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Urban, Water, and Infrastructure Services

DIG builds the capacity of local governments, utilities, and community-based organizations to improve the living conditions of the urban poor. Our staff assists under-served communities in areas such as advocacy, slum improvement, the provision of basic services, land tenure regularization and financing. Our work in urban, water, and infrastructure services includes:


Slum Improvement
DIG  designs and manages cutting-edge community improvement programs that deliver basic services (water, sanitation, solid waste, etc.) to urban slum dwellers. Our staff works with national and local governments, financial insti­tutions, utilities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to design programs that address the infrastructure and basic service needs of informal settlements.

Infrastructure Development
DIG  provides technical assistance to local and national governments on infrastructure development, notably in post-emergency and post-conflict environments. DIG’s support ranges from infrastructure rehabilitation to increasing and improving the urban poor’s access to basic service infrastructure. 
 
DIG  focuses on linking poor communities to the larger municipal or national water, sanitation, and solid waste infrastructure. Areas of expertise in this realm include: identifying and addressing bottlenecks in service provision; helping utilities develop commercially-viable service expansion plans; ensuring pricing for cost-recovery; innovative financing for service provision; organizing communities to benefit from utility sector reforms; building the capacity of communities and small service providers; transforming informal service providers into formal operators; and fostering public-private partnerships to improve water and sanitation services. In the areas of sanitation and solid waste management, DIG helps improve the collection/extraction, transportation, disposal, recycling, and treatment.
 
Organizational Development and Capacity Building for NGOs and CBOs
DIG designs and implements targeted and high-impact capacity building plans for local organizations that serve the urban poor. There is extensive demand for capacity building in the developing world. DIG has created a selection criteria based not only on assessing needs but also on leveraging concrete opportunities through tailored assistance to local, innovative organizations. DIG offers tailored organizational, financial, and administrative support, among others, depending on an organization’s needs. Capacity building approaches include training, technical assistance, on-site support, workshops and study tours to transfer knowledge and best practices.

Through its global work, DIG has gained valuable insight into the types of institutions that enable the poor to influence decision-making and planning processes; the types of institutions that respond more effectively to targeted capacity building initiatives; the types of capacity building initiatives most effective in increasing an organization’s ability to serve its constituency in a streamlined and cost-effective manner; the roles demographic and political contexts play in the success of training and technical assistance efforts; and factors of scale and replicability that enable successful capacity building initiatives to be replicated elsewhere.

DIG provides technical assistance and capacity building support to governments at the city and national levels. Specifically, we help local governments more effectively plan and invest their limited resources in poverty reduction projects and, when relevant, incorporate the poor in planning and decision-making processes. We facilitate partnerships between local or national governments and civil society organizations. Furthermore, DIG provides expert advice to national governments on the development and implementation of reconstruction/rehabilitation policies and projects in post-disaster environments.

Vocational Training and Employment for the Urban Poor
Securing long-term economic opportunities for vulnerable populations is integrally tied to poverty alleviation. For that reason, DIG carries out demand-driven vocational training for marginalized populations including youth and women. DIG views labor-intensive programs as a key component of urban and community infrastructure development. Such programs provide ample opportunity to immediately address under-employment, while offering the long-term benefit of improved vocational and business skills for entrepreneurs and job seekers. This work is especially significant in post-disaster/conflict contexts, where infrastructure rehabilitation is needed to support the economic livelihoods of vulnerable populations. Another important way DIG fosters employment generation is by helping the urban poor create viable businesses.

Community Development
DIG  specializes in designing successful community-based development programs which requires a holis­tic approach that builds on the input and commitment of local stakeholders, such as municipalities, civil society and the private sector.  This work has resulted in more effective public-private partnerships to improve basic service provision for the urban poor.  DIG experts design and implement community development programs that combine innovative participatory approaches with labor-intensive  methodologies , thus building community assets while generating employment and building vocational skills. 

DIG’s model for supporting PPPs focuses on formalizing the relationship between public and private actors (notably the urban poor), providing targeted capacity building and brokering those relationships to help them become functional. DIG typically seeks a private sector partner representing the urban poor so that they can actively participate in designing the policies and delivering the services that affect their lives. DIG’s programs have demonstrated that forging such partnerships between city leadership and CBOs is not only possible, but that when properly nurtured, they lead to more inclusive and effective urban policies. Such policies translate into improved service delivery for the urban poor and lasting improvements in their living conditions. 

On behalf of donors, DIG monitors and evaluates the implementation of multi-million dollar, global project portfolios. DIG helps donors ensure their grantees deliver on-time and within budget. We also broker partnerships to maximize collaboration among stakeholders. DIG identifies and solves problems to maintain project momentum and ensure successful implementation. Lastly, we capture and disseminate knowledge on urban poverty reduction for the development community at large.
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