CARE International in Pakistan
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Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP)

For many women in developing countries, rights such as education, employment and social mobility are easily accessible and widely accepted as a part of life. But for many women in Pakistan, especially in the rural areas of the country, many of these basic rights are denied completely due to deep-rooted cultural and institutional constraints.

To empower rural women by enhancing their self-reliance and business skills, CARE international in Pakistan implemented the “Community Infrastructure Improvement Project” (CIIP). This project was a replica of the CIDA-funded Rural Maintenance Program (RMP), which was successfully implemented for over 20 years in Bangladesh and, is a proven model for poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of rural disadvantaged women. CIIP aimed to make a solid contribution to alleviating poverty, empowering disadvantaged rural women, and strengthening local government institutions for sustainable development in Pakistan.

The project model was based on a rotating two-year cycle in which women were made a part of road maintenance team (RMT) and required to maintain earthen roads. The participants were paid a fortnightly salary of PKR 2,500 and a mandatory saving of PKR 1,100. This enabled women to gain confidence to work outside the home, earn an income, generate start-up capital, and initiate entrepreneurial activities. Every two years, a new group of women entered the project cycle. Trainings on life skills, health and hygiene and business management were imparted. The participants went away from the project with sufficient skills and training for continued self-employment. Apart from the women who participated, the project benefited 100 union councils (administrative subdivisions within districts) by connecting them via roadways with other settlements and larger transportation routes.

Objectives

  • Enable rural women in target rural areas to become economically and socially empowered.
  • Employment creation for approximately 3750 rural destitute women.
  • Engage local women in maintenance of rural earthen roads and community infrastructures (up to 15,000km)
  • Provide life skills training to participants.
  • Strengthen capacity of local government institutions at the local and district levels and sensitize them regarding gender and development issues.

Outcomes   

  • Training of RMTs in technical aspects of road maintenance and community infrastructures, group formation and team building, health and hygiene, gender and human rights, basic business management and life skills. Advised on education and legal issues.
  • Employment created for approximately 3,750 rural destitute women.
  • Increased the self-confidence and acceptability of the non-traditional work for women in the community.  
  • Successfully completed the maintenance of 12057 Km of earthen roads as compared to the target of 12000 Km, in 100 UCs of Punjab and Sindh, which have benefitted half a million people (30% of the total population).
  • Release of escrow-savings money to project participants to enable them to start up self-planned micro-enterprises;
  • Strengthening the management of existing economic activities by providing tailored business management support, business incubation support, and exposure visits.  
  • Establishment of linkages of project participants with the district administration, local governments, microcredit institutions, skills training centers, and business development centers;
  • Program orientation of local governments and community based organizations (CBOs).
  • Successful engagement with provincial, district and taluka/tehsil level government line departments for project implementation;
  • Feasibility reports of each maintained road have been compiled and shared with the concerned government departments at district level and UC offices.
  • Developed a directory of service providers (DOS) at district and UC level to establish functional linkages with government service providers. Updating the information in DOS and guiding the RMT women about accessing and using the information. 
  • Provision of cellular phones, saving certificates, and health insurance cards
  • Advocated for the reinstatement of the local government with Local Council Association of Pakistan (LCAP).
  • Introduced a pilot design aimed to empower sanitary workers of the urban areas.

 

Time frame:  May 2010 to Dec 2015

Location: Sindh: Tando Allahyar, MirpurKhas, Ghotki, Qamber Shahdadkot, Thatta and Punjab: Multan, Vehari, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh

Donor: CIDA

Budget:  CAD 13,536,541

Cost: CAD 13,526,382

Implementing Partner: Takhleeq Foundation, AWAZ CDS, Tameer Microfinance Bank, Telenor Pak Limited, Shell Pakistan, Engro Foods, TPL Direct Insurance

Beneficiaries: 3750 marganlized (rural destitute women) and 26250 dependents