Water and Sanitation

A staggering 355 million women and girls are still waiting for a toilet in India (WaterAid, 2017). Women from low-income communities face the brunt of this gap as they compromise their safety each day to carry out their daily sanitation routine.


To celebrate its 25th milestone year, MHT launched ‘Resilient Cities: Women as Change Makers’, a yearlong outreach program to build awareness and support on including the voices of women in decision making and ensuring their full and equal participation in shaping growth of cities. The initiative included targeted outreach events and key publications to engage with different stakeholders including grassroots women, government officials and decision-makers, funders, research organizations and academia, other non-profit groups, the private sector as well as the media. The events conducted under this initiative were:

  • My Home, My City, My Voice: Consultation workshops
  • Grassroots Women’s Assembly and Exhibition
  • Book Launch: The City Makers
  • Webinar series

‘My Home, My City, My Voice’: Consultation workshops

To mark the beginning of the 25th year, we went back to our most important stakeholders, ‘women from low-income communities. The consultation workshops focused on capturing their lived experiences, growth stories and involving them in a reflection and visioning exercise on the future of their communities and cities and their role in driving change. The workshops were conducted in cities of Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Amalner, Jaipur, Delhi and Bhopal and saw participation from more than 100 women leaders. We also discussed government approaches to habitat development and resilience and shaping a road map for women’s participation in governance.

Grassroots Women’s Assembly and Exhibition

In November 2019, MHT gathered more than 1000 grassroots women leaders from across Indian Cities and from S. Asia in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in November 2019 to share their stories of struggle and learning from the past and their future vision for growth in their local communities. The assembly also saw attendance from government officers, funders, urban development researchers, practitioners and members of the media. The assembly provided an inclusive platform to highlight the grassroots perspective on key habitat and allied service delivery challenges being faced across urban slums in India. Discuss locally relevant solutions that can be scaled, solutions that should be tried, and the vision for future growth of urban informal settlements

The assembly also had exhibition panels summarizing key thematic highlights from the ‘My Home, My City, My Voice’, consultation workshops and the contributions of grassroots women towards accelerating the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Book Launch: The City Makers

MHT’s 25 years of experience in empowering women to improve and upgrade their habitat has revealed incredible stories of struggles, solidarity, and successes, from building a house with their own hands; negotiating with governments and private agencies for access to basic facilities; finding solutions to make homes more climate resilient; to participating in city-level decision making processes. Authored by Bijal Bhatt and Renana Jhabvala ‘The City Makers’ captures the accounts of Meena, Munish, Mumtaz and many others like them who worked, individually and collectively, to transform their built environments at personal and community levels.

The book was launched to mark MHT’s silver jubilee in 2019. To buy a copy:

In India, order a copy from amazon.in
In USA, order a soft copy from amazon.com
In UK, order a soft copy from amazon.co.uk

Watch a video of our authors introducing the book.

Webinar Series

To share our experience of working in the grassroots for 25 years, MHT organized a series of four webinars attended by NGOs, private and public sector organizations, academia and media personnels. The series, titled, ‘Responsible Urbanization through Women’s Participation’ focused on addressing challenges faced in equitable access to water and sanitation, securing housing rights, building climate resilience and energy efficiency, and livelihoods in construction.

To know more about the webinars, click below:

  1. Water, sanitation and Basic Services
  2. Affordable Housing and Housing Finance
  3. The Construction Industry and Women Workers
  4. Climate Change, Energy and Urban Resilience