Fellow Since 2008
SAATH - Initiatives for Equity in Development
This profile was prepared when Rajendra Joshi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Rajendra has designed a model of cross-sector partnerships, rooted in market-based solutions, that sustainably provides slum-dwellers with cleaner living environments, electricity, access to credit and job training, and other basic tenants of citizenry. His organization Saath (Together) not only provides the urban poor with basic needs and a higher quality of life, but also allows gives them freer access to local markets. By linking development strategies so closely with market economies, Rajendra has gained the commitment of public, private, and citizen organizations—all of which are working closely together and accelerating the pace of development in Ahmedabad. In the city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, where many of India’s recent religious and communal conflicts have erupted, Rajendra’s pilot model has been highly successful. Working in the city’s slums, Saath incorporates an integrated slum development program, Urban Resource Centers, health and education programs, and livelihood and microfinance initiatives. Rajendra is now poised to adapt his model to other parts of India, and to problems like education and women’s employment. Cities like Pune and Nagpur (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) have shown keen interest in replicating his model under the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. The scaling up will be implemented by partner citizen organizations (COs) and not through Saath directly as Rajendra seeks replicable and transformative change not bound by the reach and resources of Saath alone.