Authors Posts by Communications Office

Communications Office

A Cold Winter – Making winter warm for Nowroze and his family 

“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need”UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

June 20th is World Refugee Day. This day is marked to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes and dear ones because of violence, natural disasters or war. World refugee day provides an opportunity to the global community to help refugees worldwide in rebuilding their lives and achieving some sort of normalcy in their everyday living. This day is celebrated to increase awareness on the challenges, resilience and real life stories of refugees to among people.

Pakistan has been home to large influx of refugees since its very existence in 1947. First their were migrants from the newly divided subcontinent. Then in 1990s a new wave of settlers came into Pakistan from Afghanistan. They have since then lived life as refugees in Pakistan. Recently, as part of national policy, the Afghan refugees were asked to repatriate back to their homeland.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan have been supported with many forms of lifesaving assistance, safety and protection by the government agencies and aid organizations for many decades. They have been provided tents, shelter, kitchen took kits, home-kits, beddings and also provided with livelihood opportunities. The goal of celebrating this event is increasing public awareness among common public by sharing the related refugee stories.

Nowroze Khan, son of Toor Khan, is an Afghan refugee who lived in Peshawar, Pakistan for twenty years. He started his family there and worked on daily wages (from PKR 400- 500 per day) on and off to support his family of seven. Difficult to meet all the needs of his family with the limited income, life however remained peaceful and comfortable for them. In September last year, Nowroze and his family were repatriated to Afghanistan – a homeland still in conflict and left in rubbles. Upon their return, the family lived in an old tent in Gamberie Refugee Camp, Qarghaie District in Laghman Province.

On an unfortunate December night (December 12th) last year, Nowroze Khan lost the little that him and his owned in a fierce fire that engulfed their shelter. With all his belongings gone and the only PKR 27,000 that he had saved over the year, Nowroze was left homeless and destitute in his very own country once again.

“I cried out to the villagers to save my burning house but it was too late,”

narrated Nowroze sadly.

“The fire spread very fast and my wife and I only managed to save our children in the given time.”

Resources and infrastructure at the Gamberie Camp, which is no less than a dessert, are limited for returnees like Nowroze Khan. No proper mechanism was present to combat such unexpected incidents. Our neighbors in the village, whom we had been acquainted with in the few months since our return, were generous and provided us with whatever food, clothes and blankets that they could afford. That support could not go on for long either since they themselves were living in poor conditions.

“After a few weeks and for going around the villages seeking help, I came across a needs assessment team and was selected as a beneficiary under the emergency response for Returnees project supported by Community World Service Asia. I received a tent, two blankets and a two rounds of cash grants. We purchased essential food items including vegetables, oil, flour, tea and pulses with the money we received.  We also availed health services at the Gamberie Camp, when my children got ill.”

In addition, Nowroze Khan received a shelter and blankets at the Gamberie camp as part of the assistance by Community World Service Asia. The winter was harsh, and his family needed all the protection they could from the freezing winds and the snow.

Nowroze is now living in a shelter with his six children and wife at the Gamberie camp among many other returnees. These are Afghanis living a life of refugees in their own homeland. Many of them are in need of homes, health care, livelihoods and education.

Refugees are true survivors – they must be given the necessary support for them to recover from their loss, rebuild their life to its full capacity and up to international human rights standards.

Community World Service Asia held a seven day residential training, on the use of Visual Communications Tools in Development Organizations in Islamabad. Eighteen participants from individual media groups and six humanitarian and development organizations took part in this interactive workshop. The aim of the training was to provide knowledge and essential technical skills for transforming development related messages (educational, behavior change or advocacy and campaigning) into visual language. This training also reflected on the ways on when and how to apply them.

Distribution of hygiene kit after training session on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST)

Community World Service Asia is implementing an integrated emergency WASH and Shelter project for families affected by the 2015 earthquake in District Shangla, Pakistan. The target Union Councils of the intervention included Shah Pur, Damorhi, Kuz Kana, Bar Puran and Banglai.

The key components of this short-term disaster response project include Rehabilitation of Water Supply Schemes, Repair and reconstruction of Latrines and Distribution of Self help repair Shelter kits. The project also provides trainings on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) techniques of health and hygiene along with provision of hygiene kits and waste bins to the communities.

The distribution of self-help repair shelter kits to the affected families has been completed. A total of 1400 shelter repair kits have been distributed among the targeted earthquake affected households. The shelter kits distribution was done in three of the selected union councils including Damori, Kuzkana and Shahpur.

A standard process for the distribution based on the selection criteria of participants was followed under the project. Tokens were distributed amongst the concerned communities and information regarding the distribution ceremony was shared with all participants. It was mandatory for the community member to bring their original identity card along with the token to receive the assigned kit.

On the day of distribution, an orientation sessions on safer construction techniques was conducted to enable the communities to utilize the shelter repair kit as per the guidelines. Follow-up visits are scheduled to be conducted in the coming months to guide the communities on how and where to construct their shelter and how to utilize the kit to avail its maximum benefits. Along with follow-up visits, follow-up sessions on safer construction techniques are also planned in the year ahead.

Understanding and application of financial concepts is becoming essential in the nonprofit sector, as donor agencies increasingly prefer organizations that have sound financial management systems in place. A Financial Management training was designed and conducted by our Capacity Institutionalization Project to strengthen the financial management skills of participants belonging to small-scale organizations in Pakistan. The training aimed to equip participants with methods, skills and techniques to help them utilize financial management tools with efficiency and effectiveness.

This 5-day training session welcomed participants from Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and NGO workers, particularly those belonging to small-scale organizations. The training catered to both financial and program personnel. It was a third training of its kind, held at Mirpurkhas Sindh from 9th to 13th  of May, 2017. Twenty-seven participants from fifteen organizations, including 23 men and 4 women, took part in this activity based training.

Nazar Abbas Naqvi, financial management expert and a trainer with 18 years of relevant experience, facilitated the five day workshop.  Mr. Naqvi has worked on international donor funded programmes, including USAID, DFID, Asian Development Bank, European Commission and the World Bank. He has delivered extensive capacity trainings on financial management to public sector staff, Civil Societies Organizations and NGOs across various regions of Pakistan and abroad. Nazakat Bibi, Education Specialist at Community World Service Asia and Nadia Riasat, Senior Program Officer co-facilitated the training with him.

The training imparted specific skills on the fundamentals of financial management, developing effective financial policies and internal controls and streamlining accounting systems as per organizational policies. It geared participants on  preparing budgets, financial reports as per donor requirements, as well as facilitating audits to ensure transparency.

Through the various interactive sessions in the workshop, participants’ knowledge on the roles and responsibility of an organization’s board members, managers, finance and program team was also enhanced. The importance of budget in planning, control and decision-making was highlighted with key components and language of accounting system. Participants were made familiar with the concept of reconciliation and analysis of books of accounts. The link between budgets, accounting records, and financial reports were also explained in detail. A sample set of financial policy guidelines and procedures required for an operational NGO program were also shared with participants, which will help the participating organizations to strengthen their financial systems.

A session on resource mobilization was taken very well by the participants as it was a new topic for participants, both with financial and non-financial backgrounds. They were sensitized on mobilizing monetary resources. Some of the finance managers attending the training shared their interest in playing a more prominent role in resource mobilization. “It was an ambitious and knowledgeable workshop in which we learnt many things. On behalf of our organization, Orangi Charitable Trust (OCT), I would like to congratulate Community World Service Asia for the successful training from which all the participants benefited,” shared Qazi Raheem Bux Qureshi, a participant from Orangi Charitable trust (OCT).

  • Prem Das: I have learnt a lot about financial management. Risk management was a new and interesting topic for me which I was very little aware of before. Most importantly, the session on resource mobilization has enabled me to contribute more to my organization.

    Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians – PAK.

  • MB Khaskheli: The training helped us to understand all the aspects of financial management. This training was designed on building knowledge on basic level. It will be interesting to attend an advanced level training on finance in future. It was an excellent, highly encouraging and full of fun learning experience.”

    RDA- Rural Development Association

     

  • Beena Baig: This training gave me an insight on financial management, budgeting and financial reporting. It gave me an opportunity to refresh all, previously learnt, financial theories and policies. I have learnt techniques of resource mobilization which will be more beneficial as we only managed record resources.”

    Community World Service Asia

  • Arjun Pattel: I was very lucky to be a part of such an constructive and communicative training. I have learnt a lot in these five days. Prior to this training, my knowledge level about financial management and policies was quite weak. This training enhanced my skills in financial management immensely.”

    Pakistan Village Development Program (PVDP)

  • Afshan Waheed: The Financial Management training was a completely new experience for me as it is not my field of work. But attending this training proved to be very beneficial as I learnt basic concepts of financial management and accounting. Now my concepts are clear and I will be able to contribute in financial discussions and decisions.

    Sukaar Welfare Organization

Student performed different plays and tableaus focusing on disaster management.

Children are change agents and providing them with training to enhance their knowledge and skills is essential to help them grow and develop. Similarly, children living in disaster prone areas, need to be trained on disaster risk reduction (DRR) methods to make them resilient towards the adverse impact of disasters.

Frequent occurrence of onset disasters make children vulnerable as they are adversely affected and their lives disturbed. In such situations a lack of DRR awareness makes things even worse.  Under Community World Service Asia’s project, supported by Christian Aid in Thatta, collaboration is done with schools to develop a platform for young children to enhance their knowledge and skills on DRR through various trainings and activities, making  them more resilient to future disasters.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction highlighted the importance of education and public awareness being critical in promoting a culture of resilience at all levels.  Furthermore, commitments were made at the second session of Global Platform for DRR (2009) to provide safer schools by including DRR in all school curricula. Considering the importance of public awareness, a DRR Carnival, organized at the Government Boys Public School (GPPS) in Main Sindhi Chandia, Sujawal, was organized to provide an opportunity to young children to present their DRR work. A Mobile Knowledge & Resource Center (MKRC) truck and DRR models were displayed at the exhibit, with brief sessions on simulation models carried out live.

The main purpose of the event, celebrated on 25th May, 2017, was to engage teachers and students from different schools to hear about their experiences; how they implemented DRR in their schools and how it contributed to making their schools safer. A student of class 4, Iffat Mehmood Khattati, opened the event by the recitation of the Holy Quran with Sindhi translation. She recited Surah Feeal, a surah focused on disaster.

Nisar Ahmed Memon, Head Master GBPS Main Sindhi Chandia, welcomed all the participants on behalf of the school administration. Nisar Memon highlighted the theme of the event saying,

“In partnership with Community World Service Asia, I am pleased to announce that we have successfully conducted School Safety Trainings in various schools in Sujawal. We have a long disaster history in our area. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves, our families and our communities to tackle these disasters to reduce our loss.”

Students of GBPS Main Sindhi Chandia performed a welcome tableau for the guests, teachers and students at the event. The play was focused on a Sindhi Legend singer, late Jala Chandio. The purpose of the performance was to pay respect and honor to the Sindhi Traditions.

Community World Service Asia staff appreciated GBPS Amin Sindhi Chandia School for organizing this impactful event and reiterated the importance of training children on DRR as

“students today are the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow.”

After the students’ performance, Naseem Khuskh, a teacher at one of the schools,  recalled the tragic memories of the Kashmir Earthquake (2005) in which the death rate of children was very high.

“As a teacher, I feel that students require the most attention at times of disasters. They suffer socially and psychologically. DRR Trainings are preparing students for emergency situations, making them more confident and  prepared during disasters.”

Khud Bux Behrani, Deputy Director Social Welfare, Thatta, also shared his views speaking at the carnival,

“In my experience, I have witnessed that children are the most vulnerable in under-developed societies. Government schools in our area are poorly established with no mechanism of evacuation at times of disasters. Therefore, I encourage organizations and school administrations to extend the role of DRR to build resilient societies and reduce losses and damages.”

Tufail Ahmed Temro, Taluka Education Officer, added to Behrani’s statement,

“Learning by doing; if students are involved in such trainings and drill activities, they will learn faster. There is a lack of extra-curriculum activities to supplement academic learning. I would request the  Community World Service Asia team to bring more such programs and trainings to our schools to improve the quality of education here.”

“Our team of volunteers have taken a lead in delivering awareness sessions on Malaria and its preventive measures in our area of Kheeral, Bijori,”

taking the opportunity to share information at a public platform,  Muhammad Hanif Walhro, President LSO Kheeral, talked about the initiative of LSOs taken in the context of DRR. He added that volunteers from the communities have been trained on rescue and response for future disasters.

A total of five hundred guests, including students and teachers from various schools, government officials and other stakeholders, actively participated at the event.  Two display stalls were set up which exhibited different equipment used at times of various disasters. DRR themed paintings made by students of GBPS Main Sindhi Chandia, Sujawal were also on display. Guests at the carnival were also shown the Mobile Knowledge & Resource Center (MKRC) and were oriented on the different kinds of disasters and the effects they leave behind in communities.

Kitchen gardening activities conducted under the Sustainable Farming project in Badin aim to improve food security and household nutrition for disaster affected communities. Mirzadi, wife of Photo Khan and mother of eight children, belonging to Abdul Karim Leghari village in Badin, is one of the most active participants of the kitchen gardening trainings in Badin.

Six of Mirzadi’s children are married while she lives with two of her unmarried sons, who work for daily wages as labourers and sharecroppers in the area, supporting their mother and their very old and unwell father.  The family does not own any land and relies solely on the income of the two young boys.

Mirzadi had no experience or expertise of growing vegetables before the kitchen gardening training. Earlier, she purchased vegetables for cooking from the local markets. This was expensive for her as she had to travel a distance to reach the markets and then buy the vegetables at whatever rates were offered. Considering the menial income of her sons, this was difficult to afford very often.

At the kitchen gardening trainings, Mirzadi learnt basic gardening skills and the knowledge to grow her own vegetables in her own little garden. Mirzadi found the “nutrition session” most interesting as it highlighted the importance of providing her family with nutritious food by consuming fresh and chemical free vegetables.

Upon the completion of the training, Mirzadi prepared a patch of land near her house to sow the seeds she received after the training. Soon after the seeds cultivated, producing fresh nutritious vegetables, Mirzadi observed a substantial decrease in her household, especially kitchen, expenses. This saving allowed her to keep the money for other domestic matters and healthcare needs. Mirzadi is successfully growing spinach, carrots, radish, garlic, coriander and tomatoes in her garden.

“My family is regularly consuming nutritious food including fresh and green vegetables from my kitchen garden,”

Mirzadi happily expressed.

“Kitchen Garden has proven to be very useful for our family as it has ensured a greater degree of self-sufficiency. Though my grandsons and granddaughters are living separately, I send them freshly grown vegetables from my garden to ensure their healthy diet as well.”

Photo credit: www.bbc.com

Food insecurity, scarcity of water, drought and malnutrition remains a continuous threat for the lives and livelihoods of the people of Tharparkar district. Precious human lives have been lost and livelihoods stolen. The impact of these adversities may further escalate if timely action is not taken to control the situation.

According to  the local health department, eleven more children have died in Thar’s hospitals, during the past four days due to an outbreak of waterborne diseases and malnutrition. Since January this year over 172 infants have died in the district.

Dozens of unwell children were brought to six health facilities of the Thar district on Wednesday. Their parents complained of a lack of facilities in the hospitals to timely treat their children and unavailability of healthcare units in their remote villages.

They alleged that most of the dispensaries and basic health units in their villages  remained closed. Despite repeated attempts, no health official representing these health facilities were available to share their version of the story.

Since Justice Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan, has taken suo moto notice of the increasing number of infant deaths reported at the Civil Hospital in Mithi this April, the district health officials have stopped sharing details of the deaths of infants with the media.

Health and nutrition experts and rights’ activists working in the desert area of Thar have raised a dire need of nutritional provision and safe drinking water in the region to prevent further deaths.

They stated that the situation in the rain-dependent region have assumed alarming proportions due to increasing temperatures and delayed monsoon rainfall.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with local partners in Tharparkar for information on the ground and will plan a response accordingly.

Contacts:

Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources: www.dawn.com

Department of Social work, University of Peshawar organized a consultation with the Executive Director, The Sphere Project about use of Sphere Handbook globally and how academia around the globe is promoting Sphere Standards for ensuring quality response during humanitarian response.

Honorable Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abid welcomed the participants and guests. At the start of the consultation there was a brief shield distribution ceremony. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abid presented shield to Mr. Furruk Marvin, Regional Representative of Community World Service Asia for the valuable partnership with University of Peshawar. He also presented a shield to the visiting guest, Ms. Christine Knudsen.

Community World Service Asia Paid its deepest regard for the outstanding partnership and support provided by university of Peshawar Mr. Furruk Marvin Pervez Presented shield of honor to the worthy Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhamamad Abid, Prof. Dr. Rashid Khan, Chairman Department of Social work and the focal person for the partnership Dr. Muhammad Ibrar for their valuable support in making this partnership a success.

Ms. Christine Knudsen shared the overviews of the sphere project and shares the purpose and progress on sphere handbook revision. She also shared how Sphere handbook is used by academia around the globe and the role academia is playing in promoting Sphere standards. Among the consultation participants were the Academician from Department of Social work University of Punjab, Department of Social Work , University of Peshawar, PRCS, Health Department, Government of Khyber Pukhtun Khwa, FDMA.

Source

Photo credit: http://www.aljazeera.com

Widespread flooding and devastating mudslides brought on by Cyclone Mora and monsoon rains across southwestern portion of Sri Lanka have affected 15 districts, killed at least 203 people and left more than 600,000 people temporarily homeless.

The death toll is expected to rise as authorities’ battle to rescue those still stranded and warn of the possibility of crocodile attacks. The UN warned that with an increasing number of displaced people and a lack of space in temporary shelters, many people were at risk of disease.

Sri Lanka has seen a significant increase in mosquito-borne dengue fever this year, with more than 125 deaths.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kalutara city, said residents were still without access to water and electricity and heavily reliant on voluntary services.

Foreign Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, met foreign envoys in Sri Lanka and appealed for assistance. He said 24 countries have already extended help.

The UN, India, Australia, Japan and Pakistan are among those that have donated supplies, including water purification tablets and tents. The United States and China also pledged relief. “In the capital, shops and supermarkets are running out of supplies as people are coming in and hoovering up items,” he said.

“While waters are receding in some areas, there are still some parts that are 10 to 12 feet under water.”

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had sent medicines and relief supplies to assist those driven from their homes.The Sri Lankan military is also doing all it can. Search-and-rescue operations are still ongoing. But residents are saying if it wasn’t for private organizations and people coming forward, the government and military would be finding it even harder to deal with this crisis

Mudslides have become common during Sri Lanka’s summer monsoon season as forests across the tropical nation have been cleared for export crops such as tea and rubber.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with the partners in Sri Lanka on getting the updated information on the latest situation. It is closely monitoring the crisis and will devise a response plan accordingly.

Contacts:

Karen Janjua
Senior Program Advisor
Regional Programs and Resource Mobilization
Email: karen.janjua@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 51 230 7484

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.aljazeera.com
www.cnn.com
www.cbc.ca

Photo credit: http://www.aljazeera.com

An estimated 3,700 people were still trapped in Marawi, a municipality of 201,785 people in Lanao del Sur Province in Mindanao, on Thursday as clashes between government forces and members of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute group continued in the Islamic city, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is working to ensure their safe evacuation.

In Manila, ICRC Philippine delegation head Pascal Porchet told the Inquirer that the humanitarian aid group has been able to communicate with members and persons “close to” and “directly involved” with the Islamic State-linked fighters and the Philippine military, requesting safe passage for those still trapped in Marawi. “But the most important thing is, we are here to work hand in hand with the parties involved to ensure the safety and well-being of the people,” Porchet said. “We just hope the civilians will be able to flee safely, and will soon be rescued.”

As the violent clashes on 23rd May erupted, residents of Marawi soon evacuated in large groups to safe zones in surrounding areas, including Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. Strict checkpoints by both Maute groups and government forces, long traffic lines and lost documentation has slowed the evacuation.

The fighting has made it difficult to reach areas where civilians had sought refuge but the ICRC said it was able to rescue 500 civilians following dialogues with those involved in the fighting, which left large patches of the city in ruins. “We are extremely concerned about the impact of the hostilities on the civilians. Our priority is to address the humanitarian needs of the affected people,” the ICRC said in a report. “We are seriously concerned about reports of civilians who were killed or deliberately targeted, or being held against their will. Civilians are not part of the fighting; they should be protected.”

Only 30,645 individuals or 6,129 families have taken shelter in evacuation centers in nearby cities such as Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and as far away as Davao City. Majority of the displaced have sought refuge in homes of relatives.

The latest information from OCHA and ARRM-Heart on 30th May indicate that estimated 90% of the population of Marawi City has been affected. Marawi residents have left the city without necessities, such as extra clothes, livelihood assets or basic hygiene items. It appears that the Christian community (who represent less than 20% in Marawi) has been particularly targeted by the Maute group.  Around 20 Christian civilians were killed when they tried to escape Marawi city at a Maute check point.

Unicef Philippines has called on involved parties in the Marawi conflict to ensure the safety and protection of children affected by the ongoing fighting there. Unicef estimates around 50,000 children have been affected by the conflict by being displaced within Marawi or to other cities in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte; unable to return to their homes; or are in dire need of basic health and sanitation facilities. “We are deeply concerned about actions that may put children’s life and safety at risk and disrupts their overall development or access to basic social services such as education and health care. The estimated tens of thousands of children who, along with their families, have been displaced in and out of Marawi, could face severe long-term impact on their psycho-social health, their physical health as well as having their education disrupted,” warned Unicef Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander.

As violence continues in Marawi City, there is uncertainty around when the displaced people will be able to return home, placing a serious strain on the resources and facilities available in evacuation centres (ECs) and on the capacity of the local government to accommodate the large influx of IDPs, particularly if the conflict intensifies further or expands.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law on Mindanao Island, has approved the creation of a “peace corridor” to hasten the rescue of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid for displaced people, said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

He said the corridor will be implemented by the government and the main separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a peace agreement in exchange for Muslim autonomy in Mindanao, the southern third of the Philippines.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service is in contact with local partners in Philippines on updated information on the ongoing conflict. It is closely monitoring and will devise its response plan accordingly.

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbang
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.manags@communityworldservice.asia
Ph +93 78 635 0703 / +63 908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Ph: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/mindanao-churchgoers-hostage-marawi-siege-170524085829461.html
Start Network Alert – https://startnetwork.org
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/901709/marawi-conflict-unicef-calls-for-efforts-to-keep-children-safe-protected
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/901862/3700-still-trapped-in-marawi-city
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/01/1705747/civilians-seek-food-water-marawi-clash-continues