After experiencing devastation from the military operations of 2009, swiftly followed by floods in 2010, the village of Shin in Swat district, Pakistan received little assistance to help rebuild its infrastructure. The small settlement faced a number of problems, such as the poor condition of the link road which led to poor school attendance, difficulty in transporting farm produce to markets, and taking patients to hospital.
With financial assistance from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), UNDP implemented the rehabilitation of Ziarat link road in Shin in 2016. Today, a smooth, new road starts from the centre of Shin, passes through various hamlets up to the main road, connecting the local people to the market and basic social services.
UNDP also supported the rehabilitation of the Shin village high street. As a result, women, children, the elderly and physically challenged persons can pass through it easily for their daily activities.
Karimullah, a local farmer, says, “Before its rehabilitation, the pathway was muddy, rough and too narrow for large cargo vehicles to pass through. I had to transport agricultural products on donkey carts up to the main road from where the bags were unloaded and reloaded onto a lorry and taken to the market. In addition to easy and timely transportation, the link road has also reduced transportation costs.”
Karimullah is a member of the project oversight committee consisting of elected village council and community members. The committee members were trained by UNDP to oversee and monitor the civil works, thus enhancing transparency and accountability and ensuring communal ownership.
“The quality of work done is beyond our expectations,” says Karimullah. “The people of Shin village have benefitted immensely from this scheme, including farmers, women, children and elders.”
The people of Shin village are delighted with the indirect benefits of the new road. Proper drainage and concrete surfacing mean that water no longer stands in front of houses. Children now play outside in a clean, healthy and safe environment and commute to school through a well-constructed street without being exposed to unhygienic stagnant water.
The road also leads to a mosque and cemetery. The local people, elders and physically challenged can now easily walk to the mosque to say their daily prayers. The streets even remain clear on rainy days.
The Shin village link road is one of 761 community infrastructure schemes rehabilitated by UNDP’s Community Resilience Malakand project financially supported by SFD. The two have contributed to better living standards for over one million people in areas affected by insecurity and flooding.