Participation of Women in Early Recovery Activities in PSFRP
Basti Gharibad is located in Union Council Qasba Gujrat of Tehsil Muzaffargarh in Punjab. It is one of the areas which were severely hit by the July, 2010 floods. The floods destroyed over 100 houses in Qasba Gujrat, including infrastructure and the livelihoods of the people in the area. The economic activities of the community depend upon the daily wages earned from the nearby brick kilns and oil refinery. Both males and the females play their part in supporting families for domestic chores but the floods damaged everything, and families had nothing but tents to live in. Field Teams of UN-HABITAT started the early recovery activities in the same area and carried out social mobilization activities followed by door to door assessment and identified 102 vulnerable and extremely vulnerable beneficiaries for the Pakistan Settlements Flood Recovery Programme (PSFRP). In order to support the flood affected populations of the area an agreement was signed with Jinnah Welfare Society, a Community Based Organization. The integrated approach of the project covers Shelter, WASH, Community Infrastructure and Capacity Building of the community. Both men and women are playing their part in reconstruction of their one room shelter. Women of this area are not behind men in making their contribution in the construction of their homes. They are engaged in excavation, taking part in brick ballasting, transportation of bricks from one side to another as well as in making and carrying mud mortars.Men of the area work on reconstruction as well as at home. Most of the men go for work as they work on daily wages. They have lost so much during the floods that they have to find as much work as they can so they can make ends meet. Women in these circumstances feel it their responsibility to participate in the construction process. Their responsibilities are two-fold, as they are working on the construction and daily activities at home such as cooking food for their families, washing clothes, etc. PSFRP, with its approach of community contracting believes in community engagement for reconstruction of their houses, and for this purpose field teams of UN-HABITAT Muzaffargarh pay special attention to community participation where role of women in reconstruction can never be ignored. Keeping this tradition in mind the field teams in collaboration with the Community Based Organizations established a women’s committee, the role of which is to engage women in construction work and also to mobilize other people for construction. The participation of women in reconstruction would not only help them to reconstruct but also would develop a sense of ownership of the shelter.