Work > Civic Participation > Slum Dweller Associations

Slum Dweller Associations

2019 onwards

Transforming urban slums into liveable, resilient, and equitable habitats

In Odisha, Janaagraha is working with the state government to strengthen Slum Dweller Associations (SDAs) as the fourth tier of governance. SDAs promote and support the participation of the urban poor in the development of their settlements. These Associations pave the way for the urban poor to plan, prioritise and oversee the transformation of their settlements into liveable habitats called Biju Adarsh Colonies.

Program Details

In May 2018, the Government of Odisha launched the JAGA Mission, which provides land rights and upgradation of infrastructure to transform 2,919 slums in 114 cities and towns into livable habitats called ‘Biju Adarsh Colonies’.  It aims to formalise the rights of slum dweller and empower them socially, economically and politically, by creating radically new models of citizen participation that bring governance closer to people and make the voice of the urban poor residents count in decision making. 

Janaagraha in partnership with the Housing and Urban Development Department of the Government of Odisha works with the urban poor community to strengthen their participation through the Slum Dweller Association (SDA) platform. 

Through the program, we provide capacity building support to SDAs and the government, develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and guidelines to sustain interventions, and integrate technology for assessments and reporting.  

We support SDA members in applying tools and processes to assess their current infrastructure on roads, drains, public toilets, parks and community centres. We also assist with participatory budgeting initiatives to improve the existing infrastructure, plan for the future, and move towards delisting their habitats as slums. SDA members are continually provided with information on government schemes and are guided on how to participate and benefit from them. 

In a first, SDAs signed MoUs with their city governments wherein ownership of physical community assets like community centres, open spaces, play areas, etc can be managed by the SDAs themselves.

To aid the monitoring of the SDA platforms and the progress in delisting them as slums, a transparent data-driven technology platform called Biju Adarsh Colony was developed. It tracks and monitors the progress of the slum upgradation and delisting, and provides updates on all activities concerning SDA creation and meetings. 


  • 2919 SDAs have been oriented and trained across 115 cities
  • 2929 SDAs have bank accounts managed by SDA members
    2779 MoUs have been signed between SDAs and their city governments marking the transfer of ownership of physical assets like Community Centres, Open Spaces, Child Play Areas
  • 730 of 2919 slums have been transformed into Adarsh colonies

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Slum Dweller Association (SDA) Odisha – A new approach to citizen participation

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