Yearly Archives: 2020

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is providing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services, under its Health program, in collaboration with the district health department at two Taluka Hospitals (THQs) in Umerkot and one Mother Neonatal Child Health Centre in Sujawal district. The MNCH caters to thirty surrounding villages in the two districts.

CWSA implements long-term health programs for vulnerable and marginalized communities in the region. The projects under this program operate through static health units within the provincial health structures, Preventive and curative health services, vaccination campaigns, mother and child health, and health education are some of the key components of these projects.

In most remote areas of Pakistan, cultural barriers prevent women from seeking medical treatment from male nurses and doctors and as a result prolong their illnesses or leave themselves undiagnosed. The health centers set up by CWSA are equipped with women medical staff to ensure that women and girls in the communities have equal and easy access to health services.

These rural health centers employ women medical staff that provide vaccinations, pre and postnatal care, education and awareness on sexual reproductive health and family planning, and delivery services to women and young girls in the villages.

Since January 2020, the health team has organized and facilitated eleven awareness sessions on polio eradication, HIV/AIDS, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), hepatitis, family planning, antenatal and postnatal check-ups, breast-feeding benefits and healthy nutrition for pregnant women in the catchment areas of both THQs, namely Samaro and Pithoro. In addition, the health team participated in a ‘Family Mela’ organized by the Population Welfare Department in Umerkot.  Through the awareness activities, communities, Health Management Committees, local schools and children were sensitized on the major causes of epidemic diseases and their signs and symptoms and precautionary measures. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material was also distributed and displayed among communities on related topics during the sessions. Baby kits were also distributed for the mothers of newborns and pregnant women. Whereas, Hygiene Kits were distributed among school children and wheel-chairs among disable persons in the community.

Moreover, the health teams collaborated and supported a government lead polio vaccination program in Yousaf Bhatti village to help them mobilize communities and convince them to take the vaccinations as many local communities were against the campaigns. The medical staff sensitized the community members on severe effects of polio and how it could lead to permanent disabilities, with vaccination being the best prevention. The community was convinced and agreed for their children to get vaccinated.

Rural communities facing poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and inaccessibility to basic services, often put health-care as their last priority. Community World Service Asia is committed to helping such communities access their health rights, find sustainable solutions and reduce disaster risks as they survive and find ways to earn livelihoods.

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Sajida Qamar, Project Manager at Sojhla for Social Change has been working in the development sector since 2010.

With five years of experience in Sojhla, I have been working on various programs through monitoring, evaluation and managing of field activities. I am responsible for grant management and handling, along with coordination and networking with external stakeholders. The thematic areas on which our organization works are Gender & Development, Health, Education and Good Governance.

Sajida is also involved in Sojhla’s program staff recruitment processes.

I felt the need of having more knowledge on the essential tools of Human Resource Management. When I heard about the training to be held on Competency Based HR Practices, I immediately showed interest in attending the workshop.

The training, titled “Competency Based HR Practices”, organized by Community World Service Asia, was held in mid-July, 2019, with a participation of nineteen humanitarian practitioners from sixteen national and local organizations working in Pakistan. Uma Narayanan, an expert consultant on human resources, organizational development and system development and with facilitation experience of over 200 international trainings, conducted the training as a lead trainer.

Throughout the four-day training, participants were engaged in interactive sessions, learning new approaches for selection and recruitment of suitable and competent staff for their organizations.

It is vital to know the competencies of the candidates required to fill vacant positions which will eventually help in the achievement of project and organizational goals. The trainer’s extensive profile in the field of HR inspired me to participate in the training as her diverse experience of over fifty countries helped us learn international practices and standards required to retain staff and maintain work performances.

According to Sajida, the training provided sufficient information on HR standards and techniques to align HR strategy with the organizational strategy and goals. The tools and methods on adopting the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework (CHCF) were underlined and participants were made familiar with competency-based approaches to promote organizational and individual development.

One of the most interesting tools we learnt during the training was the Blended Learning Approach and Toolkit on CHCF. Such tools enable HR and relevant hiring staff to select competent candidates to fill vacant positions in the organization. Uma highlighted the effectiveness of hiring competent staff because they are a long-term asset to the organization. The CHCF applies to arranging job interviews, developing job descriptions, managing aptitudes and performing appraisals and assessments. It provides efficient guidelines to perform these functions and attain productive outcomes.

On my return from the training, I planned a session with the staff of Sojhla, including the Executive Director and the HR department, to share the new concepts and toolkits for effective HR practices.

In August 2019, Sojhla initiated a new project on community peace building, for which new staff had to be hired.

During the hiring process, I assisted the HR team in developing competency-based job descriptions for the vacant positions. Keeping the CHFC in mind, we composed relevant questions for the interviews. The questions focused on specific experience with relevance to the nature of the job. Scenario-based questions were included which aimed at assessing the capacity to handle different situations and provide new ideas for quality implementation. Moreover, we are planning to develop and conduct biannual appraisal systems which will include self-assessment as per CHCF.

However, one of the challenges we faced during the implementation of the learning was that the CHCF processes are lengthy. This makes them more effective for long-term projects but time-consuming for staff. In Sojhla, we are working on short-term projects and therefore, these lengthy processes are not fully applied and adopted within the short period of time. For this reason, I would recommend that a training is provided on implementing the CHCF in short-term processes as well to adopt maximum guidelines of the framework in our field of work.

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The Alliance for Empowering Partnership (A4EP) is a network of organisations committed to strengthen the humanitarian architecture and locally led response. On 21st of March A4EP held a meeting with Directors of 14 local/ national organisations from 11 countries, some of whom are part of larger networks in country and representatives on the national, regional and international coordination mechanisms. This position paper contributes to the discussions and decision making on COVID-19 at international, regional, national and local level. It is aimed at the governments, their international development partners, aid donors, INGOs, the private sector and citizens.

Most countries of A4EP members have reported only a limited number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. We recognise, that this may be the result of lack of testing rather than reflect the real epidemiological situation. The measures taken so far, to control gatherings of people and restrict mobility, tend to be less drastic than in China, South Korea or Europe for example, but this may change rapidly. While the message on hand washing is already circulating more widely, maintaining physical distance is lagging. Some of our CSO members are already limited to working from home. Overall, our populations, and our own staff, are deeply concerned. Many people in our society are not digitally well connected, and do not receive the health messages already circulating. Partial and often uncoordinated messaging adds to rather than reduces the confusion, stress and anxiety. Also for us this is an unprecedented situation, for which we have no standard operating procedures – so far.

Local and national civil society organisations have a critical role to play in the response to this pandemic. This all the more so because drastically reduced international travel and supply lines make large scale international mobilization impossible. Many international actors are also dealing with their own operational disruptions and domestic COVID-19 crisis.

We know that this will be not only a public health, but also an economic and social crisis. It may also lead to a rise in ethnic, gender based and domestic violence, and may cause social unrest among daily wage earners and people working in informal sector faced with loss of jobs, income and food security. All local and national capacities need to be mobilized to mitigate these impacts as much as possible.

  1. We urge for clear, coordinated and understandable communications and protection for health care personnel and humanitarian workers and uninterrupted supplies

The most visible and immediately concerning impact of COVID-19 is on public health. We can learn from other countries about where major stresses in the health response will occur: effective testing on a large scale; expanded intensive care capacities with specialized equipment (ventilators); protective equipment for frontline medical staff; support for stressed and exhausted medical staff, several of whom will be infected and some of whom may die. In-country manufacturers who can, should switch production temporarily to the production of much needed supplies such as hand sanitizers, soap, ventilators to support patients developing severe symptoms, protective clothes, gloves, masks and goggles etc.

A significant capacity lies in the private health care system, that is inaccessible for much of our populations. This is not the time for socio-economic discrimination: all health services’ capacities, including that of the security forces, must be mobilized in a coherent effort to control the situation and limit the mortality rates. All means of mobile communications and internet services must be functioning and accessible at subsidised cost to all during this crisis.

A very vital component at this juncture is a psychosocial programme. A large number of the population is fearful in the face of such unprecedented crisis. That emotional unrest will contribute to other socioeconomic problems. Tailored psychosocial activities ought to be launched through mainstream and social media.

Clear, coordinated and understandable communications to the public and all responders is vital. This should be in all languages and dialects spoken in our territory and disseminated not only via the Internet but also the relevant social media networks, and -for those without smart phones, computers or electricity- via phone calls and community workers. Younger people, the overwhelming majority of our populations, need to be told – in a messaging that resonates with them- that they can be spreading the virus but are also themselves at risk.

While restricting people’s mobility, ‘key personnel’, necessary to maintain essential services, needs to be designated. This obviously includes pharmacies, bakeries, grocery stores, but also drivers of water trucks, garbage collectors, banking and insurance company staff, fuel station personnel and humanitarian and social workers.

We are a key capacity: Local and national civil society organisations, not only those with health expertise, should be considered an as important ‘auxiliary’ to the governmental efforts as our national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies and civil protection units. Our staff should be classified as ‘key personnel’ with the permission to move about and assist.

  1. We urge support to maintain or restore our operational continuity through technical support and funding

To be able to play our part, we need to maintain or restore our operational continuity. We must be able to continue paying our staff, provide them with protective equipment, and – in line with the benefits enjoyed by staff of international organisations- with a robust health and life insurance. We need to maintain access to finance: ATMs must be kept supplied and accessible and/ or all employees need to be able to have a digitized account. As organisations, we need to be quickly set up with e-banking where this is not yet the case, and the issue of multiple signatures resolved within days.

When requested, aid donors should quickly agree to an extension of all ongoing projects/programmes with additional operational and overhead costs, given current circumstances. Especially now, no staff of a local/national organization should lose her or his job, due to suspension of projects or delay in the approval of new grants.

Volunteers will be coming forward in our societies once we have the capacity to safeguard, train, guide and accompany them, and cover their operational and living costs, they become part the much-needed surge in response capacity in the country.

Where there are country-based pooled funds, they should now be made easier and quicker for local and national agencies to access. CBPF exist however only in a minority of COVID-19 affected countries. Setting them up typically takes much time: where they don’t exist other modalities to make funding rapidly available, need to be created quickly.

Start Network, with its capacity of rapid financing, leverage of anticipation funding and strategy of national/regional hubs is in a good position to widen its outreach by looking beyond its existing members to reach out to more locally rooted organisations, particularly in the countries where it has incubated national hub formation. This will offset the lack of CBPFs in a given country.

We are a key capacity: From our international partners, we need an urgent and clear message that delays and interruptions in ongoing projects (and their reporting requirements) are inevitable and accepted. We need to be able to switch the funding that may have been allocated for other purposes, to deal with COVID-19, until other funding becomes available. We need access to reliable information and solid and practical technical advice – which can be offered remotely.

We now need, more than ever, upfront and flexible funding – writing elaborate project proposals and waiting weeks for a decision is not -currently- an option. We need to remove bureaucratic hurdles, introduce quicker decision making. Financial reporting requirements need to be adapted so that we can maintain our cash flow. As the international crisis-response system is not able to be present in these many countries as it may wish to, this is the time to put Agenda for Humanity commitment 4A and Grand Bargain commitment 2 in practice: “reinforce rather than replace local and national capacities”, “in a spirit of partnership (…) where we all meet as equals”. New partnerships modalities might be needed. Instead of going through repeat due diligence processes that all of us have undergone multiple times already, we ask donors to adhere to commitment 4 of the Grand Bargain, i.e. reduce duplication and management costs. Women led organisation can play an important role in the response and need specific support.

  1. We urge for social welfare and protection for economically vulnerable

Reduced mobility within our countries, closure of all non-essential services, and interrupted import and export flows, will have a major economic impact. This will follow fast in the wake of, and may even temporarily outpace, the public health impact of COVID-19. Casual labourers, street vendors, small shop owners, small producers, private urban transport providers, small- and medium enterprises, in short, the hundreds of millions who are already economically more vulnerable, will be first and hardest hit. The widening gap between demand-supply due to hoarding and disrupted supply chain is likely to cause inflation in the prices of essential commodities. The result will be increased household debts and poverty.

Our governments do not have the billions of dollars to mitigate the economic impacts, in loans or grants, that the richer nations have. Our countries may need a moratorium on national debt interest repayments, debt rescheduling and debt cancellations. We may need very soft loans and grants for social welfare protection. The international financial institutions, and private sector lenders, have a significant responsibility to mitigate a possible global depression. Our governments on the other hand have the ability to provide policy guidance and legislate to mitigate this impact. We also ask the corporate sector to demonstrate more social responsibility at this critical time, by working for the common good.

From experience, we know that in times of economic and social stress, domestic violence, often directed at women and children, increases. Women, and women’s rights organisations, have a particular role and contribution to make here, also providing support to men who have difficulty coping with much bigger challenges. Ensuring enabling conditions for women’s rights organisations, as well as those focusing on the elderly and the disabled, must be an explicit objective for our governments and international partners.

We are a key capacity: Local and national civil society organisations have important roles to play here e.g. to identify which households to prioritise, in distributing cash grants, and helping small, indebted producers and workers renegotiate their debt with lenders, and where needed, provide legal assistance.

  1. We urge our Governments, fellow citizens and fellow humans to treat everyone with dignity and respect during this crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic can become a social crisis: Faced with this unprecedented and rapid onsetthreat, it is normal to feel fear and to think about our own physical and economic survival. We may be tempted to look for a scapegoat to blame, or to argue that the limited resources should be available to ‘us’ and not to ‘them’. ‘Them’ may be the poor, slum dwellers, ‘tribals’, domestic workers, migrant workers, religious or ethnic minorities, IDPs, asylum-seekers, refugees and others who usually are already in a weaker economic, social and legal position. That would be a mistake: Like climate change impacts, this is not a national, class, majority-minority or citizen-foreigner crisis: This pandemic threatens all human beings, and our global economy. Political and business leaders, as we have seen, are not immune or able to effectively protect themselves. It is humanity’s challenge, that we must confront together.

We are a key capacity: Local and national civil society organisations are at the forefront of the fight against discrimination, injustice, exploitation and exclusion in their own countries. They have a vital role to play in ensuring that the tone of public discourse and practice is and remains one of empathy and inclusion, not blame, discrimination and exclusion.

Localization is inevitable now, also due of the travel restriction. However, this localization should reflect the real spirit of partnership and complementarity instead of transferring the risk to local humanitarian workers.

COVID-19 with its public health, economic and social impacts is a major threat. It is also a major opportunity for experiencing our shared humanity, expanding our empathy and solidarity, and finally investing seriously in local and national capacities.

Click here to download the complete document

The Coronavirus is spreading globally. How can individuals, communities and humanitarian actors best respond to the COVID-19 outbreak? How can the Sphere Handbook guide our response? Let’s share lessons learned Sphere collates and disseminates emerging practice and evidence in the Coronavirus response.

Sphere معیار اور کورونا وائرس کے سلسلے میں کارروائی

دنیا بھر میں کورونا وائرس پھیل رہا ہے۔ افراد، کمیونیٹیز اور انسانی امداد دینے والے کارکن COVID-19 کی وبا پر بہترین ردِعمل کیسے دے سکتے ہیں؟ Sphere ہینڈ بُک کس طرح ہماری امدادی کارروائی کی راہنمائی کرتی ہے؟

Click here to download Coronavirus guidance English version

Click here to download Coronavirus guidance Urdu version

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The Grand Bargain (GB) is coming to an end in 2021 without achieving much on the 51 commitments made in 2016. The GB commitments largely remained confined to the headquarters of the signatories without proper dissemination to humanitarian actors on the ground. The Agenda for Humanity aimed at shrinking the humanitarian needs, but the humanitarian needs have continued to grow, as also highlighted in the most recent Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO2020). In absence of further extension of the Grand Bargain, or lack of a long-term humanitarian framework, it is challenging to seek sustainable reform of the humanitarian architecture. This is why, it is recommended to modify the GB commitments into humanitarian goals and align them with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Therefore, it is necessary that GB gets extended up to 2030 to have the same timeline as the three most endorsed global frameworks. The humanitarian architecture also ought to be more inclusive of emerging donors, Southern governments and CSOs to create wider ownership and have more informed discussion that would usher more efficient, effective and impactful humanitarian action on ground.

The Alliance for Empowering Partnerships (A4EP) is a network of organisations committed to rebalancing the humanitarian architecture and practices to enable locally-led responses. Considering the discussion above, this paper asks for “A Grander Bargain 2030”, reducing the commitments so they are practically achievable.

Click here to download the complete document

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This year, International Women’s Day occurs on a Sunday and will be celebrated with the special 2020 theme, #EachforEqual. It is the time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.

Community World Service Asia is celebrating International Women’s Day with the staff and project participants by sharing their contributions and what they are doing to create a gender equality society. We have an opportunity to celebrate the women who have given us inspiration. The day is a gift – it’s the perfect time to remember the progress that’s been made on gender equality, to shed some light on everything that still needs to be done and to recognize those who’ve helped to inch the bar to benefit everyone.

As President of the Steering Committee under the Every Voice Counts Project, I encouraged my wife to become a member of the Community Group. Since 2018, we have been engaged with community members and build awareness to disregard child marriages and promote girls education in our village. As supportive parents, we respect our daughter and daughter-in-laws and encourage them to contribute in decision-making processes.

Husband and Wife, Luno Mal and Rahoo from Ahori Farm village, Umerkot

I am a member of the Steering Committee and also working as an artisan in the Taanka project. My husband and I advocate about girls’ education by meeting families in Ahori Farm village every month. Through the continuous meetings, we have been successful in enrolling seven girls and today, they regularly attend school. Ramesh involves me in decision-making processes of the family matters. I want to urge women to share responsibilities with their partners and encourage each other to play their role in building a gender equal society.

Nirjala with her husband, Ramesh from Ahori Farm village, Umerkot

As Community Group member under the Every Voice Counts Project, many young girls in the village see me as their role model as I was the first girl in the village to complete Matriculation with the support of my parents. We are five siblings and I am the eldest amongst all. I support my siblings in their school work and encourage other children, especially girls to gain education and go for their dreams. Through awareness meeting with parents in Surto Oad, eleven girls were enrolled in the local primary school. My message on this International Women’s Day is to urge parents to provide equal opportunities of education and career growth for their daughters and sons. Daughters will make their parents more proud as they will continue the same practice in future in their families and encourage their children towards education.

Shardah from Surto Oad village, Umerkot

My wife, Soomal and I are members of the Steering Committee (SC) in Surto Oad since 2018 under the Every Voice Counts Project. When elected as President of the SC, I was the first person to stand up for gender equality and persuaded my wife to become a member of the Steering Committee. In the village where women were not allowed to speak freely or visit their neighbors without the permission of their elders, this was a big step towards change. I saw the potential in our women as they handled home chores and field work perfectly and at the same time took care of large families. Their management skills are outstanding; so why not use them on a broader level. Today, there are seven active members in our SC who take part in decision-making processes of matters in the village. In the monthly meetings of the SC, they bring out the issues faced by women in our community such as child marriages and domestic violence.  We then, jointly work to resolve such issues. Changing the rigid mindsets have become easier through women involvement as the people, especially elders, are witnessing the positive change these women are bringing in our village. Girls are going to schools, young women are earning income through orders of stitching and embroidery and women are taking part in decision-making.

Shewa Ram and his wife, Soomal from Surto Oad village, Umerkot

I was married at a young age of 13. I was not ready for the responsibilities of taking care of my husband’s family and handling home chores at the same time. But I had no other choice but to obey the decision of my elders. Today, as member of the Community Group under the Every Voice Counts Projects, I have taken the responsibility to stand for the young girls who are afraid to voice their concerns. The trainings held for the members of the Community Groups have enlightened us with our rights, marriage laws and punishment for child marriages. I have stopped child marriages occurring in our village through meetings and awareness sessions with families and women specifically. Together, I encourage young girls to attend school and build a better future for themselves. My message this year on International Women’s Day is that child marriage is a crime; do not punish your children by marrying them in such young ages. Instead, it is the prime responsibility of the parents to support and encourage them to gain education.

Hamzo from Harsan Bhagat village, Mirpurkhas

Since 2015, I have been engaged in livelihoods, health and women empowerment projects with Community World Service Asia. As Community Mobilizer, I feel proud to advocate women rights and girls’ education. These projects have given the opportunity to change lives of women in the rural Sindh. The livelihoods and women empowerment initiatives have made the women economically strong. They have travelled to different cities in Pakistan to promote their handmade apparels and home accessories. It is amazing to see how far women can go if they are provided with opportunities. I also belong to a community where women are restricted to growth. But I have proudly convinced my parents that women can play a prominent and constructive role in our society. My younger sister has followed my footsteps. She had joined an organization and have become a humanitarian worker like myself.

Kaneez Rubab, Community Mobilizer, Community World Service Asia

I was always enthusiastic about playing a prominent role in creating a gender equality nation. Consequently, I completed my degree in Gender and Women studies. Throughout my career, I have been engaged in projects promoting gender equality and women empowerment. I have conducted awareness sessions and trainings on different topics for organizations all over Pakistan, with special focus on women participation in economic activities. My tagline for this years’ IWD is ‘Empowering Women means Empowering Nation’.

Kausar BIBI, Senior Training & Development Officer, Community World Service Asia, Islamabad

As member of the Health Management Committee under the Health Project of Community World Service Asia, I have actively worked for the health rights of women. Women residing in remote villages of Sindh have limited access to effective healthcare. For this reason, I conduct health education sessions to build awareness and promote improved health for women and children. My message this year to men especially is to initiate women empowerment from home. Involve women in decision making and encourage them to support men economically.

Haleeman from Ranta village, Sujawal District

For more than 10 years, as a trainer, I have encouraged women from different organizations to participate in trainings focused on Program Management, Organizational Development, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Social Mobilization and other essential topics. I am proud to share that women have excelled themselves in every field of life and are actively contributing through various professions. I believe that human rights directly relate to women rights. Hence, promotion of women’s rights upholds the fundamental human rights granted to individuals internationally.

Lubna Hussain, Senior Program Officer at Community World Service Asia

Education plays an essential role for any individual’s development and growth in life. I am a role model for women in the rural area as I live in a conservative society where women are not even allowed to leave their homes without the permission of the men at home. I work as a Lady Health Worker with Community World service Asia. My family is very proud of me as I transfer my learnings through health education sessions with community members and consultations in the Health Center.

Preh Baloch, Lady Health Visitor with Community World Service Asia

It was my dream to work in the development sector as I wanted to do something for the humans of Sindh. Since 2011, I have been engaged in community development through a number of projects. Currently, working as Project Officer under the Education project, I have got the opportunity to work with 15 government schools, with focus on girls’ education. We support in advancing curriculum and school activities. We train teachers and introduces child-friendly classrooms and practical activities to learn through playing. Students, especially girls, have become interested and regular in studies. We provide equal opportunities to men and women in our training programs where teachers share experiences and learn new methodologies to make teaching effective and fun. My message on this Women’s day is ‘Traditionally, women and girls have been a vulnerable group affected by gender inequality and deprived of their rights to education. However, to achieve a sustainable world, this must change. Gender equality must be integrated at all levels of education, from early childhood upbringing to higher education, both in formal and non-formal settings’.

Farhat Fairy, Project Officer with Community World Service Asia, Umerkot

Under the DRR and Food Security project of Community Worlds Service Asia, I have been engaged alongside men in various trainings in relation to Disaster Risk Reduction, Kitchen Gardening, Climate Smart Agriculture and Health and Hygiene. I have successfully made my own kitchen garden through which I provide my family with fresh and healthy vegetables. I also save money that we use to spend in purchasing vegetables from the city. Realizing the fact that women can contribute in the economic and physical wellbeing of the family through small initiatives such as kitchen gardening, I encourage other women in the village to replicate my learning and support their husbands in saving money. I believe every women can contribute in economic empowerment if she is willing to do.

Jhamoon, wife of Roop Chand, Walhar village, Umerkot

I am an active member of the Village Management Committee. Under the DRR Project, I have been part of DRR trainings and awareness sessions. I have conducted awareness session for men and women in our community. Initially, I use to hesitate to speak in front of men especially as our culture is different and conservative. After being regularly involved in meetings and project interventions, I now confidently forward my learning to large audiences. In addition, I have attended trainings on Kitchen Gardening, Village Management and Health and Hygiene. I have helped in developing a DRR plan which has information of various disasters and its preventive measures. I believe that women can play a prominent role in combating disasters.

Khandi, Walhar village, Umerkot

As a midwife, I provide health services and education to increase access to efficient healthcare for women residing in remote areas. Through health session, I encourage women to adopt health behaviors and exercise health rights.

Pashmeena, Midwife at Salingar Health Facility of Community World Service Asia

I train Community Health Workers for them to provide effective health services for women in rural villages. Through these training, I encourage CHWs to motivate both men and women to utilize health services provided in the health facilities. Moreover, I motivate women to take decisions in their households to support their family members.

Marzai, Community Health Supervisor at Community World Service Asia in Salingar Health Facility

IT has mostly been considered as a man’s field of work in our society. But this did not stop me from achieving what I want. I completed my Master’s degree in Information Security in the year 2019. I proved as a women that there is no field of work limited to a specific gender. Women can equally become a professional in any field they choose. Women are strong, beautiful and leaders in every walk of life. May we continue to inspire others around us.

Rosheen Qazi, IT Officer at Community World Service Asia

Humanitarian standards related to Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) have brought humanitarian actors one step forward in terms of principles and commitments towards the people they seek to assist. However, humanitarian field practitioners acknowledge confusion in the knowledge and the application of standards, and the sector recognizes the need for cultural and systemic changes to enhance Quality and AAP, including Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)

As we shift towards a collective inter-agency approach to Quality and AAP – including PSEA, with common frameworks and more systematic measurement and verification at national or response-levels, it needs to be integrated into programming cycles, at both inter-agency and organizational levels, through a people-centered lens. 

The Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management Booklet and training materials have been designed for field practitioners. Through these resources, we aim to enhance the quality and accountability of humanitarian and development programming to ensure the best interest of the communities we seek to assist.

The Booklet and the associated training materials will promote shared decision making at all phases of the programming cycles.

3 day Training on QA for PCM TRAINING PACKAGE Jan 2020
3 day Training on QA for PCM TRAINING PACKAGE Jan 2020
Size: 10.8 MB
Version: Jan 2020

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Community World Service Asia is working towards resource and environmental conversation through an exciting “Going Green” campaign initiated within all its offices in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Under one of its initiatives, our office in Islamabad signed an MOU with Saaf Suthra Shehr in September 2018 to recycle all of the office’s organic waste. Saaf Suthra Shehr (SSS) Private Limited is committed to create environmental management an integral part of development processes, whereby policy makers and public at large start recognizing their responsibility to capitalize on the intrinsic environment-development correlation.

Since 2018, all of the waste from Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) Islamabad office is divided into organic and inorganic waste and delivered to Saaf Suthra Sheher. In the last one and a half year, CWSA’s Islamabad office has recycled 311Kgs of Paper, 35Kgs of Plastic, 1Kg of Metal, 7Kg of Glass which is equivalent to saving 4 trees, 5857 Liters of water and 1 MW of electricity according to a report provided by Saaf Suthra Sheher. This achievement would not have been possible without the commitment and determination of the organization and all the staff at the Islamabad office who passionately took the responsibility of storing and segregating waste and timely delivering it to the authorized company each month.

 Most families in Anwar Pathan live in a joint family system. Early marriages and living in a big family bring along a lot of responsibilities for new and young brides in this community. The new bride is expected to take on all the home chores, go to the field and harvest the seasonal crops in addition to taking care of all the family members living in the house. A tremendous amount of burden is put on the little shoulders of a child bride. This naturally deteriorates her health. As you see, there are very few or almost no woman here who is overweight. This is because all women here work a lot and are weak due to the many burdens they bear since a very young age. If these women or girls complain even a little, it results in conflicts among family members,

shared a young man, named Gom Chand, who is a member of the Steering Committeeⁱ and Community Group set up in Anwar Pathan village, located in Umerkot district of Sindh province.

Gom Chand and his wife were only 14 years old when they got married. Four years on, now 18 years old, Gom Chand teaches at a local private school in Anwar Pathan.

Women in this village are not educated as most have not attended school and those who did get the opportunity, have only studied up till class 5. Even as a boy, I was forced to marry at a young age and had to leave my education, with no one encouraging me to continue studying. Instead, I was told to earn a living as I had to bring home money for my wife and bear family responsibilities. Soon after my wedding, I began work as a daily labourer, and earned a mere income of PKR 200 a day.

For many centuries, it has been a cultural norm to wed off young couples aged between 12 and 16 years in villages such as Anwar Pathan. Just as a child would be born, their families would start searching for a perfect matrimonial match for them and in many cases even engage them at birth and as soon as they would turn 12 years or reach their teens, they would be married off.

I never supported this idea though,

shared Gom Chand,

And as it turned out, I also suffered a lot by being married so young.

We are a family of six members, including my parents, wife and siblings. My relative, Chander, told me about the EVCⁱⁱ project as the team visited for an orientation meeting at the village. He shared the main objective of the project which was eliminating and discouraging the practice of early and childhood marriages. This convinced me to join the Steering Committee. I saw this as a platform to share my experiences and motivate the youth to gain education and build a bright future for themselves.

Fifteen of us, seven men and eight women, joined the Steering Committee of Anwar Pathan. As members of the committee, we largely work towards achieving for four key objectives. Firstly, we will build awareness on the importance and access to health care for men, women and children. We encourage women and children to avail proper healthcare treatments from the nearest health facility instead of always adopting traditional home remedies. Secondly, we discourage the practice of early childhood marriages. Thirdly, we are advocating for increasing girls’ education in the village.   Since this is not encouraged much in our village, we are conducting meetings with parents who do not send their girls to school and are urging them to educate their daughters and sisters as it is equally important as is educating boys. Lastly, we are promoting the role of women in decision-making.

Gom Chand watched a theater play in Bharo Mil village which highlighted the disadvantages of early childhood marriage and encouraged communities to educate their children instead. The play exhibited how societies would flourish if their people and youth were well educated. Upon his return from Bharo Mil, Gom Chand felt the need of opening up a school for girls in his village. And he did as he had planned and did inaugurate a school in Anwar Pathan in March 2019. Gom Chand teaches at this school and earns a monthly income of PKR 14000.

There was no school in our village so no girl in our village ever went. With the help of a friend working in another welfare organization, I registered the school and encouraged parents to specially send their daughters and sisters to the school. Today, 45 girls and 12 boys are enrolled in this school and attend classes every day.

There are 10 pairs of Community Groups established in each village, each pair consisting of a man and a woman. Every one of these pairs is assigned five households to work with and build awareness on the same objectives as the Steering Committee. Gom Chand and his Shama, another resident of Anwar Pathan village, make up one these pairs.

The training that was organized on Gender and Women Empowerment on November 2018, and a refresher course that followed a year later in 2019,  delivered sufficient information on the fundamental rights of women and the importance of education, especially for girls. We understood how the existing gender issues in our community adversely affected the lives of.

 Gom Chand and Shama held meetings with the five households allotted to them and encouraged women in those families to voice out their concerns and participate in decision-making processes.

Gom Chand’s brother, Prem Chand, was to be married at the end of 2019.

When I heard about the wedding preparations, I could not hold myself back from standing against this decision and lifelong tradition. He was just a 16-year-old boy and his bride to be was only 15-years-old. My father did not want to go forward with the wedding either but due to the pressure from my brother’s in-laws to be, my family decided to go with it. Shama and I visited the in-laws’ and tried to convince them on postponing the wedding. After hearing about my early marriage experience and the challenges my wife and I faced, the bride’s family postponed the wedding for three years.

In terms of contributing to women empowerment, Gom Chand encouraged his wife to further enhance her embroidery skills by enrolling her at a nearby vocational center. A District Engagement Group member, named Shanti, helped him identify this center and facilitated them with the enrolment process.

A skill building training was held in Mirpurkhas to which I accompanied my wife, Pooja, every day for fifteen days as it is difficult to commute alone in this area. After successfully completing the training, Pooja received five sewing machines.

I am very proud of my wife as she teaches embroidery and stitching skills to other girls and women from our village at our home now. Fourteen woman and girls come to learn the use of different threads, design methods and colors. For running this home-based coaching center and working on orders, Pooja receives PKR 4000 monthly from PCDPⁱⁱⁱ. The attendees of the centre pay a monthly fee of PKR 100. I can see the happiness in the eyes of my wife as this initiative has brought new meaning to her life.

Hina, 16 years, and Seeta, 15 years old, are two of Pooja’s students at the center.

Miss Pooja teaches us stitching and embroidery. We come to the center for four hours daily. If it wasn’t for this center, we would be doing home chores the whole day. This is a fun activity and us friends get to sit together, share jokes and learn new skills of designing and stitching,

 shared Hina.

A video screening, highlighting the goals of the Steering Committee and its role in promoting positive change in the communities by reducing early childhood marriage and motivating women towards decision-making, was organized on December 18th, 2019 in Anwar Pathan, by the Steering committee members.

The members of the committee invited the Chairman of the Union Council as a special guest at the screening. It was an honor to welcome a higher official in our village. The community members were excited to see the video as these visuals are appealing and conveyed the message very clearly. More than 250 people attended the video screening. It was a very proud moment for us.


ⁱ 22 Steering committees are formed in each village, comprising of 15 representatives with equal representation of male and female participants. The steering committee works on different issues of the village and supervises the Community Groups. They represent grass root level issues with civil society and local authorities at district level and work towards resolutions in collaboration with the EVC Team. The committees were formed in the month of August 2018.

ⁱⁱ   Every Voice Counts – Community World Service Asia’s project

ⁱⁱⁱ Parkari Community Development Program