Case Studies

Dera Ismail Khan (D.I.Khan) is a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkha province of Pakistan and one of the worst-affected areas of the 2010 floods. Last year’s catastrophe demolished 1.2 km of roads and directly impacted 800,000 people. Flood waters destroyed countless homes and drove thousands to migrate from their towns. The floods also ruined standing crops in a community where agriculture represents 70% of the economy.

It is vital for NGOs to adopt a long term strategy when planning rehabilitation in any country that experiences a calamity. Following several initiatives that provided immediate relief in the aftermath of the floods, IDRF and many of its partner organizations have started projects that are addressing Pakistan’s need for continuing recovery. One of those partners is the Hamdam Development Organization- an NGO that operates in D.I.Khan. Hamdam’s Director Abdul Ghafoor says his organization creates opportunities for livelihoods training to improve economic conditions.

Hamdam takes tremendous pride in initiating programs that assist women. One of the female beneficiaries of the IDRF supported ‘Income Generation Initiatives for Women in Khyber Pakhtunkha’ project is Kiran Abbas, an 18 year-old from Jabbarwala Village. The floods demolished her mud house and left her and her family without shelter or food. Hamdam learned of her story through the community and identified her as an ideal candidate for this program, which teaches beneficiaries how to tailor clothing and market their products.

When speaking with Kiran on the one year anniversary of the floods, she articulated their impact on her community. “Some of the women were working and contributing to the family income; but the floods have crippled them. My parents wanted me to attend the classes and learn the skills needed for work.” This scenario has placed a large degree of responsibility for the family on her. “I am the oldest of three siblings. I have one brother and one sister. My father is too old to take care of the family by himself now.”

Kiran’s parents have offered her unconditional support for participation in the livelihood training classes. Even under these difficult circumstances she maintains a strong sense of resolve and is quite ambitious. Following the program she aspires to start her own business. ‘When I finish training I am going to start my own business and support my father. My contributions will give peace to everyone. When I get married everything I learn will help me support my own family. My goal is to be a tailor.”

Kiran’s drive is certainly a reason to be optimistic about Hamdam’s work in D.I.Khan. Nevertheless, the area faces immense challenges. Ghafoor states that less than 30% of the infrastructure damaged during the floods has been repaired. Furthermore, the rehabilitation projects initiated by Hamdam and other NGOs need greater funding to be sustained.

Ghafoor is adamant that participation of women in income generation schemes will be vital to move forward and tackle the economic challenges in D.I.Khan. “When you look at the population, 52% of D.I. Khan is women. If they are given opportunities to market their products, they will be assets. Only 10% women contribute while others are denied opportunities. Political and social participation will make the difference.”