Physical Infrastructure and Technology Development
Since 1995 GBTI has worked with members of Community Organisations, and more recently with Village Organisations and Local Support Organisations, in planning and constructing small scale engineering projects, known as Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI) projects. These are typically one of four kinds: drinking water supply schemes, irrigation initiatives, communications (primarily roads) and sewerage and drainage projects. So far we have implemented 799 development projects all of them community-based.
GBTI Engineers and local community members work together to identify, plan, execute and monitor physical infrastructure schemes. This process enhances the abilities of village residents to identify and plan projects and make the best uses of local resources. It also minimises environmental impacts and ensures sustainability. Every scheme must benefit a wide range of recipients, be cost-effective and sustainable and have no adverse environmental impacts. Social Mobililisation is the key to ensuring that the schemes are community-owned.
Our Engineers and Social Organisers utilise transparent accounting systems during the execution of the schemes. This ensures that everyone involved, including the CO members who have contributed money and/or labour, knows the exact status of spending and progress. We try to ensure that women have a say in identifying projects. In several ways we encourage people to develop a sense of ownership for the projects in their villages: this ensures that the implemented schemes are not neglected and that they retain their usefulness for as long as possible.
Our Engineers conduct a social feasibility assessment that indicates factors such as the CO’s ability to prevent or resolve conflicts which might arise. The Engineers and CO members then prepare cost estimates according to the market rates of labour and materials. The Engineers prepare a portfolio of all the schemes identified as priority community projects. The GBTI management takes responsibility for creating linkages or mobilizing resources for the community to implement these projects. When GBTI is able to mobilize the necessary financial resources – or to create linkages with the concerned government and/or private developmental organizations – a second round of dialogue is carried out with the COs to see if the schemes are still priorities. The CO is then informed in its meetings whether the scheme merits financial assistance. If it does, the CO is informed about the source, type and conditions of financial and technical assistance. The amount of contribution and commitment from donors and the COs are equally important and are therefore carefully discussed during the meetings.
Whatever their nature, these CPIs add tremendously to the physical quality of life in a village by enhancing productivity, improving livelihoods, protecting people’s health and restoring essential services.
To ensure community ownership, the members of COs are required to contribute money, materials or labour, usually to an equivalent of 20% of the total cost, to a CPI project. They are also required to form an Operations and Maintenance Committee, which functions in the long term to protect the physical and social viability of the infrastructure. In some cases, the communities opt to fund schemes from their own savings, supplemented by credit from GBTI. In projects implemented with PPAF support, the residents are required to raise 20% of the cost (which may be in cash, materials or labour) and PPAF provides 80%. In order to ensure that the poorest community members can benefit from a CPI, they usually contribute labour. In disaster response physical infrastructure restoration our usual practice is to waive the requirement for contributions from the disaster-ridden communities, although many people provide labour in order to contribute and to speed the reconstruction process. Since the year 2002 GBTI has been an implementing partner of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) which has contributed to funding CPIs.
Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation (DPM)
In case of natural disaster GBTI always acts promptly to respond to the needs of the affected people in its programme area. GBTI has vast experience in resettlement of GBHP affected people. GBTI not only organized Village Disaster Management Committees (VDMCs) but also trained them under the “Community Based Disaster Risk & Mitigation (CBDRM)” Programme. Under the Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation (DPM) component there are two main categories, one is the physical infrastructure work to mitigate or reduce the effects of disaster and second major activity comprised of raising awareness and training of the community that how to tackle, mitigate and rehabilitate in case of any disasters. CBDRM a collective term encompassing all aspects of planning for preparing and responding to disasters. It refers to the management of the consequences of disasters. The focus is on reducing the impact of the disaster. The systematic approach and practice of managing disaster risk minimizing potential harm and loss. A broad range of activities designed to:
- Prevent the loss of lives.
- Minimize human suffering.
- Inform the public and authorities of risk.
- Minimize property damage and economic loss.
- Speed up the recovery process.
We have implemented 46 rehabilitation projects benefiting about 4,849 households in GBTI program area.