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Communications Office

“Daughters have always been preferred in our family, unlike other families in the village. My husband and I have never given priority to our two sons over our two daughters. We love all of them equally,”

said Hurmi, a resident of Haji Chanesar village in Umerkot. Hurmi is the Vice President of the Steering Committee of the village and a gender activist in the area.

“My first child was a daughter. Normally in our community, daughters are considered as burdens and families are not so happy when a girl is born. But the case was different at our home. I am lucky to have a husband who loves daughters more.”

When the skills development center was set up at Haji Chanesar Village, Hurmi helped identify artisans who were most in need of a sustainable livelihood. Later in the project stage, a steering committee was formed for which Hurmi was nominated as Vice President by the unanimous vote of the artisans themselves.

“After the Community Management Skill Training, the Steering Committee was well equipped with knowledge on how to manage communities and resolve their issues and conflicts. As the Vice President, my role was more influential as many expected me to bring change in the rigid traditions we have been following for years.”

“The center brought countless benefits to women and girls in residual and nearby villages. They used to work in the fields in the season of cotton picking. Parents of young girls felt insecure sending their daughters to the fields, as they worked under the scorching sun and the bushes and thorns would tear their clothes or injure them. The center serves as a shadow in their lives. We encouraged the men of our families to send their wives, sisters and daughters to the center without a worry as the environment is safe and secure. Women in our area now work without worrying about traveling long distances while carrying heavy crops on their heads.”

As a dedicated member of the Steering Committee, Hurmi worked actively for the well-being of her fellow villagers. Recognizing her consistent efforts and dedication, Hurmi was selected as a participant of a ToT for Gender Activists.

“When I joined the Gender Group as an activist, my in-laws and neighbors discouraged me saying such activities for women were not part of our culture and it was not right to let women and girls talk so boldly on sensitive issues. My husband on the other hand, supported me strongly. He motivated me to work as a gender activist and change the mind-sets of the people who did not allow their daughters to grow socially and economically,”

reiterated Hurmi with a confident smile.

“When I started working as a gender activist, I realized that the people in these rural communities are still living in a backward world, where caste difference was a firm way of life. One of the reasons for some families to not send their daughters to the skills center was the issue of caste difference. They could not allow their daughters to sit with women belonging to a lower caste than them. They also believed that sending their daughters to the skill building center will bring dishonor to their traditions and cultural values,”

narrated Hurmi disappointedly,

“We conducted gender awareness sessions. We also led sessions to individual households to have a direct impact. Girls in our village started to go to school and early childhood marriages started to decrease.”

“Recently, a 16-year-old girl was getting married in our village. Our gender activist group visited the household and briefed the family about the problems young girls face in early marriages. When the girl’s in-laws (to be) came to schedule the wedding for February 23rd, the father of the 16-year-old refused instantly. The in-laws were furious to see his reaction. The daughter’s family called us to talk to the in-laws and explain the disadvantages of early childhood marriages to them as well. When the in-laws were also enlightened on the subject, they too understood and postponed the marriage to three years later. It is not just about one change in one house. People have started to think over many rigid traditions followed by us for ages as a result of these awareness sessions.”

“There was another instance of a man named Mohan. His wife, Dhai, was very disturbed as Mohan use to drink a lot. He used to waste his earnings on buying alcohol. He did not even spare Dhai’s minimum wage which she earned through stitching and agricultural work. He even hit Dhai when he was drunk. He once hit her with a small axe while he was drunk. He also used to beat his children. We tried to talk to him but he did not listen. So, we went to a doctor to talk about Mohan’s condition. We requested the doctor to scare Mohan by lying to him, stating that his health is weakening. When Mohan fell ill, the doctor came to Mohan and stated that he has cancer. Mohan got so scarred that he stopped consuming alcohol himself. Mohan has not been drinking since three months now. His wife is very relieved as he does not hit her or her children as his mental state has now improved. He does not waste money on drinking now and is more calm and caring towards his family. Yesterday, our steering committee held a meeting with the villagers. At the meeting, Mohan informed us that he has quit smoking as well. His wife is very happy now. Everybody in the village is curious to know how Mohan has changed so much.”

It is important for women to participate proactively for work on gender equality as only women can understand the problems of other women well enough. They will work towards resolving issues in a more realistic and practical manner.

“Women easily communicate their issues to us. I am happy when I help others to live a better life, especially when daughters are treated well. Now that we have been given a chance to live a better life, we must walk forward together to build a progressive society instead of letting each other down. I wish to see an all girls’ educated and equality based society”

Improving teachers’ skills and knowledge is seen as one of the most important investments, of time and resources, that local, state, and civil leaders can make to education.

“The Teachers Training and the Master Teacher Training conducted by Community World Service Asia, was a new experience of professional development for us. With its focus ranging from classroom processes and structures to teachers’ personal and teaching traits, it taught us a lot. It was a learning opportunity for us teachers that was explicitly aimed at enhancing teaching skills and increasing student achievement,”

 expressed Hameeda Memon, a 42 years old teacher at the Government Girls Primary School, Civil Hospital, Thatta.

Hameeda has been teaching for 23 years and has always been passionate about teaching.

“I was not familiar with the various teaching methods I learnt at the training. Our students have mostly been engaged in mindless memorization. The lessons were not properly understood and the students studied enough to achieve passing marks only.  I wanted the students to enjoy their work but was unable to encourage them towards building interest in academic books,” added Hameeda, “In the teachers training, we were taught various theories and methodologies like students. We were the students this time. Morning meeting exercises and role play activities were conducted. We engaged in group activities and learnt how to develop low and cost no learning material. All this involvement through the interactive exercises increased our interest in teaching. That was when I realized how important it is to engage students in practical activities like these to keep their minds and bodies fresh to comprehend lessons better and achieve greater outcomes.”

Sessions on Gender education and Health Hygiene and Environment were the most informative and appealing content for Hameeda.

“It was the first time for me to learnt about these topics. We all were aware of the terms but we never studied them in our context. I now believe that these topics should be included in the curriculum to increase student’s knowledge on it as well. Teachers’ should emphasize on gender education and hygiene like they do on discipline and class work.”

Hameeda feels more confident and prepared about our classes after receiving the training.

“The Master Teacher Training was more about teaching methods and adult learning. It focused on planning and reporting skills of teachers for better class presentation and school management. These trainings have influenced our classroom practices significantly and have lead to improved student achievement. Zia, a student in my class, was very weak in her studies. She rarely spoke in the class and had difficulty in understanding her lessons. After the morning meetings and role plays, she started to speak up and participate in conversations. Today, she sits in the first row of the class and manages the black board and charts displayed in the classroom. Likewise, I have given other students certain responsibilities for classroom management. This ownership has motivated students to be more attentive.”

“Learning is a continuous process; more learning leads to better results. Even as teachers, we have a lot to learn and there is always room for improvement. If we are trained, we will deliver our lessons efficiently and more effectively, with the result being, our students benefiting in the long run. In addition, the reputation of the school will improve and the enrolment of students will increase. It’s a cycle of improvement at every stage. That’s why trainings like these should be an on-going process,”

concluded Hameeda with a positive attitude.

Hasan of village Fazal Wadho, participant, expressed, “We were wasting valuable natural resources, but now I will utilize these resources for sustainable agriculture practices.”

An exposure visit of sixty farmers from Badin, Sindh, to the Central Cotton Research Institute, Agriculture Training Institute and Wheat Research Institute was conducted and facilitated in Sakrand last week of March under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Farming project supported by Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).

Mr. Muhammad Yousaf Channa, coordinator and senior Instructor for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) unit at Agriculture Training Institute in Sakrand, facilitated the visit along with Community World Service Asia staff. The participants were welcomed by Dr. Abdul Waris Sanjrani, Director,Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI).

The CCRI is engaged in multidisciplinary researches conducted in the field of Agronomy, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cytogenetics, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology and a newly established section, Transfer of Technology. Since its inception, the Institute has successfully evolved considerable number of high yielding cotton varieties at required fiber qualities. Abdullah Keerio and Saira Bano, Scientific officers at the Institute, introduced production technology to the participants. Shah Nawaz Khoro, Senior Scientific Officer, explained Cotton Insect pests. A documentary was also screened showing the cotton production technology.

Abdul Wahab Soomro and Vishandas Suthar, also Scientific officers at the Institute, facilitated the participants through their visit of the greenhouse placed with parental genes of cotton plants imported from various countries for development of further progenies. The Glass house was another visiting site in the location where cotton cultivars were planted in winter in controlled environments to save the time required for evaluation of new variety. The participants were amazed to visit the Cold Room where decades old cotton seeds are preserved.

At the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the group of visiting farmers was welcomed by Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Jamali, Principal of the Institute (ATI). The farmers were briefed about the integrated crop and pest management process and systems by the coordinator at ATI and experienced new procedures of organic backyard gardening, compost making, optimum use of available waste resources for more productive plantation and innovative methods to measure soil moisture. At the Wheat Research Institute, Dr. Kareem Bux Lagari, briefed the participants regarding the varieties of wheat grown in experimental fields and demonstrated how different strains and wheat are developed. The farmers then visited the demonstration field where production technologies were functioning and lastly to the Wheat Museum where a large variety of wheat was on display.

The Sindhi farming community is very apprehensive about the current cropping season. They are looking for best suitable crop varieties in accordance to the soil composition and the changing climate. Previously they use to purchase any variety of plant to yield but these exposure visits have made the farmers more aware about seed selection and crop management as per changing seasons. Moreover, the farmers are now planning to use waste material for crop and vegetable production. One of the participant has already started making compost from the waste material and is planning to go for ridge sowing in the following wheat season to collect a good yield.

The people of Sindh are likely to experience another wave of extreme heat for the third consecutive year – albeit 2 months earlier than in previous years –  as the mercury surged to unseasonably high temperatures on Monday, April 10, 2017.

The Met Office reported that Karachi would experience hot to very hot weather on Tuesday (today) and the maximum temperature would range at 42°C, with humidity, and a “real feel” averaging in at 44°C.    In view of the forecast, the mayor of Karachi announced setting up 12 centers in the city’s hospitals for heatstroke patients and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) is spearheading contingency plans across Sindh.

In other parts of the province, Sukkur, at 46°C, as well as Hyderabad and Nawabshah at 45°C are recorded among the hottest places in Sindh today.   Government officials fear that the coming three days would be highly critical and have ordered all hospitals across the province to be on high alert.

Weather forecasts for the coming 10 days indicate that temperatures are expected to soar even higher. In districts Tharparkar and Umerkot of Sindh, expected temperatures will be 44-45°C from the 12th through the 16th, accelerating to 47°C from the 17th through the 19th. Temperatures in Shaheed Benazirabad District (formerly Nawabshah) are predicted to increase to 45- 46°C from the 11th through the 14th, rising to 46 – 47°C from 15th through the 19th. Temperatures are predicted to begin to decrease steadily from the 20th through the rest of April.

When the human body’s core temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius it becomes very difficult for the body to cool itself.  This can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke — and often even death.   Young children, the elderly, persons with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and, persons working outdoors are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke.  Women are more susceptible than men, and the obese are also more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.   Contrary to popular belief, electric fans are more harmful than do good during periods of extreme heat, as blowing hot air decreases the body’s ability to cool itself.

A severe heat wave with temperatures as high as 49 °C (120 °F) struck southern Pakistan in June 2015, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people from dehydration and heat stroke, mostly in Sindh province and its capital city, Karachi.  The heatwave also struck the same region in 2016; however, due to good coordination and anticipatory response, mitigation measures and awareness raising campaigns, few human lives were lost.

Community World Service Asia Response:

Community World Service is closely monitoring the situation through close contact with the local authorities and will react accordingly. Community World Service Asia provided preventive and curative support to people affected or at-risk of the heatwaves in 2015 and 2016.

Contacts:

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

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

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com
www.accuweather.com/en/pk/pakistan-weather

World Health Day provides an opportunity for the global community to come together to focus on interventions and actions that lead to improving human health. Every year an important issue is highlighted. This year WHO says “Depression: Let’s Talk”. Community World Service Asia has been working in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s health sector, providing assistance to the poor and marginalized since 1993. To bring healthcare to the poorest of the poor, Community World Service Asia has become an organization that empowers people and communities to eliminate injustices through integrated efforts in health, education and development. We have provided basic healthcare services that have directly facilitated 99,709 patients. Today in celebration of World Health Day 2017, we tell you a moving story of one of these patients and her recovery from a common, yet most under-estimated, mental illness- depression.

Abida, daughter of Gulajan, is a 35 years old widow from Shamoram village of Alishang district in Laghman Province.

“I am a widow and mother of five children. My eldest daughter is just 17 years old. My husband was a policeman and the sole bread earner for our family. He did not earn much but we were a happily bonded family.”

Abida gets upset even today as she mentions the ill-fated day that turned her blissful life around.

“I was baking bread when I heard a crowd of people moaning outside our house. Some men were carrying a chaarpaai (wooden bed) with a body lying on it draped in a white cloth. It was my husband, Shaihdullah! I fainted instantly when I saw him lying lifeless.”

Her husband died while he was at work where he was killed in a terrorist attack.

Abida now lives with her father-in-law who is an aged man and unable to support their family.

“I lost quite a lot that day; my husband, caregiver, father to my children, a supporting son of an elderly father and the only income bearer of the household.”

Abida’s father provided financial support for healthcare expenses and with purchasing clothes for her children occasionally.

“After my husband’s loss, I was terribly broken. I use to have body pains and felt weak most of the times. I used to spend hours thinking about the future of my children without the support of their father. I was unable to sleep as well which was deteriorating my health.”

Abida’s father-in-law had to take her to Gamba clinic which was at an hour’s distance from their hometown. This was time consuming and expensive.

“The doctors there prescribed painkillers but it was only giving me short term relief. I could not consume painkillers at all times as it was not curing my problem. I was trying very hard to adjust but every passing day was becoming difficult to survive for me.”

“One day, I was very depressed and could not stop crying. My brother then took me to the doctor. After explaining my condition to him, he prescribed some medicines for stress relief and advised me to visit him weekly. But due to financial constraints, I was unable to visit the doctor regularly as it was expensive and I had to travel a long distance for which I needed my father or brother to accompany me. I did not want to worry them again and again as they had their own responsibilities to handle.”

Abida then found out about the MNCH established by Community World Service Asia in Shamoram village. This was quite a relief for her.  She hesitated to discuss her issue when she initially visited the MNCH.

“The female staff at the MNCH was very friendly. Looking at my condition, the midwife knew something was wrong and that I was not telling the whole story.”

Abida shared her troubled story and the anxiety she was experiencing. She elaborated on how her bad health was effecting her children and family.

“The midwives listened to me patiently as I let my heart out to them. The doctor then prescribed stress relief medicines and advised to visit the MNCH on a weekly basis.”

Abida visited the doctor as prescribed as the MNCH was not far and easily accessible. She did not need her brother or father in law to accompany her to make these visits and regularly went on her own.

“The women staff at the MNCH provided good counselling. I continued my treatment for almost seven months on a regular basis as suggested. Now I can confidently say that I am a healthy mother taking care of my children and father-in-law. Bad times come and go; we have to stay strong for the people who are with us today.”

Since her treatment, Abida had visited the MNCH for health assistance for her children. Abida, along with many other community members of Laghman villages have benefitted from the services provided at the health centers established in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rural communities residing in remote areas are vulnerable and unable to avail healthcare services easily. The establishment of the health centers in remote areas are providing basic healthcare facilities which have turned many lives around for the better.

Health & Hygiene session in the catchment area of RHC Dhoronaro.

According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS), 2012-13, maternal and child death remains a major concern in Pakistan. In the provincial public sector, health services are provided through a tiered referral system of health care facilities; with increasing levels of complexity and coverage from primary, to secondary and tertiary health services. Primary care facilities include Basic Health Units (BHUs), Rural Health Centres (RHCs), Government Rural Dispensaries (GRDs), Mother and Child Health (MCH) Centres and TB centres. Most of these public health facilities lack the provision of a broader range of preventive and curative health services.

Community World Service Asia conducted a baseline survey in first year (2015) of its health project inception in Umerkot and these are the major findings of the study:

  • Very few, small private clinics operational in some villages of the targeted Union Councils. These clinics are not affordable for most of the community members (selected in the sample size) as they have low monthly incomes, with an average of only PKR 8733
  • According to 91.7% of the respondents, there are no antenatal services. 99% of respondents replied that there are no postnatal services. 5% reported the absence of delivery services whereas 96.1% reported the absence of family planning services
  • 100% of respondents replied that there are no women medical officers available at the health facility, whereas, 76.5 % reported the absence of Lady Health Visitors (LHVs) in the health facility. A 99.5% and 81.4% responded positively to the presence of male doctors and Medical Technician (MT) respectively
  • 5% respondents raised the need for a presence of medical staff to improve health services in the area
  • 8% respondents raised the need for provision of essential medicines, whereas 37% believed that the provision of 24 hours emergency services were essential to improve the quality of services
  • 2% of the respondents believed better infrastructure and cleanliness of health facilities were key to further improving the overall health services of the area

What is the project doing?

After analysing the results of the baseline survey, three Rural Health Centres (RHCs) were set up by Community World Service Asia, with the support of Act for Peace. All three of these RHCs are functioning with a focus on delivering primary healthcare services in the district of Umerkot.

The health facilities established, have deployed Female Medical Officers (FMOs), LHVs and Medical Technicians in their centres at Hyderfarm and Nabisar Road along with providing medicines. In RHC Dhoronaro, a lady doctor sits in shifts and rotationally visits the centre as well.

The social mobilizers, under the project, have formed two Health Committees in addition to the existing six committees formed last year. An advocacy forum has also been developed at district level to address emerging health issues. The village Health Committees and advocacy forum consists of eight to ten members including both men and women activists from the community, who are responsible to facilitate and support health services provided under the project. The village Health Committees meet monthly, with facilitation of the community mobilizers, and share their committees’ progress, problems and challenges and plan for the next month. A total of eight village Health Committees and a district health advocacy forum are running actively and meet regularly at the health facility. They conduct joint meetings in the villages on a fortnightly or monthly basis to discuss the pertaining issues regarding health and other community based problems. These meetings are properly documented and shared with the project management team. The discussions of these meetings are recorded for further planning, improvement and implementation of the project activities.

Clinical support is also given at these curative and preventive RHCs with focus to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services. These services are delivered by women health staff comprising of FMOs and LHVs along with two medical technicians and one male and one female social mobilizers. The main focus of the services is on reproductive health of women of childbearing age.

Recognizing maternal, neonatal and child health care as a major component of the health services, the project team provides antenatal and postnatal assistance to local women.  Complicated cases are referred to the secondary level health care facilities in the area. The MNCH services at the RHC focus on continuum of care including family planning, pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour and childbirth, postpartum, newborn care, and child health and support high-impact, evidence-based interventions that saves lives.

Health education sessions are being conducted for men, women and children at the health facilities, in the surrounding villages of each RHC and at schools. Major topics on health education, such as Personal Hygiene, Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS awareness, Importance of Breastfeeding and Safe Drinking Water, with emphasis to prevalence of the disease, have been included in the IEC materials developed for building the knowledge of the communities.  Through general OPD, patients are treated and facilitated along with being provided necessary medicines.

The project team assessed the nutritional status of women and children under five, of all the three RHCs, through analysing their medical history, physical examination, and height to weight balance and various other parameters. The patients are then referred accordingly to different NGOs, providing nutritional care, based in the district. More complicated cases are referred to District Headquarter Hospitals of Umerkot and Mirpurkhas. Counselling sessions to malnourished, lactating and pregnant women are also provided. Children under the age of five are facilitated with de-worming medicines and family planning services are being provided to women by LHVs across the three healthcare facilities. The LHVs brief the women from these communities on the importance and benefits of family planning and the various, free of cost methods available for family planning at the health facilities.

What have we achieved so far?

The availability of services such as primary care, behavioural health, emergency, and public health services are a basic human right which must be provided to all. The project has worked towards providing this basic right and has achieved the following so far:

  • 12,156 community members provided with curative and preventive healthcare services
  • 11,307 individual have participated in health education sessions
  • 2,414 women provided with antenatal and postnatal services
  • 868 individuals have availed family planning services
  • 5,426 women and children were assessed for nutritional balance
  • 42 baby deliveries conducted at the health facilities
  • 25 delivery kits were provided to women as per criteria
  • Participation in seven coordination meetings with line departments, other NGOs and civil society organizations working at district level.

Community World Service Asia is implementing the project through its own staff, including two lady doctors, three LHVs, two Medical Technicians, two community mobilizers and a manager located in Umerkot. They are implementing the project with equally involving the Health Committees and District Advocacy Forum. The health team continues to maintain regular dialogue with the government line departments at the Federal, Provincial and District levels to ensure the efficacy and implementation of the program. Regular coordination meetings are held between key, district stakeholders including NGOs and civil society organizations.

Ghulam Haider, an elderly leader of Khalwan Village, Surkhrood District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, has been working with great dedication and enthusiasm advocating for girls’ education in his community over the past few years. “I was born and raised in an environment where people do not think with open minds. They strictly follow norms, traditions, and culture, which unfortunately do not allow our girls to access education. People here believe that women are born to stay within their homes, under strict “pardah” (veil). Sending girls to schools, colleges, or universities for education and pursuing a career is considered shameful and a dishonor for families. An educated lifestyle is considered to be no better than a disrespectful lifestyle, one which is not permitted within Islam, according to most people.”

Ghulam Haider believes that this pattern of thinking is fundamentally wrong, especially as it is being ingrained in the minds of children of newer generations. “Being a practicing Muslim, I believe that Islam is a religion of peace and prosperity, and it provides equal rights to all. In order to prosper, it’s necessary to accept the fact that Islam promotes education for both men and women equally. I always wished to discuss this aspect with our community members and religious leaders, but due to a lack of knowledge myself, I could not formulate valid arguments which would have been enough to persuade others.”

“Thankfully, the project team of Community World Service Asia, under the Girls Education Project (GEP), conducted informative sessions on the importance of education and child rights in our villages,” said Haider, “All community members, parents and religious leaders alike would sit in one space as participants in these programs.” He shared the significance of sourcing religious scripture and messages such as hadiths and Quranic verses in the sessions; quotes which explicitly favored education of men and women, and the right to provide young girls with education. “These sessions provided food for thought for the people of my village. Now that my knowledge was being built for the cause of education, I decided to take an initiative to formulate a volunteer committee.”

Ghulam Haider and his committee have since been supporting girls and women to pursue education and their dreams through acquiring knowledge and becoming educated. “Fatima, a young teacher from my village, is very enthusiastic and eager to become a professional teacher to serve our community. To accomplish her dream, she has established a literacy course for 13 women members with our support. She is voluntarily teaching basic level reading and writing to her students on a daily basis for an hour. The second batch of her classes have successfully graduated from the adult literacy class recently. Twenty six women have learnt to read and write from her literacy program which is an excellent achievement. To show appreciation, and motivate others to do the same, the committee awarded her with the title of “Best Girl of the Community”. Her services in the field of education were so invaluable that they were also acknowledged by our religious leaders, which shows a major change in the thinking of some of the most rigid minds.” In the award ceremony, Fatima gave credits of her achievement to both Ghulam Haider and the GEP project team for their outright support in her struggle. She hoped that with the passage of time, other elderly members of the community would also take Haider as an exemplary model and follow his lead in the pursuit of promoting education.

The human resources department oversees a number of functions within the organization, including recruitment, training, policy development, staff care, monitoring certain policies and even handling disputes. In addition, the human resource department must keep company employees updated on certain laws, such as gender laws, work safety and discrimination. Therefore, it is essential that all human resource managers and employees are well trained and fully competent for the job.

Nazeef Pervaiz, Senior Program Officer at Mojaz Foundation attended the Human Resource Management (HRM) Training organized by Community World Service Asia in December last year. The training aimed to further improve organizational policies and minimize communication gaps existing between the employers and the employees.

Nazeef joined Mojaz Foundation after graduating in February 2015. She was hired as an Executive in the Micro Finance Project. Nazeef was quite interested in managing human resource, and upon discovering the need of Human Resource Management in the organization she stepped forward to take the job up and set up a human resource department and develop policies and HR related material for Mojaz.

Having limited HR related academic knowledge of the development sector, Nazeef faced some challenges initially. The processes and functions of the development sector HR systems were mostly new to her as her HR experience had been in the corporate sector only. At that time, Nazeef was directly reporting to the CEO of Mojaz as there as there was no dedicated manager to report.

“When I attended the HRM training in Dec 2016, there were a lot of things which we were already implementing. It was the first time for me as a Human Resource professional attending a formal training. As we were already practicing most of the content taught at the training, I took the training as a refresher. They documents introduced were either already in place or informally being practiced within our organization. Mojaz had its HR policy in place, had performance appraisal formats and training formats.”

One of the HR team’s main responsibilities is recruiting and staff development. Human Resource managers develop plans and strategies for hiring the right kind of people. According to Nazeef, the hiring process of Mojaz involved advertising vacant positions, short-listing potential candidates, interviewing, selection and orientation of the employee. The formats of the hiring process were set and followed accordingly. “It was after the training that I realized the drawbacks of our hiring process. While publishing the job vacancy in various newspapers and social sites, we left out a lot of information like benefits and reporting lines in order to publish a short advertisement. The notice period set by our team, which was three to four days, was very short as well. Regarding employee orientation, Mojaz conducted meetings to brief the employee about the rules and regulations of the organization. There was no legal documentation that clearly specified the culture of the organization which the employees were to follow.”

“After the training, we decided to publish complete profiles of the job positions and deliver as much information as possible, including transport, travelling and communication benefits, compensations, reporting lines. The notice time was also increased to fifteen days. In addition, I got the idea of developing an employee orientation handbook. The handbook includes detailed functions of the Human Resource Department. The handbook also includes the functions of other departments existing in the organization. It will enable the employees to develop a clear understanding of all departments and their functions in Mojaz. Regarding cultural development, there were core values followed but they were not documented properly.”

“In the session of Building Organizational Culture, I learnt that there should be a document which builds a clear understanding of the cultural environment followed in the organization. For that reason, I developed a document, namely Dos and Don’ts, for our internal staff. It states what is expected from the employee of the organization from dress codes to employee performance. This brief document will provide knowledge to employees on how best to fit in the organization’s culture.” Nazeef also added that the element of uninformed employees was decreased after the development of the handbook. The handbook is available to employees at all times and Nazeef has planned to provide hard copies of the handbook to all staff in the future as well.

The Human Resource manual was updated. The team also revised all other existing documents of other departments as well. “We hired a consultant for revising our legal documents. We conducted a meeting where we highlighted the existing gaps within the organization. Our organization was fully involved in all the phases of revision- from identification of gaps till proof reading. In addition, we also revised the Standard of Procedures of the HR manual.”

“I felt the need to modify the pay scale and compensation files. Our core project is Micro Finance and for that we have a majority of field staff. Compensation management was discussed in the training and market surveys was identified as the best tool. As a result, we conducted an informal market survey in the month of January. Focusing on Micro Finance, we approached relevant institutions, all our partners and stakeholders and asked them regarding compensation and employee benefits.  Hence, we revised our pay scale on the basis of an informal survey. We have planned to include market survey as a tool in our documents for the increments process.”

The training has proven to be very beneficial for Mojaz Foundation, as the learnings were practically implemented, improving the working environment for the employers and the employees as well. On returning from the training, Nazeef drafted a Human Resource Management strategy which is in line for approval. The draft includes various objectives with set targets to achieve in this year. “The document covers various aspects of organizational growth. To develop a paper free environment, we have planned to transform our HR Management Information System into a digitalized one. In the Narowal district, human resource is short and people switch jobs when they get even a trivial salary increase offer. Therefore, to strengthen the commitment level, we planned to engage with universities and offer internship programs for management training and capacity building. We will offer the internees a job position if they perform well.”

“We have now planned to implement the Training Needs Assessment (TNA) tool. After learning about the TNA tool, we have designed a formal TNA for our internal staff to ensure capacity and skill building. Our consultant is preparing a training plan which we are looking forward to execute. We have also included a 90 degree Supervisor Evaluation for the employees to give their feedback on their supervisors and their working relationship. We felt it was important to get feedback from employees regarding their supervisors to measure their satisfaction levels and to see if there were any conflicts. I have designed a 90 degree Supervisor Evaluation Questionnaire which is included in the HR strategy.” The employee relationship and coordination has improved immensely since the training. The revision of documentation and development of new manuals and documentations has lessened the communication gap. Employee turnover has decreased and staff now approach the human resource department for clarifications on HRstrategy.”

The employee relationship and coordination has improved immensely since the training. The revision of documentation and development of new manuals and documentations has lessened the communication gap. Employee turnover has decreased and staff now approach the human resource department for clarifications on HR processes.

“An organization cannot build a good team of working professionals without good Human Resources. And for this, trainings like these should be conducted to set up a strong and effective Human Resource Management,” Nazeef concluded.

 

Under the Capacity Institutionalization Project, Community World Service Asia conducted a four-day workshop on Organizational Development during the third week of this February in Mirpurkhas, Sindh. Twenty-eight participants, including twenty-one men and seven women, belonging to fourteen local and community based organizations participated at this capacity building event.

The workshop aimed at further developing the capacity of the executive management of small NGOs and CBOs in Sindh, on the core concepts of organizational development. A specific focus was laid on developing an understanding of clear roles and responsibilities between an organization’s board and management, decentralized organizational and decision making structures. The workshop encouraged the participants to contemplate on their organizational values and equipped them with the latest tools to help assess their organizations’ structure and culture, and make the necessary modifications as per needs and requirements. On the last day of the event, action plans for each organization were developed by all the participants, to evaluate their learning and how it is being incorporated practically. A technical assistance will be provided to interested organizations on the basis of their action plans to further strengthen their systems and practices.

Quotes & Comments by Participants

  • Simon Goel: During this 3-Day Workshop, I learnt a lot about development, under-development and why organizations deteriorate due to lack of growth and policies’ enforcement.

  • Chander: I enjoyed this training. There was a lot to learn regarding organizational development. I tend to further my knowledge and strengthen the weaknesses of my organization so that it can execute different projects more effectively for the betterment of the nation.

  • Aneer Adil: I had a good time, learning new features for a strong organizational structure and sharing my experience with other at the same time. All participants were easy going. Methodologies used during the workshop were effective. Sir Sohail is one of the best facilitator. I wish all the best to everyone.

  • Humera: Before coming to this workshop, I was not aware about organizational development and its importance. But with the help of different discussions, presentations and group work, my knowledge has increased and I will definitely apply some of these tools in order to make our OD structure more effective.

  • Dur M. Brohi: I have attended many trainings and workshops but this training is different from others. Here we gained more knowledge, on how can we make our own organization and how can we improve the image of the organization.

  • Jabbar Bhatti: This training gave many new thoughts, new terminologies and new things about organization to develop and to make our organization efficient. I learnt 10 rules of social entrepreneurship and key learnings for developing organization. Overall the training was very helpful for me personally which will ultimately be a contributing factor to my organization.

  • Sarfraz Ali: The workshop was very informative. A variety of methodologies made the workshop more interesting. This workshop was advantageous for me as I came to know about different tools and techniques, which I have never heard about. I am quite confident that I will apply my learnings in my current organization to refine policies, procedures and practices.

     

  • Ahsan Goel: There are so many things which I got to know about Organizational Development. As a HR assistant it will be very useful for me and my organization. For this 4-Day workshop, I would like to say thanks to Community World Service Asia, especially Sir Suhail for training us so clearly and effectively.

Aqlan, a thirty-two year old mother of five school going children financially supports her family, including her husband and brother-in-law. Her main source of income is earned through agricultural fieldwork and livestock management.

“Badin district is situated at the tail end of canal irrigation system. Therefore, the agriculture fields are faced by severe water scarcity. The land has low productivity due to unfertile soil and lack of water. We have to depend on livestock rearing to supplement family earning,”

an exhausted Aqlan explains.

Nominated as a kitchen gardening training participant of a disaster response project in Badin, Aqsa received vegetable seeds for home-growing at her home yard in her village, Mohammad Abbas Thebo.

“Puran Nadi, a natural flow of River Indus, not only irrigates thousands of acres of land but also provides drinking water to the surrounding communities. Sadly, the disposal of chemical waste in the river has not only made the water undrinkable but unusable for irrigation as well. The contaminated water is gradually devouring the fertile soil land as well. After receiving the kitchen gardening training and vegetable seeds, I decided to prepare a patch of land for sowing the seeds to produce fresh vegetables, with the support of my family.”

As a result, Aqlan’s family grew garden-fresh vegetables on a daily basis, improving the quality and quantity of their food consumption.

“Kitchen gardening enhanced my family’s food diversification as it helps me to grow different kinds of vegetables seasonally. Our expense on purchasing vegetables from market has decreased exceptionally. I have also generated revenue of PKR5000 by selling the surplus in the nearby market.”

Aqsa revealed that she also bought a male goat from her savings which will benefit her family in the long run.

“We are planning to sell the goat on the festive of Eid for a good price of PKR25000. I am so pleased that I have been given a chance to do something meaningful in my life for my family’s support and care.”