Yearly Archives: 2016

“In handicrafts there is a continuous swing between utility and beauty. That swing has a name: pleasure.”

Octavio Paz (Mexican Poet)

To provide a solution to both rural and urban employment, it is important to encourage artisanry goods production, especially those made by the youth and women in rural areas, giving them an opportunity to contribute to the economy. Kalawanti is a perfect example of one such artisan as she has been fortunate to have made the highest earnings amongst 417 artisans in Umerkot. She has successfully earned PKR 10,500 in the month of September alone (this year), with timely completion of all her orders. Needless to say, this gifted and hardworking artisan was very content with her earnings as it is the highest income she has ever earned from her handicraft business.

Kalawanti, a 33 years old mother of two, resides at Khariro Charan Village, located about twelve kilometers away from Umerkot city. She is a project participant of the Connecting Creativity project in which skills between rural artisans and design and textile students are exchanged in an attempt to create urban market demands.

“I use to earn from regular orders that I would avail locally but the average income did not exceed PKR 1,500 per month.”

Kalawanti’s achievement has not only encouraged her but other women in the village to produce diversified, trendy and better quality products as well as completing orders timely. They see this as an effective and honorable way out of persistent poverty and low standards of living.

Kalawanti’s outstanding quality of work, neat finishing and quick learning abilities were widely acknowledged by project staff, the trainer, students and fellow artisans alike. She produced beautiful Saari borders, sitara (sequin) embellished Saaris, short kurtis, laces, shirts with different embroidery patterns, fashionable shalwars, and aplique work scarves. All of her products were ranked of high quality. She devotedly took upon assignments which were new to her to build on her diverse experience and to further enhance her crafting skills.

“We were working on very limited number of designs and color combinations earlier but interaction with the students from Karachi opened doors to new designs, stitches, cuts and trends currently demanded in urban markets.”

Kalawanti’s family is very pleased with her progress she has made through these handcrafted products. Her husband supported her throughout, saying,

“If you can earn in such a way, it would be encouraging and relaxing, and it will be very beneficial for us as a family.”

Kalawanti purchased clothes for herself and her children from the earnings and bought books for both of her children enrolled in grade 1 and grade 2. She was happy to receive the payment before their religious festival, Diwali which was celebrated later in October. She also bought some kitchen utensils for her home. She delightfully said,

“That moment was very precious when I came home and shared my shopping with my husband and children. The smile on my husband’s face was very motivating and gave me mental peace.”

Kalawanti is currently working on additional orders received. She assists other fellow artisans in understanding new designs and improving on their quality of work. She commits five hours of her work day  to her crafting daily, including the two hour class she attends at the training center for production. She is still enthusiastic to earn regularly and to utilize her skill for improving future prospects for her children and her family.

The Super Typhoon Haima slammed a large area of Luzon, in the north of the Philippines on the 19th of October 2016 and particularly damaged the town of Peňablanca in Cagayan Province, where it made landfall. With its wide diameter, the super typhoon battered five regions.

The typhoon also brought with it heavy rains which led to landslides, over-flowing of major river basins and their tributaries resulting in surface flooding, and submerging of low-lying areas affecting houses and farms.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Council in the Philippines and its regional counterparts; Local Government Units (LGUs), and various agencies have called for pre-emptive measures that includes activation of 24-hour operation centers, preposition of emergency supplies for relief and operational activities, pre-emptive and forced evacuation, cancellation of travel (by air and sea), cancellation of schools schedules, among others.

According to the Rapid Assessment carried out by the Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC) and Oxfam, an estimate of 13,297 families or 51,458 persons have been affected. Out of these, 10,606 families or 40,515 persons are staying in 334 evacuation centers currently while 2,691 families or 10,943 persons are outside of these centres.

As per initial partial reports:

  • Municipality of Baggao:
    -1,214 households evacuated
    -Initial estimate on damaged rice farms in Baggao only was put to PHP18 Million
  • Municipality of Lassam:
    2,757 population affected
    –  346 households are still flooded
    – 4,400 hectares of rice farms are damaged (2,150 totally damaged, 2,250 partially damaged)

As per the initial reports, 258 totally damaged houses, 2,868 partially damaged houses are reported in Lasam and Baggo municipalities. A total of 456 hectares of corn, cacao, vegetables, banana are also affected.

Pre-emptive and forced evacuations resulted in fewer casualties in all affected areas though there are some reported deaths and injuries. Clearing operations were immediately undertaken by LGUs and concerned agencies mainly to restore access to major roads.

Beddings, construction materials for house repairs, rehabilitation of damaged social structures such as schools and government buildings are an urgent need at the moment. Support to rehabilitation and recovery of farms of rice, corn and vegetables is also prioritized as this may result in food shortage as Cagayan and Isabela are two of the country’s primary source of rice and vegetables.

Community World Service Asia’s Response: Community World Service Asia is closely coordinating with its partner in the Philippines. Deployment plans have been shared and mobilization of its partners, local personnel and volunteers as well as inventory of stockpile.  Community World Service Asia will continue to monitor the situation and will plan its response considering the needs.


Emmeline Managbanag
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Cell: 0063 0908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources of Information: PDRRN field team

Picture Source:

Typhoon Haima (Lawin) made its landfall over Penablanca, Cagayan at 11:00 p.m., 19 October, 2016 and brought havoc to the whole of Cagayan Valley and neighboring provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Isabela and Ilocos Norte.

Heavy rains and strong winds left hundreds of damaged facilities, infrastructures, and disruption of major lifelines including total power failure and communication breakdown.

As of today, access to information has been difficult and sufficient information on the extent and impact of damage could not be gathered. However, initial partial reports indicate the following:

Partial report on affected population in the province of Cagayan:

  • Municipality of Baggao:
    18, 942 people or 4,365 families (flood)
    4,657 people or 1,235 families (landslide)
    23,599 people or 5,600 families TOTAL
    More or less 10,000 people in Evacuation Centers
    Road to Baggao not passable
  • Municipality of Sta. Ana:
    More than 10,000/ 2,000 affected by storm surge/flood from
    15 coastal barangays
    416 Evacuation Centers
  • Municipality of Allacapan:
    48 families reported to have evacuated
    Damaged to public infrastructures and an undetermined number of houses
  • Municipality of Lassam:
    Undetermined number of People in evacuation centers.

Action Taken:   

  • Initial support has been provided by Baggao Local Government Unit consisting 300 food packs /300 cavans of rice and 600 food packs  for Sta. Ana.
  • A composite team will proceed to Cagayan Valley to conduct Rapid Needs Assessment.


Emmeline Managbanag
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Cell: 0063 0908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources of Information: PDRRN field team

source: The weather channel

Situation: Typhoon Haima has made landfall in the northern Philippines as a Category 4, making it the second typhoon of that intensity to strike the area in just a few days time.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) said that the center of Haima, known as “Lawin” in the Philippines, came ashore at around 11:00 pm Philippines time on Wednesday near Baguio in the Cagayan Province. Maximum sustained winds were 140 mph at that time, according to an advisory issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

After topping out at Category 5 intensity late Tuesday-early Wednesday, Haima weakened some just before making landfall on northern Luzon Island. It remains a powerful and destructive typhoon, however1. It is expected to move westward through the mountainous northern end of Luzon and will exit the landmass by Thursday. It is then expected to track towards southern China.

Heavy rain and strong, damaging winds will continue to hammer northern Luzon through Thursday. Coastal areas will see battering waves and storm surge flooding, as well. PAGASA also says a storm surge of up to 10 feet is possible along more surge-prone bays of northeast Luzon.

Signal No. 4 is also raised over the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Mt. Province, Ifugao, rest of Abra and Calayan Provinces. The rest of Regions 1 and 2 are under Signal No. 3, while Central Luzon and parts of Region 4 are under Signal No. 2, The rest of Region 4, Region 5 and the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) are under Signal No.1 presently.

According to the United Nations Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimate of 2.7 million people are likely to be affected while the communities located along the Agno and Cagayan rivers are at the highest risk. It is anticipated that mountainous and far flung areas will be difficult to access as there is a high possibility of damaged bridges, landslides and collapsed infrastructures. This will will hamper access to these communities especially in the mountainous areas of the Cordillera and provinces in Regions 1 and 2.

Community World Service Asia’s Response: Community World Service Asia is closely coordinating with its partner in the Philippines. Deployment plans have been shared and mobilization of its partners, local personnel and volunteers as well as inventory of stockpile. Community World Service Asia will continue to monitor the situation and will plan its response considering the needs.



Emmeline Managbanag
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Cell: +63 0908 102 1016

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338

The International Rural Women Day was observed to honor the rural women who make up ¼ of the world’s population. Improving the working conditions of rural women, and recognizing the important role they play in society is an important step in the sustainability of the system. Community World Service Asia is proud to be supporting the spirited rural women of Interior Sindh since 2012. Our aim is to support rural women by strengthening their livelihoods, while managing risks and creating opportunities at the same time.

Village Ranwatiyoon is located on bank of river Indus in district Thatta. The local population here is blessed with fertile land which is the main livelihood of the area. Being located on the river bank, the local population has recurrently been hit with natural disasters like floods and cyclones since 2010. This has continuously been  affecting their livelihoods and lives.

These recurrent disasters have adversely hampered the livelihoods of the people living in the village by damaging their crops and fragile agricultural infrastructure, forcing a lot of people to settle for working for daily wages. This has lead to a  decrease in agricultural production.

Due to the unavailability of a proper irrigation module on the main water course and the silting of unpaved irrigation channels, farmers were not able to provide sufficient water as requirement to their crops. On the other side, a lack of funds in the local irrigation department hinders construction in irrigation channels.  With the fear of a breach of unpaved main water course, the irrigation department is also not allowing local farmers to allow sufficient water to come through as per adequate crop requirement.

This watercourse had been a source of life and livelihood for the people of Ranwatiyoon and was named “Khillan” meaning joyful when it was flowing in full volume. Local farmers were very content and at peace as the Khillan was source of supporting to their livelihood. However, a lack of financial resources of small farmers made them vulnerable as they could not reconstruct the irrigation channel on their own.

This water course runs up to four kilometers from the start up till its end, irrigating almost 355 acres of land of 155 small land holders. Farmers at the tail end of the water course could hardly irrigate their fields due to insufficient water supply and often indulged in conflicts among each other.

Observing the problems faced by these small land holders in irrigating their lands, Community World Service Asia with the support of Dan Church Aid and DANIDA, designed a project which included Cash for Work activities. Under this initiative, twelve water channels are rehabilitated to ensure a sufficient  flow and access of water to a maximum number community members.  The same scheme has also been selected for rehabilitation of uprooted farmers under the project.

Upon community identification, physical work on reconstructing the channel has been completed along with desilting of almost four kilometers of old unpaved water course. This scheme has directly benefitted twenty-six landless labors directly through cash for work. All direct participants received cash for work for almost four weeks in two cycles which enabled them to secure food for their families along with indirectly benefitting 155 small land holders. The local community is overwhelmed with the support provided to them.


It is unfortunate to realise that many countries in the world are still not investing enough in prevention and preparedness of disasters.. From a development perspective, disaster risk reduction is vital for building a more equitable and sustainable future of vulnerable, at-risk communities. Investing in prevention and preparedness is vital to the systematic efforts of increasing disaster resilience.  In this very attempt, Community World Service Asia works towards disaster risk reduction (DRR)as a cross-cutting theme in all its programming to strengthen the resilience of rural communities. Recently, we facilitated an exposure visit of a group of volunteers from Indus Resource Centre (IRC), Dadu to experience some DRR related activities executed in Thatta by our project staff. Eighteen participants visited the Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) set up by us, in three separate villages..

The Indus Resource Center team commenced their visit from Achar Khaskheli Village where a meeting was conducted with the Women Enterprise Group (WEG). The artisans of the WEG shared their experience of receiving a training on Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM)which was very helpful to them during the 2015 floods. The team was further taken to the Emergency Operating Center in Nooh Waliro Village where Mr. Hanif Nooh Waliro, the Local Support Organization’s President, gave a briefing on the process of the formation of the Community Organization (CO), Village Organization (VO) and the Local Support Organization under the livelihood projects. He added,

“strong efforts are put in the development of the village by the members of these organizations and the people of the village are appreciating the progress made through different activities.”

At Phul Jakhro Village, the team visited the Emergency Operating Centre where Phul Jakhro, LSO President, shared his thoughts about the productive utilization of the equipments used at the centre during emergency situations. The EOC’s shelter was also visited where a questions and answers session was held and the queries of the team were effectively addressed. Phul Jahkhro also briefed the visitors on the information charts they have put on the walls. A fire drill was performed by the Phul Jakhro community where a manual siren call was made and a woman called for help on a mega-phone. The community people reached at the scene with buckets and fire extinguishers, carried rescue efforts and extinguished the fire.

Qurban Ali Mallah, President LSO Union Coucil Gozo shared that they are grateful to Community World Service Asia for hosting such a fruitful exposure visit.

“The interaction with business women from the WEG reflected empowerment and confidence building. The EOC and the installed equipment were new for them at this level therefore they learnt a lot.”

In another occasion, Rashid Chandio, IRC representative, said that,

“women participation was laudable. The trainings on DRR have really brought magnificent changes into their lives.”

Rukhsana, an IRC volunteer, added that they would replicate such activities in their area to increase women participation.

Proper understanding and application of financial concepts is becoming essential in the non-profit sector, as donor agencies increasingly prefer organizations that have good financial management systems in place. A training conducted and organized by Community World Service Asia in August was specifically designed to strengthen the financial management skills of participants belonging to small-scale organizations. The training aimed to equip participants with knowledge and skills to help them utilize financial management tools with efficiency and effectiveness.

The training imparted specific skills on the fundamentals of financial management, developing effective financial policies and internal controls, streamlining accounting system as per organizational policies, preparing budgets, preparing financial reports as per the donor requirements, as well as facilitating audits to ensure transparency. The training was held in Murree in which twenty-three participants from twelve organizations working in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in Pakistan. The methodology revolved around brainstorming, individual exercises, lectures, role-plays and group work.

Mr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed, the trainer for the event, came with a vast experience in financial management and capacity building with national and international development organizations. He has worked in the civil society sector with cross-functional responsibilities such as financial management, budgeting, auditing, operations management, and conducting trainings. He has trained over  a thousand staff members of CSOs from all across the country on various areas of finance, in addition to conducting staff evaluations, training needs assessment exercises, and has additional experience of charting development plans for staff.

His thoughts,

“I feel very content that I have worked with such a wonderful team with excellent standard of work and I would like to congratulate Community World Service Asia on successfully organizing the Financial Management training for small-scale NGO’s. Overall, the training went by in a very friendly and professional manner. Selection of participants was excellent and every participant eagerly showed interest in learning and participated eagerly.  I am also grateful to Miss Lubna, Community World Service staff and trainer manager, as an intelligent individual, who is willing to take the lead in situations when required. Her good judgment has been important on several occasions, and her initiative has been of great value in completing the workshop successfully and in time. It is all because of the dedication and her hard work and the team that I am able to complete the workshop in time successfully. It is commendable to see how she organized the time and encouraged the participants to move forward when needed.”

  • 1-rizwan-mehdi-shah“I have learnt a lot about financial tools, rules and policies. Each topic, every day was clearly and briefly defined by Sir Masood Ahmed and I am completely satisfied by the services provided by Community World Service Asia.”

    Rizwan Mehdi Shah, SAHIL

  • 2-haider-ali“Excellent Environment, good group discussion, style of presentation at the end was excellent. I look forwrad to the next training conducted by Community World Service Asia.”

    Haider Ali, Association for Gender Awareness & Human Empowerment (AGAHE)

  • 5-waqas-khan“Everything, which I learnt in this 4 days’ workshop, is very useful and quite knowledgeable for me, I have learnt Chart of accounts, financial planning, internal control, financial policies and procedure which are all very useful.

    Waqas Khan, Community Support Programme (CSP)

  • 6-nazra-bibi“Overall contents of the training and facilitation by trainer were commendable and we appreciate the methodology adopted for this training.”

    Nazra BiBi, Khwendo Kor

  • 7-riaz-hussain“It was my first experience of attending such type of financial management training. It was useful and informative for me and I learnt many new financial principles.”

    Riaz Hussain, UFAQ Development Organization (UDO)

  • 8-sharon-shameer“Learnt about policies and procurements, financial cycle, chart of accounts. I will apply all these learnings in my own organization and will share the information with my colleagues as well.”

    Sharon Shameer, Community Advancement Society-(CAS)

  • 9-naima-gul“This workshop proved practically productive of all the trainings I had ever participated. I am delighted to be part of this training and look forward to implementing the practical knowledge learnt here.”

    Naima Gul, Civil Society Support Program-CSSP

  • 10-nazia-meer“Financial Management training was good. Many things were new for me, for example, unrestored fund, how to attract donors for funding, and financial checks of the organization. All these elements were relevant to the topic and productive.”

    Nazia Meer, Terre Des Hommes Foundation

Koshlia, a mother of five, three daughters and two sons, lives with her husband Chatoon at Kharoro Charan Village in district Umerkot. She is a born artisan, belonging to a humble rural background. Koshlia struggled to meet the survival needs of her family everyday as their family had no regular source of income.

“My husband is a mason. He does not earn on a regular basis. I am an artisan and have been crafting products at our village and nearby areas. As our income is insufficient, it becomes difficult to solve emergency situations and unforeseen daily crisis.”

Hope was raised when the training center was set up in Kharoro Charan. Koshlia believed that the centre encouraged the women of her village to promote and refine their handicrafts skills and culture to make them financially independent, helping them resolve their household issues. “I felt that I could change my life with new ideas, skills and exposure.”

In the developing world, there are thousands if not millions of rural artisans that are living in vulnerable families and communities. There is little coordination with the outside world and as a result there is a lack of learning and skill development. An important way to strengthen and develop the talent of these artisans is to help them interact with professionals and built market linkages. While it is good to network in meetings and events, often the best way to learn is to visit and see with ones own eyes. Koshlia shared that her happiest moment was when she visited Karachi.

“It was my first time going to Karachi. I was very excited to see the products sold in the big cities and meet new people. I met with the students and designers who were crafting similar products as we did back in our village. We learnt about designing and the usage of different colors. We came to know about the vast variety of patterns that can be used to make our products unique and appealing. I feel I was very lucky to be part of such an interactive and communicative visit.”

Rural women contribute to the income of families and the growth of communities in a multitude of ways which makes them resourceful economic agents. However, due to lack of resources and interaction, and restricting gender norms they face persistent discrimination. This hampers the use and achievement of their full potential. She gladly expressed,

“I am happy to be an artisan which is also our identity.  It is true that the rural women can be meaningful economic agents but limited resources have lessened our growth opportunities. I am thankful to the training centre for providing a platform of learning and development for me and many like me. I will further engage with other rural artisans to share the knowledge I gained in this exposure visit so that they can benefit as well.”

Koshlia is currently earning well as she has received more orders as her products have become more trendy since her exposure visit to Karachi.

“I have been very fortunate as now I am contributing  to the income of my family. I now see my children growing in a better and healthy environment. We purchase drinking water on monthly basis and I occasionally purchase livestock fodder for our goats as well. I intend to fully support my children in acquiring education.”

Women like Koshlia are striving to build a better life for their families and to bring in economic, environmental and social change in order to maximize access to better standards of living, health care and education.


Monsoon rains continued, with intervals, in different parts of the country leaving at least ten people dead and several other injured. Eight people are reported dead in Karachi, while two in Multan and Rawalpindi.

The rains combined with the strong winds have led to collapsing roofs, land sliding and flooding in low lying areas of the country. Most of the casualties are electrocutions and collapsing roofs in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

According to the Pakistan Metrological department, the highest volume of rain recorded in Sindh is 25mm in Tharparkar’s Chachro district.

In Azad Jammu & Kashmir(AJK), heavy rains has created mayhem as people have been stuck on roads due to landslides that have blocked the Azad Kashmir to Rawalpindi travel route.

A westerly wave also persists over the northern areas of the country. Under the influence of these meteorological conditions, rain showers and thunderstorms are expected at various localities in Punjab, Islamabad, KPK, Sindh and Kashmir, while in scattered places in FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan in the next 48 hours. Heavy downpour may trigger flash floods and landslides in susceptible areas of Punjab, Baluchistan, KPK, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.

Community World Service Asia is collecting information from different sources regarding the damages being caused by the rains and floods. Its emergency response teams are ready and will frame a response strategy, should there be any need of an emergency response.

Muhammad Fazal
Associate Director
Emergencies/DRR/Climate Change
Cell: +92 332 5586134

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Cell: +92 42 3586 5338