This case study tells the inspiring story of the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT) in India, a grassroots NGO originally born from the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). MHT works with women living in urban informal settlements to get access to services such as water, sanitation and electricity and secure tenure rights and property titles. Using a combination of community mobilization and strategic collaborations with local municipalities, it has helped empower women and increased the quality and reach of public and private services, enabling providers to make the ‘last mile’ connections that they often cannot (or refuse to). Community participation and involvement by women themselves is at the heart of everything it does. From its base in Ahmedabad, it has reached 1.8 million people in 36 cities across eight Indian states, and is now beginning to extend its influence internationally. MHT is now working with local leaders and community groups to raise awareness of the pandemic protect and enable the most vulnerable to access support.
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