by Ar. Yasmeen Lari
The devastation is unprecedented. 33 million people have been displaced which means over 5 million families consisting of women and children are shelter-less and vulnerable, soon with winter months to deal with.
The traditional ways particularly the International Colonial Charity model which relies on handouts and intermediaries have proven to be ineffective in the face of major disasters because of their limited outreach and treatment of affected people as supplicants and fostering dependency. I would like for it to be replaced by humanistic humanitarianism.
The enormity of the present 2022 Flood requires a paradigm shift in the structure of the culture of giving.
For many years now I have been working on developing and fine-tuning the philosophical basis of Barefoot Social Architecture, the tenets of which have been used extensively in the last few years in the projects implemented by the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan.
Barefoot Social Architecture (BASA) Tenets
BASA Culture of Giving:
To handle the enormous calamity, we need a paradigm shift from charity to empowerment, from dependence to self-reliance, from women being suppressed to placing them in the lead. I want knowledge sharing for and capacity building of communities and most of all women. I want to use technology and connectivity for direct communication. I want large-scale training and knowledge transfer to enable communities to take care of themselves.
No to handouts, no to charity!
No intermediaries. Don’t put money into a black hole.
Raise funds for long-term engagement with chosen communities.
Components of BASA Giving:
Following these principles, Heritage Foundation with several partners has begun implementing several methodologies to relate to different situations:
Utilization of funds available with Guardians for establishing a basic level for living on an incremental basis through participatory approaches and appropriate training,
After return to Previous Habitat:
Shelter-related livelihoods to be organized during the emergency shelter phase
Other livelihoods to be taken up after return should include the following for which training can be arranged:
What is Barefoot Knowledge Depository:
Low impact, low tech, locally sourced, locally fabricated products and procedures:
What is Climate Smart Training:
Floods of 2010
As in the rest of the country, the province of Sindh also suffered enormously through the Floods of 2010. Even before the affected communities were able to pick up the pieces, excessive rains in Lower Sindh produced a greater disaster than ever before.
Clearly, the enormity of the disaster in the aftermath of the 2011 floods requires innovative solutions for providing shelter to a vast majority at an accelerated pace.
The latest figures indicate that at least 0.8 million houses are either fully or partially damaged (PDM A Sindh/OCH A). When viewed in the context of the background of the 2010 floods, we know that last year only a fraction of the required housing units could be built due to various constraints. It is clear that conventional approaches are once again likely to prove inadequate in the face of a much greater calamity, where the devastation has spread over a vastly extended area with a much greater number of displaced households.
Clearly, it has become imperative to devise low cost alternative approaches to provide shelter options which would include maximum participation of affected households themselves. At the same time, in view of the danger of annual flooding, it has become increasingly important that DRR capabilities are built-in within the new struc- tures to enable the communities to survive within their original habitat during the course of floods. The strategies and approaches to deal with the present crisis must be worked out with a view to enable the affected households to restart their lives immediately after the waters begin to recede, with minimum dislocation, least loss of life and minimum loss of livestock.
In collaboration with DFID and IOM, in October 2011, Heritage Foundation undertook the task of creating a training and implementation framework for innovative architectural/engineering solutions for speedy rehabilitation/reconstruction of shelters, based on DRR cross cutting theme. These methodologies have been developed to enable affected communities, donors and IPOs in undertaking shelter rehabilitation and shelter reconstruction at an accelerated pace. The framework thus developed maximizes participation of households including women by utilizing their own skills and capabilities.
The strategy has been developed by Heritage Foundation CEO Ar. Yasmeen Lari, in the light of research on construction materials and techniques carried out in various districts of Sindh, as well as experience gained in working in post-disaster communities since 2005Earthquake in Northern Pakistan. The approach is based on provision of sustainable and low cost options derived from traditional techniques and participatory mechanisms that would lead to attain- ing immediate shelter by strengthening the capabilities and skills of communities themselves.
Awareness in DRR measures and sensitivities towards gender empowerment and conflict resolution measures will be built-in in the learning outcomes of the training programme.
Throughout the programme, a mechanism of quality control and certification will be put in place, for which Mobile Barefoot KaravanTeams (MBJT) will be trained for field work and monitoring, in coordination with Heritage control centre (HCC). HCC will develop training modules, technical guidance and information, as well as liaison with CSC, MBKT and Implementing Partners.
For smooth functioning of the project and transparent procedures, the disbursement of funds will be the responsibility of the Imple- menting Partners, and will be distinct from training, monitoring, evaluation and certification, which will be the responsibility of Heritage Foundation..
We are confident that based on improved vernacular construction techniques incorporating DRR methods developed by Heritage Foundation over the years, these sustainable and economical op- tions will provide the critical direction for communities to become strong, self reliant and resilient. The implementation procedures through a process of certification and several monitoring tiers will ensure that all shelters constructed using Heritage Foundation methodology will have strong walls and safe haven KaravanRoofs for safety during next floods. In addition to safety of life, other DRR methodologies being recommended by Heritage Foundation, will provide safety of rations, potable water, livestock and fodder. Such interventions, comprising raised earthen platforms, will also provide the much needed sports and cultural nodes, which we are confident, will lead to transformation in the lives of village communities.
In the past few days, following the disasters due to the heavy rains in the Sindh region, Heritage Foundation Pakistan reached out to some of the worst hit villages in Makli and Mirpurkhas (Pono Village), elaborating effective and economical approaches through vernacular methodologies. Calamities like this one prove us once again that climate change is not science fiction but destroys real people’s lives in the snap of a finger. The strategy has been developed by Heritage Foundation CEO Ar. Lari who has brought together a compact team of collaborators willing to give their contribution. Rainwater drainage process coordinated by Miss Lari’s team of experts has started to get executed with the support of the villagers. A low-cost approach has been studied and analyzed starting from the aquifer trench, which will serve to collect the stagnant rainwater that is 8/9 inches deep and spread over at various locations in the distressed area. All actions will include maximum participation of affected households themselves, strengthening their capabilities and skills. Targeted training modules are in fact offered for implementing partners, volunteers, artisans and communities. The strategy also includes the transfer of prefabricated bamboo shelters that will be directly sent to the villages and composed on-site by the community
In the past few days, following the disasters due to the heavy rains in the Sindh region, Heritage Foundation Pakistan reached out to some of the worst hit villages in Makli and Mirpurkhas (Pono Village), elaborating effective and economical approaches through vernacular methodologies. Calamities like this one prove us once again that climate change is not science fiction but destroys real people’s lives in the snap of a finger. The strategy has been developed by Heritage Foundation CEO Ar. Lari who has brought together a compact team of collaborators willing to give their contribution. Rainwater drainage process coordinated by Miss Lari’s team of experts has started to get executed with the support of the villagers. A low-cost approach has been studied and analyzed starting from the aquifer trench, which will serve to collect the stagnant rainwater that is 8/9 inches deep and spread over at various locations in the distressed area. All actions will include maximum participation of affected households themselves, strengthening their capabilities and skills. Targeted training modules are in fact offered for implementing partners, volunteers, artisans and communities. The strategy also includes the transfer of prefabricated bamboo shelters that will be directly sent to the villages and composed on-site by the community.
Pono Village is located in the district of Mirpurkhas (Sindh) which in the past week has witnessed incredible damage from the heavy rains. A solution to drain the water out of the village has been studied and examined by the Heritage Foundation Pakistan.
The solution that’s been brought up is to create an aquifer trench (4’-0’’x4’-0’’) that will act as a natural drain for the rainwater.
As drawn on the map, in red is shown the path that must be followed in order to dig the aquifer trench. The latter will follow the left side of the main road surrounding the right side of the village.The Project will be later on be developed into a more structured one, that will include the creation of a forest along the main road and a boundary wall positioned right next the aquifer trench.
In order to deal with the shelter emergency, Heritage Foundation Pakistan has provided the displaced families of the flood sticken village, Pono Village with the ‘Lari Octa Green’ shelters, a sustainable green construction. The structure can be fabricated and erected at a very rapid pace. It takes in fact only a couple of hours to build one bamboo shelter, making it extremely time saving considering the emergency at hand. Up till now 15 shelters have been made and more are under construction.
The first Women’s Assembly session was held on 16th Dec, 2014 at Village Mithu Khaskheli and Village Obrayo Durs, Tando Allahyar. The women were introduced to the concepts of the importance of education and the part it plays in the well being of their children.
Location: News Blog
A refresher training workshop was held in village MokShareef, for village master trainers.
Location: News Blog
On March 16th, a visit to HF projects in village Mohak Sharif and village Dost Mohammad Khokar in Tandi Allahyar was made by teams of DFID and IOM along with Mr. Mahmood Shah, landlord of Mohak Sharf. Mr. Naheem Shah, PM, HF conducted the teams to the two villages where they were shown the work so far completed including 49 shelters, 46 emergency shelters as well as a 24’x16’ Village Centre and a Women’s Centre.
As of March 12th, a 3-room primary school and a small health facility constructed in Village Darya Khan Shaikh, District Khairpur have been completed. Construction of a 1-room school has been started in Village Uthero. The work in Darya Khan Shaikh and Uthero has been undertaken with support from Swiss Pakistan Society.
As of March 1st, with the completion of 50 emergency shelters in village Dost Mohammad Khokar in District Tando Allahyar to date the following shelters/housing units have been completed:
|Village Darya Khan Shaikh & Village Uthero, District Khairpur (March to August 2011)||104|
|Village Mohak Sharif, District Tando Allahyar (from October to December 2011)||45|
|In 35 talukas/tehsils of Lower Sindh (October to November 2011)||69|
|Village Dost Mohammad Khokar, District Tando Allahyar (February 2012)||50|
|Total completed upto 1 March 2012||268|
As of January 15th, construction of the Village Centre completed (size 16’x24’), where a Masters’ Training Programme was conducted by Mr. Saad Khan and Mr. Naheem Shah. A circular ‘Chora’ room of 15’ diameter has also been completed dedicated to gathering of women.