Resources and Livelihoods Group

Prayas (Pune), India

Initiatives in Health, Energy and Learning & Parenthood

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Policy and Governance:

Analysis & Advocacy

Development and Governance


Development and Governance


Initiative in

System Dynamics

Initiative in System Dynamics 


Learning from its decade-long experience of working on research, policy analysis, and advocacy on diverse issues from the arena of Environment and Development, the ReLi Group of PRAYAS did also explore new directions. The Group attempted to evolve the ‘Systems Dynamics (SD) Team’ which further attempted to develop internal capabilities in the area of System Dynamics Modeling. The objective was to improve efficiency and efficacy of efforts directed at policy analysis and advocacy. The Systems Dynamics (SD) Team, in collaboration with other members of the group, applied SD modeling techniques in three theme areas: (a) Urban Solid Waste Management, (b) Urban Water Systems, and (c) Allocation of Reservoir Water to Different User Categories.

In Urban Solid Waste Management, the efforts were focused on developing a SD model of collection, segregation, and disposal of municipal solid waste in one Operational Area of Pune city. The ultimate objective was to provide analytical basis to the efforts of the trade-union of the waste-pickers. Preliminary work had been undertaken to develop a generic SD model for the Solid Waste Management Systems of small and medium towns in the state of Maharashtra.

In the case of Urban Water Systems, an attempt was made to develop a graphical SD Model for the city of Udaipur (state of Rajasthan). The objective was to convince the local civil society groups and authorities to undertake comprehensive efforts to improve water situation in the city. The model covered factors and actors connected with diverse processes such as solid waste generation and management, use and management of ground and surface water, and operation of piped water scheme. Preliminary work was done to develop a generic SD model for the Urban Drinking Water Systems of small and medium towns in the state of Maharashtra.

Distribution of water to different categories of users from the dams in the state of Maharashtra is a major controversy. The dams built for irrigation purpose are under severe pressure from competing demands from urban, industrial, and agricultural users as well as power generation plants. While all the demands are legitimate, every party involved is quite adamant on its demands. SD methodology is seen as providing a rational basis for transparent negotiations on a level-playing field on this vexed issue.

The SD team was also involved in assisting Dr. Peter Hovmand and Dr. Gautam Yedama (Social Systems Laboratory of the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University at St. Louis, Missouri, USA) in conducting the Joint Winter Institute in ‘Community Driven System Dynamics.’ The institute was designed for post-graduate students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Washington University of St. Louis. The SD Team was involved in conducting preparatory sessions prior to the Winter Institute and development of material for these sessions. It also assisted the faculty in conducting the two-week Winter Institute in January 2010.

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