part B

A&D, India
MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
United Nations Development Programme - UNDP
Part B1
Name of the project
The Shelter Project
Type of project
Sustainable Habitat Development and Opportunities of Livelihood options
Reason of selection for documentation
As expressed by UNDP
The Shelter project is one of the main programmes under which UNDP operates in Orissa. It is a
model for sustainable development that UNDP wants to experiment with and learn from. Based
on the output of this project, UNDP plans to take up large-scale developmental activities in many
other parts of the state and the country.
As seen by the documentation team
The shelter projects include in its planning and implementation all the phases necessary for the
successful propagation of building technologies in a particular region and the sustainable
development of that region through the use of those technologies. Hence it is a good example to
study appropriate construction efforts on a large scale like this and be able to come out with an
exemplary model of development that can be used in other places.
The Orissa context
The population of Orissa is 35 million, of which 86% of the people are rural and only 14% are
urban. There are 62 different tribes, which make up 23% of the country’s tribal population. There
are 971 females as against 1000 males.
The overall literacy rate is 53% but the female literacy rate is only 35%.
Culture and religion
Orissa has a mixed population with people of different religions living in closely bound
communities. The majority of the people are Hindu.
Health and sanitation
The infant mortality rate is 98 as against 1000 births. 53% of the population is malnourished and
only 49% of the people have access to safe drinking water.
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
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Economy and occupation
Orissa is economically the second lowest state in India. The chief occupation is fishing and
agriculture, chiefly, rice and paddy cultivation. 2,50,000 children are employed in child labour.
Geographical information
It covers an area of 155,707 square kilometres. The state of Orissa has 30 districts and 314
blocks. Orissa is amongst the states most vulnerable to natural hazards. The unique geological
features, geographical position and behaviour of monsoon make this region among the most
natural hazard prone in the country. It is vulnerable to Cyclones, Floods, and Earthquakes and
certain areas of Orissa are high-risk zones vulnerable to all these hazards.
The risk of natural disasters
Orissa is a multi-hazard prone state requiring drought proof mitigation in the western parts and
mitigation related to floods and cyclone in the eastern deltaic coastal parts of the state. In the
recent past Orissa was ravaged by two major calamities, the Super cyclone in 1999 and the flash
floods of 2001 between which there was a drought spell in 2000.
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
The Super cyclone in 1999
This was experienced in 14 coastal districts with wind speeds as high as 300 km/h. The damage
caused was enormous with a death toll of 8,495 people about 4,50,000 cattle. 2 million houses
were destroyed and 23,000 schools were damaged. Power supply was disrupted in 19,062
villages and all means of communication was paralysed for a few days.
The drought in 2000
This affected 28 districts. The rainfall shortage caused a failure of Kharif crop. There was 3.9
lakh hectare loss of paddy land which, when converted into money value, resulted in a loss of
6.64 billion rupees. 7.6 lakh farming households were affected leading to starvation, death and
migration. 11% of the children were acutely malnourished and there was an increase in child
labour and bonded labour.
The Floods 2001
This affected 24 districts, which included 219 blocks and 18,790 villages. 9.678 million people
were affected with a recorded death toll of 102. 9 million hectares of crop was lost which
amounted to a loss of 14.83 million USD. 2,50,615 houses were damaged.
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
The state of housing
These two successive disasters widened the housing shortage to 60%.
In Orissa, 78% of the population lives in the villages and most of the houses are kutcha -made of
bamboo, mud and thatch. These houses are not only vulnerable to natural disasters, but also
require high maintenance costs and periodic replacement of building materials. Two million
houses were damaged after the super cyclone, while the floods damaged another 275 thousand.
The housing gap soared from 60% after the Super cyclone to even more after the floods. The
Government of Orissa had initiated the rehabilitation of 350 thousand homeless after the Super
cyclone under various housing schemes of which 125 thousand houses have been completed.
After the floods, rehabilitation for 100 thousand houses has been announced so far.
After the cyclone, 6 lakh IAY houses were allotted for coastal Orissa by the government of India.
These could hardly get complete basically due to lack of technical know-how and shortage of
skilled manpower.
The Shelter Project
UNDP came in Orissa after the super cyclone, which had resulted into a mass scale destruction
of life and property. The challenge thus was not only to build new shelters but, to rebuild the
spirits and morale of the people. The real task was to be able to re-establish a communal habitat,
which gave a sense of belonging to the people. To achieve this the obstacles were many. There
was a need to build in the available meagre resources, to identify and proliferate technologies
which were cost effective and eco-friendly, to establish a village planning and development
process involving the community and government, to generate employment and livelihood
options, to build a skilled work force which was capable to build effectively in the given set of
constraints and to allow formations of federations and networks which gave a sense of united
community spirit.
About the project
The shelter project was formulated by Ms. Richa Swarup, who was under deputation from
HUDCO to UNDP Orissa after the super cyclone. It was launched in 4 of the worst affected
coastal district of Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore. It aims to catalyse and sustain
a building movement, to generate self-employment opportunities, to bring about capacity building
of the community and the local NGOs involved in this sector and to formulate and follow a
planned development.
It can be broadly divided it three phases along the time line, namely
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
Phase 1, October 1999
Restoration and immediate rehabilitation
When UNDP arrived in Orissa the general state of affairs was chaos. There were huge amounts
of relief material being poured into the region but due to the lack of a planned relief programme
the aids were not getting distributed effectively. Even the manpower was not organized, hence,
there were motivated people ready to help but did not know who to go about doing it.
UNDP began by rescue and relief distribution efforts. When the waters had receded they got
busy in the construction of summer cum monsoon shelters. They improvised on the traditional
building technologies, making use of local materials to roof the shelter less and protect them from
the immediate summer heat and ensuing rains till they were re-housed.
For example, they
strengthened these temporary shelters by using cross bracings in case of bamboo structures and
through stones in case of stone masonry.
Phase 2, Jan 2001 to June 2002.
Habitat planning and technology transfer
UNDP launched the project ‘Promotion of Alternative construction technologies and capacity
building of the community for habitat development’ in January 2001. It was initiated in two blocks
each in four of the worst cyclone affected districts of Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and
For the initiating development work it was felt important to first make a detailed survey of the
present situation. Hence they got into the exercise of resource mapping. This included noting
down all the various aspects of the village, such as social, cultural, economic etc., which were
analysed for formulating a development plan for that village.
Refer to the Resource Mapping reports of Kendrapara and Puri districts.
In order to enable the people to respond to further disaster risks, vulnerability studies were made
and risk and hazard maps were prepared. A Community Based Disaster Preparedness
Programme was formulated. This included setting up an elaborate warning system, training the
people to respond disaster situations by way of preparedness drills, etc.
Refer to the CBDP documents.
Refer to the document on Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programme
For the rebuilding of the habitat within the means available to the people suitable building
technologies were identified, which were cost effective, energy efficient gave livelihood options to
the manufacturers and artisans and were easy to transfer and disseminate.
Refer to the document on appropriate technologies.
MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
A&D, India
Aug, 2003
To enable the people to build their habitat it was felt necessary to give them training in the art of
building with these technologies. Firstly the UNVs were trained, who in turn trained the village
level masons and artisans.
Refer to the document on training.
For ensuring community participation in the building process, ‘Nirmiti Samitis’ or village
committees were formed to overlook the finances and construction of the buildings. Also,
wherever possible the trained masons and local villagers were involved inn the labour.
Refer to the document on Community Participation and mou of the villages.
The actual construction involved the building up of multipurpose community centres, schools and
individual houses.
As per the habitat planning, construction of infrastructure facilities was also taken up such as
development of roads, water supply, sewage disposal, electricity, and solar power, lift irrigation
pumps and pond renovation.
All this construction was carried out using the grants form the schemes already available to the
people from the government, such as the Indira Awas Yojana housing schemes and the Samagra
Awas Yojana, and other organizations such as Care today and MSSRF.
Phase 3, July 2002 to June 2006.
Livelihood connections
It was realized that efforts to empower people were more effective if they were organized in
groups as against developing the capacities of individuals. This is so because the group can act
as a collective entity and achieve greater results. Hence, UNDP decided to organize the people
in Self Help Groups.
UNDP is currently promoting two kinds of SHGs, namely the artisan’s SHG, which is a
collaboration of craftsmen involved in the building trade and the women’s SHGs, which is an
association of local women who are looking for additional income opportunities for their families.
For financing these schemes various available systems of micro credit, micro finance and micro
enterprise are adopted.
Mapping towards Habitat Development
The activity of Resource Mapping, as the name suggests, is an exercise to gauge the present
situation of the village.
It is carried out to know the financial, social, land ownership and other
aspects of the people and the geological, geographical, natural wealth of the villages.
process of how the resources are mapped is very interesting. Firstly a simple sketch of the road
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
layout of the village is made on the floor with a chalk. Then an adult from each and every
household comes and marks his own house position on the layout and gives all the information
that is filled by the UNVs in the questionnaires that are already prepared before beginning the
whole exercise. Thus it is like a census but one that is done involving the entire community and
one that gives a whole picture of the village and people, not just some facts collected in isolation.
The activity itself becomes a festive occasion in the village.
Disaster Preparedness
Considering the natural disasters it was felt necessary to prepare the people to better face these
disasters rather than just rebuild their habitat.
Hence an elaborate system of forecast and warning was assembled. Multi-hazards Management
Plans at block and village level were prepared.
Groups were formed to respond to hazards.
Village sensitization meetings, mock drills and similar exercises to respond effectively in disaster
situations were carried out. Village Taskforces were formed and trained. The aim was capacity
building of all the stakeholders and vulnerability reduction by linking up with the existing
development programme.
Appropriate Building Technologies
Cost-effective and energy efficient construction technologies
Orissa is one of the poorest states in India where housing is a major problem. After the Super
Cyclone the housing shortage increased to an all time high, where there were almost 2 million
homeless. This was further aggravated by the flash floods in 2001 which damaged 2,75,000
houses widening the housing shortage to 60%.
Orissa is a disaster prone state with a risk of multiple natural hazards. Most of the loss of lives
and property happens due to poor structural stability of the locally made traditional buildings.
Every cyclone that comes destroys these ‘kutcha’ houses and leaves the people shelter less.
Hence, safe shelter is an important parameter for development.
Each disaster carries within
itself an opportunity to enable the community to rebuild their houses with disaster resistant
A lot of construction activity in the rural areas happens with the help of grants received by way of
the housing schemes initiated by the government and other organizations. These grants are
often very small and inadequate for building the house with the help of a contractor and using the
conventional technologies.
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
Inadequate transport systems make the procurement of building materials form outside the
villages either impossible or very expensive.
A wide range of technologies is available, but many of the key stakeholders in the entire process
are not aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. Hence, the choices
made for construction are the ones that are conventional.
Most importantly the method of construction adopted should be one that gives a stable structure
that can stand the ravages of nature and thus protect the life and possessions of the owner in the
time of a natural disaster.
Secondly, it should be cost effective so that the building can be completed using the available
Moreover, the technology should be easily transferable. Training of the technologies should be
simple and easy.
Additionally the technology along with the design of the building should be climate responsive and
comfortable for human occupation.
The materials used for construction should be locally available and should be able to generate
local economies by way of manufacture and trade.
The chief materials of construction are:
Burnt bricks or fly ash bricks for walling.
Mangalore tiles for the filler slab.
It was realized that bricks are moulded and baked in the backyards of the village houses.
Similarly, tiles for roofing are also made at the local level. Hence, using these materials would
generate livelihood options for the villagers.
The technologies promoted are:
Step footing in bricks for foundations.
Cone, well and I-beam techniques for foundations.
Rat-trap bonded brickwork for walling.
Arches and chajjas to span openings.
Reinforced brick lintel.
Filler Slab concreting for roofing.
Planks and joists for roofing.
Ferro-cement doors and windows.
MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
A&D, India
Aug, 2003
Training of UNVs
The first batch of UNVs were trained at the Narangarh Building Center by experts form HUDCO,
ORHDC, Habitat Technology Group, CARE etc.
architects and engineers.
This batch of UNVs included planners,
Many, among them were not sensitive in building in appropriate
technologies and building. They were given an intensive training in building construction and
project management.
For more info on training programme see the UNDP training documents.
Training of masons
The masons for training were selected through community meetings and based on
recommendations from the local government officials, local contractors, government engineers
and the block administration. Also, participation of women masons is being promoted. At the end
of the training the masons were issued a certificate attesting their skills in masonry.
The funding for the training programme was also by various government schemes such as the
‘Sarva Sikshya Abhiyaan’ or ‘education for all’ scheme.
Read more about the SSA scheme in the SSA documents.
The training programme includes classroom training, in which the theory classes are conducted
followed by hands-on training, which includes the construction of various building elements such
as foundations, walling, openings and roofing.
A small exhibition of the technologies and best practices is put up at the end of the programme.
Leaflets printed in local language are distributed to aspiring house-builders.
These training
programmes generate awareness among the community and local administration
These ‘trained’ masons gain a lot of social prestige and further go on to train more masons
A number of aspiring house-builders approach these trained masons during the
training itself, thus generating immediate employment for them. The trained masons then carry
out these constructions under the supervision of the UNVs & NGO Supervisors. The trained
masons are engaged in the construction of TDUs, IAY and private houses.
A number of government engineers and block office staff are also trained in the process. These
trained government engineers supervise the trained masons during construction of government
buildings. The community derives a lot of confidence when they see government buildings being
built in appropriate technologies
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
Community Participation
UNDP believes that if any building or technology has to find acceptance, it becomes of utmost
importance to involve the community in the creation of that building. Hence, as far a possible
UNDP tries to involve the end users, be it the community allotted a cyclone shelter or
beneficiaries of private houses, in the building activity in various stages, such as supervision,
accounts, monitory contribution and labour contribution.
For the construction of the TDUs they came up with the concept of a ‘Nirmiti Samiti’, which is a
committee formed of a few responsible villagers who would handle the actual money granted to
them and thus keep a tab on the construction activity. In these committees the treasurer is
generally a woman, hence ensuring the involvement of women in the process.
See mou of the villages
Self Help Groups
Artisan SHG
An artisan’s self help group is a collective of all the local people involved in the building trade,
including masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bar binders, painters etc. The design of the
buildings can be made by the UNV or by the house owner. The idea is to form a ‘one-stop-shop’,
where in the unified team takes up construction projects on a turnkey basis. Hence, a person
desirous of constructing his building can approach this group and find all the services, from
design to delivery, under one roof. This helps the group members to find a constant supply of
work unlike previously when he worked on an individual basis. These groups are trained to
specifically work in appropriate technologies that UNDP promotes, so that they are capable of
completing the houses built under the stringent budgets of the government schemes.
UNDP moves out, the UNVs will become development technocrats’ and no longer give free
service but will charge for their services. The SHG has to become self-dependent
These SHGs are then federated at district level. They form a network and have regular meetings
to discuss problem and implement improvements.
The chief objective is to reinforce the capacity of these agencies so that they can carry forward
the building movement initiated by UNDP, even after its withdrawl. The resources developed by
way of the SHG can then be used to carry forward the process of technology transfer there.
Woman’s SHG,
A woman’s self help group is a committee of the local women in a village, which gives economic
independence to women and empowers them. The women invest small sums of money in saving
schemes. They sometimes use this money and sometimes apply for loans to start small-scale
businesses, which becomes a source of livelihood for them and their families. They also have
borrowing facilities, by way of which they have money readily available to them in the time of
MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
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Aug, 2003
need, which they can gradually return in easy instalments. UNDP connects these women to the
various banks and institutions, which support such activities. Their women UNVs supervise their
meetings and activities and make suggestions for further improvement to ensure the smooth
functioning of the group.
IT Kiosks
The concept of IT kiosks in rural areas is introduced to disseminate information and bridge the
digital divide. All that’s needed is one or two sets of computers with Internet connectivity, with a
human operator, who acts as an interface between the villagers and the digital world. It is used
for multiple activities such as accessing relevant market information for trade, communicating via
the net to official and personal contacts, accessing and printing of various application forms,
imparting computer training to village youth, publishing work and many more. UNDP support
such initiatives by giving all kinds of assistance such as providing hardware, software and human
Refer to the documents on the kiosk run by Sambhabana under the IEC scheme
The Orissa Appropriate Technology Forum
The Orissa Appropriate Technology Forum is a platform for interaction of practicing engineers,
architects, experts, academicians and people from different organizations, governmental and
non-governmental towards research and promotion of appropriate housing construction
technologies. The forum aims to formulate strategies for the propagation and institutionalisation
of appropriate technologies and to consolidate and publicize the various works done in these
technologies. It plans to take up activities of generating awareness and training, creating an
interactive platform for exchange of know-how and resources.
The impact of the Shelter project
At a village level, the local community has realized the benefits of building in appropriate
technologies. Over 250 IAY houses have been built in the 4 project districts. Many more IAY
houses are to start soon. Even the rural rich are accepting these technologies and houses of
2000-3000 sq. ft are being built.
Village ‘Nirmiti Samitis’ helped in bringing about more
community involvement, development of project management skills, participation of women and
backward sections of the society in the decision-making process.
At the government level, after UNDP completed a few IAY houses within the grant, the district
and block official have begun to acknowledge the benefits of the building technologies. They
have now requested the UNVs to also train the government engineers.
After seeing the
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MIPAA Mission Report – Part B projects
Aug, 2003
technology exhibitions set up by UNDP, the government has also shown interest in dissemination
programmes for the to the local masons and villagers.
They have also announced the
construction of a few government buildings in these technologies.
The impact of the planning efforts
Based on the resource mapping and habitat planning activities many development initiatives have
now been taken up for the holistic development of the rural communities. ‘Adarsh Basati Yojana’,
a model habitat-planning proposal, which was prepared for the Panchayati Raj department, has
now been accepted for replication in all 30 districts of Orissa. The concept of ‘Amagaon’ has
been taken up by the Government after being inspired by the Habitat Planning Scheme for the
networking and integrated development of the whole of rural Orissa. Many village level initiatives
are also being taken up, such as the habitat-planning proposal for Dalavanapur village in Puri
District, on behalf of the Government of Orissa, which is being partly funded by the Habitat for
Visit the ‘’ portal, which has been launched by the government.
See documents on habitat planning.