Reintegration and Rehabilitation of TDPs in FATA
The Merged Districts, previously known as the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), are the north western tribal region of Pakistan, lying along its borders with Afghanistan. The tribal districts spread across a land area of 27,220 square kilometers. The tribal belt has been home to numerous tribes and subtribes of Pashtuns since time immemorial. During the British Rule, the tribes were controlled and governed using a unique administrative system. Each area was administered by a Political Agent and tribal leaders called Maliks. The Frontier Crimes Regulation, 1901 was imposed, which was biased towards the rich and powerful and used collective punishment as a system to manage the tribes, and contain both their internal feuds and any potential rebellion against the central government. After independence, Pakistan maintained the status quo of the tribal belt until May 2018 when the Government of Pakistan merged FATA with KP. The FCR 1901 was abolished. People of ex-FATA were given constitutional rights and protection including access to formal justice system.
Years of instability, weak governance, and geographic isolation have shaped a dismal socioeconomic status of the tribal districts. The MDs are home to over 5 million population. The literacy rate of the Merged Districts is only 28% (female literacy rate is only 7%). Nearly 73 percent population lives in multi-dimensional poverty. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the four decades have seen turmoil and instability across the border spill over into the Merged Districts. The region witnessed rise in militancy, which the Government of Pakistan curtailed by conducting military operations against the miscreants. This led to massive population displacement. Nearly 4 million men, women, and children were internally displaced. The displaced families lived in camps and with hosting families. After establishing its writ in the region, the government facilitated the return of the temporarily displaced persons to their areas of origin. The physical and economic infrastructure in villages had become shabby due to long years of non-maintenance. Irrigation channels were clogged with silt and filth. Land had become barren. Livestock had been lost. Basic services and community infrastructure such as water supply schemes, link roads and bridges, schools and health facilities had suffered damages and had become dysfunctional. People had lost livelihoods.
The Project: RRP-TDP
During this time, SRSP and KfW partnered to support the Government of Pakistan in sustainable return and resettlement of the TDPs in the MDs. The initiative was called the Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons in FATA (RRP-TDP). The project was implemented between September 2015 and December 2021 in 5 MDs, namely Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan.
Associates in Development (AiD) were Monitoring Consultant for the project. The Consultant supported the project in developing Engineering Technical Manuals and improving scheme designs. AiD conducted an end line assessment of the project, which shows that the project successfully achieved planned targets. It also contributed to national and global commitments to create resilient communities.
Key Achievements of RRP-TDP
The project reached 345 villages/hamlets of the target districts. It was able to facilitate reintegration of 41,834 TDP families in the MDs. RRP-TDP had three components, which are explained below with main achievements;
1) Result Area 1 – Social and community physical infrastructure
The project facilitated men and women community-based organizations in addressing critical infrastructure needs in their villages. The CBOs were able to establish 243 community-identified infrastructure schemes with the technical and financial assistance of the project. These include various types of schemes such as drinking water supply schemes, agriculture-related schemes, link roads, sanitation and drainage scheme, etc. 25,291 households now access improved basic social services as a result of these schemes. The CBOs were provided training and facilitation in developing Operation and Maintenance mechanisms for the long-term sustainability of the projects.
2) Result Area 2 – Strengthening local civil society
The project organized 411 community-based organizations of men and women. The CBOs have membership of 10,620 households, representing approx. 80,000 population. The CBOs have been organized using the Rural Support Programme’s model of community institution building. The CBOs are broad-based, inclusive, and membership-based.
3) Result Area 3 – Skills training in combination with livelihood support
The project provided skills enhancement and livelihoods support to 4,298 men and women in the target MDs. These include 3,721 men and 577 women. Of the total, 2,745 trainees attended technical and vocational skills training in different trades such as motorbike repair, solar panel installation, mobile repair, digital skills etc. The remaining 1,553 trainees were local small land holding farmers, and livestock farmers etc., who were provided skills training in Climate Smart Agriculture practices and Natural Resource Management.