Definition of Terms

Kandwar is a concept of sustainable development free of ideological content that is Comprehensive, Collaborative, and Concentrated in a selected settlement, be it part of an urban area or a distinct village. Project Kandwar is a mechanism for mobilizing resources, both human and material, and executing specific projects in that settlement. Kandawara, which is Ward 14 of City Municipal Corporation Chik Ballapur, is one of the selected settlements where the concept of Kandwar is implemented through the mechanism of Project Kandwar.

Agenda for Action by Project Kandwar

Project Kandwar’s focus is the iron triad that defines standard of living, namely, health, education, and infrastructure, and jobs that provide income above the poverty line. Examples are indicated below.

The upgrading and staffing of the existing hospital and integrating education on holistic health and nutrition. The rehabilitation of two existing primary school buildings and the furnishing of them both with proper equipment. A High School, a community centre, an orphanage, and a retirement home institutional complex, possibly, on the 9-acre parcel of land held by the Ranganathaswamy Temple Trust.

Infrastructure projects would include but not be limited to the following: approximately 150 dwelling units to replace the existing substandard units; conventional sanitary sewer trunks with a sewage treatment plant or an alternate biodynamic lagoon system with upgraded stone gutter trunks; realigned and properly paved streets with sidewalks and storm water swales; piped water to all households; street lights and trees on public right-of-ways along the streets; a properly equipped playground in the primary school yard; the collection and disposal of solid waste in a properly designed land fill site; a consolidated underground trench for electric/telephone/cable/broadband wiring; a set of biogas plants with distribution to dwellings in the vicinity; the creation of a park on donated land in or adjacent to the settlement; etc.

Jobs for all unemployed and underemployed, including dalits who constitute 48 percent of the population, with a focus on industries using appropriate technology. Identification of business opportunities and assistance in start up and management of new enterprises. Training of people in skills that can be used to create new enterprises.

Uniqueness of Kandwar Concept

Development is viewed as involving all four aspects, namely, economic, social, physical, and organizational. Development is approached in a Comprehensive, Collaborative, and Concentrated manner.

It is Comprehensive in the sense that all critical problems are addressed simultaneously, however modest each effort may be. For instance, starting up a small business may require capital from a lending institution, support network for a woman entrepreneur from a self-referential group, erection of a building on public land, and training for managerial skills. Also, while a profitable enterprise is being set up, the basic needs of health, education, and infrastructure for the whole settlement are being addressed because this iron triangle of standard of living is mutually self-reinforcing.

It is Collaborative in the sense that all three sectors of the economy, namely, private, public, and not-for-profit are brought together in varying combinations to address the critical problems. For instance, the upgrading of the primary school may require State Government finance for structural rehabilitation, corporate funding for benches and books, and a charitable trust grant for school uniforms and visits to at galleries.

It is Concentrated in the sense that all developmental efforts are focused in one clearly definable settlement so that available resources make a significant noticeable impact. For instance, job creating business enterprise, primary school, hospital, water, sewer, and roads are all developed simultaneously so that in a couple of years the residents of the settlement can see the difference and take pride in maintaining and enhancing the newly created standard of living.

The proudest day for Project Kandwar associates is the day when the local people suggest that the associates move on to another settlement.

Guiding Principles of Both the Concept and the Mechanism

Project Kandwar is conceived as a local response to the challenge of the failure of the civilization state at federal, state, and local levels. It is an effort to mobilize resources, both human and material, from multiple sources, be they individual, private, non-profit, or public sector organizations. It is also an effort to empower the powerless be they women, dalit, landless, or merely poor.

The object of mobilization is to enable the people to provide for themselves modern health, educational, and infrastructure needs. This is achieved through self-employment or employment in local enterprises that create wealth and use the wealth so created for community development.

Project Kandwar explicitly recognizes that approximately 67 percent of the population of India is less than 40 years of age and that approximately 50 percent of the population is less than 25 years. It also recognizes that nearly 50 percent are women. The two compelling demographic imperatives, namely, women and youth, are regarded as the engines that drive all developmental efforts and are therefore seen as leaders in initiating the transformation.

Project Kandwar is a multi-organizational effort at transforming the settlement of Kandawara into a micro-city or pura with all the modern amenities akin to a self-reliant village in Germany or Canada.

Project Kandwar views the settlement as a microcosm of the Impoverished India that is part of the rapidly developing India and yet apart from it, akin to the coexistence of destitute lowest income neighbourhoods (LINs) in the shadow of affluent neighbourhoods in a city that depends upon the services provided by the LINs. Kandwar is also the embodiment of India where the state has failed to meet the basic needs of its own citizens and is unlikely to do so for decades because of the alternate imperatives of the state.

Project Kandwar thinks globally and acts locally. It mobilizes resources both locally and globally. It sets out to develop a well-defined and clearly identifiable settlement, be it a village in a rural area, part of a town, or a low-income neighbourhood (LIN) in an affluent city.

Kandwar is a concept of development and Project Kandwar is a mechanism to implement the concept. Kandwar is a local initiative that relies upon resources that are not readily available to its people. It explicitly acknowledges the resource limitations of a settlement and goes about filling the gap by drawing upon resources from all sources. For instance, the critical problem of sewage treatment cannot be solved with local money and expertise alone. Project Kandwar, therefore, secures money and knowledge workers from all available sources including but not limited to: private charitable institutions, the State and Federal governments, international organizations, and private individuals. Project Kandwar puts together the package. The multi-sourced package is then used effectively to solve the problem.

Project Kandwar is set up to serve common interests. It therefore seeks guidance and assistance from all religious, ethnic, national, and linguistic groups and individuals. It does not undertake any projects that benefit only a self-referentially identifiable group.

Project Kandwar’s greatest strength is that it explicitly acknowledges the organizational limitations of many existing organizations in their ability and willingness to use resources effectively. It goes about mobilizing and deploying resources in a transparent and accountable manner and confronts in a forthright manner the limitations of some organizations.

Roles of Partners in Transformation

To state the self-evident, the comprehensive approach to development requires the mobilization of resources from a multiplicity of sources. The experience of developmental efforts since 1951 have shown that addressing any one aspect of development such as potable water, in isolation, may solve that problem but leaves all other companion problems unattended. The result is a piecemeal outcome that, however worthy in and of itself, has prevented people in a settlement from seeing a significant difference in their community. Also, to restate a well-known phenomenon, piecemeal outcomes foster a culture of dependency where the recipients constantly expect someone else, “the government,” to solve their problems. The comprehensive development approach, on the other hand, mitigates a host of related problems in a relatively short time span and has a greater potential to instill a sense of pride in the community to take care of itself. It relies upon the human desire to achieve more because they have already made measurable advances. In the ultimate analysis, there is no substitute for local leadership. Even the comprehensive approach will fail in the absence of determination by local leadership to walk out of impoverishment. What the comprehensive approach does, however, is to create a livable community with greater prospect for advancement.

Given the scope of development envisioned, no one organization has the ability or the will to mobilize all the resources necessary to transform the vision into reality. If this were possible, we would not witness so much impoverishment in India. Comprehensive development in a Concentrated manner gives rise to the Collaborative imperative. Permit me to explain.

If no one person or organization can undertake comprehensive development, who can do it? What they cannot do separately they can do it together by assigning to themselves the component parts on which they will work. For instance, the Ramanarpanam Trust (DRRT) has already elected to work on the rehabilitation of the Primary School, a matter on which it has demonstrated impressive measurable results in the past 25 years. The XVIII Horse can undertake, for instance, the sewerage project in consort with agencies that fund such projects.

To answer the question, who can and therefore will do what, requires a detailed analysis of the multifarious project components that constitute the comprehensive development package. When big projects are broken down into bite-sized chunks, the costs of each chunk identified, together with the potential sources of funding for each chunk, then we have the beginnings of an answer to tackle all the projects in the comprehensive development package. The rigorous quantitative analysis of project components is called by a variety of names. Business Plan is one of them and Action Plan is another. A good Business Plan treats the selected settlement, in this instance, Kandawara, as an integrated whole and goes about identifying the costs of undertaking the numerous project components in order to transform Kandawara into a self-reliant community. A person or an organization that is interested in helping Kandawara now has the option to choose where s/he or it will intervene to assist. A good Business Plan is nothing more than a tool to assist the people who want to help in selecting what they want to do.

One of the purposes of the Business Plan, other than as the principal guide to action, is to serve as a marketing mechanism to raise funds in North America.

Why Project Kandwar

The 2001 Census shows that approximately 70 percent of people in India live in rural areas. Countless studies have shown that rural population is not well served by adequate health, education, and infrastructure. Again, countless studies have shown that economically poor people who also happen to be members of the socially disadvantaged groups are least well served in rural areas. Inadequate health and education have constrained the disadvantaged from breaking out of the vicious self-reinforcing cycle of their condition. The efforts by different levels of government and the private sector since Indian Independence in 1947 have not made a significant dent in the conditions of the disadvantaged.

The needs of disadvantaged people in rural India are basic, i.e., they lack minimum nutritious food, potable water, dignified clothing, secure shelter, reliable sources of energy, good health, and primary education. For the disadvantaged rural populace a healthy cow or a buffalo to sustain the family’s daily milk needs is a luxury beyond reach. The World Development Report 2003 by the World Bank points out that using adjusted U.S. $2.00 per day as the poverty line, approximately 41 percent of the people in India fall below the poverty line.

The Primary Focus

In economic terms the focus would be on people Below the Poverty Line (BPL) as defined by Indian authorities. In social terms, the focus would be on people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes, i.e., people at the “lower” end of the social hierarchy. In terms of gender the focus would be on females. The uncontested evidence from the state of Kerala, India, is that healthy and educated females have the greatest influence upon the total welfare of families.

Why India, Why This Area, and Why Now?

One of the potential trustees, Narasim Katary, was born in India. The area selected for Project Kandwar is the area where he knows some local people who may be of some assistance in initiating the transformation of Kandawara into a micro city or pura with all modern amenities. In 2006 he will retire from his job in Canada and expects to spend full time on work related to Project Kandwar.

Settlement of Kandawara

In the shadow of Boomgalore, 55 km north of Bangalore, the silicon plateau of India, lies impoverished Kandawara. The village of Kandawara is now a distinct neighbourhood of the town of Chik Ballapur and is 2 km south of its downtown. Legally Kandawara is Ward 14 of the City Municipal Council Chik Ballapur. The population of Kandawara was 3,704 and the population of Chik Ballapur was 54,938 (including Kandawara) in the 2001 census. 1,800 people, i.e., 48 percent of the population of Kandawara consist of dalits (ex-Untouchables). The built up area of Kandawara is 2.37 sq. km. and is surrounded by agricultural land and is separated by the contiguous built up area of Chik Ballapur to the north by a large reservoir and farmland downstream from the reservoir. It has 8 temples and 1 mosque. It has a primary school with classes from 1st through the 7th standard located in two buildings. The first one, a U-shaped one, was built in 1849 and the second one, a block structure, was built in 1895. Both buildings are in very poor condition and require extensive rehabilitation although they are being used for classroom purposes. Kandawara has a hospital building with a full-time nurse but has neither a family physician nor a paramedic. It has no sanitary sewer system. It has no solid waste disposal system. Water is secured through two functioning deep wells that pump water to a fair sized water tank but not all households have piped water supply. The latest estimate is that 150 dwelling units are required to relocate people living below poverty line into safe shelters.