WaterAid has funded work in Pakistan since 1993, when work began to help remote, rural communities in the North West Frontier Province gain access to clean water and sanitation. In 1996 the focus shifted to address the urgent need for sanitation in urban slums.
WaterAid currently works in collaboration with ten local organizations in Pakistan to provide sanitation facilities to those living in the sprawling, unplanned slums surrounding the country's major urban centers - Karachi, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Uch, Lodhran, Multan and Mingora.
In these areas, open sewers filled with human waste and garbage wind their way through the crowded narrow lanes and passageways. Children play alongside pools of stagnant, putrid water. The result is prolific malaria and diarrheal diseases, that are indiscriminate and silent killers.
WaterAid's achievements to date
- A key partner of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) in Karachi - a highly successful community-led urban program that has enabled one million people to safely dispose of their sewage
- Successfully campaigned to encourage the Government to alter its policy on water and sanitation, putting much greater emphasis on decentralizing its administration and encouraging community participation and education
Children playing near sewage in Azamabad, Pakistan.
Credit: WaterAid / Martin Punaks
The first urban program WaterAid supported was the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) in Karachi. This is an innovative community-led engineering project that empowers communities at street level to finance, construct and manage their own underground sewerage systems.
The role of OPP is to facilitate dialogue between the city authorities and the communities as well as to provide training and technical guidance to the authorities and community members.
The new sewers have revolutionized life for the community, who previously had to contend with murky, stinking open sewers crisscrossing the settlement.
Using the lessons and experience developed with OPP, WaterAid expanded its work to five other major cities. Unlike many other WaterAid projects, we do not directly fund developmental projects or provide tools and equipment, but instead focus on empowering the slum communities to finance and manage the sewers themselves.
Our work in Pakistan is one of WaterAid's key urban projects. The OPP has provided a wealth of invaluable experience and proved to be so successful it has been adopted by communities across many other developing countries throughout Asia and Africa.
In May 2006 WaterAid consolidated its presence in Pakistan with the opening of a long awaited country office. We are now planning to continue working with our urban partners but also to expand again into rural areas and play a leading role in influencing decisions over the country's water and sanitation policies.
Download WaterAid's Pakistan information sheet (PDF1.9MB)
Lessons from the OPP are documented in WaterAid's report From the lane to city ( PDF File 627K).
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