UNDP launches ‘cash-for-work’ programme in flood-hit areas
By: Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, 19 October 2010—The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a cash-for-work programme in the districts of Charsada and Nowshera of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the first area in Pakistan hit by the floods. UNDP is in the process of partnering with 18 national non-governmental organizations to expand the early recovery programme into other areas of the country.
Throughout the country, the floods have affected more than 20 million people, over 10 percent of Pakistan’s total population, and killed about 2,000, with damage or destruction to nearly 1.9 million homes in an area of at least 160,000 square kilometers.
The cash-for-work initiatives in the districts of Charsada and Nowshera offer a means for people to earn a living again and restart their lives while rebuilding their communities. These efforts are part of the one-year early recovery programme to restore livelihoods through job creation, repair basic community infrastructure, and strengthen local government offices to get public services running again.
Wahid Khan is a 35 year-old man from Pashtoon Garhi Kandi Bala, Nowshera District. He is one of the 189 workers currently employed in his community. “The cash-for-work project brings us hope and gives the chance to look beyond the destruction”, said Wahid. “The work allows me to buy food and clothes for my family. Without it, I do not know what I would do”. After a working day under the scorching heat of the sun, he plays volleyball in the evenings with other workers. “Playing volleyball helps us relax and forget about our sorrow for a while”.
The total budget of the cash-for-work project in Charsada and Nowshera districts is US$ 250,000 and includes removing rubble from the streets; building drains, paving the roads, and disposal of debris. Those 1,500 employed by the project are working five days per week and receive 400-600 Pakistani rupees ($4.7 - $7) for six hours’ labour. Women and children also contribute by bringing water and food to the male members of their households.
“The cash-for-work projects are bringing immediate benefits to people and their communities”, said Rabia Khattak, UNDP Head of Crisis Prevention and Early Recovery Unit. “But to succeed it has to reach many more people, and this requires sustained support from our national and international partners. It’s difficult to explain people that even though their dreams have been washed away, there is still hope just around the corner” she added.