Achieving Lari-Levels of Resilience for Self-Reliant Communities

Community resilience through women-centered approaches for early warning systems, relevant knowledge, information and training, integrated approaches targeting the Millennium Development Goals, zero-carbon DRR- compliant self built structures, alternative livelihoods etc.

Case Study

Achieving Lari-Levels of Resilience for Self-Reliant Communities

HFA Priority

HFA Priority 2: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning.

HFA Priority 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.

HFA Priority 5: Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.


Pakistan is among the most hazard prone countries. Sindh has suffered flooding on an annual basis since 2010. Affected populations suffer from core poverty, ill health and illiteracy, and are highly vulnerable due to repeated disasters. Lack of transparency and poor governance has left rural communities helpless needing strength to deal with hazards themselves.


Sindh Province, Pakistan.

How was the problem addressed?

Rural women have by and large been ignored in the past.   However, under the strategy developed by the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan (HF) women have been trained to spearhead community disaster risk management programmes using a holistic model in order to become self-reliant.

Heritage Foundation of Pakistan works closely with local communities, especially women, to develop and promote integrated approaches to deal with disasters. It provides training to implementing partners, communities and artisans.

Major Partners

IOM (International Organization for Migration) scales up construction of safe, zero carbon footprint shelters. It also helps to provide training in DRR-driven green skills.

An award from the Islamic Development Bank Laureate in 2013 has enabled start up funding for alternative livelihoods for women.

An Emirates Award has enabled implementation of integrated approaches – video link:;

A Transparency International Award in 2013 has helped implement the pilot for turning dysfunctional government schools into functional entities, which will enable all children to be in school.

The main challenges in rural areas are core poverty and alarming deficits in social infrastructure. High levels of poverty along with high illiteracy levels, high rate of maternal and child mortality, open defecation, lack of hygiene, and a consequent apathetic state.

Most international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) have spawned a culture of dependency by giving largesse and donations without teaching communities “to fish” themselves. This approach is traced to the post-Pakistan Earthquake 2005 development by the Government and donor agencies. It relied largely on the construction of industrialized systems and engineered structures using highly energy consumptive materials that have been detrimental to post-disaster development, which seeks to minimize carbon emissions. It has resulted in loss of pride and self esteem, dependency on donor funding and loss of initiative among affected communities.

In the work by HF, this ‘beggar bowl’ syndrome is being countered with strategies that foster pride and self-reliance. Women centered community based disaster risk management is the plank which is promoted to make communities understand the issues of core poverty and other deficits with which they are confronted. The trainings promote the development of DRR-driven zero carbon footprints, low-cost/no-cost green products which are designed to provide resilience and the ability to withstand disasters, that can be achieved by families themselves, without relying on external funding.


The lessons of HF’s work are that if disaster preparedness strategies are women-centred, great strides can be made in developing integrated approaches to enable communities to rise above dependency and become self-reliant.

What could have been done differently and why?

The strategies so far adopted by UN/INGOs require careful analysis.

a.     Are shelter programmes contributing to higher levels of carbon emissions (due to promotion of burnt brick, concrete block or steel)?

b.     Do aid and humanitarian agencies analyze the environmental and social impact on communities due to introduction of alien forms and methodologies?

c.      Due to adoption of engineered structures, does the aid project, which usually costs hundreds of millions of dollars, regenerate local economy or help local enterprise?

d.     Are integrated solutions being followed? By each agency just targeting one sector, can community resilience be developed to withstand disasters?

e.     Is there any focus on women while developing disaster preparedness strategies?

f.      Are there attempts to develop local women role models in order to provide confidence and pride to local communities?

g.     How much attention is given to the intangible factors e.g. pride, importance of local traditions, encouragement of local artistic expression etc.?


The HF holistic approach has resulted in the following: 

a.     Build Back Safer with Vernacular Methodologies: Use of non-engineered structures based on local resources and sustainable materials by improving the households’ technical capability to build/produce DRR-compliant shelters and other green products.

b.     Training in Green Skills: Production of DRR-compliant products e.g. eco-toilets, fuel efficient smokeless stoves; compost making from animal and human waste; herbal soap; rainwater harvesting; green roofs (growing vegetables on roofs); wetlands from waste dumps; tree plantation and vegetation; raised bed farming, platforms for storage of food; safe drinking water; livestock and livestock fodder; methods for treating water before use along with other hygiene, health and literacy objectives. 

c.      Barefoot Village Entrepreneurs: Trained by HF, these are mostly women in partnership with their male partners. They market and promote DRR-compliant products within their own village as well as in neighbouring villages.

d.     Women’s DRR Committees: These committees have been provided training in well-equipped DRR centres, where they hold periodic assemblies to provide information on various aspects of early warning, mobilization of community and school volunteers, and preparation prior to disasters. 

e.     Maa (Mothers’) Committees

These committees are responsible for ensuring that government schools are functioning by ensuring that all school going children are in school. They have been provided with cell phones so they can report absent teachers to Transparency International or HF.

f.      Women’s Assemblies and Festivals

These are held to encourage women’s participation in disaster risk management as well as to honour local role models.

(Video link for Maa Jo Melo – Mother’s Festival:

Measuring success

a.     40,000 zero carbon footprint sustainable shelters built with earth, lime and bamboos (2011 to 2014), many of which have withstood floods in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

b.     Over 600 NGO personnel, professional architects, engineers and artisans provided training in the construction of sustainable safe shelters.

c.      1,700 village communities provided training in construction of sustainable safe shelters.

d.     10 DRR centres completed in as many villages with a population of 15,000.

e.     Green skill trainings provided to over 500 women and 50 men.

f.      Over 450 DRR compliant eco toilets with arrangements for roof gardens built by BVEs to prevent open defecation.

g.     Over 550 DRR-compliant fuel-efficient stoves built by BVEs.

Was the success/impact measured

Review carried out by IOM for shelter and ILO for green skills training.

Is so, what indicators were used to measure?

The evaluation report for one-room shelters commissioned by IOM from Shelter Cluster, Geneva, is due in mid-December 2014. 

Relevance to HFA

How have the results contributed to HFA progress in the country?

The HF programme has provided an understanding about the necessity of employing improved vernacular non-engineered structures both for flood- and seismic-resistant structures, thus providing safe self built shelters at a very low cost. Since 2011 funding  from the Department for International Development (DFID) emphasizes the need for use of lime. Also, a more integrated model is now being pursued by DFID-IOM e.g. by integrating HF’s fuel-efficient stoves. In some cases toilets are being constructed as part of shelter programmes. 

Did HFA OR Making Cities Resilient Campaign play a role in enabling this initiative?

HF strategies have been drawn from HFA and emphasize the need for DRR compliance at all aspects of development.

If yes, how / If no, what needs to be done in HFA2 to enable such initiatives?

Almost everybody is now working according to the guidelines provided by HFA. There is still need, however, to strengthen participative approaches, sustainability of materials, lower carbon emissions, improve the technical competence of communities so that safety can be built in all self-built structures, develop self respect and pride to encourage self help actions, and lower the cost of all actions to increase the outreach for concepts such as those promoted by HF.

Potential for replication

Can this initiative be replicated or has it already been replicated? If so, where?

HF’s model has not been replicated in other countries. It needs to be taken forward since it is designed for marginalized communities, which is the case in least developed countries (LDCs).

Provide a brief explanation on: how, and if there is no potential for replication.

There is huge potential for replication as communities can themselves become empowered to undertake various DRR activities themselves. HF Pakistan has developed facilities for large-scale training. It has three major training centers: for seismic resistant structures in HF Base Camp, Mansehra, North Pakistan; for Flood-resistant structures in HF’s Eco-village, Moak Sharif, Lower Sindh and HF’s DRR Theme Park, Kot Diji, Upper Sindh.

A large number of trainings are being conducted where models of various products, built with sustainable materials are available. HF’s DRR centres in various villages allow training in disaster preparedness as well as in green skills, thus providing communities, particularly women, with necessary tools to avoid displacement.

Since the methodology has been recognized (HF’s model is now among the finalists for World Habitat Awards 2015), it is hoped that international humanitarian networks will become aware of alternative methods of implementation.

Contribution by

Provide contact information of the key person(s) for this example of practice including yours:

Heritage Foundation of Pakistan (HF)

Ar. Yasmeen Lari

Ar. Mariyam Nizam

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Ms. Ammarah Mubarak

Mr. Hasballah

International Labour Organization

Ms. Shama Maqbool

Mr. Alaf Shaikh

Integration of MISP into the disaster risk reduction and preparedness action plans of provincial/district disaster management authorities

The International Planned Parenthood Federation / SPRINT project is advocacy for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and inclusion of Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) into the national disaster risk reduction and management policies and programmes of government.

Case Study

Integration of [1] MISP into the disaster risk reduction and preparedness action plans of provincial/district disaster management authorities.

HFA Priority

Priority 1: Ensure that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation.

Priority 5: Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.


The [2] IPPF [3] SPRINT project is advocacy for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and inclusion of Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) into the national disaster risk reduction and management policies and programmes of government.

From 2013-2014, [4] Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) was successful in getting the provincial and district disaster management authorities of Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) to include the MISP in their standard operating procedures (SOPs) and risk reduction action Plans.


Pakistan is a particularly disaster-prone South Asian country due to the number of natural disasters that have killed, injured and affected millions in addition to inflicting huge economic costs. Pakistan itself has 28 million people affected by conflict and disasters.

In 2009 more than three million people in Pakistan were forced to flee their homes in the country’s northwestern areas as a result of political insecurity while forced displacement still exists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu Kashmir and FATA.

Calamities such as floods particularly hit Punjab and Sindh while hill torrents affect the hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Gilgit Baltistan. In 2005, the Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) earthquake and the 2010 floods badly affected Punjab and Sindh, two of the agriculturally richest and most populated provinces. These two catastrophes illuminated how disasters exacerbated gender discrimination, gender-based violence (GBV) or sexual violence (SV), maternal and child mortality.


Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) – Pakistan.

How the problem was addressed?

The SPRINT Initiative in Pakistan, with support from its member associate Rahnuma- Family Planning Association of Pakistan, has been proactive since 2013 in advocating for SRH and MISP inclusion into the DRR and disaster risk management (DRM) plans at national and local levels.

The initiative is based on recognition of the vulnerabilities of women and young during emergencies, particularly in the remote parts of crisis affected Gilgit Baltistan, Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu Kashmir. These vulnerabilities include:

·       Inaccessibility;

·       Lack of SRH services for pregnant and lactating mother and adolescents;

·       Sexual and gender Based Violence;

·       Rapid HIV/ STI transmission,

Rahnuma FPAP through the SPRINT Initiative, successfully integrated MISP into the SOPs and DRR action plans of provincial and district disaster management authorities in these provinces.

Primarily the lead was taken by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), through its member associate Rahnuma FPAP, which has been constantly liaising and advocating for MISP and inclusion of SRH components and service delivery into the SOPs and action plans. Initially, approaching the local, district and provincial governments and making them understand the relevance of MISP and SRH during crises was difficult.

SRH is the least prioritized issue during disasters and is often neglected. However with orientation on MISP through workshops and sensitization meetings that explained the importance of having a contingency plan and SOPs for responding to the SRH needs of vulnerable groups like pregnant and lactating women, young girls and adolescents, the process has led to a positive outcome.

It was felt that advocating and liaising with governments could take time and sometimes delay the desired outcome and policy changes due to firm administrative procedures. SPRINT therefore realized that it was extremely important to train and sensitize government officials on MISP and SRH during crises from the initial stage or inception of the project. Capacity building of local administrators and government officials on importance of MISP at disaster risk reduction and preparedness phase is something for which SPRINT now strongly advocates.


Due to constant advocacy with national and local governments, integration of MISP and SRH into the action plans and SOPs of national Disaster management authorities (NDMA) and provincial disaster management authorities (PDMA) has become possible.

A 2014 situational assessment on SRH by SPRINT Pakistan rveled that the government awareness of SRH and the importance of MISP at the preparedness phase is extremely high, particularly in FATA and Punjab provinces. Constant advocacy in Pakistan has also led to the government institutions like the National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network (NHEPRN), the Health Service Academy (HSA), and the Pakistan Nursing Council taking an active role in the Reproductive Health Working Group managed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and SPRINT Pakistan. There have been more than five MISP trainings in the country though the SPRINT project in 2014 which included various technical partners including government and other civil society organizations.  

Measuring success

SPRINT conducted a rapid assessment of SRH and MISP implementation in Pakistan, and it could be seen that the awareness among the district and local government especially in FATA and Punjab was very high with governments acknowledging the need for capacity building on MISP and RH components usage during emergencies.

SPRINT and UNFPA have also trained more than 20 government officials from NDMA, PDMA, NHEPRN etc., while more than 154 persons from international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and Civil society organizations have now been trained on MISP and SRH during emergencies as a process of emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

Relevance to HFA

DRR is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for Implementation along with the building and strengthening of capacities on MISP. This ensures maximum collaboration between partners on emergency preparedness (HFA Priorities: 1 and 5)

The most common link between HFA or the Making Cities Resilient campaign and this SPRINT’s initiative is ensuring the participation of local and national governments along with various stakeholders in integrating SRH into DRR plans and policies. The training of various partners, especially national and local level government officials, to strengthen their understanding of MISP is core in terms of ensuring emergency preparedness.

Potential for replication

Advocacy for the inclusion of SRH and MISP during disasters into the already existing DRR Plans at national and district levels have now been replicated and in progress through the SPRINT initiative in Bangladesh as well.   The starting point is through integration of SRH and MISP into the curriculum of doctors and nurses in colleges and universities. The efforts aim to build capacities and orient future service providers on MISP implementation. The capacity building of government officials, local partners and front line service providers through MISP trainings has been core to SPRINT DRR and preparedness efforts.

Contribution by

Nimisha Goswami , South Asia Regional Manager, The SPRINT Initiative

(Sexual Reproductive Health Programme in Crisis and Post-Crisis Situations)

International Planned Parenthood Federation – South Asia Regional Office

IPPF House, C-139, Defence Colony New Delhi – 110024, India

e-M: T: +91-11-2435 9221/2/3/4/5/6 (230) F: +91-11-2435 9220 W:

To view Photos of Sprint South Asia (Pakistan)

SPRINT Publication:



[1] The Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health is a priority set of life‐saving

activities to be implemented at the onset of every humanitarian crisis. The  MISP  is  an international standard as  outlined in the  Sphere Humanitarian Charter  and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response.


[2] The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. It is a worldwide movement of national organizations working with and for communities and individuals.


[3] The SPRINT Initiative is a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Programme in Crisis and Post-Crisis Situations. It is an Australian Government funded initiative, managed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation.


[4]Since 1953, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) (member association of IPPF) has helped women, men and young people access critical sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services, including family planning. They were instrumental in establishing a separate Ministry of Population Welfare, as well as for introducing the first ever policy on population control in South Asia. FPAP is now known as Rahnuma (one who shows the path and provides direction) to reflect its holistic approach towards development in Pakistan.

Remote sensing and GIS for flood hazard management

This paper describes the application of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS) in identifying flood hazard zones and flood shelters Sindh Province, Pakistan, and is therefore an important tool for planners and decision makers.

Case Study

Application of remote sensing and GIS for flood hazard management: a case study from Sindh Province, Pakistan

HFA Priority

Methodology to accurately delineate flood inundated areas, flood-hazard areas, and suitable areas for flood shelter to minimize flood impacts.


This paper describes the application of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS) in identifying flood hazard zones and flood shelters and it is therefore an important tool for planners and decision makers.

This article outlines a simple and efficient methodology to accurately delineate flood inundated, flood-hazard, and suitable flood shelter areas to minimize flood impacts. Flooding scenarios and suitable flood shelter sites were modeled and mapped for Sindh Province in Pakistan. This method is robust enough to zone flood hazards and map shelter sites for flood management.


In Pakistan, floods have been recognized as a major natural hazard. The country has a long history of floods from the Indus River and its tributaries and the floods of 1928, 1929, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1973, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996 1997 and 2010 attest to their destructive nature and adverse impact on lives and property in Pakistan.


Sindh Province, Pakistan

How was the problem addressed?

Mapping of Pakistan 2010 floods, flood hazard assessment and proposed flood shelters.

NASA-SERVIR Himalaya team was involved in the flood monitoring.

Use of available cloud free data during the floods: MODIS data gave alternative images.

Similar techniques can be replicated in other parts of Pakistan.

GIS based proposed locations for building flood shelter was the first such initiative in Pakistan.    


The 2010 flood in Sindh province, Pakistan was described as the worst environmental disaster in Pakistan’s history. The flood inundated a total area of 7,579 km2 in Sindh province:

·       838 km2 in Naushahro Feroze district;

·       965 km2 in Shikarpur district;

·       788 km2 in Sukkur district;

·       667 km2 in Khairpur district;

·       306 km2 in Ghotki district;

·       3,002 km2 in Jacobabad district;

·       1,013 km2 in Larkana district.

The modeled result indicated a very high hazard area (6,216 km2) out of a total area of 46,138 km2 in Sindh province.

Measuring success

The published results are now hosted in many libraries including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

The results were validated using the Pakistan flood 2010 data. Some 1,363 km2 were observed to be less flood prone and this can be attributed to human interventions, particularly infrastructure to regularly re-route water build-up from floods

Relevance to HFA

The analyzed product uploaded on the website of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and shared with the relevant authorities. Published writers are now citing the findings.

Potential for Replication

Flood inundation mapping and the GIS based analysis for flood shelter suitability can be replicated anywhere in the word.  

Contribution by

Mr. Kabir Uddin / Mr. Deo Raj Gurung / Mr. Amarnath Giriraj / Mr. Basanta Shrestha

Geospatial Solutions

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

GPO Box 3226, Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel +97715003222 Ext 102 Fax +97715003277 Web /


Building Disaster Risk Reduction capacity in Pakistan through academia

Although the October 2005 earthquake played a significant role in creating general awareness about disasters in Pakistan, the 2010 floods in Nowshera district became a turning point. The Principal and the Faculty at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Risalpur Campus found it imperative to start working towards building capacity to reduce disaster risks in Pakistan. They started to offer a Masters in Disaster Management and the first batch of graduate students joined the programme in 2012. 

Case Study

Building Disaster Risk Reduction capacity in Pakistan through academia.

HFA Priority of Action

HFA Priority 3.


NUST, Risalpur Campus, Pakistan.

How was the problem addressed?

A post-graduate programme in Disaster Management has been started at NUST, Pakistan. One batch of graduates has completed the degree, the second batch is in the research phase, while the third batch has recently started

The Rector NUST and Principal NUST Risalpur Campus were involved in planning and finally launching this programme.

The initial challenge was the lack of qualified faculty members to run the programme.

Four Ph.D faculty members were sent to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, for certification in Disaster Management. 

Another challenge was to convince people about the importance of this programme as most of the people involved with running disaster management issues at government level are not qualified or experts in this field.

There is still a lot to be done, but things are moving in the right direction. As the knowledge base in this field becomes stronger and more competent, the institutions will gradually become stronger and well equipped and prepared to handle disasters in near future.

The enrollment at NUST for the programme is, however, limited to private students and persons from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). With the passage of time, we foresee the involvement of government and public sector in this programme, which is the need of the hour.


This is just a start; and nothing is guaranteed. The first batch of graduates, however, is now out in the field. Knowledge and awareness about disaster management are growing with qualified people now available to manage the issues. Pakistan is likely to improve a lot in DRR related activities at government level, which at this moment is restricted to few NGOs who are in far flung limited areas and sectors.

Measuring Success

When the right qualified persons get involved in institutions and organizations dealing with disasters, drastic improvements are expected in this highly disaster prone country in near future.

As stated earlier, it is just a start and it will take time for the impacts to become visible; the positive outcome is that we have started moving in the right direction.

Relevance to HFA

The main problem is that Pakistan lacks the capacity to deal with disasters. By starting this programme, the capacity building initiative has been taken. This is likely to encourage other academic institutions to start similar programmes thus increasing the knowledge base required to create awareness among the masses in Pakistan.

Academicians need to be given more of a role in the HFA2. In countries like Pakistan, there is a need to create a knowledge base as a start, because no matter how badly a country is affected by disasters, unless and until its local capacity is built, international and local NGOs will not be able to solve the problems or address the issues in tackling disasters.

Potential for Replication

Some of the other universities and institutions have started a similar programme but it’s limited to a post-graduate diploma in Disaster Management. A higher level of education on this issue is still lacking in Pakistan.

By providing better employment opportunities and encouraging qualified people to work in disaster related Institutions and organizations, capacity building in Pakistan can be improved. This will take the country towards building a disaster resilient country.

Contribution by

Engineer Fiaz Hussain Shah, Ex-Principal, NUST, Risalpur Campus, Pakistan. Email:

Dr. Naeem Shahzad, Assistan Professor, Faculty Disaster Management, NUST, Risalpur Campus, Pakistan. Email:

Dr. Syed Hassan Farooq, Associate Professor, Faculty Disaster Management, NUST, Risalpur Campus, Pakistan. Email:

Improving food security and strengthening community based disaster risk reduction

The project to improve food security and strengthen community based disaster risk reduction in Chail Valley, Swat, Pakistan was designed and based on participatory approaches and involved local communities (men and women). It was implemented under cash for work modalities.

Title of case study

Improving food security and strengthening community based disaster risk reduction (DRR)

Which priority of action does the practice/case contribute to?

This project addresses all five priority actions of the HFA:

·       Making DRR a priority;

·       Knowing the risks and take action;

·       Building understanding and awareness;

·       Reducing risks;

·       Be prepared and ready to act.


The project to improve food security and strengthen community based disaster risk reduction in Chail Valley, Swat, Pakistan was designed and based on participatory approaches and involved local communities (men and women). It was implemented under cash for work modalities.


Highland inhabitants of Chail Valley were badly affected by the 2010 floods. Since 2012 the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) have been providing livelihood support to improve the food security of residents and reduce the impact of future disasters on the community. WFP uses cash transfers and provides grants to community members for their participation in community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) structural and non-structural rehabilitation activities.

Accomplishments of this programme include capacity building and awareness raising of community members, construction of check dams, slope stabilization through bioengineering, sowing of seeds and community plantations. The project communities are highly gender sensitive. Gender specific activities were designed with household DRR.


Kalam, Pakistan.

How the problem was addressed?

Community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) is a developing discipline in Pakistan. This was a unique project in this hill valley and mountain community, where most of the floods begin.

The project identified 20 vulnerable villages. From the six most vulnerable communities, three men and three women were selected for training as master trainers. They were trained for 14 days in CBDRM.

In vulnerable villages, village DRM committees comprising of 15 members each were formed for men and women separately. The master trainers trained the community members in CBDRM for five days. During this training, the community prepared village plans indicating hazardous points and safe routes. Few of these maps were fixed on boards at common sites for the guidance of community at the time of emergency.

In 20 vulnerable villages, community awareness level was raised on the occurrence of disasters and the way villagers should respond. Similarly, six female teachers and 10 male teachers were trained in CBDRM who in turn trained 340 female students and 785 male students disaster response.

In addition to awareness, the skills of local communities in DRR related activities were enhanced. 

Training was imparted to 25 masons in check dam construction, to eight masons in bio engineering, and 25 persons in seed sowing and planting. One person was trained in data entry into WFP databases, one person in outdoor photography, and one young engineer in check dam construction. 856 women in 28 villages were trained in first aid and received an introduction to DRR.


The immediate food needs of 4,258 households were met through cash for work.

The inhabitants of 30 villages are more resilient and can now cope with flood hazards because of interventions like check dam construction, slope stabilization, plantation and seed sowing.

Out of the total of 44, committees comprised of men were formed in 38 villages while committees comprised of women were formed and strengthened in 28.

3,246 check dams measuring 561,228 cubic feet were constructed in 178 gullies in 30 villages.

417 retaining walls measuring 115,814 cubic feet were constructed at 72 sites in 20 villages.

Retaining walls were strengthened at eight sites with the use of bio material in walls and at sites with plantation and/or seed sowing.

163,017 plants were planted and 978 kg of seed sown.

All skilled labour and unskilled participants were engaged from amongst the local communities. 

Village committees have been resourced through skills and tools. The indigenous systems of “Nagha” for bio engineering measures is being used. Another indigenous system “Ashar” for maintenance and operations of structures will be used at the time of need.

Measuring success

The Project is very relevant to the area.

- Improved food consumption by      beneficiaries.

- Beneficiaries have the opportunity to stay with their families within their homes.

- Strong field mobilization.

- Step towards sustainable livelihoods.

- Beneficiaries are satisfied with structural activities and want to improve the nonstructural activities.

- Fruit trees, especially walnut trees, are better taken care of by the owners compared to non-fruit trees.

- Sense of ownership from the community on check dams and planted trees.

- 20 villages and 1,500 households oriented about basic DRR concepts.

- Mock drills and awareness sessions contributed a lot to community awareness with practical examples from the community responding to fires etc.

- The project helped operationalize village committees.

- Training material was relevant, however, the training manuals and material in local languages with more pictures would be more effective as the community has low literacy rates.

- Links with the local authorities including the Disaster Management Unit need to be strengthened.

Relevance to HFA

This was a productive initiative with community based DRR activities directly or indirectly contributing to the 5 priority areas of the Hyogo Framework for Action. It has had a positive impact at community level, and it can have an overall impact at country level. Under this project, relevant government ministries like environment and agriculture contributed as well. 

HFA was the guiding tool for this project enabling communities to address the 5 priority areas at local level.

In terms of geographical coverage, hilltop mountain communities were selected for this project; in close proximity of the project area are some of the highest peaks in the world, home to numerous glaciers.

Due to climate change, deforestation and the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) phenomenon all contribute to generate flash floods, which cause widespread destruction to immediate rural hilltop communities and urban plains in the country. Therefore, DRR initiatives nip the evil (floods) in the bud (origin). 

Potential for replication

There is much scope to replicate this initiative in the surrounding districts of Shangla, Dir Chitral and Buner.

Presently, this project has been replicated in adjoining areas of Kalam where similar activities have been implemented for the last 2 years.

Contribution by

Khalid Rasul, Programme Officer WFP Peshawar Office – 03468564268 –

Lucie Kanova, Head of Communications & Reporting Unit, WFP Country Office, Islamabad (Pakistan),

Innovation, older people and disaster risk reduction: the case of Pakistan

Innovation, older people and disaster risk reduction: the case of Pakistan
By Toby Porter

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Pakistan is considered, and considers itself, a “young” country. At present, only 7% of the population is over 60. This figure will rise slowly, projected to reach only 16% by 2050. But the numbers of older people are impressive – already Pakistan is one of only 10 countries in the world with more than 10 million citizens over 60. This number is forecast to rise to 43 million by 2050.

HelpAge opened an office in Pakistan in 2010, after the terrible monsoon floods. Since then, we have developed an expertise in age-friendly emergency response as well as modelling and implementing DRR activities that are inclusive of older people.

I visited our operations in December 2014, going to to two villages where older people are at the centre of community DRR awareness building and preparedness activities through their local older people’s associations.

In the first village, in Jacobabad district, older people were engaged in a hazard mapping exercise – recalling the patterns of past flood waters, where the waters reached and the parts of the village which stayed safe.

I saw one of the best examples of innovation I have seen in my time with HelpAge, as the older people’s association leaders took out and started to play a specially designed game of Ludo.

The game is explicitly built around the theme of DRR, with each of the squares representing a step in being prepared for a flood in the community. Ludo is a much loved game in Sindh, and you could tell that it had been hugely successful in engaging them in the programme. Good fun, good innovation, good impact.

In the next village we visited, we saw all of the community involved in a drill – practising early warning, evacuation and how to administer basic first aid.

We have been working on DRR in Sindh province since just after the 2010 floods, funded for the first three years mainly by Age International funds raised from the UK public. The latest phase, which will end on July 2015, is funded by CordAid, a member of our HelpAge global network.

On the evidence of the high quality work and the boost from older people globally being the focus this year’s UN Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, I am confident that we will be able to find partners in Pakistan and around the world to help us continue and expand this work.

We went on from there to visit a health clinic. While we were all taken by the commitment of the doctor on duty there, it was clear that the services offered were in no way adequate to help older people enjoy the best possible health and active ageing process.

His was one clinic, understaffed, and serving a catchment population of almost 40,000. Thanks to HelpAge, he had some basic equipment on top of what the Government provided, such as a blood pressure monitor.

There had been some significant, life-transforming successes from the project that had linked older people through the older people’s associations to his clinic and onwards to the local hospitals.

The most obvious impact is where he had referred patients for successful cataract surgery, which has an immediate and wonderful effect on the life of an older person and their family.

But overall, the public health system in Pakistan is still a long way from being able to diagnose, treat and manage the most common non-communicable diseases which, if left untreated, pose the gravest threat to the health and wellbeing of older people.

At the last older people’s association we visited, I asked a group of around 15 older men to raise their hand if they had had their blood pressure checked in the past five years. Only two hands were raised.

Undiagnosed hypertension remains the number one cause of premature death for older people the world over. Equipment to test blood pressure is neither expensive, nor difficult to administer, and there are a number of low cost treatments available where cases are diagnosed.

I gained an insight into why this was the case when I had chaired a session on the health of older people at the Health Services Academy earlier in my visit. The physicians were impeccably trained, and in obvious agreement with those speaking up with better health services to be made available for older people.

But their answer was that there were other more pressing priorities – safe child birth, higher rates of immunisation coverage, more effective family planning, etc.

At one point, the senior representative there said that there would come a time when more thought and investment would have to go into health services for older people, but only when the overall percentage of older people in the population was very much higher.

This is a very good illustration of why older people need national and international policy-makers to adopt a rights-based approach to development. It also again highlights the importance of a UN convention for the rights of older people.

I made this point directly at a meeting in Islamabad with Mr Shoaib Mir, Additional Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights. This Ministry has responsibility within Pakistan for international legal instruments.

Without international and national legal protection, it is clear that older people will always be expected to take their place at the end of queue when it comes to health and other social services.

“Not a priority”, “not now”, “maybe we can do this when there are more of them” are phrases we heard a lot over the course of my visit. But they have no place within a narrative of human rights, which are universal.

Older people have the same rights as any other segment of population to the best possible health, and every reason to expect Governments and international donors in countries like Pakistan to design and finance primary health services for all their citizens, regardless of their age.


Toby Porter has been CEO of HelpAge International since October 2013. He began his career as an emergency relief specialist working with first Merlin and then Oxfam, working in Eastern Europe, in and around Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, South Sudan, and in Central and South America. Since then, Toby has worked for USAID, for Save the Children UK as Director of Emergencies and as Director of Programme Partnerships, and for Save the Children India as Director of Programmes.

Integration of MISP into the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management SOPs and Action Plan of District and Provincial Government in Pakistan

Securing Sexual and Reproductive Health of drought-affected communities in the Sindh Arid Zone, IPPF / Pakistan / Alison Lowe
Securing Sexual and Reproductive Health of drought-affected communities in the Sindh Arid Zone, IPPF / Pakistan / Alison Lowe

The sexual and reproductive health programme in crisis and post-crisis situations addresses all stages of the emergency management cycle. It ensures timely access for crisis-affected populations to life saving sexual and reproductive health services as outlined in the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP). It creates an enabling environment through advocacy with key stakeholders put measures for disaster risk reduction in place and establishes mechanisms to build country capacities for emergency preparedness.

Read more Ignite Stage Presentation.SARO. PAKISTAN DRR