Earthquake Area Rehab - Reports

January 2009 - Destiny Roti Program

Empowering Women - Makai Tandoori Naan
by Sarah Saeed

The concept for the Destiny Roti program has grown from the need to build a more sustainable framework for women’s futures in earthquake affected areas of Pakistan. The program leads on from the Nokia-Karavan Crafts Centres (NKCC’s), a program that reaches out to women by engaging them in productive activity (traditional beadwork), a strategy devised to overcome trauma. Whilst the NKCC mobilised women to rebuild their lives, the Destiny Roti program further builds on the need to expand livelihood opportunities and therefore targets women from the NKCC who are motivated, display entrepreneurial skills and able to take on more challenges. These selected women are assisted in building roti kitchens from which they are able to make and sell roti’s at a larger scale and generate an income.

The program aims to:
• Develop alternative sustainable avenues for revenue generation.
• Generate livelihood opportunities.
• Develop a sense of ownership and pride.
• Build women’s capacity.
• Constantly develop existing skills so that the program can continually grow and improve.
• Achieve better hygienic conditions in the home environment.
• Generate an income.
• Improve women’s literacy and business skills.
• Increase self confidence and raise women’s status in the community.

Several strategies have been put in place to ensure that the program is sustainable for the future and achieves positive social development outcomes. These strategies include:

Careful Selection of Participants
Participants are carefully selected from already implemented programs to ensure that women are motivated and able to take on the new venture. This selection process has been initiated to ensure that the funds invested in construction are appropriately used, and kitchens are maintained for the future.

Participatory approaches
Women are required to contribute 25% of the cost (in the form of labour and some materials) in the construction of their kitchens. This is intended to develop a greater sense of ownership and break down current dependency on charity handouts in the area (as a result of post disaster aid relief). 50% of the cost of each kitchen unit is received as a grant by I-Led whilst the remainder of the costs, technical guidance and general administration is provided by Nokia-NSN Karavan Partnership.

Asset based approach
Like the NKCC program, The Destiny Roti program identifies existing skills in the community that have marketability, growth and development potential. This asset based approach is most beneficial for the participants because new skills do not have to be taught and implementation is often more efficient. Additionally existing skills can be mobilised to create new economic and social opportunities.

In this case women are skilled in producing roti’s in traditional earth ovens, specifically makai ki roti or cornbread, a staple food of the local Siran Valley communities. To date this activity has been undertaken within the family unit only. The Destiny roti program looks at ways to expand the activity and sell roti’s at a national level, initially to Abbottobad, Mansehra and Islamabad, and later to Lahore and Karachi.

Building Capacity
Even though existing skills have been targeted in shaping the program, there is a focus on continuously developing women’s skills so that the program can grow whilst women build their capacity and skill-sets. Currently literacy programs are being implemented, allowing women to take on more responsibility within the program. Hygiene workshops are also planned to train women in hygienic methods of cooking.

Reviving Local Techniques to Preserve Heritage and Promote Tourism
The bread of the Kodar area has been rated amongst the best ever tasted by foreigners who have worked in the area. It’s unique taste and texture can be attributed to its traditional processing, which involves local maize being ground in traditional water mills. However many of the water mills have collapsed and require reconstruction. Income generation from the program is expected to assist the community in reconstructing the mills. Additionally the water mills set against the mountainous terrain may have tourism potential if marketed as scenic picnic areas.

Respecting Local Culture
Women in the area traditionally have not earned an income, or spent time away from the home environment. The roti kitchens are therefore constructed adjacent to women’s existing homes to ensure easy accessibility and as a measure to respect cultural and social norms. Within this environment women are able to care for their children, run the household as well as use the kitchens at a time that best suits them.

Healthy Living
The kitchens are separated from the main house, allowing cooking and living spaces to function independently. Previously cooking and living was carried out within the one communal space, resulting in unhygienic living spaces. As part of the program workshops for women on personal hygiene and hygienic conditions during bread making will be organised.

The roti itself is considered a product desirable for healthy living. Professional packaging, and pasteurisation processing will ensure that the bread is nourishing and long-lasting.

Developing Quality Products
Quality control and assurance is vital to successfully market the roti to retailers. To achieve this, measures have been taken to ensure that cooking ingredients are fresh and roti’s are hygienically produced, packaged and transported. Once roti’s have been made by the women they will be transported to a nearby packaging centre where they will be pasteurised and vacuum packed. A cold chain will be established through cold storage and transportation in specially fitted air conditioned vans to distribution centres. It is intended that delivery of the bread will be made to health food stores, restaurants, guesthouses and other selected points.

The outcomes of the program to date are both tangible and intangible. They include:

Tangible outcomes
A total of 50 kitchens are being built, 30 of which have been completed by August 2008. The Packaging Centre has now been completed. Sample packaging was commenced in December 2008 from alternate locations. Preliminary marketing of the sample roti products is expected to begin in the last week of February 2009.

Intangible Outcomes
As a result of the roti program women are able to earn a sustainable income and build on their existing skills as product ranges expand. Whilst their self esteem and confidence has grown, women’s status in the community (especially amongst male community members) is elevated. Women are empowered to take on new challenges and are clearly more respected within their communities for having the confidence and skills to do so. Women’s active participation in the construction of their kitchens has developed in them a sense of ownership and thus responsibility for proper maintenance of the kitchens. Additionally the separation of cooking and living spaces has created cleaner and more hygienic living environments. Hygiene workshops has raised awareness of the importance of maintaining clean spaces for healthy living. The positive progress of the roti program has identified additional supporting programs that can assist women in fully taking advantage of their new venture. Currently literacy programs for women are being undertaken, which ultimately builds women’s capacity and skill sets enabling them to develop the program even further.

January 2009 - Destiny Bead Products

Empowering Women - Destiny Bead Products
by Sarah Saeed

The Nokia-Karavan Craft Centre (NKCC) project outreaches to women in the Siran Valley who have been affected by the disastrous South-Asian earthquake of 2005. The women come from deprived and marginalised communities in remote and mountainous villages. The additional constraints of inaccessibility and social/cultural limitations have made relief and rehabilitation efforts more challenging. The NKCC program however is the first stepping stone in enabling women to rebuild their lives and empower them to take control of the future. It does this by engaging women in productive activity as a strategy to help them overcome their trauma.

The program aims to:
• Overcome trauma by engaging women in an activity.
• Empower women and elevate their status in the community.
• Develop pathways to livelihoods.
• Generate an income for women and their families.
• Identify and revive local arts and crafts.

The strategies noted below create a framework for initialising support to women and developing sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Participatory Approach
A participatory approach has led the program design and implementation phases. The women themselves have been engaged in discussion forums, the first of which resulted in a 150 person turnout. Here women participated in defining the scope and methodology of the program. Participatory initiatives are essential in order to determine responses that are culturally and socially appropriate as well as ensuring that the beneficiaries develop a sense of ownership for the project.

Asset Based Approach
An asset based approach involves utilising existing strengths in the community. This approach has been implemented in order to mobilise women quickly and efficiently. Existing skill sets were identified in an initial women’s gathering held in May 2006. The gathering also explored ways in which the assets could be mobilised to ensure that future activities were sustainable.

Traditional beadwork and sewing were identified as skills with future marketability potential. Local women however devalued traditional beadwork, as its previous use was for personal adornment only. Rather the most vocal demand was for sewing machines. Strategies were developed to use both these skills to mobilise women in developing livelihood opportunities. In a group setting women are mobilised to produce beadwork bracelets, with the team leader given a sewing machine.

By promoting existing assets women are able to develop an importance for themselves and the skills they possess, which in turn cultivates self confidence and motivation for rebuilding one’s life.

Initialising Support Networks
Women are guided to form groups consisting of ten to twelve households. The woman offering a communal space to work in is identified as the team leader. The predefined groups of women meet and work from their respective common gathering space. In this group environment women are able to engage with one another and offer communal support. In a sense these spaces become ‘support groups’ where activities are tackled together, women form relationships and provide the social support needed to overcome traumatic experiences.

Reviving Local Heritage: Supporting Local Arts and Crafts
The program promotes the revival of traditional arts and crafts by focusing on traditional beadwork, an activity practiced for generations in the area by women for women. The type of jewellery worn reflects the status of women and young girls. The most important of the jewellery pieces includes elaborately crafted necklaces, hand and finger lacy covers and bracelets. In an effort to strengthen local arts and crafts women are encouraged to not only revive their bead craft, but promote it at a national/international level by creating products appropriate for varied target markets. In order to retain authenticity and the spirit of ‘one of a kind’ products they are encouraged to use their traditional designs and colour combinations.

Maximising Use of Existing Resources and Minimising Costs
Strategies have been implemented to ensure that:
• existing resources are used to their maximum potential;
• expenditure is kept to a minimum and
• communities are supported to strengthen their existing infrastructure
One way this has been done is to identify women who can offer larger group spaces that are converted into the ‘craft centres’. Utilising existing spaces instead of sourcing new locations has four specific project benefits:
1) Funds that may have been used on constructing rooms to house the craft centres can now be directed to alternative project needs.
2) Traditionally women in the area have not earned an income, worked or spent time out of their own home environment. The location of the craft centres within another woman’s house, in close proximity to their own, will help women to feel more comfortable and at ease, as opposed to working from a foreign independent locality.
3) Historically and culturally women in the area have undertaken day to day activities from the home. Working in a communal environment close to home with other women may ease concerns or oppositions from the male community. This in turn may encourage the community as a whole to show support for the program.
4) The number of craft centres can grow organically and as required as more women get involved in the program.

The NKCC program has proven to be successful in supporting women to overcome trauma, as well as developing pathways to livelihoods. Operations are carried out from the project tent office at Kodar Bala. Design, sorting and packaging is carried out at Heritage Foundation’s head office in Karachi. Products have been promoted nationally and internationally through Nokia and Heritage Foundation friends. Currently all products are purchased by the program and extended networks are being established to market the products.

Growing no. of Craft Centres
Five craft centres were mobilised in mid June 2006, which produced 12 bracelets in the first two weeks. By mid December 2006, 17 craft centres were in operation, having produced up to 800 bracelets. The number of craft centres grew to 55 with rapid increase in production of jewellery items. Almost 500 women became engaged in the program, collectively producing over 5000 bracelets per month. The cultural and geographical considerations taken in locating craft centres within another home environment and in close proximity to women’s homes allows women to establish more centres quickly and efficiently when required.

Empowerment of Women
The program has been successful in engaging women in a productive activity. Women come together in a communal setting, revive their traditional arts and crafts while earning an income for the first time in their lives. This, collectively, has raised women’s confidence and self esteem. As a result men in the community have also valued the program and women’s roles in the community have been elevated. The program has also inspired men in the area to get involved in productive community participation activities.

Expanding Product Range
The success of the NKCC’s initial product the ‘Destiny Bracelet’ has led to an expanded product range: the ‘Destiny Bead Collection’. The collection includes beaded napkin rings, bangles, cell phone pouches, cell phone pendants, candle stands, key chains and spectacle holders. The continual development of the product range will ensure that items respond to current trends thereby making them more market friendly. Product evolution also helps women to further develop their bead working skills thereby constantly building women’s capacity and opening doors for alternate programs.

October 2007

Report on Work from November 2005 to October 2007

Soon after the Great Earthquake October 2005 Heritage Foundation (HF), through its community and youth outreach arm KaravanPakistan organized a team of volunteers to guide construction of self-built improved vernacular houses, popularly known as the KaravanGhar. Architects and student volunteers hailed from the Glasgow School of Architecture (UK), Ireland, American University at Sharjah (AUS), LSU in USA, Iran and Australia internationally, and from Karachi U, UET Abbottabad, Hyderabad & NCA Lahore, nationally.

The KaravanGhar was built by salvaging stone and wood from the debris while lime, steel mesh and g.i. sheets were provided through the generosity of individual and corporate donors and UNDP. The programme was carried out in 75 remote and dispersed villages of the Siran Valley, Mansehra, NWFP, completing almost 1200 units by March 2006, including 100 units with Nokia funding. The KaravanGhar methodology was utilized by the Japanese NGO Nicco, to build 350 units in Chikar, AJK.

HF-NOKIA Partnership: Heritage for Development & Poverty Alleviation

HF-NOKIA Partnership for rehabilitation and regeneration of affected communities was undertaken in April 2007 in Kodar and Jabbar cluster of villages. The objective was to restore pride and self esteem and reestablish a spirit of self reliance.

Primary Schools

3 primary schools were taken up in Kodar and Jabbar with Nokia funding, and 2 schools in Haier Paien and Aahl with PSO funding. The structures utilize improved vernacular techniques for seismic resistance. The utilization of local materials and labour has helped in developing a sense of ownership.

Mountain Pathways & Reforestation

Several mountain pathways, measuring over 7 kilometers, have been constructed in the mountainous terrain in collaboration with the communities in Kodar and Jabbar villages, through an arrangement where 2/3 are paid while 1/3 are community volunteers. Additionally, 15,000 pine saplings have been planted in Kodar during August 2007. Another 100,000 saplings are planned for Spring 2008.

Arts for Women and Children

Extensive creative workshops have been held with several hundred children since April 2006 by students and faculty of NCA and AUS, as trauma and confidence-building therapy. The 5’ high Destiny Mural by children and women is over 1,000 feet long.

Nokia-Karavan Craft Centres

From February to May 2006, a Catalogue of Heritage Assets of the Siran Valley was prepared. Among the most prominent and striking women’s crafts was found to be bead-making. In May 2006, the first-ever women’s gathering in Kodar, attended by over 150 women, helped crystallize the program of craft centres.

The low-cost craft centres were begun by forming committees of 8-10 women. In order to retain authenticity and the spirit of ‘one –of-a-kind’ they are encouraged to use their traditional designs and colour combinations. All the products are purchased by the Nokia-Karavan programme. Beginning with five craft centres in mid- June 2006 and 12 bracelets in the first fortnight, today there are 55 centres at dispersed hilltops involving close to 500 women, with a production of 5,000 ‘Destiny Bracelets’ per month. The program is being carried out from the Project camp office at Kodar Bala. Design, sorting and packaging is carried out at HFP head office, Karachi. So far sales are being promoted through Nokia and HFP friends. 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into the program. Further linkages are essential to meet the exponential rise in production.

Future Programme

The difficult task of establishing outreach in the dispersed communities has been achieved. Programs are being developed to assist in the well being and welfare of women and children through workshops on health and hygiene, and construction of household kitchens and latrines as well as nucleus houses for vulnerable groups.



Reports have been written regarding the progress in the earthquake area. These reports provide details of the activities that have been undertaken from time to time.