Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) as an NGO began work in Orangi town in 1980. Orangi situated in the periphery of Karachi is a cluster of 113 low income settlements* with a population of 1.5 million. On the success of its five basic programs of low cost sanitation, housing, health, education and credit for micro enterprise, in 1988 OPP was upgraded into three autonomous institutions.

In Pakistan, poor peoples housing (known as Katchi Abadis – the unofficial sector) are everywhere. In Karachi, a port city and commercial center of Pakistan, about 60 % of the total population of 23 million, live in these abadis. Here land is purchased from a middle man (the land supplier) who subdivides government and some private land and sells it to the poor, in the process, paying bribes of cash and choice plots to the government functionaries. Presently 72% of these abadies have been notified i.e. accepted by the government, while more then 50% of the houses have been provided land title- remaining are under process. This has been mainly due to the peoples consistent efforts.

Provision of a housing unit is not a problem. People build their houses incrementally, with building component manufacturing yards in the settlements providing building materials and components on credit. Initially the land supplier (who is a resourceful person having links with politicians, government departments and the private operators) arranges the supply of water through water tankers and transportation (i.e. bus routes). As the settlement expands and consolidates, need for water supply, sewage disposal, schools and clinics arises. For livelihood, people set up micro enterprises in their homes. People lobby with government for facilities but due to lack of or adhoc government response, they soon undertake self help initiatives.

In 1980 when OPP started work in Orangi, it observed peoples initiatives in provision of sewage disposal, water supply, schools and clinics, as well as the limitations of the response from the government. OPP decided to strengthen people’s initiatives with social and technical guidance.

It is demonstrated through the programs that at the neighborhood level people can finance, manage and maintain facilities like sewerage, water supply, schools, clinics, solid waste disposal and security. Government's role is to compliment people's work with larger facilities like trunk sewers and treatment plants, water mains and water, colleges/universities, hospitals, main solid waste disposals and land fill sites.

The component-sharing concept clearly shows that where government partners with the people, sustainable development can be managed through local resources.


    OPP-Research and Training Institute (OPP-RTI) manages the low cost sanitation, housing/secure housing support program, education program, the now evolving water supply and the women’s savings programs as well as the related research and training programs. Earthquake and the flood rehabilitation works are also undertaken.


    OPP-Orangi Charitable Trust (OPP-OCT) manages the micro enterprise credit program.


    OPP-Karachi Health and Social Development Association (OPP-KHASDA) manages the health program.

    Each institution has its separate board of directors and mobilizes its own funds. Development is self financed by the people. OPP institutions provide social and technical guidance and credit for micro enterprise. For replication OPP institutions strengthen the partner Non Government Organizations (NGOs)/ Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Government agencies (instead of setting up their own offices). *The settlements began as katchi abadies , between 1986 to 1992 most settlements were notified i.e officially accepted by the government.


    The approach is to encourage and strengthen community initiatives (with social, technical guidance and credit for micro enterprise) and evolve partnerships with the government for development based on local resource. The methodology is action research and extension. That is analyzing outstanding problems of the area, people’s initiatives, the bottlenecks in the initiatives, then through a process of action research and extension education evolving viable solutions promoting participatory action. In short developing low cost package of advice, guiding and facilitating community organizations for self help and partnership with the government.






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