Poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and economic regeneration are corner stones of AKPBS,P activities.The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P), established in 1980, is an independent executive body with the mandate to plan and implement infrastructure and technology related development initiatives to improve living conditions of the people. AKPBS,P is mandated to assist local communities within various provinces and regions, such as the Northern Areas of Pakistan, The Punjab, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Sindh in development program areas such as habitat risk reduction, energy efficient building and construction improvement, water supply and sanitation, and natural resources conservation.
AKPBS,P takes an integrated, community-based approach to sustainable development while its development programmes address not only the immediate needs of clean water, adequate sanitation and safe housing, but also, the overall impact that these initiatives have on the economic, social and environmental sustainability. Poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and economic regeneration are corner stones of AKPBS,P activities. Capable, proficient, vibrant and self-reliant community based organisations underpin all AKPBS,P’s developmental interventions.
AKPBS,P undertakes the delivery of services in collaboration with local and national development agencies, community-based organisations and donors to have an extended outreach. Two of the AKPBS,P’s development programmes: Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP)-providing an integrated approach of water and sanitation, and Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP)-providing life cycle approach to household energy efficiency, market development and entrepreneurship have been universally commended by local communities, public sector organisations and donors for having a visible impact on the lives of the community in terms of economic benefits, social improvement, and environmental rehabilitation. In both cases, technical and engineering solutions have been supported by social innovations and human resource development solutions.
AKPBS,P, at present, is actively engaged in the relief and reconstruction efforts of local communities following the catastrophic earthquake in Kashmir and NWFP province of Pakistan. Within the relief phase, AKPBS,P has provided temporary shelters, water supply, and sanitation facilities to affected communities and villages. A comprehensive reconstruction programme encompassing permanent seismic resistant housing, environmental health, community capacity building, and livelihood opportunities is planned to commence shortly.
AKPBS,P has been named as the 2005 winner of the US $1.0 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability by the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), for promoting sustainable social, economic and environmental development in the country through its efforts to improve the built environment and water and sanitation services.
The Water and Sanitation Extension
Approximately 80 to -85 percent of the population of Northern Areas of Pakistan and the Chitral in the NWFP province does not have access to potable water, whereas up to 60 percent of the population collects water from open channels, often requiring a walk of up to 3 km a trip several times a day. Women and children are mostly responsible to collect most of the household water and hence bear the most burden.
WASEP was initiated in 1997 with the aim of providing integrated water supply infrastructure services to local communities and to help prevent water related diseases though improved hygiene and sanitation practices. Development of community capacity in design and maintenance of these services is a key element of WASEP’s integrated approach. Communities also take the responsibility of the operation & maintenance of the scheme, as well as contribute to a fund for salaries of community scheme based operators, health monitors, and spare parts. WASEP provides engineering and construction services, non-local materials, skilled labor, training, and health and hygiene education during the scheme implementation. WASEP’s integrated intervention package includes:
Until June 2005, WASEP had successfully partnered with 130 rural communities of the Northern Areas and Chitral region in developing water supply and sanitation infrastructure services. WASEP has supplied potable water to 116,900 people, installed 9,200 latrines, and conducted 5,700 hygiene education sessions, generally with women and children in rural communities, and has trained about 50 public sector and other NGO staff in the design and operation of integrated water and sanitation services.
Some of the key achievements of WASEP after eight years of intervention through its integrated W&SS approach include:
The Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP)
Energy efficient products and Technologies as a means to conserve natural resources and improve livelihoods
The Northern Areas of Pakistan are located in a seismically unstable zone. The degradation of natural resources, especially the loss of foliage and vegetation cover, has been proceeding at an alarming rate, causing land degradation and soil destabilization which, in turn, has led to diminished economic prospects for residents and even the loss of life (due to mudslides and floods associated with deforestation). The main cause of this deforestation is use of wood in house construction and for fuel. An estimated 15 percent of all household income is spent on heating, cooking and house maintenance needs.
To find solutions to this problem, the Building and Construction Improvement programme (BACIP) was set up by the Aga Khan as a research and extension programme. It has introduced over 70 products and technologies in local communities. To date, over 15,000 energy efficient and living condition improvement products have been installed in various households.
When applied, such techniques and products can, on average:
Some of BACIP’s standard products include:
The BACIP programme activities have recently been accorded a Global Best
Practice status by the UNDP/ GEF Small Grants programme.
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