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Mahila Housing SEWA Trust

The everyday challenges encountered by the urban poor are inextricably linked to inadequate and poor planning. In response, Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) designed a program with a bottom-up approach, starting with local-level intervention in the settlements of Nehru Colony, Bagsewaniya and Indira Nagar in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. A combination of the technical knowledge of the partners and the experiential knowledge of the community resulted in the creation of community-based climate action plans in three settlements. The collaborative approach has facilitated the integration of diverse perspectives and expertise, empowering the community to identify and implement effective strategies and solutions to address climate-related challenges. By fostering a seamless exchange of knowledge and ideas, these climate action plans are comprehensive, contextually relevant, and sustainable in their implementation.

Indira Nagar is a settlement located near the Upper Lake in Bhopal. Over the years, urbanization has led to a reduction in
vegetation within the settlement and its surroundings. The houses in the community have undergone a transition from tin roofs and walls to concrete and brick respectively.


The community employs various means to mitigate heat stress. They use desert coolers, install green sheets as vertical shades on doors and windows, and have applied solar paint on roofs to reduce temperatures. Additionally, they sprinkle water on the ground to reduce the surface temperature.

Farhana, a thirty-two-year-old resident, highlights the impact of climate change on the settlement. She says “In the past, the weather followed a distinct pattern like winter, summer, monsoon, and spring. We were able to experience each season. The current climate has become unpredictable, making it challenging to differentiate between the seasons,”.

In the three settlements, the community mobilized a Climate Action Group (CAG). To initiate the process, the communities were encouraged to share their experiences related to the evolving climate and its various impacts. The Community-based Vulnerability Assessment Toolkit (CBVAT), developed by MHT, was used to facilitate engagement and enhance the community’s understanding of climate risks. Heat Stress, Unsanitary Conditions, and Vector Propagation were the three main issues that emerged from the CBVAT exercise, the order and intensity
varying slightly across settlements.

The community-based resilience climate action planning (CBRAP) was developed through a participatory approach, with the community, particularly women, taking a leading role in highlighting challenges, proposing interventions, and shaping the plan to address these issues.


The community, with the assistance of Mahila Housing Trust (MHT), collectively developed priority areas for their settlement based on a vulnerability assessment. They identified specific steps and measures to be implemented at individual, household, and settlement levels in the
three settlements.

A workshop was organized, bringing together government officials and elected representatives, creating a platform for communities to voice their concerns and propose potential solutions (collated in the CBVAT and CBRAP). During the event, officials committed to providing essential services like regular garbage collection and fumigation. The communities were encouraged to adopt behavioural changes around sanitation

Pinky Yadav, an active member of the Climate Action Group in Indira Nagar, highlights the impact of the program. With the support of Mahila Housing Trust and their collective advocacy, significant improvements have been made in the colony. A new road has been constructed, streetlights have been repaired, the community has actively adopted the practice of planting trees, and they now benefit from a consistent water supply twice a day.

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