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


6.1 Origins and Findings

When OPP-RTI became consultants to SKAA they realised that proper mapping of the existing infrastructure of the katchi abadis was necessary. Government agencies had not documented this infrastructure and even where they had communities could not access it, and where they could, they could not understand it. To overcome this problem a Youth Training Programme was initiated. It consists of training young persons from communities in surveying, documentation, estimation, on-site supervision and community mobilisation. So far, 42 persons have been trained and 16 are currently under training.

Through the programme 337 katchi abadis have been surveyed and mapped along with their physical and social infrastructure. Eighty-five of the 92 natural drains carrying 80 per cent of Karachi sewage have been documented along with their catchment areas. This documentation has shown that

  • 80 per cent of Karachi sewage consisting of not only katchi abadis but middle and elite settlements as well is planned to dispose into the natural drainage system.
  • To take this sewage to the ADB funded and ADB consultant designed trunk sewers and treatment plants is not possible without huge investments and without digging up almost all of Karachi roads. At present, the ADB funded trunks are dry for the most part and the treatment plants function no more than 20 per cent of their capacity.
  • In the katchi abadis people have invested Rs 180 million (US$ 6 million) and government has invested Rs 531 million (US$ 8.84 million) in sewage through ad-hoc projects. Similarly people have invested Rs 154.5 million (US$ 2.57 million) in water lines and government has invested Rs 195.7 million (US$ 3.26 million). This work has not been documented and is ignored completely when plans are developed by local government and foreign consultants.
  • Documentation also shows that in the surveyed katchi abadis there are only 12 government hospitals and clinics as opposed to 1,041 private clinics. Similarly, there are 773 private or community financed and managed schools as opposed to 143 government schools.
6.2 Spin-offs of the YTP

There has been a number of spin-offs of the YTP and the documentation that has been (and is being) developed. These spin-offs include:

  • An alternative sewage plan for Karachi: OPP-RTI has developed a sewage plan for Karachi which required no foreign loans except for treatment plants which are to be placed at the end of the natural drains which are to be turned into box trunks.
  • A change in the ADB funded sanitation programme for Orangi: By accepting the OPP-RTI methodology an ADB project costing Rs 1,300 million (US$ 21.6 million) was reduced to only Rs 38 million (US$ 0.6 million). The project was supervised by OPP-RTI trained lane activists.
  • An ADB funded project, Korangi Waste Management Project costing US$ 100 million was shelved and the loan cancelled when the OPP-RTI demonstrated that with OPP-RTI methodology and accepting people and councillor built infrastructure it could be done in US$ 25 million. The OPP-RTI trained community technicians documented the existing infrastructure, communities participated in lobbying against the project and OPP-RTI engineers prepared the alternatives.
  • The OPP-RTI has prepared UC planbooks for nazims of the UCs in Orangi. These planbooks document the existing social and physical infrastructure and its problems in each UC and also identify the missing infrastructure. UC nazims do not have such maps nor do they have staff with the expertise to prepare them. These planbooks were prepared as a result of surveys carried out by the YTP. These planbooks have also been made available to community organisations in the UCs. Karachi UCs other than those of Orangi Town have also applied for assistance in preparing similar planbooks and town nazims have requested for surveys of their major infrastructure and for low cost designs for their improvement and additions. The documentation, mapping and supervision for this entire activity is being carried out by persons trained by the YTP.
  • Two graduates of the YTP have been supported by the OPP-RTI in setting up the Technical Training Resource Centre (TTRC) in Orangi. The TTRC now trains young people in surveying, documentation, estimation, on-site supervision and community mobilisation. They have also become the technical consultants to the Orangi UCs. Homeless International has given them an endowment of Rs 1 million (US$ 16,500) which takes care of their salaries and expenses. In addition, the TTRC is getting a lot of surveying work from SKAA and from communities wishing to negotiate regularisation of their settlements with local authorities. Two more TTRCs are in the making.
  • In one of the UCs in Orangi water supply was a major problem because of leakages and missing valves. The documentation of the leakages and valves along with general conditions of the system by TTRC has led to its successful rectification. Other UCs are now asking for the same services.
  • The Town Municipal Administration (TMA) of the 18 Karachi towns are now in constant touch with the OPP-RTI and are using its maps, design and estimates to turn their natural drains into box culverts with their own resources. They realise that if properly designed and implemented they do not require IFI loans for this purpose.

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