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Orangi Pilot Project proves poor people in slums can meet own sewage and water needs

Page history last edited by Rosemary 11 years, 5 months ago

The Orangi Pilot Project: proving that poor people living in slums can finance, build and manage sewer and water facilities themselves

The Orangi Pilot Project, which began working as an NGO in Orangi, Karachi’s largest squatter settlement (population 1.2 million), in 1980, shows that at the neighborhood level, people can finance and manage facilities like sewerage, water supply, schools, clinics, solid waste disposal and security. Government’s role then is to complement peoples’ work with larger facilities like trunk sewers and treatment plants, water mains and water, colleges/universities, hospitals, main solid waste disposals and land fill sites. Where government partners with the people, sustainable development can be managed through local resources.

In Pakistan, poor peoples housing (known as Katchi Abadis – the informal sector) is everywhere. About 60% of Karachi's 12 million people live in such housing, and many people make a living through microenterprises operated from their homes. Land is purchased from a land supplier who subdivides government and some private land and sells it to the poor, often without official planning. People build their houses incrementally, and building component manufacturing yards in the settlement provide building materials and components on credit. Initially the land supplier arranges the supply of water through water tankers, and transportation. As the settlement expands and consolidates, need for water supply, sewage disposal, schools and clinics arise. People lobby government for facilities but soon find they must resort to self help initiatives.

Since 1988, OPP’s five basic programs of low cost sanitation, housing, health, education and credit for micro enterprise have been managed through three autonomous institutions. The OPP-Research and Training Institute (RTI) manages the low cost sanitation, housing, education, and research and training programs; the OPP-Orangi Charitable Trust (OCT) manages micro enterprise credit; and the OPP-Karachi Health and Social Development Association (KHASDA) manages health. Each institution has its separate board of directors and mobilizes its own funds.

Development is self financed by the people. OPP institutions provide social and technical guidance, as well as credit for micro enterprise. OPP analyzes the outstanding problems of the areas, peoples’ initiatives, bottlenecks in the initiatives, and then through action research and extension, advises and guides community organizations for self-help and partnership with government.

The Low Cost Sanitation Program enables low income families to finance, manage and maintain sanitary latrines in their homes, underground sewerage lines in the lanes and secondary sewers. Government is responsible to provide main sewers and treatment plants. OPP-RTI provides social and technical guidance to both community and government facilitating partnerships.

The model that has evolved from the program is the component-sharing concept of development with people and government as partners. In Orangi, people living in 96,942 houses situated along 6,460 lanes built their own lane sewers and latrines in their homes, investing over $2 million US of their own money to do so. Had the state done this work the cost would have been more than $10 million. The program has extended to all of Orangi and to 279 settlements of Karachi and 13 cities covering a population of more than 2 million. Citywide application is emerging.

The Low Cost Housing Program enables improvement in building components and construction technique that benefits more than 2,500 homes in Orangi each year through provision of credit and technical guidance to building component manufacturing yards, training of youths and masons and mobilization of house owners. The youth-initiated Technical Training Resource Center (TTRC) in Orangi provides housing support services to the community and trains other youths to become community architects.

The Education Program improves and upgrades the physical condition and academic standards of private schools in Orangi, through start up grants, credit and facilitation of teachers training. More than 703 schools educating 139,194 children have been supported.

Health education and family planning supports the local Orangi clinics set up by the people by supplying vaccines, family planning components and training vaccinators and traditional birth attendants. 291 clinics, 204 vaccinators and 504 TBAs have been supported.

The Micro Enterprise Credit program supports small family businesses set up by the people in their homes, with credit. The program has expanded to 12 cities and more than 50 villages. 7,469 units have been supported with credit of Rs. 148 million with 93% recovery rate.

OPP has been responsible for the institutional development of many NGOs and CBOs in Orangi, Karachi, 17 other cities and more than 50 villages. Its work has encouraged government to focus on addressing the problems of the poor in a participatory way, shifting government’s role from pure provider to a sharing of responsibilities, and accepting initiatives developed by poor people.

This story is based on information provided on the website of the Orangi Pilot Project. Contact information for OPP is: OPP-RTI, ST-4, Sec 5/a, Qasba, Manghopir Road, Karachi 75800.



For other stories about water use and management, see:

Egyptian villagers manage their scarce water resources effectively and equitably

Saving costs and improving water management in India

Water, milk and honey flow in dry Jordanian valley

Rehabilitated wind-powered pumps bring water in Senegal

Mosque water helps traditional gardens bloom again in Yemen

Facilitating south-south sharing on water governance

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