The Sanitation Programme of the Orangi Pilot Project – Research and Training Institute, Karachi, Pakistan


4.1 The Internal-External Concept

The OPP-RTI divides sanitation into “internal” and “external” development. Internal development consists of

  • Sanitary latrines in the house
  • Underground sewer in the lane
  • Neighbourhood collector sewers

External development consists of

  • Trunk sewers
  • Treatment plants

The results in Orangi and in 284 other locations in Pakistan have demonstrated that communities can finance, manage and build internal development provided they are organised and are provided with technical support and managerial guidance. Local governments can support the process by building external development provided they accept the “internal-external” concept and train their staff in OPP-RTI methodology and in working with communities. The technical assistance of the OPP-RTI has consisted of provided communities with plans, estimates of labour and material, tools, training for carrying out the work and supervision of work. OPP-RTI’s research has developed new standards, techniques and tools of construction that are compatible with affordability of poor communities and are compatible with the concept of communities involvement in construction. It is important to note that the OPP-RTI does not touch the people’s money. They collect and use it themselves.

In Orangi 96,994 houses have built their neighbourhood sanitation systems by investing Rs 94.29 million (US$ 1.57 million). Local government for the same work would have invested Rs million (US$ 10.06 million). All sewage discharges into the natural drainage system as for over 80 per cent of Karachi. Infant mortality in areas that built their sanitation systems in 1983 has fallen from 128 to 37 in 1993. OPP-RTI investment versus people’s investment is 1:18.2.

4.2 The Process

The process has consisted of mobilising communities. Meeting were held in the lanes and people were told that if they form a lane organisation and elect, select or nominate a lane manager then they could apply to the OPP-RTI for assistance. Once a lane applied for assistance, the OPP-RTI sent its team to survey the lane and a map and estimates for its development were prepared and handed over to the lane manager or the lane team. They then collected the money from the residents and organised the work with OPP-RTI supervision and managerial guidance. Initially, only those lanes could participate which were near a natural drainage channel into which they would discharge. Later, lanes that were far away from the drainage system began to apply. For them to dispose into the natural drains collector sewers were required. This led to the creation of a confederation of lanes that financed and built the collector sewers. In certain wards where the confederation of lanes was strong, the elected ward councillors funded this effort. Maps of the ward, identifying where the collector sewers were required and their costs in terms of labour and materials were prepared by the OPP-RTI and handed over to the lane organisations and the elected councillors.

It was clear to the OPP-RTI from the very beginning that the natural drains into which the sewage was being disposed could eventually be converted into box trunks with treatment plants where they meet the natural water bodies.


5.1 Through Local Government

The OPP-RTI sanitation programme has been scaled up by

  • Local government building external sanitation in Orangi: The OPP-RTI supported community sanitation disposes into the natural drainage system of Orangi. Local government is now converting these natural drains into box trunks designed by the OPP-RTI and supervised by community activists trained at the OPP-RTI.
  • Government agencies and departments adopting the OPP-RTI concept and methodology with the OPP-RTI as consultant and trainer: The Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority (SKAA) was the first to adopt the OPP-RTI concept of internal and external sanitation. SKAA is a provincial government organisation empowered to develop and regularise katchi abadis. By adopting the OPP-RTI methodology, communities got organised and contributed to development as a result of which a more equitable relationship was established between them and SKAA. Previously, SKAA functioned entirely on IFI funding but it is now solvent and requires no external finances. OPP-RTI was SKAA’s consultant and was responsible for training its staff in community mobilisation and in making the “internal-external” concept workable.
5.2 Through NGOs and CBOs

The scaling up of the programme through NGOs and CBOs has led to the creation of partnerships between them and local governments. The OPP-RTI strategy for supporting NGOs and CBOs wishing to replicate its programme evolved overtime and after many failures. The strategy consists of:

  • CBO/NGO or community activists contact the OPP-RTI for support
  • OPP-RTI invites them for orientation to the OPP-RTI office in Karachi or directs them to one of its partners
  • After orientation CBO/activists convince their community to adopt the programme
  • They create a team of a social organiser and a technical person who are trained at the OPP-RTI and/or on-site in their settlements through visits by the OPP-RTI staff
  • The training is in surveying, mapping, estimating, construction supervision, documentation and accounts
  • Training does not have a specific period. It continues throughout the life of the project
  • OPP-RTI arranges financial support for the team and related expenses through WaterAid or through its own funds. Initially, this support is about Rs 200,000 (US$ 3,500) per year
  • Invariably the CBO-NGO comes into contact with local government departments as its work expands
  • When that happens local government representatives are invited to the OPP-RTI for orientation
  • If they are convinced they send their staff for training
  • Neighbourhood settlements contact the CBO-NGO for replicating the programme when they see conditions change in their neighbouring settlements

46,821 houses outside of Orangi in 11 Pakistan towns at 284 locations have built their internal sanitation at a cost of Rs 88.15 million (US$ 1.46 million). The replication projects have been able to mobilise Rs 146 million (US$ 2.43 million) from local government funds for building “external” development and sewage disposal systems not only for their settlement but for large areas of the town and/or city. In two replication projects water supply systems have also been laid on an “internal-external” basis. In three small towns the replication project has become consultant to the government for water supply, sanitation and road paving projects all being built on the “internal-external” concept. The OPP-RTI partner CBOs and NGOs have learnt how to make maps (some use computers for the purpose and some also use satellite images and GIS) and develop extension literature. Their activists are constantly negotiating with local, provincial and federal government representatives and agencies.

A Community Development Network (CDN) has been established linking up all the partner organisations who meet every quarter as a different replication project and present and discuss developments that have taken place in their programmes. Local government officials of the area are also invited to the CDN meetings and site visits are arranged. Some partners are stronger in community participation and others in technical matters. They contact each other directly for support and often plan joint negotiations with government agencies.

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