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Community World Service Asia conducted a workshop on “Coordination and Collaboration – Civil Military Relations and Red lines” in Kohat on April 2, 2015. A total of twenty five participants, coming from twelve various organizations, which also included universities from across Pakistan, attended the sessions. The workshop’s purpose was to provide guidance to attendants regarding the dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with the military. The sessions were conducted by Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Mr Haseeb Saeed from UN OCHA, while co-facilitation was provided by Community World Service Asia representatives, Muhammad Sufyan and Sultan Haider.

The workshop’s purpose was to enhance the relations between the two parties, to reap better results, so that the beneficiaries can ultimately maximize their advantages at the receiving end. Mr Saeed encouraged all participants to highlight main obstacles that are faced by their organizations when it comes to interacting with the military. The problems put forward through a group activity varied from registering families of IDPs, lengthy processes of obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC), lack of coordination, security barriers, unnecessary and excessive interference without jurisdiction, entry to security sensitive regions as well as the unpleasant attitudes of military personnel. All issues pointed towards the hardships faced by NGOs in getting through to their target beneficiaries.

The workshop progressed in a categorical manner, by first disseminating information regarding involved actors and relevant principles amongst the listeners, moving further to the more complicated aspects, for their ease of understanding since this topic was comparatively new for the target audience. Terminologies that were previously unheard of for a majority of the attendants, such as the Humanitarian Country Team (HTC) and the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) were introduced, along with the process that goes on behind the curtains for the creation of policies and provision of facilitation.

In order to instigate an alternative perspective in the mind, activities such as asking participants to act like military officials for the duration of the workshop, were used. Examples of very real and relevant impediments, with specific focus on scenarios where immediate aid is obligatory, such as both manmade and natural disasters, were discussed over the course of the workshop. Instances of wars, floods, earthquakes and epidemics were covered, where in each case the participants were enlightened about formulating clusters and working groups to avoid delays and optimize their outreach.

Participants admitted to having gained both new knowledge and polishing their existing foundations for the development of better tactics to manage military presence. Discussing various levels of coordination from strategic, operational and field based points of view allowed participants to understand the importance of utilizing advocacy as the best tool.

Unfortunately, female participants, with the exception of a numbered few, were unable to vigorously partake in the workshop, due to lack of knowledge and experience with the topic. Deciphering amongst key players involved in military activity, such as the NDMA, through a group exercise conducted by Mr Sufyan was popular amongst the males, however, the females could not provide their input actively.

As a result, the workshop can be declared as no less than successful in getting across its message. Discussing the necessary limitations established by the military, all the while providing the participants with several methods to overcome these challenges with minimal wastage of energy and resources was ensured. The workshop accomplished its goal of defining the red lines for the civil society, to achieve the desired results within those lines is now up to the participants.

Since 2009, the ongoing conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and its adjoining regions has resulted in a mass displacement of its population to different districts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK). More than thirty thousand families from these displaced communities have migrated to Kohat, a city located at around 70km from Peshawar. To support the displaced community in Kohat, Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) in partnership with Dan Church Aid (DCA), is providing livelihood interventions to improve food security among selected migrants and host communities.

During consultative meetings with the affected population, lack of skills for income-generation and food production opportunities were identified as a prime concern among the conflict affected populace in Kohat. To reduce these vulnerabilities, Community World Service Asia provided skills training fifty men and fifty women from the target communities on tailoring, embroidery, welding and plumbing. Selection of training was made depending on each trainee’s requirement and choice. Supporting toolkits to continue practice of the learnt skills were also provided to the training participants.

Trainings to the fifty men were provided by implementing partners Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) in Kohat. Dilawar Khan, Samiullah Khan and Shah Jee Khan are three of the selected participants of the trainings provided. The three of them shared how this intervention by Community World Service Asia has made an impact on their lives since their displacement.

At the time of selection, I thought that this training would be a waste of time but the trainer worked very hard with me and made me realize how helpful it was. I am very much thankful to Community World Service Asia and SRSP for conducting this training. Now I have a skill and can earn better for my family. Before I took this training I barely earned four to five thousand a month, in which it was very difficult to manage my household expenses. I am hopeful that I will get more work opportunities in my own village now and will be able to send my children to school and provide them with better education.”

Dilawar, 26 years old, is married has three children. He lives in a joint family with the total of 22 household members. Before displacement his family’s main livelihood was farming on their own native land. In Kohat, they have no source of income and live in a rented house.

Samiullah 1

I am very happy for being nominated for the plumbing skills training. I practically learnt how to use all the plumbing tools and completed the training in a good environment. Before participating in this training I had no skills to earn an income for my family and myself. Today I have a skill and it empowers me to earn a better livelihood and lead a comfortable life. When I went back home upon successful completion of the training course, I started practicing the skills learnt and started doing some repair work for my neighbors and relatives in the village which enabled me to earn sufficient money. I was also trying to get work outside the village and finally one of my relatives who is engaged with sanitary tools business in Peshawar called me and employed me at his shop. After a week, myself and three other training graduates secured a contract for completing the sanitary construction work at a newly constructed building in Peshawar at forty thousand rupees per month”.

Shah Jee Khan belong to the Bakezai Banda village in Kohat. He is 29 years of age, is married and has two children. He had no source of income when he migrated to Kohat.

Shah G 2

“Vocational trainings conducted by SRSP and Community World Service Asia equipped me with the skills I needed and paved the way to earn a respectable livelihood for me and my family. When I came after completing the training course, I was contacted by my trainer who informed me about scheduled test interviews of UAE based MBC company in Chota Lahore District Swabi for hiring. I appeared for test/interviews on the mention date and time and passed it with good marks. The company selected me for the post of a plumber. I was offered a two year valid visa with a monthly salary of AED.1000, excluding allowances for overtime, food and accommodation. I was told that I shall get visa confirmation within 20 days. Before taking this training I was unemployed and was very worried about my future as I had no professional skill and work experience. I am very much grateful to Community World Service Asia for providing me with a hope for a bright future”.

Samiullah Khan belongs to the Afridi Banda village in Kohat. He is 21 years of age, is unmarried and lives with his parents. His father is disabled which is why Samiullah is the sole income bearer of the family.

Ama Sumani is a leading figure in her community. As president of her Village and Community Organizations, she plays an integral role in building the resilience of her community to natural disasters. Community World Service Asia established these organizations in order to mobilize communities to take action and protect themselves from the flooding and fires to which they are especially vulnerable.

The organizations conduct drills for evacuations, using stretchers to transport injured individuals, fire extinguisher use and other key responses to emergency situations. As well as leading her communities through these organizations, Ama Sumani has been inspired to take her own independent initiatives to promote disaster resilience. She has even turned her own home (pictured) into a store for resources such as emergency blankets and first aid equipment. Ama Sumani represents the dedication and empowerment which Community World Service Asia sees as crucial to building safety and security for vulnerable communities.

Mailah’s mother, Rabia, has been attending adult literacy classes run by Community World Service Asia as part of our work to empower rural women. As well as training in traditional vocational skills, like embroidery and appliqué work, we provide education on basic literacy and numeracy to support the earning potential of women.

Our participants are developing a deep appreciation for the importance of education, and are even teaching their own daughters how to read and write! Rabia proudly shares what she is learning, writing our initials (CWS), her village’s name (Jaffar), her name and her mother’s name. Mailah shows us that the benefits of activities like this are far-reaching and long-term.

Nepal

On Saturday, 25th April 2015, at 11:56 a.m. local time, a violent, 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Its epicenter was in Lamjung District, 77 kilometers northwest of the capital, Kathmandu. Strong aftershocks, including one of a magnitude of 6.5 on 26th April, threatened even more lives as already damaged buildings and infrastructure continued to convulse and crumble.[1] In the midst of these reoccurring aftershocks, another tremor measuring a magnitude of 7.3 struck on Tuesday, May 12th at 12:50 p.m from an epicenter located in Sindhupalchowk District, 76 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu.[2] The strength of this tremor intrinsically classified as a second quake, battering the bit of progress that had been made in recovering from the initial quake less than a month prior.

The last reported death toll of the first quake had been 8,019 people, along with another 17,866 reported as injured.[3] However, after the second quake on 12 May, another 65 people were reportedly killed, while another 2,000 were injured.[4] In response to the initial 25th April quake, the UN had issued a flash appeal for a total of US $415 million to respond to the humanitarian needs for the next three months. Since the occurrence of the second quake on 12th May, the UN has yet to issue an appeal for any further funding of the second quake. Many countries and donor agencies have answered this call, however, as of 4th May, only US$7.5 million, or two percent, of that appeal had been guaranteed. An additional US$68 million has been provided in the form of humanitarian pledges, commitments, and contributions.[5] These contributions are helping support activities in the follow clusters: Early Recovery, Food Security, Shelter and NFI’s, Health, and Education.

UN OCHA has established two humanitarian hubs in Gorkha District and in Sindhupalchowk District in order to coordinate its field operations. There are also an additional five logistic hubs being established in Birgunj, Parsa District; Bharatpur, Chitwan District; Deurali, Gorkha District; Dhulikhel, Kavre District; and Chautara, Sindhupalchowk District.[6] These logistic hubs will be essential for reaching remote districts and villages quickly. This is especially urgent as the next monsoon season is expected to begin in approximately six weeks.[7] Some examples of other humanitarian needs and responses by sponsored clusters are noted as the following:[8]

Early Recovery

Needs: 72 Village Development Committee (VDC) offices were destroyed. Immediate support is required to facilitate authorities’ delivery of public services.

Response: As of 3rd May, forty two government personnel are deployed to the VDC’s to support early recovery activities.

Gaps & Constraints: The condition of twenty one VDC’s have not been accounted for as of now in Gorkha District due to remoteness.

Food Security

Needs: More than three million people are estimated to be in need of food assistance. Of these three million, 1.4 million have been identified to need immediate food assistance.

Response: A total of 2,094.123 metric tons of food is being distributed across 15 districts (Gorkha, Dhading, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Lamjung, Kavre, Makawanapur, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, and Sindhuli).

Gaps & Constraints: Two helicopters available for food distribution, but more helicopters are needed to transport food to areas inaccessible by road.

Shelter

Needs: As of 4th May, it was reported that 191,058 homes had been destroyed and 175,162 are damaged.

Response: A total of 52,000 tarps have been distributed; 10,794 tarps are in-country ready to be distributed, and an additional 234,161 tarps are en route to Nepal.

Gaps & Constraints: Logistics of providing shelter options to remote areas is proving challenging. There is also a particular constraint on time and supply of materials with the upcoming monsoon season.

Health

Needs: Foreign medical teams are needed to establish field hospitals in Bidur, Chautara, Dhunche, and Ramechhap as the central hospitals in each of these locations have been destroyed.

Response: A total of 28,240 patients have been treated in Kathmandu Valley hospitals as of 3rd May.

Gaps & Constraints: Physical rehabilitation services for amputees and services to address mental and psychosocial support are insufficient.

Education

Needs: Twenty nine teachers are reported dead in the fourteen of the worst affected districts. Additional teachers will be needed when public schools resume on 15th May.

Response: Twenty two Child Friendly Spaces have been established for displaced communities in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts serving over 2,200 earthquake affected children.

Gaps & Constraints: Tarps and materials are necessary to expansion of services beyond the Kathmandu Valley.

In addition to these efforts in the five clusters, other work is being conducted on camp coordination and management, emergency telecommunications, logistics, nutrition, protection, and WASH. Examples of immediate response achievements in these areas include the distribution of 250,000 boxes of multiple micronutrient powder for malnourished children in twelve districts. The dispatch of police vans patrolling camps and makeshift shelters in order to maintain law and order for the IDPs’ security is also being done.[9] Although these are all significant achievements, much more funding, in-kind donations, and manpower will be needed to scale up these operations to bring the Nepali people some sense of normalcy in their lives once again.

[1] OCHA & UNHCR. (29 April 2015). Flash Appeal for the Response to the Nepal Earthquake April – July 2015. Retrieved from: http://reliefweb.int/report/nepal/nepal-flash-appeal-response-nepal-earthquake-april-july-2015

[2] OCHA. (12 May 2015). OCHA Flash Update – Nepal Earthquake. Retrieved from: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/20150512%20OCHA%20Flash%20Update%20Nepal%20Earthquake.pdf

[3] CNN Staff. (10 May 2015). Death Toll in Nepal Earthquake Tops 8,000. CNN News. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/10/asia/nepal-earthquake-death-toll/

[4] Nepal Earthquake: Rescue Resumes after Deadly Tremor. (13 May 2015). BBC News. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32716211

[5] OCHA. (4 May 2015). Nepal: Earthquake 2015. Situation Report No. 10. Retrieved from: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/nepal_earthquake_2015_-_situation_report_10_4_may_2015.pdf

[6] OCHA. (4 May 2015). Nepal: Earthquake 2015. Situation Report No. 10. Retrieved from: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/nepal_earthquake_2015_-_situation_report_10_4_may_2015.pdf

[7] OCHA. (4 May 2015). Nepal: Earthquake 2015. Situation Report No. 10. Retrieved from: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/nepal_earthquake_2015_-_situation_report_10_4_may_2015.pdf

[8] OCHA. (4 May 2015). Nepal: Earthquake 2015. Situation Report No. 10. Retrieved from: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/nepal_earthquake_2015_-_situation_report_10_4_may_2015.pdf

[9] OCHA. (4 May 2015). Nepal: Earthquake 2015. Situation Report No. 10. Retrieved from: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/nepal_earthquake_2015_-_situation_report_10_4_may_2015.pdf

Death toll due to massive devastation caused by heavy rains in Peshawar reached 27 on Sunday with more than 100 injured including women and children.

According to rescue officials, many houses collapsed in Gahdu Samarbagh area of Peshawar, killing several people.

At least 100 injured people have been brought to Lady Ready Hospital.

Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani shared that efforts were under way to rescue people trapped under the rubble of collapsed houses. “We have declared emergency in all government run hospitals of Peshawar.”

Apart from Peshawar, there are reports of casualties from Nowshehra.

Community World Service Asia is in contact with the concerned authorities and local partner to monitor the situation and will device our response plan accordingly.

Source: www.guardian.com
www.bbc.com

An awareness session on food and water hygiene was held in the Community World Service Asia Mansehra office and in three of its Basic Health Units in Barari, Khaki and Ichrian in celebration of the World Health Day on April 7, 2015. The discussions of the day were centered on the importance of consuming hygienic food. Community members were made aware of the many food borne illnesses that are prevalent due to lack of proper food management and unhygienic nutritional consumption.

Health experts from the MNCH Project team physically demonstrated the difference between hygienic and unhygienic food. They displayed how some food may appear to be safe for consumption but actually would not be. They taught ways of how community members could identify these food contaminations that otherwise go unnoticed, and sanitize their sustenance in a way that would make it safe for their consumption. As this year’s World Health Day’s international theme was “food safety”, the activities conducted in Mansehra focused mainly on the emerging health problems and diseases caused by unhygienic food consumption. A great emphasis was laid on the considerable amount of improvement in living conditions of communities if all individuals started being conscious of food safety.

The team based their awareness sessions on WHO’s guidelines on safer food and on how community members must incorporate these in their homes and villages. The five key points of the guidelines were to keep clean; to separate raw food from cooked food; to cook food thoroughly, to keep food at safe temperatures and to use clean water and cooking utensils.

Community World Service Asia celebrated the World Health Day to promote the “FROM FARM TO PLATE, MAKE FOOD SAFE” global campaign in an effort to streamline food safety through its projects and among the communities it works with.

In 2014, southern parts of Sindh experienced a continuing dry spell that inevitably lead to a drought crisis. Tharparkar, where the community’s livelihood depends mainly on livestock management and seasonal farming activities, is one of the most affected districts in Sindh. Following the drought, a scarcity in food and livestock resulted in the death of 650 people. This was mainly due to the lack of drinking water and feed for farming animals. Hundreds of children are reported to be suffering from pneumonia and diarrhea which is constantly adding to the cases of acute malnutrition in the area.

To overcome the alarming food security and nutrition requirements, Community World Service Asia initiated food assistance for drought affected families in the district from the month of February, 2015. In close coordination with local government authorities, nine villages and two bordering hamlets were identified in Taluka Chachro and Dahli of Tharparkar district. Twenty two village committees (VCs) are formed to promote coordination and assist in sharing information to ensure the full participation of communities in this project.

Moreover, our teams were assisted by the VCs in selection of 1,800 households for food assistance, with a priority given to orphans, people with disabilities, widows, and female-headed households. Each family will receive a food package as per minimum Sphere standards consecutively for seven months. The duration of the response is designed in consideration of the immediate food needs and the harvesting time of seasonal crops. In Tharparkar, farmers usually begin to plant seeds after the forecasted rainfall in the month of June, which is projected to harvest after seventy days of planting. The affected communities are also expecting an increase in availability of drinking water for their livestock following the rain.

Two rounds of food distribution are completed since the commencement of the project until now. Our team on the ground is regularly coordinating with stakeholders by participating in cluster meetings, working groups and general coordination meetings. This is done to ensure the sharing of information, to learn from each other’s’ experiences and to avoid duplication.

This assistance is possible with generous support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Presbyterian World Service & Development.

Noor Elahi, age 29, is a resident at the Afghan refugee camp in Khaki, Mansehra. Being the sole breadwinner, supporting a family of eight members, including his five children, became challenging for Elahi after his father’s death. “I was distressed when my father passed away since I was dependent on him. Now I don’t have any other means of income.” Working hard to make ends meet, Elahi began to work as a laborer on daily wages until he was selected as a trainee under the Vocational Training and Market Development Program to learn carpentry skills.

Foreseeing a bright future, Elahi enthusiastically participated in a four month training program. To encourage participation, trainees were paid a stipend of PKR.150 per day including lunch and refreshment. Upon successful completion of the training he received a certificate along with a tool kit to practice his learning. In addition, he acquired a job as a partially skilled laborer at a local carpentry shop which further increased his earnings. To build upon his capabilities and learn advanced techniques, Elahi was selected for a one month refresher course.

“I was satisfied about my future to some extent and was pleased to know about the advance course offered by Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A). I happily participated in the course to enhance my skills and learned to operate 5 in 1 woodworking machine.”

Considering his expertise and his passion to progress as a professional carpenter, Elahi was selected by the Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) team for Small and Medium Enterprise program along with another Afghan graduate. They were also provided a 5 in 1 woodworking machine to launch their own shop. “Together we are working very hard and generate a profit of PKR.15, 000 per month which is equally divided between us. Now, we also have an opportunity to share our knowledge and learn new techniques from each other. We provide economical services to our community members at their door step and also plan to expand our business to a larger scale. I am very thankful to Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A); because of their extensive assistance I can now support my family easily.”

To support the rehabilitation of refugee communities in Pakistan, Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) is implementing a Vocational Training and Market Development Project in Mansehra and Haripur as Gifts of the United States Government since 2010. The goal is to enhance self-reliance and increase income for men and women of Afghan Refugees and host community. A four-month program imparts certifiable skills training to men in welding, electrical works, carpentry, auto mechanics, auto electrician, motor cycle mechanic, plumbing and masonry. Women participate in handicraft and dress designing trades in affiliation with Skill Development Council Peshawar. Upon course completion, graduates received a tool kit designed for their respective trades, which enabled them to establish small scale businesses or more easily find employment in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Dispirited by poverty, Rubeena was extremely concerned about the expenses she had to bear for delivering her first baby. Rubeena lives with her husband and his family in village Ranta, union council Bijora. A laborer by profession, her husband, the only breadwinner of the family earns PKR.200 per day, which is not enough to meet the essential requirements of seven family members.

“In view of my family’s current financial situation I was apprehensive about the high cost we would have to pay for my delivery. With transportation and medicine bills included, I knew the childbirth would cost us a lot, which we could not afford.”

Once Rubeena became aware about the quality of medical services provided at the maternal, neonatal child health center (MNCH) at very nominal rates, she planned to visit the center. Examined by an experienced,female medical officer, Rubeena was satisfied and began to visit the center for regular antenatal consultations. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the health center in mid-March, 2015. “Previously I was unaware of childbirth assistance available at such low costs. If I had been taking medical consultations at another health facility, we would have paid PKR.2000 or even more by now. I am glad that we managed the entire treatment at a very minimal cost of PKR.30.”

While Rubeena enjoys her early motherhood days, she continues to visit the health center for postnatal care and also consults with the medical staff regarding her baby’s health and vaccinations.

“I am thankful to Community World Service Asia, for establishing a MNCH in a remote area and for providing quality services at a very low cost. I hope this facility continues to provide support to us and to other communities.”

Community World Service Asia with financial support from Church of Scotland is successfully implementing a project on Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Centre (MNCH) in union council Bijora, district Thatta, Sindh. The aim is to improve maternal, newborn, and child health by providing curative and preventive basic health services, ante and postnatal care, family planning, and vaccination campaigns. The community also benefits from health education sessions on a variety of topics including HIV & AIDS, infant and child feeding, prevention of childhood diseases, and malnutrition. During the first quarter of the year, 1,569 community members received medical assistance at the health center. One hundred and fifty six participants including women, children and men participated in thirteen health sessions, and four health management committee meetings were organized till date.