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Picture: www.dailypakistan.com.pk

Community World Service Asia is responding to the emergency crisis that has unfolded due to the heat wave that has hit Sind, Pakistan. High temperatures combined with the draining humidity has left people dehydrated and heat stroked. Electricity shortages, unavailability of drinking water and difficult access to hospitals has led to a death toll of more than a thousand people, which is escalating further by the day.

Claiming lives across southern Pakistan by the hour, this heat wave has caused the most casualties in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Kunri, Mirpur Khas, Mithi, Umerkot, Dadu and upper Sind. People living in rural Sindh are amongst the most vulnerable as the temperatures are higher here, hospitals are far flung and the awareness level on mitigating the impact of heat strokes is very low. These people have very limited access to clean drinking water and electricity.

The livestock of the hundreds of people affected by this heat wave in rural Sind is also suffering; animals are dying of extreme heat and lack of water. Crops are drying due to this drought-like situation. In short the entire ecosystem of these areas is being harmed. Awareness and trainings are required to equip these affected communities to respond to such extreme temperatures.

With the on-ground support of partners in Sind, Community World Service Asia has launched the implementation of the first phase of this emergency response in Mirpurkhas, Nagar Parker and Dadu district today. Emergency Heat Treatment Centres (EHTCs) have been set up in these areas to treat those suffering from heat exhaustion and strokes and to supply immediate clean drinking water to the affected communities.

This emergency response is planned to be implemented through a three pronged strategy; directly assisting the heat wave/heat stroked patients; minimizing the risks of those populations which are at threat, and to raise awareness on the symptoms and treatment of heat strokes. The first strategy is a short term response, but the latter two aim at achieving sustainable results.

It is reported that this extreme heat situation is going to persist for some time. It is also reported that lower Sind (including Karachi), the coastal areas, Mirpurkhas and some parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are expected to receive moderate and scattered pre-monsoon rains until Thursday, along with dust storms.

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We are excited to announce that our application to the ACT Alliance has been formally approved. Community World Service Asia is now a proud ACT member. After going through a comprehensive application process, the ACT Alliance Governing Board approved our membership application in their meeting this May.

ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations working together in over 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards. The Alliance is supported by 25,000 staff from member organisations and mobilises about $1.5 billion for its work each year in three targeted areas: humanitarian aid; development; and advocacy. As an ACT member, Community World Service Asia strives to work for positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development, and advocacy work as defined by the Alliance’s united mission.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share that Community World Service Asia is the first ever local and regional organization to be a member of the ACT Pakistan Forum. To add further, we are also currently chairing the Pakistan Forum which makes us the first ever local chair in the country. ACT Pakistan Forum is a shared platform composed of Community World Service Asia, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) Pakistan, who are the members of ACT Alliance presently based in Pakistan and Christian Aid, Church of Sweden and ICCO Cooperation, who are supporting programs in Pakistan from abroad. The forum works with common interests defined broadly by their commitment to the mission, vision, and values of ACT Alliance in humanitarian disaster assistance.

The ACT Pakistan Forum is part of the ACT alliance and is not a separate entity which incorporates and reflects ACT policies and guidelines in its own operations. The Forum also provides input into the development of ACT Alliance policies and procedures.

The heatwave that hit Pakistan during the last three days has led to an unprecedented increase in morbidity and deaths among the underprivileged populations of Sindh.

Since Saturday June 20th, the extreme hot spell in Karachi and other areas of Southern Pakistan have led to a death toll of 530 people which is expected to escalate further with the rise in temperature as per reports by the three leading English Daily Newspapers (Dawn, The News & Express Tribune). The Daily Express has however reported the death toll to have reached a 1000 people. Hundreds of affected populations have been hospitalized for sun-strokes and other heat related complications. Many are still awaiting emergency health assistance in the far-flung areas of interior Sind and Southern Punjab.

The temperature in Southern Pakistan has been recorded at a constant high continuum, ranging from 43 degree Celsius (in Karachi) to 49 degree Celsius in Jacobabad. As per environmental experts, the country’s heat index has risen because of poor environmental conditions since the past couple of decades. This intense heat wave is affecting the destitute populations more because of the extended electricity breakdowns they face and the unavailability of drinkable water. Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan by many people in these areas may have also contributed to the growing crisis.

Contacts:
Allan A. Calma
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: allan.calma@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 301 5801621

Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Email: fazil.sardar@communitryworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Senior Communications Officer
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:
www.dawn.com
www.pmd.gov.pk
http://arynews.tv/en/mercury-still-at-38-degrees-in-karachi
http://www.geo.tv/article-188842-Blistering-heat-devours-572-people-in-Pakistan-in-just-2-days

Farhad working on a solar panel to make an efficient and economical solar energy system to generate electricity
Farhad working on a home built solar power system
Farhad working on a home built solar power system

Twenty-nine-year old Farhad lived in the Afghan refugee village Barari in Mansera with his parents, his wife, and six siblings. His brothers were young and school going, while his father’s ailing health didn’t allow him to work, which left Farhad as the sole income bearer in the family.  Being the eldest among the siblings, Farhad started supporting the entire family financially since a young age through working at the local vegetable market on daily wages.

Providing for a large family of ten members with meagre financial resources meant that their living standards had greatly deteriorated since their arrival in Mansehra. The family’s day to day needs were increasing but most were unmet due to scarcity of funds. Even though Farhad worked for many hours and did all he could to provide for the family, his efforts were not paying him much monetarily.

Recognizing Farhad’s difficulties, his family’s need and his commitment to support them relentlessly, the Community World Service Asia team selected him as a participant of the electrical trade training for the Vocational Training and Market Development project. Farhad invested four long months of hard work and energy into this training. Upon successful completion, he was given the opportunity to work as a local electrician at the Barari camp. He took up many assignments at the camp, which along with earning him a better income, also helped in polishing his newly acquired skills.

Soon after, with the repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan announced, Farhad and his family, among thousands of other refugee families, had to return to their motherland.  The return journey to their home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan went smoothly until they reached there.

“When I arrived in my hometown, there was no electricity in the entire area. The residents of my village were only using lanterns for light as no other source of electricity was available. Soon as summer came, the people were only equipped with hand fans to cool themselves with. Immediately, I planned to use the knowledge I had learnt about solar energy during my training in Pakistan and so I began experimenting with putting up a solar energy system in my house. The people around me were very impressed with my work and the expertise I displayed. Soon, many of them started requesting me to install it in their homes as well for which they would pay me. Today, I earn around AFN 25,000 per month in my hometown”, says Farhad proudly.

“My younger brother is now studying matriculation at school and every day on his return he helps me with my electrical work. He is also learning the profession from me as he assists. Just through receiving this training, I have accomplished a lot.  I am very thankful to Community World Service Asia and all other organizations involved in this project for selecting and supporting me.”

In the past few years the number of internally displaced people has reached about 683,000 persons due to fighting between the Afghan government and Taliban fighters. According to local BBC news and information received locally by Community World Service Asia staff, hundreds of families have currently been displaced from several districts of Nangarhar Province to the provincial capital city of Nangarhar and to the district capitals in eastern Afghanistan due to fighting between Taliban and ISIS. The fighting has been ongoing since the last few weeks, and the displacement from Battikot district of Nangarhar has been confirmed by a spokesman of Nangarhar, Governor Mr. Ahmadzia Abdulzai. Within the first week of the conflict, more than 120 families were displaced from the Nazyan district of Nangarhar. Additionally, the displacement of more families was reported from Kote, Batikut, Achin Shinwari, Khugaini and other districts of Nangarhar.

The ACBAR and INSO Nangarhar office yesterday shared that the number of IDPs from different rural parts of the province to the Jalalabad city specifically, and the district capitals (where the government has strong presence) is expected to increase.

Although no assessment has been completed yet, initial reports identified shelter, food, NFIs, drinking water and health as immediate needs.

Response: Community World Service Asia will closely monitor the situation and will continue to share updates.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/pashto/afghanistan/2015/06/150615_as_nangarhar_is_displaced

Contacts:
Allan A. Calma
Deputy Director, Disaster Management Program
E: allan.calma@communityworldservice.asia
M: +92 301 5801621

Nejabat Khan
Associate Director, Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
E: nejabat.safi@cwspa.org.pk
M: +93 799326628

In celebration of Global Earth Day, Community world Service Asia had organized tree-plantation activities in villages in Thatta, Sindh, with the communities it works with.

Cultural Activities on promoting environmental responsibility were conducted while the plantations were ongoing. Communities were also made aware of how these tree plantations help in disaster mitigation. Many children in the Phul Jhakro village took part in these planting activities. The communities understood the importance of such activities towards the protection of the planet and realized that the global community needs to stand together in doing so.

Community World Service Asia also collaborated with a boys’ school in Ahund Baradia, Thatta to organize activities on Global Earth Day on April 22nd. Students took part in a group activity divided under different topics such as “importance of plantation”, “flaws of deforestation” and “how to protect the earth” to showcase their understanding on the concerns. They also exhibited the safe village models that they had made to show the various DRR activities they have learnt through Community World Service Asia’s workshops. The model also displayed how the earth is made safer through tree plantation.

The main purpose of conducting these activities was to create awareness at different levels on environmental degradation and the benefits of tree plantation and how both of these impact climate change.

Community World Service Asia’s Capacity Institutionalization Project (CIP) demonstrates consistent accountability towards their partners through the provision of various skill trainings and workshops. Held in Islamabad, The advanced level training on financial management for development professionals organized and hosted by Community World Service Asia was designed to build capacity of staff engaged in the financial management of NGOs. The aim of the training was to coach them on modern techniques of budgeting, accounting, financial reporting and overall financial management.

Finance is an area that is often mismanaged and overlooked by many organizations; the result being, an ineffective financial structure. Finance is a major performance measurement tool which, if applied correctly, can influence the performance of the core activities of any organization. In most of organizations, financial management is only used in its’ traditional context for recording transactions and preparing basic level financial reports. While this training aimed to orient professionals on the many additional functions it has in the management of an organization.

Budgeting was amongst the main topics selected for the workshop. It was recognized that incorrect budgeting could lead to poor operations management which is why the concept of output based budgeting was introduced. Other topics included financial accounting, reporting and donor reporting. Many participants acknowledged that they had insufficient knowledge on trial balance and financial statements after which more emphasis was laid on the methods of preparing them. Participants were made to practice developing these in the sessions so that practical skill enhancement is achieved.

In addition to the sessions on creating financial statements based on international standards, financial reporting formats and templates of various donor agencies, such as The World Bank and The Asian Development Bank, were also discussed. Interpretation of financial reports for instance, ratios of donor dependency, survival of the organization and variance analysis were covered in detail in the context of its importance in achieving real time control on the operations and finance of an organization. Directly related to management of the organization, the last sessions focused on different economic safeguards for assets protection.

The training was facilitated by Noaman Ali, a certified Chartered Accountant, with more than twelve years of experience in the field of financial management, accounting, auditing and financial reporting. He has worked for more than eight years in the development sector and has also worked on public sector reform projects in the area of financial management. Mr. Ali has worked on a number of World Bank, UNAIDS, UNDP and Government of Pakistan projects.

An exhibition organized by Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) was held at AQS Art Gallery in Islamabad on May 16th, 2015. The exhibition was supported by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in which a total of 15 NGOs displayed handmade dresses, artifacts and other handicraft items made by refugee and the women from the host communities in refugee camps in Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, Pakistan.

The event showcased handicrafts produced by community members from various projects. The income generated through this expo was invested back into the projects to support impoverished refugee women. One of the main purposes of the exhibition was also to provide a shared platform for NGOs and vendors, working on promoting handicrafts produced by women refugees, to engage in networking and to share their experiences and best practices among each other. The vibrant, day long exhibition was attended by donors, private sector individuals, and the refugee women and their families.

Community World Service Asia displayed products manufactured by widows and other vulnerable women participating in their Vocational Training and Market Development Program in Mansehra and Haripur at the bazaar. The projects aims to empower the refugee community with particular skills and to link these skilled individuals to the market. Since 2010, this skills development project has successfully enabled these communities to become self-sufficient and earn livelihoods for themselves and their families.

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.

 

Community World Service Asia in partnership with The Sphere Project arranged a Sphere Focal Point Forum in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2014.

In this forum, participants from the Sphere Country Focal Points discussed challenges in promoting and implementing Sphere Standards in context to their respective work environments and regions. It was realized that these challenges revolve around five main themes essentially, capacity building, resources, coordination and collaboration, gaining commitment and working with the government.

The Focal Points worked in five different groups to discuss and present lessons learned and good practices focusing on the selected topics. As an outcome of this group exercise, five lessons learned sheets have been formulated to be shared with our readers and partners. To view these Lessons Learnt Sheets, please click here to download

Improving quality, accountability and people management: HAP and People In Aid merger concluding with the launch of the CHS Alliance

Bringing together more than two decades of experience in quality, accountability and people management, the CHS Alliance will form one of the largest and most influential networks in the humanitarian and development sector. It will be a truly global enterprise, with a membership of more than 200 organisations headquartered in 55 capitals and operating in more than 160 countries worldwide. The Alliance will benefit from the reputations, legacies and successful working practices of HAP International and People In Aid, the two organisations which merged to form the Alliance.

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) is at the heart of the work of the CHS Alliance. The Alliance intends to establish the standard as a common reference framework for all actors who put communities and people affected by disaster, conflict or poverty at the centre of their work. Chair of the Alliance, Robert Glasser said that: “Given the broad consensus on the content of the CHS, we are proposing that this Standard be endorsed at the World Humanitarian Summit as a key framework to orient, assess and measure the quality, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian assistance.” The CHS Alliance will continue to work with colleagues in the Sphere Project and Groupe URD and other stakeholders to support the widespread uptake of the CHS.

Laila Sheikh, the Regional Director of the Horn of Africa for Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the keynote speaker at the launch of the CHS Alliance said: “Switzerland’s commitment to standards is rooted in the belief that beneficiaries must be empowered to influence the type and the effectiveness of the humanitarian assistance they receive. Switzerland has a long tradition of supporting, as well as sponsoring initiatives and approaches that place affected people at the centre of aid delivery.

Spelling out clear accountability indicators towards affected people must automatically be paired with the promotion of standards as well as the continuous dissemination of knowledge. People in need are under any given circumstances entitled to be informed about their rights. In this regard, we believe that the CHS Alliance is an essential contribution to the empowerment of affected people.”

HAP and People In Aid have extensive expertise in the provision of services to members and partners in the humanitarian and development sectors. They have found that a mix of policy support, technical assistance, training and other capacity strengthening initiatives works best to meet the needs of individuals and diverse organisations. The Alliance will provide technical assistance and capacity strengthening in their three key areas of quality, accountability and people management. The Humanitarian Certification Initiative, an independent auditing body that will be launched in the coming months, will offer certification and external verification against the CHS.

From the moment of its launch as a Swiss Association on the 9 June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, the CHS Alliance will have a staff presence in Bogota, Geneva, London, Madrid, Nairobi and Yangon, and a governing board comprised of representatives from leaders in the humanitarian and development sectors worldwide.

At the launch event, the Chair, Robert Glasser, announced the appointment of Judith F. Greenwood as the incoming Executive Director of the CHS Alliance. Judith, an Irish National, will take up her position on 24 August 2015. She is currently head of the people management programme at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva.  She joined the ICRC in 2002 and has held senior management positions in Geneva and around the world, having previously worked with Concern Worldwide and the International Rescue Committee. Robert Glasser highlighted her proven ability to lead and manage diverse, multidisciplinary teams of all sizes, set effective priorities and achieve results, noting her record of having led both start-up and well established operations in over thirteen countries.

Judith said: “I am excited to be leading the CHS Alliance. The Alliance is a unique opportunity to galvanise the growing acceptance among all actors that assistance needs to be improved, and needs to be accountable to those for whom we work. I look forward to working closely with staff, members, donors and partners to further this aim.”

At the closing of the launch, the Chair called on all actors who work with communities and people affected by disaster, conflict or poverty to adopt, apply and promote the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability.

For more information about how you can join the CHS Alliance and benefit from its services, please visit www.chsalliance.org

Media contacts
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact the CHS Alliance communications team, Murray Garrard, Siobhan O’Shea and Emily Tullock, at info@chsalliance.org

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