A road for all seasons
“For the first time in 50 years, we have seen some development in our village.”
All-weather rural roads offer multiple socioeconomic benefits. This translates into a sense of wellbeing and prosperity for the community, especially if the road is constructed in response to their demand and through a process of social mobilization. The testimonials from Gara Pathar, a remote village in KP, bear witness to this. The new rural road has benefitted a total of 1,320 people in the village.
Abdul Manan, 67, talks about how the road has provided access to health facilities: “The road has made us so hopeful – we had struggled for decades. We faced many problems in the past, especially in the rainy season. We had to carry patients on our backs to get them to the main road. We are very happy that the government has constructed this access road under the KP SADP.” Attaullah, chairperson of the CBO through which this road was constructed, reiterates: “More people can go to the hospital for treatment. Those who had suffered at home or died trying to reach the hospital can safely use this all-weather road. Pregnant women now prefer to deliver in hospitals instead of at home. This has also reduced the infant mortality rate in the village.”
Said Khan, 24, has reaped the economic benefits of greater connectivity with the city: “This all-weather road has connected our village to the main city, which people can now reach easily. I have purchased a rickshaw to cater to this need and now earn a handsome income, not only for myself but also for my family.” Razi Khan, 58, a local farmer, also acknowledges the many benefits of the road: “For the first time in 50 years, we have seen some development in our village. We have faster access to the market. I can get a better price for my crops. Now, with frequent trips, I can gauge the pulse of the market and sell my goods only if I get a good price.”
The road has also provided some relief to students in the village. Muhammad Rizwan, who studies in Grade four, says: “In the past, whenever it rained, it was almost impossible for us to step out of our houses because of the mud on the streets and roads. We had to miss school in the rainy season, but now (because of this new road) we attend school regularly and in clean uniforms!”