around the world.

The Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) was formed in 1984 and began working with the most vulnerable and invisible of Mumbai's urban poor - the pavement dwellers. SPARC's philosophy is that if we can develop solutions that work for the poorest and most marginalised in the city, then these solutions can be scaled up to work for other groups of the urban poor across the country and internationally.

SPARC began work in Mumbai’s pavement slums, where they formed a network of women’s collectives called Mahila Milan (“Women Together”).

In 1986, SPARC and MM entered into a partnership with the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), a broad-based organization of the urban poor founded in the mid-1970s. Together we are known as the SPARC-NSDF-Mahila Milan Alliance.

The ultimate aim of the Alliance is to produce urban and development practices and policies that are inclusive of the poor.

Our mission is to build the capacity of organized communities of the urban poor, especially women, in informal settlements to stop forced evictions and develop the skills and confidence to negotiate with the government and other resource providers around issues of housing, land, basic infrastructure and their “right to the city.”

SPARC today provides professional support to its grassroots partners in order to build their capacity to play a proactive role in developing solutions to urban poverty and creates links between the CBOs and formal institutions and resources.

SPARC is not a manager or welfare provider, but a platform and catalyst for community-driven processes.

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