Stories

Group photo of all participants of the Disaster Preparedness and Contingency Planning Training Course.

Considering the susceptibility of the Sujawal District in Sindh, Pakistan, to natural and anthropogenic disasters, a lot of work still needs to be done to promote and streamline disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches and activities among the local communities. Contingency planning in the wake of natural disasters in this newly established districts needs to be developed and improved.

To make the communities of Sujawal, and other disaster prone areas of Pakistan, more resilient to onset, recurrent disasters Community World Service Asia conducted a four-day training on Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning in Murree. The training held in June, was participated by nineteen representatives from line Departments of Sujawal, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) KPK, National Disaster Management Authority Pakistan (NDMA) and Health and Education Departments.

The training aimed to enhance the skills and capacities of government staff in responding effectively pre, post and during emergencies (disasters) and to prepare the communities for such situations with effective and immediate contingency planning. The key agenda of the training aimed  to equip local authorities, who are focal points in their respective regions, to be well prepared for and respond to disasters, and mitigate its’ damages, efficiently and promptly. The training enabled the organizations and their staff to review their existing plans and make improvements where required.  It provided an opportunity to provincial institutions to share information and best practices among each other to promote mutual learning and extend cooperation.  The lead facilitator, Falak Nawaz, from Network of Disaster Management Practitioners (NDMP), explained the  project objectives and the process involved to ensure implementation of activities and plans. He encouraged participants to be proactive and raise questions during the training and urged them to exhibit ownership to make such workshops successful at district levels.

The standard terms and concepts developed by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) were introduced in the session on “Basic concepts and terminologies using in Disaster management”. These were taught through a group activity using charts and pictures of a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) cycle. The participants were oriented on global, regional and national environments of disaster risk situations. A historical timeline of past disasters and its impacts on local, regional and global levels were briefly explained. Examples of The Greatest Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, 2011, were cited and discussed.

A detailed session on contingency planning was conducted. The participants were briefed on the importance and uses of contingency planning and its differences to disaster risk management planning.

Towards the end of the training, a formal closing ceremony, which was chaired by Director Operations, PDMA Sindh was held at which all participants were awarded certificates. The DO appreciated the efforts made by Community World Service Asia towards disseminating knowledge and skills amongst government officials of PDMA’s, NDMA, academia and district administration of Sujawal and urged the participants to take lead in disaster management activities at local levels through close coordination among each other and the communities.

Theatre has always been an art form which is extremely effective in inspiring and uniting communities by engaging audiences through entertaining and thought-provoking performances and dialogues. Through this interactive form of entertainment, awareness on social issues is raised and possible solutions to prevailing problems are sought. Recognizing the strong impact of this artistic medium, the Capacity Institutionalization Team at Community World Service Asia held a seven-day residential workshop titled, Theater for Development this June in a hill-station training centre in Murree.

The workshop was attended by twenty-three participants from parts of Sindh and Punjab and aimed at building the capacity of these participants, closely working with local, vulnerable communities to build awareness on social issues through theatre.  Techniques on effective theatre plays for social advocacy were taught at the training while also providing participants a multidimensional experience of learning through theory analysis and behavior study of different age groups. This learning opportunity enabled them to explore the fundamentals of theatre, art of creating stories, improvisation with groups and how to inculcate issue based content into an effective theatre performance.

Sarfraz Ansar, Actor, Director and Vocalist, with a vast experience of 25 years and having conducted over a thousand theatre performances at national and international levels was the lead facilitator at the training.  While, Idrees Ali Khan, theater performer, puppet maker and cultural activist for the last thirty years was the co facilitator. Idrees Ali has an expertise of directing more than a hundred plays on social issues in partnership with leading civil society organizations. Both the facilitators were from Azad theater Pakistan.

The training contents were developed around three major themes; Essentials and Fundamentals for Theater – this theme included various components namely body language, communication, expression, rhythm, emotions, images, and trust building; the  second theme, Theatre Development, included a history of theatre, script writing, storytelling, improvisation for the street, challenges and opportunities and theatre techniques; while the final theme focused on production and performance with an emphasis on the importance of costumes, lighting, sets and  back stage design.

At the workshop closing session, Liaqat Ali Tameemi, Executive Coordinator of Doaba Foundation participated as the chief guest to distribute Awards and certificates among workshop participants and formally closed the training. He thanked and acknowledged the efforts of Community World Service Asia and the Azad Theatre Pakistan and stressed on a need for a follow up of this workshop to ensure its sustainability.

  • Tahira Azam, Doaba Foundation

    “We, the Doaba team, are very satisfied with the training, learning and especially with the quality of lesson delivery of resource persons. We see this learning as a great skill and we will use learnt techniques in our community work.

    We request Community World Service Asia to extend follow up support to us in its implementation at community level especially with young children as Doaba planned to establish children clubs to impart health and hygiene awareness in villages.”

  • Zulfiqar Ahmed, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

    “This training increased my understanding of theatre and its role in communication and advocacy. It helped me to understand possible effectiveness of using theatre tools in our awareness raising on food and nutrition related problems in targeted communities under projects. I feel happy and confident after learning new theatre techniques.”

  • Shamim Munir Khan , Doaba Foundation

    “This training has increased my confidence. I have learnt various theatre tools such as script writing, activism, rhythm, communication and other techniques.”

  • Tasneem Bashir, Doaba Foundation

    I have learnt a lot from this training about tools of theatre play. It inspired me to learn advance techniques of Production, Direction, Acting, Script Writing and Puppet Show in future. It would be great if Community World Service Asia help us in providing specialized trainings like these.”

  • Islam, Indus Theatre Development Organization- Khairpur Mirs

    “I learnt basic techniques of practicing theatre for development. The training contents were need based, relevant and beneficial for a theatre activist. Physical and mental exercised executed in training have sharpen our imagination, observation and improved body knowledge.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

narrated Nowroze sadly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians – PAK.

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

    RDA- Rural Development Association

     

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

    Community World Service Asia

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

    Pakistan Village Development Program (PVDP)

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

    Sukaar Welfare Organization

Student performed different plays and tableaus focusing on disaster management.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mirzadi happily expressed.

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

On Day 4, participants were involved in at the refresher training.

Under the “Women economic empowerment through disaster resilience approach, Sindh Province Project, a four days refresher training on “Sexual Reproductive Health(SRH) and Gender Based Violence (GBV)” of a theatre group was conducted in mid-March of this year. The first training of its kind was conducted in the start of the year when project was initiated. The objective of the refresher training was to enhance the group’s performance skills, dramatisation techniques and develop a thorough understanding on the topics of SRH and GBV to better represent them on stage. Exercises to improve confidence levels and adaption of more audience interactive methods were also practiced in the training to increase audience attention and performance impact.  It also aimed at prioritizing and highlighting the topic related issues to further build awareness among rural communities to change rigid mindsets.

Yousuf Dominic, a specialist consultant at Community World Service Asia, facilitated and lead this refresher workshop. Yousuf has an extensive experience of 22 years as a consultant trainer on various capacity building programs including gender equality, social mobilization and sexual reproductive health.

Before the start of this four day workshop, Yousaf had scheduled one whole day visiting the project field sites to observe the existing social and cultural gaps and to take note of field level operational issues. Ways to address the points noted during the field visit were carefully incorporated in the session plans of the workshop.

The training commenced with a brainstorming session in participation with all the theatre performers. At this session, Yousuf shared his findings and gave his feedback on the observations brought back from field. “I was glad to see the hard work and dedication the performers put in their work. However, more work needs to be done on early childhood marriages, health issues and women protection policies through more informative dialogues.” Yousaf emphasized on the importance of conducting social mapping in order to develop a clear understanding on common issues existing in the communities.

Thus, a social mapping exercise was carried out where participants were divided into groups. Each group identified various issues in their respective communities and the reasons behind their being. Each group then developed solutions for the issues identified and shared their proposed strategies with the others. This effective group activity allowed the participants to jointly identify five key issues, which were common among all communities:



  • Women harassment

     

  • Early child Marriage

  • Women ignored in decision-making

  • Girls Education

  • Restrictions on women

Through this training, performers were enabled to write stories and performance scripts on the issues of sexual reproductive health and gender based violence through group exercises and thorough discussions. After evaluating the stories shared by the participants, Yousuf expressed the importance of authenticity in writing stories and representing real life examples. He further elaborated that performers may work on stories through social mapping and prioritize their issues and develop more needs based stories which would have more impact and relativity for audiences.  In addition, Yousaf clarified, “Stories must have a clear introduction to the audience on the basic parameters and a very tangible reason, so that a positive and effective message is conveyed to the crowd.”

A story/show script was fully developed in the four day training through social mapping exercises. The participants wrote their dialogues keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issues. A final theater show was performed on the last day of the refresher training. Participants developed a comprehensive understanding on characterization and role plays during theatre shows.  Their story and script skills were enhanced and specific capacity was built on plot construction and characterization. All participants were then awarded certificates for their contribution, commitment and participation.

A group photo of Community World Service Asia Jhuddo staff with the delegation of Sindh Agricultural University.

A group of 37 students of the Rural Sociology Department, Sindh Univeristy, accompanied by senior professors and chairman of the Rural Sociology Department (RSD), visited Community World Service Asia’s Jhuddo Office this April. The purpose of the study tour was to orient students on the working methodologies and policies of humanitarian organizations and NGOs’ and the role and structure of Community Based Organizations (CBO). Something different from the usual theoretical classroom learnings at the RSD, this exposure tour was designed to familiarize students with the different cultures and living patterns of rural communities and provide them with a practical learning experience.

Ashar Nasir, Project Manager at Community World Service Asia, along with other staff, welcomed the group of students and faculty members at the local office. An introductory session, on the organization and its various projects and thematic areas, kick-started the exposure visit for the eager guests.

The group first visited Fazal Wadho village; one of the targeted villages of Community World Service Asia’s Promoting Sustainable Agriculture project in Badin. Participants were welcomed by members of the Community Based Organization (CBO). Mohammad Hassan, community representative of Fazal Wadho village, gave a detailed presentation on the village profile and its’ previous and existing initiatives with different organizations. He also briefed the participants on the history of the CBO’s  formation, its objectives  and their role in local development. This was followed by a question and answer sessions in which a student asked about the importance of CBOs at a community level. To his response, it was shared that CBOs bridge communication and networking gaps between feudal lords and higher officials and the local community people. The CBOs also amplify the voices of the  village people on local issues and together with concerned departments develop resolutions to those issues.

Community World Service Asia’s role, through their various Food Security and Livelihoods projects in the area, in forming the CBOs and VOs and equipping them with necessary resources and knowledge, was highlighted. The students and their faculty were told about the role the women of the community are playing in being trained on Nutrition and Kitchen Gardening to develop balanced nutritious diets for their families and themselves through the Sustainable Farming project in Badin. Many other field experiences were shared with the group, including the exposure visit to Sindh Agricultural University where the women project participants actively observed the workings of different departments. They also shared their experience of participating in the Farmers Festival which displayed their home grown vegetables on sale stalls and connected them with local retailers.

Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba Khushk, chairman of RSD, appreciated the efforts of the CBO in local development. He appreciated the informative and effective opportunity given to the students and the faculty members; increasing their knowledge and learning in relation to the different practicalities of rural life and how people of various local communities are being involved to build a sustainable livelihood together. The students and faculty members learnt about project implementation, project planning and social mobilization. Concluding the visit, Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba presented an appreciation letter and a shield to Community World Service Asia Team for their commitment and contribution to the communities.