Yesterday, a thirty six member delegation of NED students came on a study tour of Gul Bahaos Research Centre located in Gushan-e-Iqbal. This centre is the first of its kind in the whole of Pakistan and has attracted hundreds of people from different walks of life especially NGO workers, representatives of local bodies, students, architects and journalists and even foreigners. The organisation claims that being public oriented its doors are open to all and sundry. The staff of Gul Bahao took pains to explain all the six innovations right from Paaki Paani, Chandi Ghar Safai /Kamai Bank, Fuel pack to the latest innovation, Choora Chaara (cattle feed ) etc. Nargis Latif, the CEO of Gul Bahao said that these innovations were not created in a single day but took almost 15 years. Each innovation being unique, took place separately and evolved after several trials and experimentation. What is more she said they have been tried and tested, some even marketed. To a question how the cattle responded to the Choora Chaara, Gul Bahao’s manager Habibullah responded that the cattle feed has been fed to a number of cattle (owned by the workers of Gul Bahao) who eat it just like the conventional feed . The CEO of Gul Bahao said that the importance of the Gul Bahao’s Research Centre lies in its being a part and parcel of a real life situation, being located right in the midst of a thickly populated area. The participants, being students of engineering evinced keen interest in the fuel pak, a very inexpensive alternate fuel made from waste material and which Gul Bahao claims can be used for running power plants. Describing the condition of research in the country as “tragic”. Nargis said that even those who raise a hue and cry about the lack of science and scientific spirit in the country are not willing to consider informal and original ways of conducting research and improvising as is continually being done in the cottage industries and the informal sector. Nargis claimed that each and every innovation of Gul Bahao has the potential to change the entire socioeconomic condition of the country. She informed the participants that the Sindh Government has directed its departments to give away their waste paper to Gul bahao as revenue for its research work. Pointing to the area adjoining the Research Centre Nargis said that the area spread over several acres and housing hundred of jhuggi wallas would be used for the practical implementation of Gul Bahao’s research program.
Last Saturday Gul Bahao’s Nargis Latif met the Minister for Women’s Development Mrs. Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto in her office. Nargis gave a presentation of Gul Bahao’s latest projects related to animal feed called “Choora Chaara” which is being prepared from waste organic material. With the help of slides and photographs, Nargis Latif showed the Minister, the different processes through which organic waste like vegetable and fruit peels are converted to animal feed in a clean and hygienic manner. This is finally packaged to give it a shelf life of weeks and even months. She said the methodology is simple and cost effective and much superior to what the cattle get at the garbage dumps.
Nargis Latif then gave a detailed presentation of the Chandi Ghar, a low cost housing project. Nargis said that Gul Bahao is planning a pilot project called “Busti Benazir” where practical demonstration of Gul Bahao’s innovations would be demonstrated in real life situations. This “busti” would be a pilot project for disaster managment and rehabilitation. The location would be the Kutchi Abadi adjoining thew research center of Gul Bahao opposite Sindbad.
The minister singled out the “Choora Chara” and said it attracted her the most since it could be a source of income generation for women sitting at home. She said that with prices of agriculture related products rising very fast the cheap animal feed would directly help in increasing meat and milk produce. She said that she would talk to the chief minister at the earliest.
In the meantime, Nargis Latif met the Vice Chancellor of the NED University Mr. Abul Kalaam in his office. Nargis Latif said that Gul Bahaos Research Center located in Gulshan-e-Iqbal has attracted hundreds of students from NED, Dawood and Karachi University especially those from the Architecture Departments as well as scores of representatives of the local bodies from all over Sindh. She said that some time ago two Directors of the Clinton Foundation Mr. Christopher Godlove and Mr. Alex Hurd met Nargis Latif at the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi and held detailed discussioin with her about Gul Bahao’s work on waste management. Mr Godlove had been especially impressed with the Chandi Ghar (which is made of inorganic waste) and admitted that it was unique in the World .
Mr. Abul Kalam said that Gul Bahao’s Safai/Kamai bank interested him a good deal and he would ask the State Bank to give recognition to this new concept of a bank. He offered to give his university’s recyclable waste as a source of funding to Gul Bahao.
Nargis Latif pointed out to the Vice Chancellor that research is not only that which takes place in the protected confines of the university laboratories but the bazaars, the cottage industry and the informal sectors are some of the most vibrant places of innovations and new ideas. Agreeing, the Vice Chancellor said that what Gul Bahao is doing comes under the domain of applied research. Professor Sarosh Lodhi the chairman of the department of civil engineering of NED invited Nargis to speak to his students about her different research projects.