O.P.P., founded in 1980 under the limited sponsorship of the British Bank of Credit and Commerce International, is a non-governmental organisation without such powers as the ability to enforce a master plan. The concern of the organisation is experimental social research based on active community participation. In recent years, work has concentrated on a low-cost sanitation programme for the squatter settlement of Orangi, on the outskirts of Karachi. Since the erection of the first houses in 1965, the settlement has expanded to cover an area of 5000 acres, with a density of 200 persons per acre.
The lack of funds, from governmental or other sources, has resulted in the progressive degradation of the environment, causing severe health hazards, the disruption of transport and business activities, and major structural damage to houses. With the assistance of an interdisciplinary team, O.P.P. has introduced a programme of technical and social assistance to train the local population who, in turn, responded eagerly to provide both funds and labour for the sanitation programme. Individual latrines have been installed and connected to underground drains in the lanes around which are organized the houses. The connection of collector drains between lanes, although problematic, has reached a limited success.
O.P.P. has lent tools and assisted in the choice of low-cost materials. Simultaneous activities of the group focus on helping women to improve standards and concepts of hygiene and to increase their knowledge of vegetable farming to improve nutrition and lessen household expenses. To date, O.P.P. has reached an estimated 12,626 houses. Assistance from local authorities, much needed for the installation of sewerage mains and treatment plants, is still lacking.