City Level Interface Meeting
A daylong city level interface meeting was organised at hotel Minerva Grand, Hyderabad on 31st March 2016. The meeting was organized to understand the vision and goals of BVMs, promote cohesive building of slum communities for a common cause, design BVM implementation protocol and action plan and also address gender concern as a process for an inclusive BVM constitution building. Around 30 community leaders, decision-makers, the influential, and members of the community participated in the meeting. The meeting overall helped community members to develop a shared understanding about the BVMs at a larger context (City level) that advocates the rights of community beyond WASH issues. SaciWATERs and Society for Participatory Development (SPD) organized the meeting in collaboration with WaterAid.
In the first session, Dr Jasveen Jairath from SPD introduced to everyone present what is BVM, the core idea behind its formation, its goals and objectives. She described BVM as a platform that addresses various issues related to slums in Hyderabad where Water and Sanitation being the primary concerns. Next, Dr Aditya Bastola from SaciWATERs presented the constitution that was drafted for BVM. In an effort to make the drafting of the constitution a collective process he requested the people from the community and the experts present for their inputs and suggestions. Dr Bastola facilitated the session. The suggestions mainly pertained to BVM’s registration, membership rights, age for membership and tenure of the members, etc. It was decided that anyone who stays in the slum or basti automatically becomes a member of BVM though there would be some clauses within it. The community felt that the age for membership should be lowered from 21 to 18 as people get voting rights at the age of 18 and they are deemed to be older enough to take matured decision at that age. It was decided that there should not be many office bearers in the core committee of the BVM, otherwise a system of hierarchy would come into place. There would be 6-12 members in the core committee. Suggestions also came for drafting a ‘Memorandum of Association’ that would clearly describe all the membership rights and clauses. Dr Aditya closed the session saying that the process of drafting the constitution for BVM would be next taken to basti level, where SaciWATERs and SPD team will meet the community and discuss it with them. After basti level, drafting meetings will be organized at cluster level and thereafter at city level. So all the issues that got missed out or could not be discussed in details would be taken up in meetings held at basti, cluster and city level.
The second session was on how to approach and achieve gender inclusiveness within BVM and empowering women’s groups for political action and decision-making. Ms Anita Narayanswami and Ms Sarah Mathew from Sankalp facilitated the session. The session proved very helpful as the women from the community opened up to the facilitators and discussed various problems and hindrances they face in their day-to-day life and also relating to water and sanitation.
Overall the programme was fruitful as the objectives of the meeting were fulfilled by and large.