Yearly Archives: 2015

A sister holding her baby brother while waiting to see the doctor at the BHU in Kuzkhana

In response to the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Hindukish mountain range on October 26th this year, affecting thousands of people in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, Community World Service Asia set up a mobile health unit in district Shangla.  The Mobile unit started its activities on October 30th and continued operation as a static Basic Health Unit in Kuzkana, Shangla, after two weeks and still operational.

In its thirty two days of activities till December 10th, the Health Unit days catered to 4090 earthquake affected community members in its Outpatient Department (OPD),of which 2271 patients were women and infants, and 1820 men and children.  A total of 1033 laboratory tests were conducted to diagnose illnesses among affected communities in the mobile Laboratory and BHU.

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Community World Service Asia conducted a six week residential training course on Proposal Writing in collaboration with Indus Consortium (IC). This course aimed to give participants the knowledge, techniques and tools used for writing winning project proposals, allowing participants to gain analytical and practical skills on project proposal writing. It was conducted at the locations Murree and Islamabad from September to November 2015.

The first part of the Proposal Writing course was held in Murree, and was attended by seventeen participants (13 Men & 4 Women). It entailed a variety of learning methodologies to address different learning styles through various interactive discussions, group work, case studies, quiet reflection and detailed lectures.  The course enhanced the knowledge of the staff members of IC partner organization on the topic of Project proposal writing and its implications on the effectiveness of project. At the start of the training a pre-test was conducted to gauge participants understanding upon the topic.

During the course the participants were divided into sub groups, which remained intact till the end of the training. However, temporary groups were made for completion of the given assignments. This combination of temporary and permanent groups allowed the participants to have more interaction and learn from each other to the maximum. Review of the previous day was an essential component of the training.

A salient feature of the training was that it demanded active participation of all participants, making the learning a two way process. All the participants were lead through proposal writing stages practically and made to play vital role in success of projects.

Essential and regular feature of the training was trainer’s evaluation by the participants. These exercises were aimed to judge the understanding level of participants and their needs, monitoring the sessions, maintaining a regular feedback and to gauge the level of learning taking place. A special effort was made to introduce new methods and tools of evaluation and warm up exercises (ice breakers and energizers) to keep the interest of the participants alive and to familiarize them to the maximum number of methods and tools.

The second part of this course was provision of technical support to all training participants.  In the first part four groups were formed to develop their proposals. In the second part they were provided with an opportunity to seek technical support from Resource Person Mr. Waqar Haider Awan. All groups finalized their proposals with the technical on-line consultation

A lessons learned event was conducted in Islamabad in 4th November 2015 to share their Proposal Writing experiences. Participants shared that gathering correct information for the proposals was a great challenge; however they relied upon data / information provided by the state department/s and authentic sources.  Developing LFA was another challenge which they overcome through online consultation and group coordination. The biggest lesson learned was working in groups as a team. The participants were able to identify five proposals which if submitted could land them further projects upon approval.

 

Mir Hussain, a twelve year old resident of village Sher Muhammad Hallo in Thatta distirct encountered a foot injury while working in the agricultural fields. He accidently injured himself with his crop cutting spade while at work.  Mir Hussain’s injured foot bled heavily and the pain he was suffering was excruciating.

“I could not see my son in pain and bleeding that much. I was very worried as my husband was at work at the time and there is no hospital near our village”, expressed the worried mother of Mir Hussain. The mother was soon told about a Mobile health team that was present in the area, upon advice from fellow villagers and members of the Village Health committee, she immediately took her son to the Community World Service Asia Mobile Health team where Dr. Mujahid Ali Shah examined  Mir Hussain’s injury. Dr. Mujahid attended to his wounds immediately, first cleaning the wound and then stopping the bleeding by pressing it with a gauze bandage. When the bleeding ceased, the injury was properly dressed and Mir Hussain was given an antibiotic and pain killer for further relief. Mir Hussain’s mother was instantly relieved of her worry and expressed gratitude to the doctor and the mobile health team.

Belonging to an underprivileged family, Mir Hussain shares a home with his eight siblings and parents. His father is a fisherman who goes fishing to the nearby lake on a daily basis.  In the summer of 2015, their house and village was severely affected by the floods that hit parts of Sindh.  “All the residents of our village were moved to safer areas when the flood was approaching. We were moved to embankments as well. No one has assisted the flood affected villages with medical aid since the floods hit us. Community World Service Asia is the only organization that came to our medical assistance. It will take us two to three months more to further settle back into our normal lives”, narrated Mir Hussain’s mother.

The Health unit established by Community World Service Asia in Thatta, has so far conducted 5,745 medical consultations. Two hundred and seventy Ante-Post Natal consultations have been delivered, while 148 hygiene sessions have been conducted. Two village health committees consisting of twenty four members have also been formed under the current project.

After completing training, participants receive an emergency kit, including a radio, a torch, a safe documents bag and a battery cell

This month, Community World Service Asia has conducted disaster risk reduction sessions for 150 men and women from six Community Organizations in the hazard-prone area of Thatta, Sindh province.  Community Based Disaster Risk Management trainings are conducted through our innovative Mobile Knowledge Resource Center, which engages community members in disaster preparedness skills.  These trainings are bringing vital knowledge to vulnerable communities, and empowering them to build their resilience:

“It was great and fruitful training for us because we never received any training about DRR by presenting simulation models, we never knew about our village’s vulnerabilities, historical hazards, evacuation and emergency equipment.”

  • Gul Hassan, member of Rahim Dino Thaheem Community Organization

“The early warning system is a very informative method to mitigate any future disaster.  It will help us with updates of natural disaster.  The phone number provided to us it will help us to remain in contact with government body and NGO. We never know before where we get updates.”

  • Yar Muhammad, member of Haji Talib Bijoro Community Organization

“I would like to thanks Community World Service Asia for coming here and conducted training especially for women, because we are neglected at any walk of life.  I learnt how to take safety measure in a fire disaster; I know about the reason of fire and how to keep away unused grass from kitchen surroundings.”

  • Ms Meemi Member, member of Basar Charan Community Organization

Picture: http://earthquaketrack.com

Strong tremors of earthquake were felt in different parts of Pakistan and India at 12:50 pm (PKT). According to US Geological Survey (USGS) the magnitude of earthquake was found to be 7.2 at Richter Scale centered 28km deep in earth and 109km west of Murghob area in Tajikistan.

The earthquake mainly hit the northern parts of Pakistan including Islamabad, Sawat, Shangla, Abbotabad, Chitral, Charsada, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Peshawar, Malakand, Gilgit and Chilas. It is also reported that earthquake tremors were recorded in capital city of New Delhi and Indian occupied Kashmir.

This is the second strongest quake after the the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the bordering countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan on October 26 – centred in the Hindu Kush. The Hindu Kush mountain range stretches across 800km between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The October 26th earthquake have so far left more than 300 people dead and over 2,000 injured.

There have been no reports of any losses to life or property in any of the affected countries so far.

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

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

Nejabat Khan Safi
Associate Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: nejabat.safi@communitryworldservice.asia
Mobile: +93 799 326 628

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

Sources:
www.dawn.tv
www.tribune.com.pk

The earthquake 26 October, 7.5 magnitude earthquake affected sixteen provinces in Afghanistan and two provinces along with the FATA region in Pakistan. It left a total of 395 people dead, 2,269 injured and 116,639 houses damaged in both the countries. Infrastructural damage was most extensive near the epicentre of the quake in both the countries. Access to the affected provinces is most difficult due to the volatile security situation in Afghanistan and the rugged terrain in both the quake hit countries.

The decreasing temperatures in the affected zones of both the countries is another hurdle in accessibility to the areas. With no appropriate shelter, the earthquake hit communities are forced to face the harsh winter in compromising conditions, struggling to meet their basic survival requirements.

Pakistan: As per the latest information released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), so far 280 people have died, 1,745 have been injured and a total of 98,094 houses have been damaged across the country. Out of the total houses damaged, 92 percent were located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Damages to infrastructure such as roads, bridges and communication networks, in the affected areas are also significant.

Protection against the near freezing temperatures is the priority need of the affected communities. In this regard, winterization support is a highly recommended form of assistance by the district government. This is followed by health services which also a critical need of the quake hit communities who are exposed to the dropping temperatures without adequate winter supplies.

Afghanistan: A total of 115 people have died, 524 people have been injured and 18,545 houses have been damaged in Afghanistan. A recorded 6,929 houses out of the total damaged have been completely destroyed. A reported 130,093 people have been affected across the country as per the latest report, however the damage assessment is still ongoing which may result in a further increase in number of damages.

More than 50,000 people have been affected in Badakhshan province where property damage was most widespread. Access remains the major challenge in providing assistance to the earthquake affected people in Afghanistan. The primary needs of the affected communities in the country have been identified as basic household supplies, blankets, tents, hygiene kits and shelter for those families whose houses have been completely destroyed.

Quality and Accountability Related Issues

Afghanistan: Community World Service Asia has conducted a Rapid Accountability Need Assessment (RANA) with local and international organizations working on the earthquake response in Afghanistan.  Listed below are the accountability related issues that have surfaced in the assessment;

  • Organizations have less capacity to handle complaints as they do not have proper Complaint Response Mechanisms (CRM) in place or trained staff to deal with the concerns of the communities
  • Due to current developing security situation, some international organizations are unable to reach far flung and remote affected communities

Pakistan: Community World Service Asia organized an Accountability Learning and Working Group (ALWG) meeting on Nov 19, 2015 to discuss the challenges and issues faced by humanitarian actors in responding to the recent Earthquake in Pakistan.  Ten national and International organizations including UN agencies participated in the event. Listed below are the identified accountability related issues;

  • Access to the severely affected areas is still a major issue
  • 50 percent of the affected community is still waiting for compensation
  • The Government is disbursing compensation amounts through cheques however most of the earthquake affected communities do not have bank accounts to cash their cheques
  • No proper emergency evacuation system has yet been placed for children in earthquake affected areas. The schools in these areas are still not functional either.
  • Some of the organizations have provided shelters to the communities but the quality of the shelters does not take in account resilience to changing and extreme weather.
  • Some community members have started reconstructing their homes but they are not following the earthquake resilient structure guidelines.
  • Lack of coordinated assessment is still a major challenge.

Response by Community World Service Asia: Community World Service Asia’s Emergency Health Response team has provided health services through Mobile Health Units in District Shangla for 12 days where the team treated 1,853 patients, of which 975 were male patients and 878 were female. A total of 136 lab tests have also been carried out at the MHU. Since November 16th, the team has started operating as a static Basic Health Unit at UC Kuzkana in the Shangla district, where the team has assisted more than 600 patients, and carried more than a hundred lab tests so far. Community World Service Asia has also distributed one month food packages to 371 families and distributed 812 winterization kits to affected families till date. In the coming days more distributions of winterization kits will also take place.

Please follow our live photo update from the earthquake affected areas on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/communityworldserviceasia/ .

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

Nejabat Khan Safi
Associate Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: nejabat.safi@communitryworldservice.asia
Mobile: +93 799 326 628

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

Sources:
http://www.ndma.gov.pk/new/
http://www.pmd.gov.pk/
http://www.Reliefweb.int
OCHA Afghanistan
IOM Afghanistan

A workshop on “Introduction to NGOs” was held from 19th to 22nd October, 2015 at O’Spring Estate Murree, and was designed to enhance the knowledge of interested aid workers on the basic tools and techniques required to operate in the aid sector. The workshop was facilitated by our consultant trainer, Syed Moazam Ali and our in-house trainer, Arshad Hussain.

In Pakistan Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a vital role in providing indispensable services to diverse  communities across the country. Thorough planning during the initial process of setting up an organization is crucial to develop an effective and professional organization that is able to meet the myriad of challenges it may face in implementing its programs.

Small-scale civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs often recruit professionals who are comparatively new to the field and are looking to  gain more experience. While they are well aware of the local context, it is often observed that they are not fully oriented on critical knowledge and skills that are required to plan, implement and assess projects in the humanitarian and development sector. Due to limited funding and human capital, organizations are unable to provide detailed orientations or capacity building opportunities to its staff. Responding to this growing need of CSOs and NGOs, this four day training session was organized to build the capacity of the individuals working in the sector and equip them with the tools and techniques required for effective programming and expanded outreach to their targeted stakeholders. The training provides a multidimensional experience of learning through theory analysis and a behavioral study of different age groups.

The training focused on:

  • Enabling participants to improve their understanding of the definition of an NGO and their history, mandate, and scope of work within Pakistan
  • Enabling participants to share their experiences and acquire new skills pertinent to the NGO sector. Particular attention was paid to the emerging needs of communities and other current development issues
  • Learning the history of humanitarian assistance and several recognized standards ensuring quality and accountability when responding to an emergency.
  • Learning of the ethical and moral responsibilities of NGOs.

A total of seventeen participants took part in this Training on ‘Introduction to NGOs’. Sixty five percent of the participants were men while thirty five percent were women. All the participants of the training were employed for working at the grass root levels which made this training even more important and significant for them.

The main target of the workshop was to institutionalize aid organizations on the basics of the sector, therefore presidents of two of the village organizations, set up by Community World Service Asia in one of the communities it works in, also participated in the training so that their perspectives, being the most important stakeholders, were also taken in.

From the beginning till the end of the workshop, the  trainers kept participants involved through interactive and innovative teaching methodologies. Their expertise and knowledge on the subject was thorough. Content brainstorming helped encouraged by the trainers helped in developing constructive discussions during group activities. Methodologies like presentations, debates, role play, videos and group activities used by facilitators were proved to be effective yet entertaining for the participants.

A participatory approach was adopted by the trainers as they provided equal opportunities to participants for taking in their feedback on individual basis in the various sessions conducted during the four days. One of the outdoor activities, the recycle exercise, was one that the participants particularly enjoyed as it not only enhanced their knowledge on the subject but also energized them. Participants learned a lot from outdoor activities which emphasized on environmental sustainability, behavior of donor and on being environmentally friendly.

The trainers noted that the level of understanding and participation of participants was exceptionally high which indicated that the training had been successful in achieving its goals. Before the training, participants confessed that they were curious about what the content of the training would be but later expressed they were satisfied as they felt that the training fully met their needs. They were all certain that they would take all that they had learnt through this workshop with them to improve existing policies and procedures in their organizations.

Participants Voices

Asif“I came here with the goal to learn about project planning, rules, policies and procedures. I have learnt a lot in terms of project planning. The topic, organizational development was new for me. ” Mohammad Asif Imran

Abdul Saeed“From a learning point of view, topics like Introduction to NGOs and History of NGOs were new for me while topics like Project cycle ,Vision, mission, objectives, and mandate were very informative because I had no clarity  on these subjects before the training. Though a project cycle already exists in my organization, I would like to implement the learnings of this training by further improving our project cycle and will focus more on objectives.” Abdul Saeed

Faisal“The term SWOT analysis was new for me. I appreciated the session on the ethical and moral responsibilities of NGOs and I would like to implement these moral values in our organization.” Faisal Naeem

Shumaila“Through this training, I have gained more clarity about the vision, mission, objectives and mandate of NGOs. The training topic was very educational for me and the discussion on development was also quite enlightening.” Shumaila Abbasi

My entire family was at home as the earthquake struck. I yelled at all of them to come out to the open yard in front of the house. They all rushed out. We all gathered outside, staring in awe at the shuddering building of our house and everything around it. However, as the earthquake continued, the brick wall of the mosque next door to our house collapsed, with bricks falling on three of my granddaughters, aged 16, 10 and 5.

 My dear grandchildren were trapped under a heavy pile of bricks and I was helpless as I could not rescue them from the rubble on my own, even when I tried. All of us were in a state of trauma and my hands were shivering.

After a little while of the earthquake ending, fellow villagers came to help me rescue my injured family members. We pulled them out of the rubble together and immediately took them to the Central Hospital in Mingora where all three of the girls were admitted and given treatment. Two of my younger granddaughters fractured their legs while the elder one fractured her jaw and a leg. Her jaw has been operated upon in emergency and the doctor has advised for a follow up operation as well.”

This is the first account story of a 65 year old Rahim Gul, head of a family of ten. He belongs to and lives in the earthquake affected Union Council Malik Khel in District Shangla. Rahim Gul owns and runs a small tuck shop in his resident village, through which he supports and fulfills the basic needs of the family.

On October 26th, Rahim Gul had returned home for lunch when the dreadful earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck their home village. Seeing his family affected and his grandchildren hurt, he has been feeling helpless.  Rahim Gul feels guilty for asking his family members to evacuate to the open yard outside his house since the house survived the earthquake without much damage. Little did he know they were in more danger outside than inside the house.

The concerned grandfather has not been interested in claiming any relief from organizations or the government but is worried for his injured grandchildren.

Community World Service Asia’s Emergency Health Response team is currently providing health services through their Mobile Health Unit in District Shangla. The unit is supported by a Mobile Laboratory that diagnoses the affected communities through tests. The unit has so far conducted 1853 consultations in the five union councils of Kuz Kana, Shahpur, Pirkhana, Lelownai, and Malak Khel of district Shangla. A total of 869 male and 984 female patients have been checked at the MHU since it has been set up. These include children. In addition, 136 lab tests have also been carried out in these three union councils.

We have also distributed one month food rations to 371 earthquake affected families in Shangla as part of the response.  Provision of emergency winterization kits and more food packages as a means of extending the assistance is to be continued in the following weeks. Our current target districts for response are Shangla and Swat while expansion to other districts is subject to the community needs and the availability of funds.

Please follow our live photo update from the earthquake affected areas on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/communityworldserviceasia/