Shelter Project

The dramatic increase in world’s population has been one of the main reasons for shelter problem. The most populous countries lie in Asia including China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Three of them lie in south Asian region; the consistent increasing population in these regions gave rise to an extreme poverty. Poverty is the main hurdle. Poor can’t construct shelter at first site and even if could construct a shelter, it would not be strong enough to prevent different natural disasters like flood, earth quake or any other. Pakistan has a same scenario; population is increasing day by day. The country is going through many fluctuations of era like war, poverty, natural disasters etc. Most of the poor section of the society is lacking the shelter facility, though it’s the very basic right of the citizen. According to the estimates the country needs an addition supply of 600,000 housing units per annum while the actual supply does not exceed 300,000 housing units. So there is a big gap between what is needed and what are being constructed and this gap is still increasing.

Asia being the biggest continent in the eastern part and whole of it accumulate 60% of the total world’s population and contain 40% of the world’s total resources while western countries accommodate 40% of the world population and contain 60% resources. This seems not fair, uneven distribution of resources against population have been a barrier regarding construction of shelters all around the globe.

Environmental factors have also a strong affiliation about the specific issue of shelters. Populations throughout South Asia face a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, cyclones, floods, landslides, droughts, and tsunamis. Demographic changes, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, and climate change have increased exposure to natural hazards, often resulting in more frequent and severe natural disasters and compounding the impact of civil conflicts and other complex emergencies. In addition, declining socio-economic conditions of some populations are increasing vulnerability to hazards in the region. And for that many international and national organization helped the homeless people to provide them shelters at their level best.

The situation of Pakistan (Rajanpur calamity)

Pakistan is one of the heavily populated and developing country. Most of the developing countries in the world face environmental problems besides political, socio-economical etc. Pakistan has been the victim of various  natural disaster since the time when it emerged in the world map. So these disaster affected the lives badly, mostly poor people. Pakistan experienced the worst floods in its history over the course of the Monsoons of 2010. The floods affected 7780 villages and 141 urban settlements in 84 districts out of a total of 121 districts in Pakistan and affected more than 18 million people. Updated figure shows that 805,694 houses were completely destroyed and many more damaged. Flood mostly affected the south Punjab regions, among those Rajanpur has been affected the most. RajanpurRajanpur is a district located in the southwest part of the Punjab and sandwiched between the Sulaiman ranges and Indus River. These two factors have been the main cause of flood during the monsoon season, hill torrent and Indus flood because of the heavy rain. Rajanpur is the most poor region in Pakistan, most of the population of the area lie below the poverty line. One family with a minimum size of 4-6 members can hardly afford to construct one room to live in, even they keep the animals inside in winters. The rooms have been constructed without any technical assistance just to fulfill the shelter requirement. Their base is not very good, they can been victim of any natural disaster very easily. This is the very pathetic situation one can imagine.

According to the Government of Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in district Rajanpur, 136 villages have been affected by the hill torrents / flash floods resulting into 5 deaths and damaging approximately 1700 mud houses. . People are being evacuated from twenty villages in three tehsils (Rojhan, Jampur and Rajanpur). In Rajanpur, a total of seven deaths have been reported, with approximately 15,000 families affected.

On 3rd August, 2010, a further damage occurred as passing more than 900,000 cusec water in Indus River along eastern side of district Rajanpur and adds more destruction of villages, Jampur city and Kot Mithan city.  By now, both of the hill-torrents/ drains and Indus water have wiped out the infrastructure and economy of 338 villages, as 10000 livestock parished, 5267 households damaged, eight casualties  reported and 222,720 persons are displaced. The current flood has also affected the yet-ripe crops on 5, 57,328 acre of land of the farming community, so devastating livelihood. The main cause of the destruction of most of the homes was that they were made up of clay, and their foundation was not that strong.

AHKMT ‘s role to resolve the shelter problem in Rajanpur

Rajanpur is an agricultural poor district of south Punjab, mostly people are labours and farmers who work in the fields of some feudal family. Flood affected the poor people in Rajanpur badly and wiped away their mud houses and they became homeless. In such a situation AHKMT persons got a chance to visit the area and got to know about the pathatic condition of people. So AHKMT decided to try their level bast to help the people of Rajanpur regarding shleter problem.

AHKMT is very much diverse and broaden in its vision, it then extended its contribution in national shelter program as well.  For that sake AHKMT proposed a shelter project to different donor agencies/organizations who were willing to donate funds for the purpose of the construction of the shelters for poor. In 2011 AHKMT did assessment in the Rajanpur district regarding the destruction of houses and need of shelters for flood affected people. After assessment of the situation AHKMT started the shelter project with the help of local orgnizaiton in Rajanpur District with the funding support of SELAVIP in 2012. The innovative strategy of AHKMT was to build shelters with the participation of the community. AHKMT gave technical assistance, providing shelter material and giving trainings to the flood affectees in Rajanpur (Punjab) to build one room (shelter) for a family with the help of Community based Organizations (CBOs).

AHKMT Methodology and Strategy plan

In 2012 AHKMT started the shelter project. The vision of AHKMT is that the communities have to devise strategy themselves for their development in any sector. So AHKMT select some local partners as community based organization (CBOs)  which are very well known in the community and they are ready to give their volunteer services. The training were given to the CBOs that how to mobilize the community and do the assessment surveys. The local CBO’s facilitate the community through the shelter material, technical assistance and training. Trainings were given to the flood beneficiaries that how to build the safe houses in the future. Technical advice provided on improved construction practices that should be hazard resistant.

The whole process of the project included the following steps:

  • Selection of CBOs
  • Need assessment of flood affected areas
  • Training Need Assessment Survey
  • Social Mobilization of Community
  • Access to adequate facilities among the affected population.
  • Address shelter priorities in target affected population, with special emphasis on the needs of women and children.
  • Construction Trainings
  • Brick Laying Training
  • Mud Masonry Training (Basics)
  • Plastering and pointing
  • Concreting Training
  • Carpentry training (basics)
  • Roofing Training

The office of AHKMT is in Rawalpindi Pakistan and quite far from Rajanpur district that’s why AHKMT selected three NGOs that are TIPU Foundation Pakistan, IDSP (Integrated Development Support Program) and Aman Development Organization for the community assistance. These NGOs have the expertise and are well known in the community.

The strategy plan was formulated for the project that:

CBO provide the shelters for particular area/village, such

area/village in Rajanpur:

Must be the area of the mentioned district

Must be enroll in the list of Government of Punjab

Shelter must not have been provided by any other private organization

The Government of Punjab have not included in the Model Village Planning

The affected people of such village/area have the interest in participatory approach

Secondly the feasibility report was prepared through the field visit of field engineers and social organizers. The report contained the following contents:

Village/area location and area coverage

Number of houses in the village/area

Number of houses 100% affected due to flood

Number of families affected with flood and unable to established their homes

On the basis of feasibility report, CBO management committee takes decision whether to provide the shelter or not. Field staff contains field engineer and social organizer who visited the targeted area and collect the following information:

Town, area, village or UC name

List of houses totally affected due to flood

Particulars of affected families e.g. monthly income, their children etc

Other facilities available in the village like schools, dispensary etc.

Transportation system e.g. roads, paved/unpaved streets etc.

Availability of boats and journey timing

Finally the final decision and commencement of the provision of the project have been done. It was again done through meetings of engineers and social organizers and they briefed them about the procedure. It included that the organization will provide one room for one family, the standard size of room is 15’ x 15’ on the inner side and somewhere its 12×10, room walls will construct by the family on the self help basis and the organization will not support to construct walls. The walls may construct with solid bricks, solid concrete, and blocks or with the help of mud in some cases. If possible the organization will provide doors and windows for the rooms.

After construction of walls the organization will provide room material containing, bamboo, polythene sheet and locker. The organization will provide no wages for construction of walls and alternate material will never provide for construction of roof. In this regard the field engineer provides the technical support to for construction of the rooms.  For example, construction of walls with solid bricks may not exceed on meter in a day. Likewise, construction of walls with mud brick may not exceed two feet in a day. After the construction of the walls the afectees have been provided with roof material, they were visited by field staff and the rooms were analyzed in every angle. And after the completion of the room the beneficiary shifted in the room then the staff fixes the registration number of the family. They make the picture of complete room inside and outside. Then a coordination was maintained between the organization and then town/village occupants.

As a result of this project 76 families have been provided with one room shelter successfully at the end of this project in 2012. One room shelter mean a lot for the flood afectees as they were all living in tents after the destructive flood. And the AKHMT got NOC from PDMA (Provincial disaster management Authority) Punjab for the project. There were total of 760 direct beneficiaries of this shelter project.

Flood came in 2011 as well and caused massive destruction, many people became homeless. In Rajanpur mostly people work on the land of feudal, they are poor and get very less income. their family size is already large and in this small amount of income they cannot afford a big house. They manage living in one room and even that is made up of mud and is not very resistant to natural disasters like earthquake or floods.

After the successful completion of shelter project in 2012 AHKMT decided to continue it further. This time AHKMT did some innovation in the project that the affected people will be provided the facility of toilets as well with one room shelter. The most prominent problem in the area  was observed that the residents of the area were lacking of toilet facility. As a results, habitants of the area are suffering with different diseases especially children and women. After the experience AHKMT proposed a project to facilitate 50 household to provide one room shelter with toilet facility and will provide 70 toilets facility to already facilitated household in 2012.  The community had the land of their own, AKHMT only provided the shelter material to the affectees. The community people had built one room shelter on self-help basis, AHKMT and CBOs only provided the technical assistant, materials and training. In 2013 AHKMT started working with ”Serve The Nation” (STN) and the main funding organization SALAVIP. With the assistance of AHKMT  STN implemented the project in the area, STN team visited the area and had meeting with local government officials and finalized the places where project is needed to be implemented. The areas selected were Gaddan wala (Semi Urban), Mauza, Allah abad Shrki no.1, Union council Allah Abad, Tehsil Jampur, District Rajanpur, South Punjab, Pakistan.

The program manager of the AHMMT visited the targeted areas to meet with the Project management committee and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with District Government, Community and STN. During the visit a meeting was with Assistant commissioner Jampur Mr. Abdul Rauf office which was already plan by local implementing Partner Organization Serve the Nation (STN). A meeting was also conducted with Khushali Bank Limited for the bank related issues. Then the STN management had meeting with assistance commissioner (AC) of the area and signed MOU. The STN was also responsible  about the planning, documentation, work progress and also verified the land ownership of the beneficiaries. The project oversee committee (POC) was also formulated , their role is monitor this project; Distribution of cheques according to installment plan will be distributed among the beneficiaries by POC members.

A ten day Disaster Risk Reduction and Technical training sessions was also organized for household heads and skilled labors. Unlike many training programs STN goes  into communities to find construction workers and teams who are rebuilding now and gives them basic knowledge and techniques in the sessions . The purpose of these sessions was to develop the basic technical awareness to the household heads for the supervision of construction work of shelter.  Household heads and  skilled labors were trained regarding their role in the construction of a model permanent shelter that what would be their responsibilities during and after the construction of the shelter and its maintenance in future if needed etc. They were made confident that how they can reduce the risk of any disaster especially flood by adopting necessary remedies. Convenient venues were arranged for the purpose and in which all the skilled labor, household heads, their family members and also non beneficiaries participated.

After the completion of another successful project AHKMT continued the project in 2014 as well. This time AHKMT proposed to SALAVAIP to construct 70 shelters and toilets in Rajanpur. The approach and working strategy is almost same for all of the three phases from 2012-2014 shelter program. For the sake of ease the work was divided into three parts.

In first part AHKMT conducted field visits and organized some meetings with govenment officials TMO Jampur, AC Jampur, DCO/DOC or AC Rajanpur. In these meeting AHKMT shared the project details in Jampur.  AHKMT team met with Assistant Commissioner Jampur and  in this meeting team shared the progress of previous year 2013 project and also the plan of 2014 expectations and results were discussed.

In second step AHKMT identified some more partner NGOs to work with that were “Strategy to Empower People” (STEP), ROSH Foundation, Jampur welfare society (JWS), Jinnah welfare society along with STN (Serve The Nation). It was decided that with the supervision of AHMKMT these partner NGOs will help the community to construct shelter.   STEP Foundation provided the shelter to 20 families, ROSH Foundation 20 families, STN (serve the Nation) 15 families and Jinnah welfare society 15families. This time community contributed labour charges themselves. Project Management Committee (PMC) also identified vendors for the provision of roofing materials and bricks. The project has been competed recently, a total of 70 shelters has been constructed in two phases 35  in each. The projected ended very recently by the mid of August 2014.

The overview of the whole shelter project by AHKMT with the help of local NGOs   results is given in the following table:

Project Years The number of shelters constructed by the local NGOs
Tipu foundation IDSP (Integrated Development Support Program) Aman development organization Step Foundation ROSH foundation STN (Serve The Nation) Total
2012 50 50 25 25 150
2013 50 50
2014 25 25 20 70
Total 270



There were many hurdles faced during the whole project, the first and foremost problem was that there is extreme this problem was mediated through the selection of low cost materials for supporting buildings poverty in the area. The fund was not sufficient for the construction of a concrete room. The roads are unpaved and it was very difficult to transport the construction material to the target areas. Washrooms were not available at all. Most of the family size was large, so that one room shelter was not enough for the family. There are flood risk people; they may face the flood in future again. There are large numbers of families who need shelter, but due to limited resources not all families were given shelter.

Conclusion and Analysis

The whole project of the “shelter program” has been proved to be very helpful for the flood affectees . Because the affected people belong to the poorest families, they hardly can afford their very basic necessities of life and shelter is the very basic necessity. And for them even constructing a room for their shelter is a big deal. Living in tent is the hardest part in such a harsh conditions especially for children and women of that area. Shelter of one room in that condition could be blessing for them. Some of the families are larger in size, so that one room is not enough for them to live in comfortably. For these entire affected families washroom facilities were never available, that is the alarming situation.  So to provide some assistance in constructing shelter and toilets are a very great contribution for the services of humanity in such a hard time. In all three phase of the project in Rajanpur, despite of the  different hurdles AHKMT, played a key role  to resolve the shelter issue for the poor section in that area.