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Upper Siran Human and Natural Resource Development Project






Project Title: Upper Siran Human and Natural Resource Development Project (HNRDP)

Duration of Project: 3 Years (March 2004-June 2007)

Funded By: Austrian Development Agency (ADA) through EcoHimal

Summary and overall assessment

Haashar Association has implemented the HNRDP project with the financial support of Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with the technical assistance of ECOHIMAL of Austria, between March 2004 and June 2007. Actual implementation of field operations was started in June 2004. Up to October 2005 activities were implemented according to plan and in line with budget allocations.

The earthquake catastrophe of 8th of October 2005 hit the Upper Siran Valley – located in the epi-center – severely and caused about 95% damage to the physical infrastructure including homesteads, roads, terraces, water piped schemes, animals, etc.  Thousands of people perished in the debris or were heavily injured. Project activities came to a complete standstill and could only be gradually restarted towards the end of 2006. Due to its role as a functional NGO operating in the area Haashar Association became a key player in the immediate rescue operations and continued to focus work on relief and rehabilitation thereafter. Thus Haashar had been forced by the earthquake to expand institutionally and volume-wise far beyond its originally laid down scope of operations almost overnight. This was a tremendous challenge which Haashar has been able to cope with successfully. Since early 2006 Haashar was also commissioned with the implementation of the Upper Siran Rehabilitation Project (REHAB) financed by ADA. This project mainly concentrating on the reconstruction of destroyed stables and the replenishment of buffaloes is also operating in the HNRDP area in Upper Siran Valley.

Both the implementation of HNRDP and the massive engagement during earthquake relief operations has made Haashar a credible partner for communities as well as donors. Gradually Haashar has resumed its original activities geared towards sustainable resource management and livelihood improvement. The key objective of the project namely to enhance the capacities and capabilities of both the Haashar Association and community based institutions (CBOs) has been achieved. However, a number of interventions planned in the field of sustainable natural resource management and activities for the reduction of poverty could not be completed or could not be started (eco tourism, micro credit schemes). Performance of Haashar so far and its credibility both with communities and donors have been encouraging. While the Government of Austria is regrettably withdrawing its aid program for Pakistan altogether, other donors already cooperating with Haashar are likely to extend livelihood programmes to the HNRDP areas.


Overall Goal: “Protective and Productive functions of forests and other natural resources are sustainably secured for the livelihood of the rural population-comprising females and males likewise in the mountainous areas of Siran in Mansehra District, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Pakistan”.

Project Purpose: “Capacities and capabilities of Haashar Association are sustainably enhanced towards facilitating community based organizations (CBOs) for male and female villagers, securing improved livelihood of villagers through sustainable and participatory Natural Resource Management (NRM) and socio-economic development in the Methal, Nikki Mohri and Bantoder areas of Upper Siran”.

Achievements: Overall Haashar has been able to strengthen its capabilities and capacities both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, due to the earthquake the impact in regard to the objectives of sustained NRM and sustained livelihood based on enhanced local production and productivity in agriculture and livestock remained lower than planned.  On the other hand due to the effective and efficient assistance after the earthquake, Haashar is now seen as a leading development organization in the project area. Haashar’s engagement, its participatory and process oriented approach is widely accepted by the people and is likely to bear fruits in future. In contrast most governmental institutions have further lost reputation due to lack of means, low competence and non-visibility on the remote hillsides.

Project Results (as defined in the project log frame)

Result 1: “Capacities and capabilities of NGO Haashar as a planning and support agency for participatory and gender oriented Human and Natural Resource Management programs are sustainably   enhanced”.

Achievements: Capacities and capabilities of Haashar have been upgraded considerably. Haashar is now a well reputed NGO in the field of human and natural resource management in the Hazara Region and in NWFP. Due to challenges and opportunities coming up in the course of the earthquake its number of staff increased from about 12 in 2004 to more than 80 in 2007. Accordingly the number of projects sponsored from more than 10 donors increased dramatically. Consequently, it is still a great challenge to cope with such unexpected and fast expansion. However, in view of encouraging efforts being made by Haashar management to foster consolidation, sustained institutional functioning may be expected in the years to come, provided donors can be identified also in future.

Result 2:Institutional capacities and capabilities of community based development organizations are increased”

Achievements: Promotion of local community based institutions was focused on JFM committees and women groups. Mainly due to the vested interests of the Forest Department, negotiations were once and again delayed and obstructed. owever, However, JFMCs are still alive and are being effectively supported by Haashar in handling their affairs independently at various levels. The number of women groups has quadruplicated from 4 to 12 during the project and in the context of earthquake relief operations new opportunities have come up for women to handle their affairs on their own.

JFM Committees and other village based CBOs have continued to function, even when confronted with at times unfair counteraction of the forest department and other interest holders. In this context it is a pity that the “Devolution of Power” launched by the government in 2000 got stuck and was not able to overcome feudal structures prevailing in the Pakistani society and in the political and administrative structures in particular. Other attempts to struggle for bottom up policies will have to come and are likely to come in view of deteriorating living conditions for increasing segments of the rural and urban society.

Despite the earthquake Haashar managed to maintain solid communication with the forest department and the political institutions of NWFP and the federal government. Various minutes of understanding were signed and are pending implementation. There is a growing unrest among the public about the delaying tactics of government institutions. Consistent resistance and constructive negotiations have to be continued also in future. E.g. in the course of the UNDP sponsored Biodiversity Project Haashar managed to establish excellent relationships with the Wild Life Department which fully supports the participatory approach in natural resource management.

Support of women has been pursued by Haashar as far as possible. As an aftermath of earthquake, the enormous work done by National and International NGOs has diminished the impacts of rigid traditional values by enhanced involvement of women in the course of earthquake relief programmes.

Result 3: “Social and income generating activities for males and females reducing poverty and pressure on natural resources are tested and implemented”

Achievements: A number of activities devised to reduce poverty and pressure on natural resources have successfully been launched since 2004. Albeit, many of them had to be suspended, first of all due to the need to secure survival of the people in view of winter approaching. Due to the efforts of Haashar and contrary to experience made in other areas such as Azad Kashmir, few persons have left the villages or died because of starvation and injuries in the Siran Valley. Thus people mostly stayed on uphill and were able to avoid the boring life in the mass camps of the valleys.

The explicit “demanding” attitude of the local people after the Earthquake disaster was a phenomenon to be expected in such extreme situation. Nevertheless Haashar trained JFMC’s and local WO’s demonstrated their maturity in the implementation of huge programmes of infrastructure rehabilitation, reconstruction of cattle houses, restocking of livestock and the like. These programmes were completed in a transparent manner unlike other relief NGO’s which faced considerable wrath of local communities and media. Under the new era of general acceptance for NGO’s, Haashar is under immense pressure now to expand its programmes to other locations in the Siran areas. Haashar is looking for donors and partners to implement such projects in these areas.


Activities Accomplished:


  1. 1.      Social Organization
  • Monthly meetings of the JFMC’s were scheduled regularly and ongoing guidance provided for office bearers and members.
  • 12 Women organizations represented by 660 members were established. Their meetings were scheduled and savings were started in 11 Women Organizations.
  • Meetings were facilitated with the JFMC’s and the Forest Department for holding annual elections of the committees and discussing matters arising such as the issue of permits, extension of JFM Plans or the handling of forest offenders.
  • Support was provided to the local JFMC’s, Women Organizations, Nature Club (Teachers/Students forum) and Community Wildlife Guards etc. for strengthening their capacities through regular scheduled meetings on monthly and weekly basis.
  • Efforts were made by Haashar for coordinated implementation of various interventions by different NGO/agencies by raising working groups like District Coordination Group and District Livelihood Working Group. The District Coordination Group meetings are held on monthly basis while District Livelihood Working Group meets fortnightly and Haashar is an active member of such forums.
  1. 2.      Infrastructure
  • Facilitated communities for
    • Rehabilitation of Drinking Water Supply Scheme of Village Bandhoder, benefiting 100 households
    • Rehabilitation of Water Supply Scheme of Village Methal, benefiting 120 households
    • Repair and Extension of Rural Access Road Methal to Village Nikki Mohri that benefited six villages in extremely difficult terrain. More than 2000 community members benefited from this intervention.
  • An irrigation Channel was completed in village Nikki Mohri (Hafizabad) through tripartite collaboration of Haashar, Water Management Dept. and local community organization. A total of 75 families are benefiting from the intervention.  
  • A drinking water supply scheme for village Dagra was completed through active participation of Dagra community that is benefiting about 70 families.
  1. 3.      Natural Resource Management
  • Demonstrations for improved crop husbandry with 29 progressive farmers of the area. Plots of wheat, brassica, vicia (vetches) and oats were planted  on 7 acres of land that showed satisfactory results and intervention was replicated to other areas as well.
  • 2 Field days were organized in collaboration with Agricultural Department to evaluate trial demonstrations of various agricultural interventions.
  • Establishment of six fruit plant nurseries in three villages. Two fruit plant nurseries have shown remarkable results and are ready to supply about 500 fruit saplings for 2007-08 planting season.
  • Establishment of two medicinal plant nurseries successfully demonstrated in situ and conservation demonstration of seven local medicinal plants.
  • 135 plants of Ipple – Ipple (lucerne) were distributed for improved and increased fodder production among women farmers. In addition 750 mot – grass roots were distributed among the women farmers.
  • Two field days were organized in the field to demonstrate de-worming and vaccination of large animals in September 2005.
  • Establishment of 200 Kitchen Gardens in through 12 women organizations in order to improve nutrition by the production of vegetables.
  1. 4.      Training

4.1 Community Training

  • Three days training of Joint Forest Management Committees on participatory forests and natural resource management in collaboration with Palas Conservation and Development Project(Kohistan).
  • Training of JFMCs in developing mechanism for saving schemes and the utilization of community savings.
  • Training of 28 selected local teachers and students for constituting Nature Clubs on environmental education. Training resulted in development of an action plan.
  • The Nature Club facilitated by two staff members was exposed to other Nature Clubs established by WWF Pakistan in District Swat of NWFP.
  • 25 community members were imparted three days in depth training on livestock management techniques adapted to the hillside conditions in the Siran areas.
  • 16 selected community members were imparted 7 days training in livestock management techniques. Objective of the training was to develop local expertise available at the local level for the promotion of village para-professionals.

4.2 Staff Training

  • Training in savings and internal loaning participated by 8 staff members.
  • Training of staff members in documentation and the development of uniform documents. 50 staff members of Haashar Association participated.
  • Training of 8 support staff members in elaborating “office protocols”.
  • Training of 12 staff drivers in “safe driving and first aid techniques”

4.3 Training outside Pakistan

  • Few staff members of Haashar attended training abroad. Chief Executive of Haashar attended one-month training course on Environmental Leadership Program organized and financed by the University of California at Berkeley from June 21 to July 17, 2005.
  • Poultry Development Officer attended one-month training course on Sustainable Agriculture from ANGOC Philippines from 7th to 25th of November 2005.
  • The Project Manager HNRDP attended a three days Regional Conservation Forum at Khatmandu Nepal organized by IUCN in 2007.
  1. 5.      Savings/Development Funds
  • Establishment of Village Conservation and Development Fund/Community Savings through levying Rs.5/- per household per month. Total cumulative savings of JFMCs amount to Rs.72000 to date.
  1. 6.      Image Building
  • 2 staff members participated in a three days training on “Advocacy Strategies” organized by Sungi Development Foundation Abbottabad in November 2004.
  • Three days training of staff members on “Gender and Development” at National Council of Rural Development. Two staff members participated.
  • Consistent contact with local media to get due coverage in English and Urdu newspapers.
  • Publication of handouts, brochures, annual reports and updating Haashar’s website on regular basis.
  • Haashar regularly attended meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences of various NGOs, projects and public sector entities in order to share experience and to secure synergies.
  • Similarly many representatives of international and national organizations and projects like WWF, Heifer International, Community Based Resource Management Project, Barani Area Development Project, Palas Conservation and Development Project etc. visited Haashar Association.


  1. 7.      Institution Building
  • Regular meetings of various bodies of Haashar such as Board of Governors (BoG), Steering Committee and the Haashar Management Team (HMT) were held in order to guide staff in policy matters, to streamline implementation of projects and to closely monitor implementation of projects and to extend advice/support whenever needed.
  • In view of programmatic and geographic expansion of Haashar after the earthquake, two field offices, one in Dadar for Siran valley and other in Batal for the neighboring Konsh Valley were established. The head office of Haashar was shifted to Ghazikot Township in Mansehra in order to get closer contact with other NGO’s, INGO’s and other institutions relevant for development.
  1. 8.      Women Programs
  • Gender empowerment and development was given special attention in view of recommendations of ADA and Ecohimal missions.
  • A comprehensive training programme addressing issues which affect women lives in the project area has been elaborated in collaboration with Resource Center for Development Alternatives (RCDA). Following trainings have so far been imparted:
    • Two days training on local treatment of diarrhea to the Women of village Methal attended by 43 women.
    • Two days training on local treatment of diarrhea to the women of village Bandhoder and Dagra attended by 59 women.
    • Three one-day trainings on institutional management to Women-CBOs of Gualkot, Balarein, Methal and Thamol attended by 128 women.
    • Training on reproductive health of women attended by 45 women.
  • Establishment of three sewing centers in Methal, Thamol and Hafizabad wherein a total of 83 women were trained. Duration of each training course was 3 months.
  • Establishment of a sewing center, thereby imparting three months training in Bandhodar for a group of 18 women.
  • Establishment of a sewing center – imparting three months training for a group of 40 women in Nikki Mohri.
  • To enhance sanitary condition in villages Haashar supported the construction of 49 latrines with the Women CBOs in Methal, Dongi Bak and Nanoor. Project provided seat & commode, one cement bag per latrine and PVC pipes for drainage. Inputs for one latrine cost about 1000 rupees. Whereas remaining costs incurred on labor for digging pits, stones and sand was borne by the community.
  • 17 female staff members were imparted training on safe motherhood, healthy Pregnancy and active childbirth. Numerous sessions were then held within communities.
  • In order to improve the fertility of soil 41 women members of CBOs were imparted one day training in compost making.
  • In order to improve fodder quality 31 village women from Bandhodar were imparted training in silage making.
  • 5 one day sessions on improved kitchen gardening techniques were held in five women organizations.
  • Haashar built capacities of three WOs(Women Organizations) in de-worming their large and small animals. Practical demonstrations were made for proper administering medicines to buffaloes, goats and cows, etc.
  1. 9.      Activities in the course of rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations after earthquake since October 8, 2005
  • In response to October 8, 2005 earthquake, Haashar retrieved 15 persons alive from debris, provided 39 trucks of relief goods and tents to the communities.
  • A total of 5200 winterized shelters were erected by Haashar volunteers in collaboration with GTZ, KfW, UN Habitat and individual donors from Germany, Austria and USA.
  • Staff of Haashar also remained busy in arranging medical camps to provide medical aid to the communities of the project area.
  • At the same time, donations from Austrian people were used for the purchase of warm cloths, shawls, gloves, warm jackets and shoes etc. for the women and children of village Bandhoder.
  • Likewise Haashar partnered with MISEREOR Germany for equipping the shelters in its project area with fuel-efficient stoves, quilts, latrines, bathrooms, cots and hygiene kits.

1o. Studies/Strategies

  • Study on analyzing situation and framing recommendations vis-à-vis Natural Resource Management in the context of agriculture, livestock and forestry was conducted and recommendations duly considered for further planning.
  • A study on gender empowerment and defining the role of women in development in local perspectives was conducted and recommendations incorporated in the project planning.
  • In view of post earthquake shift of development paradigm, Haashar management felt need to have blueprint of strategic outlines during livelihood improvement interventions. This resulted in a consultancy on development of livelihood strategy for the organization. The livelihood strategy is a guiding framework ensuring sustainability for variety of interventions focusing on livelihood improvement of the earthquake affected communities.