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Plan extends cash-for-work scheme for Pakistan flood survivors

17 August 2011: Plan is extending its cash-for-work schemes to reach another nearly 2,300 survivors of Pakistan's floods, by paying them to restore vital infrastructure damaged in last year's disaster.

Plan supported the establishment of cash-for-work schemes, paying people affected by the floods to carry out work on public infrastructure

Plan supported the establishment of cash-for-work schemes, paying people affected by the floods to carry out work on public infrastructure

Work for more than 3,500 affected labourers

After nearly a dozen successful completed projects, fifteen more are in the planning process, and another five are already under way, providing employment for a further 2,300 people across the worst-affected areas in the southern districts of Punjab and Sindh.

The beneficiaries are mostly landless labourers who lost their livelihoods when the floods wiped out the crops across a fifth of the country last July. The International Labour Organization estimated more than 5.3 million jobs were lost, in the agricultural and other sectors.

As of August 2011, Plan and its local partners have already completed 11 schemes involving 1,239 workers in the area, providing much-needed employment as well as repairing and improving the infrastructure.

Providing income, restoring infrastructure

The programme pays workers 300 to 600 rupees per day, depending on their skill level, to clear drainage canals, repair roads and bridges, and upgrade raised flood refuge platforms. The improved infrastructure from the 11 completed projects has benefited the communities of 37,575 residents so far.

Dignity and independence

Sardar Bibi earned 300 rupees per day for a month, more than the average wage, helping to build an access road between two villages near the site of the breach in the Abbasswala Bund, or Dyke, which flooded hundreds of square kilometres. Thanks to the project, implemented by Plan and local partner the Doaba Foundation, she says she has managed to provide for her four children, put aside wheat for the next 12 months, and pay for her ailing husband's medical treatment as well. “More importantly, it gave me a dignified way to support my family,” she said.

Improving future opportunities

In a nearby village, Shamim Bibi was recruited by a Plan partner to help clear a silted drainage canal and restore cropland. Bibi is an honorific, the women are not related.

The 30-year-old single mother said she has been able to buy animal feed and grain for a whole year, with the first money she ever earned for herself. Her relations with her brothers, who used to support her, have also improved. “Life has never been better,” she said.

Like Sardar, she says she has also managed to save money for her children's eduction. “My son can go to school now,” she said, adding that she hoped he would not be a labourer like her.