Most of the urban poor in India already face lots of difficulties, and the consequences of environmental problems further reinforce these difficulties. This paper focuses on the urban poor women in Saboli, a slum area located in Delhi, in order to see how they make use of Self Help Groups (SHG) in order to deal with consequences likeincreased flooding, limited fresh water supply, and increase in food-prices. Through these groups the inhabitants of Saboli are able to get empowered both through knowledge and financially. For the women, the SHG meetings provide an opportunity to go out, meet other women, and get engaged in the local community - all activities that might have been harder to do had it not been for the SHGs.Through the SHGs, the women not only get a chance to learn how to manage money, but this experience will most likely build women’s capacities and confidence as well, thus putting them in a better position to improve their own situation. A common reason why the poor turn to the SHGs is the lacking initiative from local leaders andpoliticians to provide necessary means for help. There was a reoccurring issue of distrust and dissatisfaction with the politicians and leaders in the area, especially with regards to them making promises in exchange for votes and then not seeing thesepromises through.
In this regard, this paper also looks at the relationship between the State and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO), as this is a very complex relationship in India. Ever since Independence, NGOs have played an important part in India’s development, and at the same time the Indian government have played a key role in shaping Indian NGOs. The State is frequently being criticized for being rigidly bureaucratic and corrupt, which makes them unsuited for performing either welfare or resource management functions, while NGOs on the other hand, are considered ‘civil society’ actors that are more ‘accountable, responsive and committed to bringing about social change’.