Government, International Agencies and OPP Collaboration for the Replication of OPP‘S Low Cost Sanitation Programme

5.4 Development of Replication Projects

Since 1983 community organisations, activists and NGO’s from other katchi abadis and informal settlements in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan have applied to the OPP for help in replicating its Low Cost Sanitation Programme in their areas. Since 1986, international agencies have also cultivated the OPP, and in recent years tried to replicate the OPP experience by integrating it into planning processes of government projects that they are sponsoring and by using the OPP as their consultant. Meanwhile, in its search for the solutions to Orangi’s problems, the OPP has had to lobby with relevant municipal and government organisations. In addition, to protect the work of Orangi residents from destruction by insensitive government planning, it has had to monitor nationally and internationally sponsored projects and deal with the organisations responsible for them. This paper is an attempt to briefly describe some of these involvements of the app and the conclusions the app has drawn from them and the lessons it has learnt.

6. The Internal-External Development Concept

Through its work in Orangi the app has discovered that the people can finance and manage the construction of the sanitary latrine in their homes, the underground sewer in their lanes, and the intermediate or collector drain at the neighbourhood level. This work that the people can carry out themselves is termed as internal development by the OPP and can be operated and maintained by community and area organisations.

Sewerage trunks and treatment plants cannot be built by the people, nor can long lengths of intermediate infrastructure. This has to be developed by the state. This infrastructure is termed by the OPP as external development and has to be operated and maintained by the state.

7. Conclusions Drawn From Helping Other Ngos To Replicate The Opp Experience

The replication of OPP’s Low Cost Sanitation Programme has been carried out by residents of 4 informal settlements in Karachi, and is currently being carried out in Lahore and Mansehra as well. From these programmes the OPP has drawn the following conclusions:

  • The OPP cannot go and work in other areas through its technical experts and social organisers without adversely affecting its work in Orangi. A system has to be created whereby people and activists of settlements which request for replication should come and get trained at the app in its methodology and procedures through association with Orangi activists, lane managers and technical staff. Orangi Township can serve as a demonstration area for this training.In 1987, the OPP converted its sanitation, housing and social forestry programmes into a Research and Training Institute (RTI) for the development of katchi abadis so as to put this concept into operation.
  • The OPP cannot solve the problems of the people itself. It can only give advice and training. This advice and training can only be accepted if there is an aware leadership in the settlement or there are activists and artisans from within the community who can promote and sustain these inputs. Traditional hereditary leadership is not effective since it is usually non-progressive in nature and represents a system that is fast collapsing. Similarly, voluntary social workers from outside the community are not a viable alternative to activists from within the community.
  • The Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) area councilor feels threatened if people organise themselves to carry out any infrastructure work. In addition, he is able to use official funds at his disposal for preventing people from organising. It is therefore essential to involve him in the replication process so that he does not feel threatened by it.
  • In dealing with low income communities, support organisations must keep a low profile if they want communities to invest in development and respond to their programmes.The image of an NGO as an affluent organisation is built up mainly by the nature of its office in the settlement; a number of foreign made, as opposed to a few locally made jeeps at its disposal; and the impression that a large number of foreigners who have brought a lot of money with them, are associated with the programme.
  • Subsidising development and managing it for the people so as to create a demonstration effect ends up by being a demonstration of subsidy and dependence, rather than of benefit.
  • Where local organisations are strong and representative, and artisanal and entrepreneual skills are present in the community, the Low Cost Sanitation Programme of the OPP can be replicated successfully and its methodology and technology transferred to the people.
  • There is a major potential for the private sector to develop affordable low cost sewerage systems for low income communities by using OPP technology. However, the questions of operation and maintenance, awareness raising and transfer of skills and vision to the community, are not addressed through a contractor’s programme.
  • The awareness generated by local communities in involving themselves in development activity asserts itself in undertaking new initiatives and brings about a more equitable relationship between it and other actors in the development drama, such as the local bodies and urban development authorities.
  • OPP’s direct costs in assisting a replication project through plan and estimate preparation, supervision, training and extension, is low enough to be afforded by low income settlements.

8. Conclusions Drawn From Involvement With International Agencies Sponsored Government Projects

8.1 Preamble

Since 1989 the OPP has been working with local and provincial government agencies on sanitation related programmes for low income settlements. Some of these programmes have been sponsored by international agencies. Three such programmes and the conclusions drawn from them are given below.

8.2 The UNICEF UBS Programme in Sukkur

a) Description

Sukkur is a small town in Sindh, about 450 kilometers from Karachi. It contains a large number of unserviced squatter settlements.

The UNICEF operates an Urban Basic Services (UBS) programme in low income settlements and katchi abadis in Pakistan. The programme consists of sanitation, health and home school components. The sanitation component is supposed to be carried out by the communities and is fully subsidised to begin with. Overtime the subsidy is reduced, and ultimately withdrawn.
In Sindh, the province to which Sukkur belongs, the programme has been in operation since 1988. It is operated through the local government, the Public Health Engineering Department (P1-lED) of the provincial government, and Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority (5KM). The director of the UBS programme is normally the commissioner of the division, or the highest revenue officer of the government that is stationed in the town where the programme is in operation.

The UNICEF wanted to adopt certain aspects of the OPP’s Low Cost Sanitation Programme for its Sukkur project. In this connection, between August and October 1990, the UBS staff, UNICEF officials and the Commissioner of Sukkur visited the OPP for orientation. Finally, the UBS and UNICEF officials accepted the OPP philosophy and methodology and agreed to replicate the OPP experience without modifications to it, and not partially as originally envisaged. An agreement was signed to this effect between the OPP and UNICEF in October 1990. In December 1990, UNICEF sent 3 Sukkur based engineers (one each from the Sukkur Municipal Corporation (SHC), PHED and 8KM), for training to the OPP as a first step to the replication programme.
The UNICEF was anxious that the OPP involve itself in the UBS programme for Larkana and Shikarpur, two other towns not far from Sukkur, as well. However, the OPP felt that first the model should be tried out in Sukkur and then replicated in the 2 other towns, with Sukkur serving as a training and demonstration area. UNICEF agreed to these terms.

The OPP was to be consultant to UNICEF. It was to shape the programme; provide technical inputs to it; train engineers, organisers and activists; and monitor and document the process. UNICEF would continue to operate the programme with government support and pay the OPP fees for its services.

b) Changes in UBS procedures and organisational systems

A number of changes were made in the UBS procedures and organisational systems as a result of UNICEF-OPP dialogues. The important changes are listed below.

  • The commissioner was not to be the director of the UBS programme for Sukkur as he could not possibly give time to it. It was decided that the Public Relations Officer (PRO) to the SMC was to be the project director.
  • A project office was to be set up in the project area and not at the municipal building as is usual with the IJBS programme. Its office timings would also be in the evenings after people come back from work. This was to enable people to contact the project easily and at their convenience. Such an office was set up in November 1991. The function of the office is to provide plans and estimates for internal development work to the lane managers, to motivate and organise the residents, and to hold discussions and answer questions as and when they arise. The office would be autonomous and would report to the OPP.
  • It was decided that social organisers would be appointed from within the community, whereas under the UBS programme social organisers were normally appointed from the local government bureaucracy. The OPP felt that government employees could not perform this function as they would not always be available to the community, and there would be problems of culture and language, and constraints on time. Two social organisers, were appointed in September 1991 and have been trained at the OPP-RTI. Their salaries are being paid by UNICEF through the OPP. If their salaries were to be paid directly by a government department they would not be able to resist the pressures government officials are normally subjected to, nor would they be able to act against the interest of superior government officials. Successful community work cannot be done when the people doing it cannot act independently. The social organisers were asked to keep a diary of their activities and provided with cameras to document the process of development.
  • It was agreed that 2 UBS social organisers would be required from the government’s side as well. They were to be recruited especially for the project. Their job would be to coordinate internal-external work, and be a liaison between the project office, SUC, 5KM, OPP and UNICEF. In addition, they would learn about internal mobilisation and development in the process, so that they could become trainers for future UBS projects of a similar nature. They would not control the work being carried out on internal development by the project office and the community. Two officers, one male and one female, have been deputed for this job recently. The female officer will also be responsible for helping to mobilise women for internal sanitation and for the UNICEF health programme for the 3 katchi abadis, which again has been modelled on the OPP programme in Orangi.
  • The OPE would visit the project once every two weeks, review the work and provide on-site guidance. With the provision of plans and estimates the project office would concentrate on lane level mobilisation.

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