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

Where a disposal point is not available or is problematic, as in the case of a pond that is liable to flooding, a new disposal point has to be developed. For this plans and estimates have to be prepared and implemented by the urban development authorities and/or local bodies. Finances for these efforts have to be raised. A lot of innovation may be required to make this possible. It has been discovered that government professionals are quite capable of this innovation once they are given directions and get into “the spirit” of this form of development. It has been further discovered that there are various sources of finance available with certain government agencies, but poor coordination between government departments, and a lack of knowledge about each others’ activities, often lead to the non-utilisation of such funds.

External development costs can be reduced to one-fifth of standard government costs simply by reworking sewer directions and by creating smaller drainage units and discovering more appropriate disposal points. In addition, there is a major difference in perception and approach to sewer design between agencies who are responsible for maintenance and operation of sewers and those who are responsible for design and development. The maintenance agencies prefer to do away with all pumping provisions, even if it means relatively inefficient sewers. They feel that it is easier, simpler and cheaper to look after such sewers than to look after and maintain pumping stations. Development agencies invariably have their way as no dialogue between them and the maintenance agencies takes place in the design stage. In addition, the development agencies represent the powerful provincial bureaucracy and the maintenance agencies represent weak local governments.

9.4 Internal Development

Internal development can be undertaken by the communities. However, for this they need to be motivated, organised and trained. Government agencies cannot fulfill this function. NGOs, such as the OPP, on the other hand, can. To overcome the constraints of time, manpower and distance from the field, the following process needs to be adopted.

  • The NGO should undertake surveys of the settlements, identify disposal points, and where they do not exist, develop programmes for external development and lobby with the relevant authorities to get them implemented. In addition, the NGO should prepare plans and estimates for internal development.
  • Training and orientation of local activists, settlement technicians and local councilors should be undertaken at the NGOs training centre and its demonstration area.
  • An office should be set up in the settlement. It should be austere and its physical and social character should be as close as possible to that of the settlement.
  • Social organisers should be appointed from the trained activists and they should be the paid employees of the project and should report to the NGO. For this arrangement to function properly, the NGO should be responsible for paying their salary.
  • Initially NGO staff should motivate and organise residents with assistance from the social organisers. However, this function should be handed over to the social organisers once they have been trained. It has been noticed that social organisers pick up this function very quickly.
  • The NGO should monitor the replication/development through regular site visits and should train the social organisers to do so as well. This training becomes possible if the social organisers are asked to keep a diary of their daily experiences, which can be discussed at meetings of the project staff during the NGO visits to the project. In addition, the social organisers should be supplied with cameras and slide projectors and should be taught as to when and for what purpose to use them.
  • Where the local organisations do not have the support and trust of the vast majority of the residents, work should proceed lane wise and as such the emphasis should be on the creation of lane organisations. These organisations can subsequently come together to take up the issue of secondary drains. The OPP has found that beginning with the neighbourhood or settlement level issues, results in leadership conflicts, accusations of dishonesty, and a clash of interests.
  • The NGO should aim at creating a new NGO and a demonstration area in the settlement, and in equipping the new NGO with the necessary knowledge and understanding to carry out similar work in other areas. In this way the concept of a self financed and self managed sanitation system can expand and become a national movement.

9.5 The Role of Government

If the government accepts the concept promoted by the OPP, it should:

  • Provide funds to NGOs for setting up and operating an office in the replication settlements, paying the salaries of social organisers and technicians and paying professional charges and direct costs to the NGOs that are providing training and support.
  • Appoint and fund the training of officers to coordinate government funded external works with NGO supported internal works, and provide funds and expertise for external development.

9.6 Government Functionaries and the Role of Dialogues and Training

It has been noticed by the app that middle level government officials do not accept new approaches by being ordered by their superiors to do so. Nor do they accept them by being formally lectured to. If they do not accept them, then they subvert them. To convince middle level government functionaries is very important if a change in approach and style has to take place. This can only be done through dialogues, discussions and an exchange of views backed by facts and figures. This is a special form of training and orientation which takes place through association of the trainees with people of a similar social and cultural background to themselves.

9.7 Government Programmes and Regulations

During its dealings with government agencies the OPP has discovered that there is a lot of flexibility in government rules and procedures and that government officials have a lot of discretion in their application. If government officials are willing to use this discretion, procedures can be simplified, rules relaxed, and as a result development costs reduced by over 50 percent of normal government development cost. NGOs need to he informed about these possibilities and should lobby with government agencies to adopt more rational interpretations of rules and application of procedures.

9.8 Problems Related to Leasing and Development Costs

In most of the OPP replication projects, people and area councilors have invested a considerable amount of money in developing infrastructure, mainly water supply, electricity and road paving. However, lease and development charges, under the KAIRP do not take this investment into consideration and apply a flat lease and development charge. The OPP, through its dialogues with communities, has come to believe that the lease process can be speeded up if the lease and development charge is broken up into land, water, electricity, sewerage, road paving and gas components, and that communities only pay for what they have not already acquired. This means that a survey of existing facilities in every neighbourhood will need to be undertaken. In addition, leasing procedures need to be simplified and made a one window affair.

9.9 The Role of International Agencies and Their Consultants

International agencies provide loans for development and appoint their own consultants for planning projects and monitoring them and the use of the loan. In this connection, the OPP has made a number of observations. Some of these are given below.

  • Loans for development purposes are required by the government of Pakistan from international agencies, only because the state delivers infrastructure whose actual cost in terms of labour and materials is worth Re 1 at Rs 7. These high costs are because of excessive overheads and institutional costs of government agencies, profiteering by contractors that is sometimes promoted informally by government officials, and complex and complicated procedures and conditions of tendering and contract management. Project costs can more than double if an international loan is taken due to payments to foreign consultants, the imposition of higher standards and even more complex procedures of tendering and monitoring.
  • International agencies and their consultants establish a high profile for their projects which alienates low income communities from the development process.
  • The number of consultants employed is usually unnecessarily high and most of them carry out studies and surveys that have already been carried out before.
  • International agencies are also interested, and spend a lot of time, on issues that the OPP considers irrelevant to the upgrading process, such as land tenure, social and ethnic data, and relating local development to esoteric master plans that will probably not be implemented for the next two or more decades, and will by that time become irrelevant.This OPP view has evolved as a result of working fairly successfully in non-regularised settlements and with no socioeconomic data available for them. House owners and tenants have participated equally in app programmes. The only major difference between communities that the app has encountered is between those that have an upward social mobility and those that are stagnating. The former usually attempt to create non-ethnic neighbourhood organisations while the later have traditional caste organisations that are increasingly becoming irrelevant to their needs in the changing socio-economic environment of Pakistan. These two different types of communities require different approaches for mobilisation and organisation. No surveys of any nature are required to identify the category to which a community belongs. Observation is sufficient. Maybe with more experience the OPP may change its opinion.

    There are certain processes taking place in katchi abadis. Water, electricity and gas are being acquired without tenure being an issue. Councilors’ funds for development are also available to non-regularised settlements and are being used for open drains and road paving. This “upgrading” activity is, more often than not, being carried out in complete disregard of government master plans and established procedures. It is obvious from the situation on the ground that waiting for the lease issue to be resolved will simply mean that there will be no “formal” upgrading for the foreseeable future. The OPP feels that current trends, directions and practices should be regulated and supported without waiting for legal niceities to be completed. As regards funds for supporting this activity and providing external development, the OPP has calculated that the subsidies in the upgrading process can deliver a major part of the external development. For this to happen, design approaches and implementation procedures will have to be changed and made more rational and compatible with Pakistan’s resource base.

  • Monitoring arrangements are an important function of international agencies. However, the OPP has noticed that these arrangements promote suspicion and hostility between the various actors in the development drama, and can easily be exploited by community leaders and activists.
  • Like their Pakistani counterparts, representatives of international agencies and consultants, have almost no understanding of the political, social and economic processes in low income settlements and as such cannot plan for them realistically. They confuse political, social and economic conditions, which they establish through an analysis of faulty data, with processes. In addition, at best they have a patronising attitude to the residents of the settlements they work in.
  • Most professionals who work on upgrading projects are trained conventionally and are not used to working with people. In addition, they are not concerned with reducing costs and many of their proposals are unnecessarily high tech. In designing systems very little attention is paid to the limitations of available skills and to subsequent problems of operation and management.
  • International agencies have not yet learnt to establish processes and procedures whereby people can be partners in development with government. They see the role of communities as merely a supporting one to government initiatives, and in this process they not only fail to mobilise the enormous technical and managerial skills that the informal sector and low income communities possess, but actually alienate them from the development process.
  • International agencies have a low opinion of government functionaries and feel that they can only respond to “perks and benefits”. This attitude, in addition to promoting corruption, makes a mockery of the whole planning and development exercise, and more so of attempts at institutional restructuring and reform.
  • The institutional reforms being promoted by the international agencies in Pakistan are aimed at delivering the type of development they are promoting better. However, these reforms completely ignore the general social and economic trends in society. The OPP feels that reform can only work if it seeks to regulate, support and institutionalise these trends and directions and relate them to Pakistan’s larger political reality.

10. Professional Charges

Professional charges paid to international consultants and their Pakistani counterparts are extremely high by Pakistani standards. Once these charges are known, cynicism and resentment is created all round and this in turn erodes the authority of the professionals. It is for this reason that the OPPs professional charges and direct costs have been kept at less than 10 percent of what is normally charged by professionals working for internationally funded projects. The OPP feels that its low profile, modest salaries and charges, and austere image are the reasons why its staff and its programme are easily accepted by low income communities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

site design by iMedia
Mobile Menu
Responsive Menu Image Responsive Menu Clicked Image