Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Welcome to Saiban's web home.
Description of housing product/service offering: Since 1992 Siaban has been providing housing solutions to low-income and marginalized populations. The urban centres of Pakistan are bursting at the seams due to mass migrations from rural areas. Rural poor come to the cities in search of jobs. Not having access to affordable housing, these people become part of the illegal settlements through the informal sector. The squatter settlements no doubt solve the problem tempararily but leaves the low-income populations vulnderable to various forms of exploitation. With years of research, Saiban has provided various models of development for populations earning around Rs. 7000 (US$100) a month. The models we utilize are unconventional in the field of housing development. In normal practice the cycle is as follows: 1)land purchse, 2) infrastructure development, 3) housing construction, 4) residents. In our models we utilize the following segnence: 1) land purchase, 2) residents, 3) housing, 4) infrastructure development. The process we utilize automatically allows our target populations to afford the product in easy installments and provides them the realization of a life-long dream: legal title of a piece of land. Once on the land, they begin to slowly build their homes. With the minimal monthly payments, we begin to develop the infrastructure of the entire housing scheme: first water, sewerage,disposal, then electrcity, gas, paved roads. As this process continues, our social mobilization units come into action. They liaise with other NGOs and businesses to establish schools, hospitals, family planning services, micro-finance facilities, etc to help facilitate the development of a viable and viabrant community.
Description of innovation: As you read through the various sections, you will come to see that our products and services differ from the existing programs for providing housing to the poor. First and foremost, we rake a macro-approach to the housing problem and do not focus on one area. We start with the basic right of every person to have shelter and convert it into a realisable dream. It is our screening proces, our financing mechanism, our low-cost construction advice to new homeowners, our social mobilization teams and socail support network-- and much more, that gives the 'incremental developmental housing project' its distinctive features.
Reaching the target groups: Land prices are extremely high in our urban centers. When a housing scheme is initially announced, speculators and investors tend to purchase the plots in bulk. These investors hold onto the plots untill the values increase two-and three folds. The result is that low-income groups are always left out and large areas of land remain undeveloped for decades. We, at Saiban, have developed a four step filtration system to ensure that the target market is being reached. The first step is an appraisal form; the second step is a pre-screening verification done by one of our employees. The third step is a reception area on our site: the applicant is required to come and live in a 10'*10' unfinished room with his/her entire family and all of the belongings for a period of 7-15 days. Once this step test is passed, the family is handed-over physical posession of a 80sq.yds plot where they must start living within a period of 45 days. The fourth step of the filtration process is that the individual will not be given full title for a period of 3-5 years and must keep that as his/her primary residence for that period. These steps have proven successful in allowing us to continually benefit low-income groups.
GRE-319 (2-B) Britto Road
Garden East
Phone: +92-21-2259049, +92-21-2259772
Fax: +92-21-2259049
Email: saiban_project@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

About the Founder

Tasneem Ahmed Siddiqui: The slums of modern Karachi, known as katchi abadis, began as the shanty towns of Muslim Indian refugees to Pakistan at the time of Partition. They swelled in the 1950s as rural folk sought jobs in Karachi’s burgeoning industries and swelled again when civil war overtook East Pakistan in 1971.
These spontaneous settlements of the uprooted poor grew with such speed that they wholly outstripped the government’s attempts to control them, flooding the city center and forming hundreds of illegal "colonies" on its periphery. In them, the striving poor lived in squalor, without titles, without services, without sewers and drains and water mains. They still do, in more than five hundred katchi abadis. In them live 40 percent of Karachi’s population: four million people!Addressing this reality in 1972, the government of Pakistan declared that katchi abadis should be legally acknowledged (or "regularized") and integrated into the city proper with infrastructure and services. But for many years thereafter little was accomplished. Urban councils failed at the task and so, too, did the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority, or SKAA, which the government established in 1987 to address the squatter problem in Sindh Province. But when Tasneem Ahmed Siddiqui became director general of SKAA in 1991, things changed. As a trainee at Pakistan’s Civil Service Academy, Siddiqui met Akhter Hameed Khan. The young Siddiqui imbibed Khan’s moral passion to alleviate poverty and also his community-building approach towards doing so. Later, as director general of the Hyderabad Development Authority, Siddiqui designed Khuda-ki-Basti, a housing project for the urban poor that imitated the way illegal squatters actually build their neighborhoods. Rejecting the stereotype of the poor as freeloaders and criminals, he saw the katchi abadis as centers of dynamism whose occupants were both industrious and resourceful. Projects like Khuda-ki-Basti succeed, he says, because they tap the "poor’s huge potential for finding solutions to their own problems." At SKAA, Siddiqui cut through mounds of red tape to make it easier for katchi abadis to be regularized. He wrested control of the lease-assigning process from sluggish local councils and streamlined it, thereby giving slum residents swift security of tenure and making SKAA self-financing. He utilized practical low-cost technologies for SKAA infrastructure projects, weeding out corrupt contractors and reducing costs. He worked closely with the Orangi Pilot Project and NGOs to improve SKAA’s engagement with the communities and to enhance social services such as health care, family planning, credit, and education. Critically, Siddiqui and his staff established a working rapport with the katchi abadi dwellers themselves. They now install and pay for their own water and sewerage systems, maintain SKAA-built storm drains, coordinate the neighborhood leasing process, and collaborate with SKAA and NGOs to introduce the social services they most need. As active partners in upgrading their own neighborhoods, they are the key to the program’s sustainability.Despite Siddiqui’s fast-track approach, the process is painstaking and slow. Many katchi abadis remain beyond the benevolent reach of SKAA’s small staff of 175. However, in hundreds of Karachi’s poorest neighborhoods, a quiet transformation has been set in motion. Siddiqui himself was transferred in and out of the agency. He retired from the Pakistan Civil Services in 2005 at the age of 65. As a long-time reformer, he has been stung by smear campaigns and bureaucratic reprisals. About this and about the magnitude of the task his agency faces daily, he says, "I am a realist." And adds, "And an optimist." In electing Tasneem Ahmed Siddiqui to receive the 1999 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the awrad's board of trustees recognized his demonstrating that a committed government agency working in partnership with NGOs and with the poor themselves can turn the tide against Pakistan’s crippling shelter crisis.