Yearly Archives: 2017

Community World Service Asia works with rural, disaster prone communities in Sindh to improve their disaster resilience through trainings, awareness and other capacity building initiatives. We focus on raising awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction among women, men, boys and girls to enable them to respond effectively to future emergencies. We do this not only to reduce the level of vulnerable groups in any disaster but also promote a level of sustainability.

Trainings on DRR are imparted through the use of a Mobile Knowledge Resource Centre (MKRC), a training vehicle for disaster preparedness, which uses simulation models and hands-on group activities to engage students, youth and community members.

Dissemination of other informational material such as posters, videos on DRR and implementing practical evacuations and exercises in schools in rural Sindh are among the resilience building activities we engage children and youth groups in. These videos on DRR are part of our Resilience Building campaign shown to children and youth groups in vulnerable and disaster prone rural areas of Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia works with rural, disaster prone communities in Sindh to improve their disaster resilience through trainings, awareness and other capacity building initiatives. We focus on raising awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction among women, men, boys and girls to enable them to respond effectively to future emergencies. We do this not only to reduce the level of vulnerable groups in any disaster but also promote a level of sustainability.

Trainings on DRR are imparted through the use of a Mobile Knowledge Resource Centre (MKRC), a training vehicle for disaster preparedness, which uses simulation models and hands-on group activities to engage students, youth and community members.

Dissemination of other informational material such as posters, videos on DRR and implementing practical evacuations and exercises in schools in rural Sindh are among the resilience building activities we engage children and youth groups in. These videos on DRR are part of our Resilience Building campaign shown to children and youth groups in vulnerable and disaster prone rural areas of Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia works with rural, disaster prone communities in Sindh to improve their disaster resilience through trainings, awareness and other capacity building initiatives. We focus on raising awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction among women, men, boys and girls to enable them to respond effectively to future emergencies. We do this not only to reduce the level of vulnerable groups in any disaster but also promote a level of sustainability.

Trainings on DRR are imparted through the use of a Mobile Knowledge Resource Centre (MKRC), a training vehicle for disaster preparedness, which uses simulation models and hands-on group activities to engage students, youth and community members.

Dissemination of other informational material such as posters, videos on DRR and implementing practical evacuations and exercises in schools in rural Sindh are among the resilience building activities we engage children and youth groups in. These videos on DRR are part of our Resilience Building campaign shown to children and youth groups in vulnerable and disaster prone rural areas of Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia works with rural, disaster prone communities in Sindh to improve their disaster resilience through trainings, awareness and other capacity building initiatives. We focus on raising awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction among women, men, boys and girls to enable them to respond effectively to future emergencies. We do this not only to reduce the level of vulnerable groups in any disaster but also promote a level of sustainability.

Trainings on DRR are imparted through the use of a Mobile Knowledge Resource Centre (MKRC), a training vehicle for disaster preparedness, which uses simulation models and hands-on group activities to engage students, youth and community members.

Dissemination of other informational material such as posters, videos on DRR and implementing practical evacuations and exercises in schools in rural Sindh are among the resilience building activities we engage children and youth groups in. These videos on DRR are part of our Resilience Building campaign shown to children and youth groups in vulnerable and disaster prone rural areas of Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia, with the support of Act for Peace (AfP) has set up three Rural Health Centres (RHC) in in the villages of Nabiser, Dhoronaro and Hyder Farm, located in the Umerkot district of Sindh in Pakistan since 2015. These health centres are run and managed by Community World Service Asia and are supporting more than 100,000 people in the district. The RHCs provide routine OPDs, Reproductive Health Services, Family Planning Services, Health Education Sessions, Antenatal and Postnatal services, and also provide free of cost medication and a full range of preventive health coverage.

The community mobilizers assigned with these RHCS regularly visit and monitor the catchment population to mobilize, organize and increase the awareness of the communities residing in these areas on health issues. They are also delivering health awareness sessions for men and women in their villages and for children in their schools.

Access to well-equipped health facilities is a major issue for most rural communities in Sindh. In order to provide health services nearly at the doorstep of these deprived communities, free medical camps were organized in three different Union Councils in the farther catchment areas of the RHCs. The religious ethnicities of the communities where the medical camps were set up were mainly Hindu and Muslims, belonging to different sects and castes of each religion.

The Medical camps services focused primarily on Mother and Child Care. The first two camps were set up at the Syed Muhammad Memon village and Abdul Majeed Arain village through the 24th and 25th of November, while the third camp was organized at the Daim Nohri village on the 30th November. Apart from delivering free consultations, free medicines were also provided to patients visiting the camps. Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), Gastritis, Diarrhea, flu and fever were found to be the most common health concerns while diagnosing patients at these camps.

Antenatal cards were also issued to pregnant women visiting the medical camps and were advised to visit their nearby Rural Health Center for further consultation and medication. The lady medical officers at the camps shared key awareness messages on the importance and methods of family planning. Community Mobilizers conducted sessions on Child Spacing, family planning and the importance of check-ups during pregnancy among camp visitors as well.

A focal person from the town committee also visited the medical camp and appreciated the efforts of the health team involved and emphasized on the need to conduct these camps on a monthly basis.

The three villages where the camps were set up were all at a distance of seven to nine kilometres from the district of Umerkot. These areas were identified as the most vulnerable in terms of access to health facilities and frequency of diseases. Most of the community members from these villages are unskilled laborers and farmers who cannot afford expensive medical treatment or travel costs to health centres in the cities.

Social mobilization is the backbone of any non-governmental organization.  Since most work of NGOs are centered around communities, social mobilizations becomes essential,

insightfully remarked, social worker Umme.

Social workers act as changing agents in the society by motivating communities to think about their social and economic problems in a community forum. This enables the community to work together in achieving their mutual goals of social welfare.

Forty-seven-years-old Umme Kalsoom Siyal, resident of one of the poorest and most under-developed areas of Punjab, Pakistan, has always had a passion for social empowerment and improvement. Umme is the first woman social worker from Dera Ghazi Khan, a district in Southern Punjab province of Pakistan, and home to a community that largely discourages women from stepping out of their homes, even for basic needs. Umme, however, is a fearless lady who not only stands up for herself but also for the disadvantaged community around her. Her numerous demanding experiences in her social work reveal this inner strength and resolution, encouraging her to never give up.

Umme first began her career in social work in 1994 as a supervisor, along with her husband, in an education project called “Alif Laam Mim.” The education department tasked them with conducting a survey of fifty nonfunctional schools so that they could devise school improvement plans. Umme recalls,

This field task was extremely difficult. We had to travel for 7-8 hours on a motorbike to reach the schools, which were located in the desert. Sometimes, it would take days to reach the right places. When we started working in the field, we observed that people had to deal with manifold issues; low income, poor health, food, education and others.

As Umme and her husband sought to empower struggling communities, the communities developed high expectations from the couple. Consequently, Umme and her husband decided to establish Social Youth Council of Patriots (SYCOP), which works with communities to improve their lives. SYCOP was registered in 1996 under a government act in 1961. The organization had humble beginnings, as it began in a one-room office in Rajanpur. However, it slowly expanded over the next twenty-one years into a highly distinguished non-governmental organization.

Umme and her husband first worked as supervisors in SYCOP, but after her husband’s death, Umme took charge as Executive Director. In addition to this role, Umme is a member of Zila Council Assembly and Punjab Commission on the Status of Women from Dera Ghazi Khan Division.

Notwithstanding her countless years of social work, Umme had never received proper training on social mobilization before she attended Community World Service Asia’s training in July this year. Rather, she learnt all her social mobilization skills through her fieldwork and had no knowledge of the specific tools used in social mobilization. However, this summer, Umme learned the fundamentals of social mobilization through the training in July.

The training not only personally benefited Umme, but it also had positive impacts on SYCOP.

During the training, Umme easily connected with the other participants, and they exchanged their field experiences and discussed community behaviors. This exchange of ideas benefited the participants, as they had diverse experiences and came from all over Pakistan. Umme is still in contact with the friends she made at the training, and they share networking and funding opportunities with each other. Umme explained,

Sharing this experience and conversing with participants has left me with innovative ideas and ambitions for the future.

Furthermore, Umme learnt risk management and conflict resolution at the training.

That was the first time I realized how important it is to go to a new community fully prepared. Social mobilizers should be aware of the underlying community conflicts and risks so that they can develop a risk management plan.

Umme also appreciated the experience of conducting a mock survey on Disaster Risk Reduction with a trainer in a village since she learnt all the practical steps of initiating such a field survey. She particularly benefited from this exercise as SYCOP is also working on Disaster Risk Reduction, so she says it could help SYCOP to replicate the same activity with their communities. In the activity at the social mobilization training, the participants conducted a field survey on hazard identification and then held a community meeting.

Another key part of the social mobilization training was cost management. The training improved Umme’s budgeting skills, so now Umme can discuss SYCOP projects with partners and donors with more clarity. Therefore, Umme is more confident in negotiating project agreements for her organization. Moreover, her communication skills have also improved through Community World Service Asia’s social mobilization training. These skills have helped her build contacts and linkages with other stakeholders’ including government departments, civil society organizations, communities and staff.

Umme replicated the social mobilization training with the SYCOP staff and also shared training results with her board members. They plan to develop a social mobilization strategy for SYCOP, as the organization intends to register with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan at a national level.

SYCOP has enhanced its’ mobilization skills, and now the staff is working on the field on challenging projects, such as reproductive health. Umme believes that it is important to work with men first in order to break social taboos as it is difficult to get women participation in such projects. She said that her team discussed the health issues of women in the community with their husbands openly and made them realize to prioritize health needs of their wives. After listening to them, they acknowledged SYCOP for taking such useful initiatives and asked them to work with women and protect their lives.

Umme asserted,

The social mobilization training met my expectation, and I am happy that I not only learnt myself, but also that I passed on the information to the other staff. In this way, I transferred the training’s benefits to the communities with which they work.

Umme recently experienced an incident of community conflict while working with the community. A dispute between two community members of a target village of SYCOP was adversely affecting the progress of one of their projects. Umme called both members to the SYCOP office and had individual meetings with them. In these meetings, she discussed the matter in detail with them by listening to them and identifying the reasons for conflict. Hereafter, Umme held a joint meeting with both of them in which she calmly discussed the issue. She gave both of them time to talk to each other and understand each other’s point of view. Both the parties were able to clear their misunderstanding by the end of the discussions. Umme expressed,

I believe that there is no conflict which cannot be resolved through discussion.

The Social Mobilization Training equipped Umme with necessary tools that will strengthen her social work, harnessing her potential to achieve even greater accomplishments in social mobilization.

Photo credit: http://www.nydailynews.com

A 7.3 magnitude quake that struck the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday (November 12th) has killed more than 300 people and left an estimated 2,530 or more injured. As aftershocks continued till this morning and as rescuers sped up their operation, Iran’s state news agency IRNA confirmed the death toll, saying at least 382 of the injured remain in hospital.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.3 magnitude tremor was centered 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran. Most of the victims are believed to be in the Iranian town of Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province.

In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150. “Four people were killed by the earthquake” in Darbandikhan, the town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP. Another two people were killed in Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Darbandikhan.

The electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.

Iranian rescue teams are rushing to try to find survivors but their efforts have been hampered by landslides which have cut off many rural areas. Officials expect the casualty toll to rise when search and rescue teams reach remote areas of Iran.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia’s disaster response team is in contact with local partners in Iran and are compiling information on damages and losses incurred due to the earthquake. Community World Service Asia’s team is on standby and will act as the need to respond  arises.

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbang
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.manags@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +93 78 635 0703 / +63 908 102 1016                                                                             

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

Sources:

www.samaa.tv
www.telegraph.co.uk
www.aljazeera.com

Before construction, the road was narrow and the ground was not leveled.

Community World Service Asia is working in partnership with Christian Aid towards making the hazard prone communities of Thatta more resilient to disasters and its impacts through various participatory activities. Under this project, small mitigation schemes have been designed to provide access and safe evacuation to make communities more resilient to flooding, cyclones and other natural hazards.

Following a series of meetings between community mobilization and community based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) teams, the design and implementation of the mitigation scheme for Raeem Dino Thaheem village was planned.  After attending the Village Development Training conducted in May this year, the Village Organization (VO) of Raeem Dino Thaheem listed down the issues faced in the village on priority basis. Referring to this list, the project team decided to work on reconstructing the main road linking the village to Bello and Darro city.

Laborers to work on the road construction were selected from amongst the VO members of the village in question. A total of ten VO members from Raeem Dino worked on leveling the ground and widening the road through earth-filling. These laborers worked effortlessly for ten days under the cash for work scheme of the project. As a result, the road was successfully completed within the timeline, benefiting approximately 1500 people residing in Raeem Dino Thaeem and nearby villages.

Ali Hassan, a member of the Rahim Dino Thaheem VO, expressed,

Being part of the construction activity gave me a sense of ownership. We worked hard so that the whole community can benefit as a result.  I appreciate this project’s team to provide us with this platform, enabling us to work for the betterment of our own people.

Tech. Assistance by CWSA at RDA Office Mithi_ Tharparkar District, Sindh

The training helped my organization to better understand methods of budgeting and keeping financial records. It also gave us the competence to develop sound and applicable financial policies for our work,

Muhammad Bakhsh Khaskheli, from the Rural Development Association (RDA) participated in a financial management training organized by Community World Service Asia in Mirpurkhas in May this year. The objective of the financial management training was to increase the financial management capacity and improve policy development of local community-based organizations. Kashkheli particularly sought after these improvements for his organization.

Our financial procedures were not that swift, and we had to work hard on assembling documents, making photocopies, and preparing missing formats for going through the annual audits. Moreover, we do not have an internal audit department, so an internal audit committee consisting of three executive body members did our internal monitoring. However, this committee was not competent to conduct an internal audit that provides insight on future planning and procedural intricacies.

A resident of Hyderabad city, 42-year-old Muhammad Khaskheli works as a program manager in RDA. Khaskheli’s primary responsibilities include program development, implementation, and resource mobilization. He is also responsible for corresponding with donors.

Khaskheli attended the Financial Management training, expecting that it would help improve and develop RDA’s financial management system. Various topics were covered in the training, such as financial planning, bookkeeping, and accounting. Khaskheli remarked,

The session on accounting taught us to base accounting on the principles of consistency, accountability, transparency, viability, integrity, stewardship, and accounting standards. The session was highly interactive. For each principle, the participants shared examples on how to harmonize accounting with these principles.

Khaskheli gained valuable information and tools at this training, which he introduced at his organization in order to improve their financial management. After the training, RDA developed updated financial management and Human Resources’ manuals. Community World Service Asia outsourced a consultant, who visited Khaskheli’s office, discussed and reviewed every policy and procedure in the updated manuals, before finalizing it, and then a held a one-day workshop with the staff to orient them on it. The consultant also supported RDA with developing specific policies in the newly revised manuals.

Before this training, we had a very simple manual, but we were not able to develop a clear financial management system. However, these revised manuals’ detailed policies and procedures have positively affected the organization’s financial management in different ways,

Khaskheli affirmed.

Our financial procedures have improved since the training. Now, we have a better financial policy system and our documentation is complete and updated, ready for audits.

According to updated policy, the organization will hire a professional consultant to lead the internal audit committee and provide reports that will help in identifying policy and procedural gaps that are beneficial for future planning. This will continue until RDA attains resources to develop an independent audit department. After the training, RDA developed procedures to minimize financial risks. A code of conduct was also incorporated within the finance and administration departments and a clear delegation of authority was planned.

The training led to profound changes in the organization’s budgeting techniques. According to Khaskheli,

budget reporting has become easy.” At RDA, budget reports only included numerical figures before, now however, they include proper budget codes and budget narratives where necessary so that external stakeholder can easily understand the budgets. Khaskheli attested, “Because of the training, we better understand how to prepare budgets through an accountable and transparent financial system.

Adding further, Kashkheli stated,

Rural Development Association is a growing grassroots organization. We needed to develop a robust financial management system to make our financial matters transparent, easily functional, and to increase our credibility among the communities we are working with and other stakeholders, including donors.

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Life was not easy for Indra, a mother of three children and married to a mentally handicapped man, Hoto Mal. The family lived with Hoto’s parents in the village of Kundo Meghwar, and Indra worked hard to support her family since her husband was unable to work due to his mental condition. Despite these difficult living conditions, Indra remained positive and hardworking since she believed that her situation was God’s will. She chose not to worry about anything but instead to accept everything as it came. Indra was content and loved her family.

Six months ago, Community World Service Asia started a skills-enhancer program of Embroider and Appliqué in Indra’s village, and it selected many women from rural villages in the district to become artisans in the program. Indra was amongst the women chosen. Through this program, women artisans are supported to become self-sufficient by teaching them embroidery and sewing techniques, linking them to the markets, and are also taught business tactics so that the women will sell their products at a market rate. Indra was already sewing women’s clothes, but she now has another platform through which she can enhance her handicraft skills. After being chosen as an artisan, Indra expressed,

I really feel proud of myself because now I can manage all my domestic expenses without any help and can give my children a better life. My aim in life is to educate my children so that they can live fulfilling lives.

Indra learned many new stitching styles such as the Hurmich, Kacho, Pako and Moti Taakna at the trainings, along with making trendier and subtler designs. She tried different color pallets and identified the ones that had the most demand. She is delighted and thankful that she was able to learn new handicraft skills through this program.

After enhancing her skills as an artisan through the program, Indra now receives product orders from surrounding villages and designers based in Karachi (through the project). Through the course of the trainings, she has established strong linkages with buyers in nearby villages and the local markets. This is where she plans to sell the orders that she is currently working on and also to promote her own private orders.

Indra has already received orders from local retailers and villagers. Once the trainings and the project ends, she also plans to introduce her own new products and designs to ensure that she provides unique and one-of-a-kind products to her clients.

Through these gained handicraft skills, women artisans like Indra earn decent incomes that are unprecedented for rural women. Besides acquiring skills, these trainings and classes are an imperative avenue of social interactions and much needed entertainment for these girls and women. Prior to her participation in the project, Indra was not allowed, and even did not get the time, to go out of her house or her village much. Now, she has made many close friends at the training centers and is looking forward to meeting them every time.

I feel much happier as a person now as I now have friends whom I can talk to, share my views with and also gossip with,

smiled Indra.

We artisans will use these lifetime skills to earn as much as possible. I really appreciate the positive and rare work environment provided to women like me. This type of environment will not only change the future for artisans like us, but it will also enhance the skills of and inspire other non-artisan women.

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