Back to Projects
Swabi SCRAP Project, 1996-2000
The 7-year long Swabi SCARP (Salinity Control And Rehabilitation Project)
project concluded in September 2002. Launched by the Government of NWFP,
the Project was intended to upgrade and strengthen the Upper Swat Canal
System. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Swiss Agency for
Development & Cooperation (SDC) provided technical and financial
assistance.The Project area covered the Districts of Mardan (31,781
hectares/40%), Charsaddah (26,923 hectares /34%), Swabi (15,871
hectares/20%) and Malakand Agency (4,777 hectares/6%). The Project
focussed on those areas that draw water from the Upper Swat Canal system.
The Project’s engineering purpose was to establish a drainage system for
waterlogged areas and to improve water availability to farmers by
providing additional water and controlling water losses. Two major
engineering initiatives were required: (1) the conversion (i.e. upgrading)
of watercourses into Minors and (2) watercourse renovation. At the start
of the ADC project it was intended that watercourses with a Cultivatable
Command Area of 268 acres or more would be converted (i.e. upgraded) into
Minors. Each existing watercourse was to be divided into two or more
watercourses, with the area fed by each watercourse, and the route and
length of the Minor, depending on four factors: the discharge of the
resultant watercourse, geographical constraints, farmers’ preferences and
the availability of funds. In all, a total of 95 watercourses were
converted to Minors.
The aim of the ADC was to make the development of the area a participatory
process and to improve the economic standing and the quality of life of
local men and women.
ADC was mandated to renovate 1,188 watercourses according to their
remodelled discharge. The ADC was executed by a number of Agencies.
On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) was responsible for reducing watercourse
operational losses by lining critical sections, improving earthen
watercourses and installing water-control structures. As a civil-society
organisation, NRSP was mandated to ensure that its social mobilisation
methods were integrated into all of the community-focussed activities of
Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) were formed to be involved in watercourse
remodelling and in renovation activities, including survey-design
preparation and implementation of civil works with technical guidance from
OFWM. The role of the Agriculture Extension Department was to improve
farming and water use practices through demonstrations, communications and
facilitating activities. New techniques and technologies were introduced
to improve agricultural production in relation to the increased water
Although community participation was a lengthy process, it had the
advantage of long-term sustainability and community ‘ownership’ of the
work. Out of 933 WUAs formed through this participatory approach, 903 WUAs
signed Terms of Partnership agreements for watercourse remodelling and 903
watercourse renovation schemes were completed in the allotted seven years.
NRSP’s role was to implement and support the social mobilization and
organization activities required under the ADC. Thus NRSP was responsible
Organising and motivating community members to form Water Users
Associations (WUAs), Community Organizations (COs), and Women’s
Motivating and facilitating WUAs to remodel their watercourse with the
technical help of OFWM.|
Training men and women in managerial, natural resource management and
vocational skills. |
Motivating and guiding WUA members to adopt improved technologies and
benefit from different program activities carried out in collaboration
with Agriculture Extension.|
Supporting the Department of irrigation by ensuring community
participation in their campaign of up-grading watercourses and
converting water courses into Minors.|
Facilitating and organizing rural women in the project area, so as to
incorporate their concerns into the process of watercourse renovation
and to help improve their skills.
Helping to create linkages between these community based organisations
and relevant government and non-governmental institutions and line
agencies working in the project area.|
Supporting linkages between community members and rural micro-finance
The philosophy behind the WUA and CO formation was the same but NRSP
Mardan adopted an approach for WUA formation based on the WUA Act 1981,
whereby only water users/irrigators (owner, tenants, share croppers) on
one watercourse could form WUAs. Women formed Women’s Organisations (WOs).
The Project’s ‘women’s component’ was initiated in mid-1995 with the onset
of the ADC. Three women Social Organizers were employed to organize women
in the Project area into Women’s Organizations (WOs). Experienced women
SOs from other NRSP programme areas helped to train freshly recruited
staff in Mardan.
Although it was very difficult to overcome the initial resistance to women
forming WOs, eventually 5,095 women formed 254 WOs. The WOs were formed
around the WUAs to include women’s concerns and to provide women with
development opportunities. Women Social Organizers contacted 711 women at
different watercourse renovation locations, noting women’s concerns about
watercourses being renovated alongside their houses. Women identified the
need for concrete ‘washing pads’ at 492 locations. Of these, 328 were
Five WO members were elected as Lady Councillors in the local body
elections in 2001. All are well versed in Community Management skills. As
Councillors they are well placed to highlight issues pertaining to women,
in Government forums.
Training Inputs The need for a
comprehensive approach to participatory community development within the
ADC framework meant that staff training was essential to the success of
all levels of the project. NRSP arranged a series of Participatory Rural
Appraisal (PRA) awareness-raising and training sessions for all the ADC
field level and management staff. Community participation, conflict
resolution, effective presentation and efforts to adopt a gender balance
were the major themes. A tiered approach to training enabled staff members
to independently design and conduct trainings specific to the project and
the communities in which they worked.
In the early years of the Project, Activist workshops and farmers’ days
dominated the community training. In the last five years the community
training programme was diversified, focussing in particular on watercourse
renovation and managerial skills for WUAs and WOs. During the final year
the focus was on sustainability and on subject-specific training.
Community Activist Action Plan (CAAP) and Advanced CMST sessions were held
for Activists, to enable them to manage the WUAs after the Project closed.
The women’s programme arranged regular CMST sessions: these were
successful in improving the WOs’ performance. Over the lifetime of the
Project 936 training sessions were held: these included managerial
training, NRM training, activist workshops, social sector events, study
visits and vocational training programmes.
Over the Project’s lifetime, more men than women were trained, but it is a
sign of progress in this ‘traditional’ area that the Project was able to
encourage 7,565 (34.7%) women and 14215 (65.3%) men to take part in a
NRSP held a series of vocational skills training courses for unemployed
and under-employed community members. Men learned to be plumbers, building
electricians, and welders, in the course of lengthy training programmes.
Women learned tailoring, dupatta dyeing and detergent powder making. Once
they had acquired these skills and established themselves as employees or
independent entrepreneurs, many men were able to increase their incomes.
For the most part, women attended one-day events held within the village
because of the mobility constraints they faced. Some women who attained
tailoring courses have now started their own businesses. ,
Natural Resource Management Inputs
Until the last year of the Project, many farmers were involved in costly
and complicated disputes over water. The lack of sufficient water meant
that farmers were unable to grow maize after tobacco or wheat, and sowed
maize only when they could expect rainfall. Some farmers did not cultivate
their lands during the Kharif season but are now able to grow maize every
year without waiting for rain.
At the outset the Project focused mainly on demonstrating how to grow
wheat, maize, sugarcane, sunflower and canola. After conducting situation
analyses and consulting participants, ADC developed annual plans.
Interventions then became more diversified and different production and
replication possibilities were tested. During the last four years,
fertilizer and varietal trials were conducted on maize, wheat and
sugarcane. Because the availability of good quality seed has always been a
priority need of area farmers, seed multiplication plots were established
with WUAs, a practice conducted under the Farmer’s Support Unit (FSU).
NRM arranged poultry vaccination and livestock management courses
especially for WO members. Some of the women have established small-scale
poultry enterprises in their homes, producing high quality breeds of
layers and selling the eggs in nearby markets. Many women learned how to
increase their income by curtailing post-production losses. Many others
learned improved grain storage techniques and some utilised loans from the
ADC project to purchase grain storage bins.
Private sector tobacco companies and the Tobacco Board were intent on
teaching farmers how to produce, cure, store and market high quality
tobacco. Farmers throughout the Project area were extremely interested to
learn these techniques, given its high potential for profit. In some areas
tobacco has replaced sugarcane as the predominant cash crop.
FSU Formation All WUA members were
eligible to become members of the FSU, on payment of a fee of Rs 100. All
FSUs were registered under the Cooperative Act (1925). Members could also
buy up to 10 shares for investment in this enterprise, with the value of
each share fixed at Rs 500. The Department of AgriExtension formulated the
bylaws of the FSUs, in consultation with the farmers.
Ten FSUs were formed to meet the seed requirements. FSUs distributed the
seed from the research institutions for multiplication. For the first time
seed was given as a grant by ADC to the seed growers registered with the
FSUs. Seed growers signed agreements to sell the produce back to FSU,
thereby earning more than the prevailing market price. The seed was later
cleaned and graded to be sold to FSU members and other farmers. Member
farmers had the advantage of getting the seed on priority and at
comparatively low rates. The same strategy was also followed when FSUs
began to market seed, fertilizers and pesticides. A portion of the profit
collected through these activities was pooled back into the capital, while
the remainder was distributed according to the shares held by each farmer.
Farmers’ committees monitored the affairs of the FSU, having been trained
in the requisite skills such as accounting, seed production and cleaning.
The FSUs sold wheat, maize, sunflower and potato seed, as well as
fertilizer bags and pesticides.
Watercourse Maintenance NRSP motivated
the WUAS to prepare maintenance plans for the renovated watercourses. 903
of these maintenance plans were completed and WUA members have completed
“Watercourse Maintenance Training” courses. NRSP also undertook the social
mobilization campaign of the stakeholders on more than 120 Minors.
The lessons learnt are summarised here for future guidance, especially for
projects of similar nature.
Adequate preliminary information about watercourses, their discharge,
warabandi and number of irrigators etc. should be available before the
Cooperation Management, vertical and horizontal, always brings
Harmony and tolerance at all levels, including PMU implementers.|
Decentralisation is the key for managing large projects.|
Project objectives must be supreme for all the individuals working in
Commitment is required at all levels of the project.|
Capacity building of staff and community through trainings is a must.|
Developing committed leadership skills amongst communities/beneficiaries
also playa a vital role in making projects successful.|
Forums at all hierarchical levels are necessary to incorporate changes
in policy and procedure formulation.|
All stakeholder i.e. donors implementers, and beneficiaries must be
involved in policy and procedure formulation.|
Simplified procedures always result in efficient outputs.|
Projection is essential for favourable responses from all actors in the
Transparency is required in all decisions and processes.|
Consistent policies will help to improve the efficiency of the project.|
Development of a common understanding amongst all actors is necessary so
as to prevent delays and failures.|
Team spirit helps achieve co-ordination and a high quality output.|
Monitoring and facilitation by competent and resourceful outsiders helps
to keep Project activities on the right track.
Micro Credit The scale of credit
activities is very small compared to the number of COs. The Micro Credit
program was expanded in 1998-99 and 1999-2001, largely because of the
growth in the women’s programme. Credit for agri-inputs, particularly for
growing tobacco, and for enterprise development, was the farmers’ major
requirement. Total loan disbursement stood at Rs.34, 571,418 of which
Rs.28, 433,418 was disbursed to men and Rs.6138000 to women.
Disbursement grew uniformly in the case of agri-inputs, and increased
significantly for livestock in 1998-99, mainly because of the expansion of
the women’s programme. For farmers, agri-inputs remain the major
requirement. Field unit areas with high tobacco crops had the highest
disbursement, as tobacco is a highly lucrative cash crop. Total loan
disbursement stands at Rs.34, 571,418 of which Rs.28, 433,418 was
disbursed to men and Rs. 6,138,000 to women.
Project Completion A team of private
consultants and representatives of the ADB jointly visited the Project
staff and farmers from May 6-9, 2003. This took place almost a year after
the Project completion. The visitors assessed the quality and quantity of
the tangible and intangible targets achieved by the Project. The farmer
were of the opinion that the Project had been a success in mobilising
farmers and women to fully benefit from Project objectives. It has also
provided them with the opportunity to remain organised and to gain
benefits from other Projects. They noted that the Project had contributed
greatly to raising their household incomes. On the question of the
sustainability of the WUAs, they said that watercourse maintenance is
still effectively being carried out; farmers are still FSU members and
they are actively participating as organisations with NRSP-PPAF,
KhushaliBank, MRDP, SWSS, IRDP and pilot projects for raising Distributory
The work was also appreciated by the ADB representatives in a meeting of
the Project Review Board. In the meeting the Mission also spoke very well
of the effective credit programme NRSP was running on its own in the
Project area for the irrigators of the upper Swat canal system. The
Mission was so impressed with the performance of NRSP that they issued an
Addendum to the contractual agreement, thereby including credit activities
in the Project’s mandate (although it was not originally in the Project
design). They considered that after the remodelling of the watercourses,
credit was the only activity that could keep the WUAs intact on a