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Profile of Orangi Pilot Project

Profile of Orangi Pilot Project

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Published by Aamir Mughal
Profile of Orangi Pilot Project - Parveen Rehman (1957 - 2013) http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2013/03/parveen-rehman-1957-2013.html
Profile of Orangi Pilot Project - Parveen Rehman (1957 - 2013) http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2013/03/parveen-rehman-1957-2013.html

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Environment and Urbanization,Vol. 7, No. 2, October 1995
227
NGO Profile
Orangi Pilot Project
The Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) has become one of the best known NGO projects in the provision of sanitation. In the 16 years since its inception, the Project has directly and indirectly assisted about one million people inOrangi (Karachi) to improved sanitation. Their intervention has been developed through research into household resources and aspirations in Orangi. From the beginning, OPP staff have sought to minimiseexternal support in order to assist households to achieve their objectives for local development. From their first activities, their work has been extended in two directions. The Project has started to work with the peopleof Orangi and the surrounding area in the provision of a number of additional services including housing, health, credit for entrepreneurs, education and rural development. More recently, staff have been assisting both government and non-government agencies to initiate a number of new projects in other cities in Pakistandrawing on the experience of the Orangi Pilot Project.
I. INTRODUCTION
 THE OPP HAS
 beenworking in Orangi,a low-income settlement on the periphery of Karachi, since April 1980. During this timeit has developed programmes in several ar-eas including sanitation, health, housingtechnology, education support services,credit and income generation, social forestry and a rural project.Since 1988, following the success of themodelsthatitinitiallydeveloped,theOPP hasexpanded into four autonomous institutions. The OPP Society is responsible for allocatingcore funds to the threeother institutionsandmeets once every three months to undertakethis task. The Secretary of the Society is Dr Hameed Khan, the founder of the Orangi Pi-lot Project. There are three implementinginstitutions,eachwith anindependentboard.First, the OPP Research and Training Insti-tute manages the sanitation, housing andsocial forestry programmes in Orangi, plusthe replication and associated training for allprogrammes. Secondly, the Orangi Charita- ble Trust which manages the credit pro-grammes. Finally, the Karachi Health andSocial Development Association which man-ages the health programme.OPP considers itself to be a research insti-tution whose objectiveis to analyzeoutstand-ing research problems within Orangi andthen, through prolonged action researchandextension education, discover viable solu-tions. In recognition of the fact that NGOscannot solve problems on the scale required,it does not construct sewerage lines or set-up clinics or schools itself. Rather, its strat-egy is to promote community organizationand self-management. By providing socialand technical guidance, it encourages themobilization of local managerial and finan-cial resources and the practice of coopera-tive action. To date, the OPP has developedthe following “model” programmes:1. A low-cost sanitation programme whichenables low-income households to construct and maintain modern sanitation (pour-flushlatrinesin theirown homes andundergroundsewerage pipelines in the lanes) with their own funds andundertheirown management.2. A low-cost housing programme whichupgrades the
thalla 
(block-makers yards) by introducingstrongermachine-madeconcrete blocks, and battens and tile roofing which ischeaper than reinforced concrete. The pro-gramme also upgrades the skills of localmasons by introducing proper constructiontechniques and by educating house-ownerson planning, orientation and low-cost tech-nology.3. A basic health and family-planning pro-gramme for segregated and illiterate or semi-literatelow-income women which teachesthecauses and methods of preventing commondiseases, the importance of birth control andthe importance of growing vegetables, and which provides immunization and family planning services.4. Credit for small family enterprises.5. A schools programme which assists inthe upgrading of physical and academicstandards in private schools.6. A women’s work centre programme which organizes stitchers and other garment  workers intofamilyunitsdealingdirectlywithexporters and wholesalers. The programme
 
228
NGO Profile
Environment and Urbanization,Vol. 7, No. 2, October 1995
also covers managerial skills and coopera-tive action.7. A rural development programme whichprovides credit and technical guidance tosupport entrepreneurs develop their aridholdings into woodlots and orchards, and togrow forage for milk cattle.
II. THE BEGINNING OF THEORANGI PILOT PROJECT
ORANGI IS THE
largest 
katchi abadi 
or un-planned settlement in Karachi. People be-gan livingin theareain 1965 and, after1972,it grew rapidly. At the last estimate in No- vember 1989, there were about 94,000houseslocatedtherewith anestimatedpopu-lation of about 800,000. The population isdrawn from a wide rangeof immigrantgroupsfrom India, Bangladesh, the Punjab, thenorthern areas of Pakistan, and local peo-ple. Most find employment as labourers,skilled workers, artisans, shopkeepers or clerks. The official agencies have provided a few facilities including main roads, water linesand electricity plus a few schools, hospitalsand banks but these have been supple-mented by a wide range of private services. This was the situation when the BCCI first invited Dr Akter Hammed Khan to work inOrangi in 1980. The first focus was on thesanitation and sewerage problems. Without sanitary latrines and underground seweragelines, both the health and property of theresidents was being endangered. However,the households could not afford the current cost of conventionalsanitation systems. Thefirst OPP researchers rejected solutions based on foreign aid because the local resi-dents could not afford to repay the loans or maintain the systems, and the donors them-selves could not afford the large costs in- volved given the scale of necessary invest-ments.In 1980, bucket latrines or soakpits werethe main means of disposal for human ex-creta and open sewers for the disposal of  waste water. The result was poor health withtyphoid, malaria, diarrhoea, dysentery andscabies being common. Poor drainage re-sulted in waterlogging and reduced property  values. Initial enquiries showed that resi-dents were aware of both the sanitation anddrainage problems and knew of the conse-quences for their health and property. How-ever, they took no action for four reasons:1. Psychological barrier: the residents be-lieved that it was the duty of official agenciesto build sewerage lines to local residents freeof charge.2. Economic barrier: the cost of conven-tional sanitary latrines and undergroundsewerage could not be afforded by house-holds.3. Technical barrier: although the peoplecould build their own houses, neither they nor the local builders possessed the techni-cal skills required for the construction of underground sewerage lines.4. Sociological barrier: the constructionof the undergroundlinesrequireda highlevelof community organization for collective ac-tion and this did not exist.Further analysis of the sanitation problemidentified four levels of infrastructure: insidethe house, in the lane, secondary or collec-tor drains, and the main drains and treat-ment plant. Further research showed that the house-owners were willing to be respon-sible for the first three levels. Drawing onexperience in rural research and extensionprogrammes, the OPP plannedtheirstrategy. The researchconsistedof simplifyingdesignsso that they were affordable and technically implementable locally. The extension in- volved identifying activists, training in com-munity organization and technical details,and further guidance and supervision.
III. LOW-COST SANITATION
RESEARCH INTO AN
affordable system took about a year. Through simplifying the de-sign and developing steel moulds for sani-tary latrines and manholes, the cost was re-ducedto one-quarterthatof contractorrates. The elimination of contractorsprofiteeringreduced labour rates by a further one-quar-ter. The cost of the final proposed system (at current prices) was about Rs. 1,000 (US
$
31)of whichabout halfwas for the investment inside the house and the remainder for thelane sanitation.
 
Environment and Urbanization,Vol. 7, No. 2, October 1995
229
NGO Profile
Once the economic barrier had been over-come, the extension workers of the OPP be-gan to talk to households to convince themto stop believing in government provision of services. Once households realized thatthey could address both health problems anddamage to property for such a small invest-ment, the psychological barrier also beganto be overcome.OPP employed technicians to help survey the lanes and prepare the plans and esti-mates for each lane. The social organizers worked at the level of the lane to show how they needed to work together to ensure that the lane investment was effective. Withineach lane, a lane manager needed to be iden-tified to manage the process, including col-lecting individual contributions, resolvingdisputes and supervising the work. Fromthe beginning, OPP staff refused to under-take this work. Whilst they could assist intechnical advice and support social organi-zation, only those living in the lane could beresponsible for managing the finances andcontracting the lane sanitation. Together,staff members addressed the technical andsociological barriers.Shortly after the OPP started work, its area of operation was reduced to half of Orangiand, from 1982 to 1989, the Project workedin this smaller area (see Box 1). After 1989,it was again allowed to operate throughout the settlement. By 1993, 97 per cent of thelanes in the area in which they had been ac-tive since 1982 had installed lane sanitation(3,285 lanes in all). In the area in which they had been working only since 1989, there waslane sanitation in 1,689 lanes, or 57 per cent of the total number of lanes in this area.BetweenJuly1981 andNovember1993, 57.2million rupees had been invested by the lo-cal residents on improved sanitation and
Box 1: The Division of Orangi
 Twenty-one months after the start of the Orangi Pilot Project, the BCCI Foundationreached an agreement with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlementsthat they would provide technical support to the Project. The UN consultantsstarted working with the Project staff but, after four months, they expressedtheir grave reservations about the direction and content of the project. Inparticular, they believed that the low-cost sanitation developed by Orangi staff  would be ineffective and they wished to replace it with more conventionaltechnology and delivery mechanisms involving local councillors and using externalcontractors and larger community organizations. The consultants believed that,if the OPP wished to develop and use lane organizations, then soak pits and leachpits would be a better technology.OPP staff strongly disagreed with the advice of the UN consultants. They believedthat to work with local councillors and contractors would be disastrous at anearly stage before the project was established. The use of soak pits and leach pits was not acceptable both because it could only be a temporary solution and becauseit would not lead to a (later) direct engagement with the municipality. Such anengagement was necessary in order to address the unequal relationship betweenmunicipal officials and local residents. This, the staff believed, was fundamentalto further development. The staff also did not accept the technical assessmentof their low-cost sanitation system and argued that the system would be effective. These differences could not be resolved. The BCCI Foundation divided the areaup, allowing the Orangi Pilot Project to continue to work in one section andasking the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements to develop an alternativeproject in the other section.In 1989, some seven years later and after an expenditure of US$ 625,000, it wasagreed that the alternative strategy of the United Nations was not successful andthe OPP were once again allowed to work throughout Orangi, working with thepeople to provide low-cost sanitation.

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