Marvin Parvez is one of the firmest believers in the positive impact of humanitarian standards, as well as an expert practitioner within the Sphere community. Discussing his work as a long-time Pakistani humanitarian professional and as a Sphere partner in Asia, he shared his experience and talked about the many times he saw standards improve people’s lives in the aftermath of a crisis.

Marvin started his career working with the Tajik refugees fleeing into Afghanistan during the civil war. He got to know the Sphere standards in October 2005, when a major earthquake hit the Kashmir region. With devastation across India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marvin took part in the disaster response as a staff member of Community World Service Asia (CWSA), a large humanitarian and development organization with projects in 11 Asian and Pacific countries.

CWSA was recognized as a Sphere regional partner in Asia in 2011. The organization started carrying out capacity-building, advocacy and dissemination activities across the region. Since then, CWSA has trained more than 8,000 relief workers from different backgrounds, showing them how the application of humanitarian standards in disaster response truly has a positive impact on the affected communities.

As regional representative, Marvin has had the opportunity to witness such impact and the implications for all the actors involved. “The agencies that adhere to the Sphere standards are different. The population has started to realize it”, Marvin explains. “It improves our relationship and credibility both with the communities and with the local government”, he adds.

CWSA has been deeply involved with the two most recent revisions of the Sphere Handbook, gathering input from practitioners all across Asia, contributing to the translation into local languages, and organizing multiple launch events for the 2011 edition. As a Sphere partner, the organization also works to build the capacity of other relief actors in the region and to encourage the local application of quality and accountability standards in both policy and practice.

“The main impact is among the community: this is the most important thing for us”, Marvin insists while wrapping up the interview. “Humanitarian aid should really be about putting people first, and Sphere helps us in doing that.”

Watch Marvin Parvez's full video interview

Teachers demonstrating lesson on child motivation, appreciating a teacher for her work.

“One can never learn enough”, it is often said and heard. The same applies to teachers; teaching and learning is a continuous process that goes hand in hand. Learning new methods and understanding the process of teaching leads to better teaching practices.

Passionate teachers understand that the greatest benefit of trainings to them is the large number of additional skills they acquire, allowing their lessons and classrooms to be more interactive, interesting and informative for their students.

For many teachers, making a positive difference in the lives of students is most valuable – the feelings of self-satisfaction as you watch your students grow and succeed due to your hard work and dedication in the field. To give an opportunity for such teachers to continue feeling valued, Community World Service Asia organized and conducted a five-days master teachers’ training on pedagogical & training skills under the Girls Education Project supported by partners, Act for Peace, in Sindh province, Pakistan.

After successfully completing three teacher training cycles on pedagogical skills in the Thatta district of Sindh, this training was categorized as an advance level for those teachers already trained. The five-day sessions aimed to strengthen teachers’ capacities on adult learning, teaching methods, professional teaching standards and lesson planning on daily, weekly, monthly and basis.

Twenty-five teachers from twenty government primary schools of Thatta participated in this workshop.  As a training of trainers of sorts, the purpose of this workshop was for teachers to develop specific expertise on developing model lessons and classrooms and further mentoring teachers in their respective schools on quality teaching methods and techniques.

Sessions on adult learning theory, types of learning styles and creative teaching methods were conducted for teachers where they were also specifically guided on ways to address learning needs of students as per their dominant learning style. Moreover, the need and importance of lesson planning was emphasized in the training sessions as it was realized that teachers often overlooked that and did not recognize the many benefits of this activity.  The teachers were taught on how to develop lesson plans at different stages of their yearly activities.

During the training, the teachers’ skills on class observation tools, reporting and delivering model lesson in schools was enhanced with a particular objective of increasing class participation and students’ involvement in practical learning. As part of the five-days workshop, the 25 teachers were taken on a field visit to a government primary school in Thatta. As one of activities, participants were required to observe teaching methods at the host school and record their observation on the checklist provided by the facilitator. Teachers also observed practical and learning environments seen in different classrooms and later discussed and delivered group presentations on the gaps recorded during the visit. One key observation from the field was that since there was no lesson planning, the lessons lacked clarity of flow and were ineffective and uninteresting for the students.

Teachers, with the support of the trainers, were asked to develop “model lessons” on the gaps observed during the field visit and deliver them as part of a group exercise. Some of the topics presented by the teachers included child motivation; classroom managements; and less responsiveness by teachers. Participants also developed action plans as part of the exercise, to implement active and practical learning in their schools. As a follow up to the training, the graduate master teachers planned to conduct these “model lessons” in their respective schools and would share its calculated impact with the facilitators of this training.

As a concluding sessions on the training’s final day, Rubab Shah, Tallaqua Education Officer (TEO) Thatta, awarded certificates to all the participants of the five-day teachers workshop and appreciated their participation as they shared their learnings with her. Rubab Shah further expressed,

These innovative trainings on pedagogical and training skills have been very significant in delivering quality orientated lessons using interactive methods.  I am glad to say that I have noticed visible changes in classrooms post such trainings as teachers have developed low cost learning material with and for the students.

Teachers’ Voices:

“I am happy to attend this training as I have acquired new knowledge that will help me in becoming a good teacher. The best part of the training was its methodology and taking us on a school visit and then helping us in developing model lessons. I was a bit hesitant in delivering lessons as a master teacher in front of all other teachers but the facilitators encouraged me and I delivered complete lessons successfully.” Seema, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Muhammad Hanif Khushk.

“I believe such teachers’ training help a lot in improving classroom environments. Its adding to my experience as we get new opportunities to learn from other teachers’ experiences by interacting with them. The action planning section will help us immensely in improving our lesson planning and managing classes effectively.” Nasira Parveen, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Jeelani Muhalla School.

“I’m grateful to the facilitators as I learnt new ways of improving learning and delivering quality lessons. I learnt classroom observation, lesson planning and interactive methods with students. I will apply this learning in my class and share with fellow teachers in my school.” Noor Jahan M. Baqar, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Ali Muhammad Jokhio

We live a happy life in the village. I have five daughters and one son. All my children are married. My husband is a farmer who earns PKR 250 on a daily basis. The money earned is mostly consumed in food and household expenses. The income is therefore not sufficient and is difficult to make ends meet,

shared sixty year old Fatima, wife of Tayab, residing in Phul Jakhro village, Union Council Bijora, Tehsil and District Sujawal. Their son and his wife are mostly dependent upon them as well, as he only earns Rs. 50 per day.

I came to the Maternal Neonatal Child Health Center for my foot injury. While visiting my daughter who lives in a nearby village, I was attacked by a wild animal, which injured my foot very badly

shared Fatima. Fatima’s husband initially took her to Bello and Sujawal city for treatment, travelling far distances was costly and the additional treatment costs in the hospitals were burdensome.

After 15 days of treatment and medication, my foot was no better

she recalls,

I was in immense pain. My husband then took me to Sujawal city and the doctors advised me to get it operated upon, as the infection had grown worse and they wanted to amputate it.

Fatima and her husband were very worried and had lost hope. Her son advised her to go to the Maternal Neonatal Child Health Center (MNCH) in Ranta,

My son’s wife has visited the MNCH for healthcare and therefore he was very satisfied with the services the health center was providing,

said a satisfied Fatima. The Maternal Neonatal Health Center is providing basic health services for the villagers residing in nearby areas, with special focus on women and children.

The MNCH provides good health services at very minimal cost of fees. The doctor treated my foot. The doctor treated me with injections, medicines and daily intra-septic dressing. I was treated for 15 days on regular basis. I then visited the MNCH once every week for a month. My foot healed completely and I was able to walk without pain again. The health staff at the MNCH was very cooperative and active.

Fatima fully recovered and she recommends every villager residing nearby to avail timely treatment at the MNCH in Ranta village.

Women in the rural village of Kando in Umerkot, Sindh were a living example of what rural women in patriarchal societies are often stereotyped as: subservient, financially dependent, and restricted to their homes. Remarkably, much of this changed for the women of Kando village after a vocational training centre teaching sewing and embroidery skills, basic literacy and gender awareness sessions, was set up.

Chandri Ladho, a thirty-two year old mother and a resident of Kando, heard about the vocational center from the president of the village’s Steering Committee. She was compelled to find out more about it. After acing her assessment test for the admission to the vocational center, Chandri started learning at the centre and subsequently worked as the Quality Assurance Supervisor (QAS) at the centre. As a QAS, Chandri ensures that artisans reproduce a product if fails to deliver the set standards of quality.

As a trained artisan herself at the centre, Chandri has received many orders since she joined the vocational training center. Enhancing her sewing skills has allowed Chandri to generate a higher income for her family. She receives a monthly stipend of PKR 1600 and is currently working on a piece that will sell at PKR 10,000. Chandri attested,

The six month training was mind opening. I did not know there were so many stitches through which various designs could be developed. It was at the center that I learned six different stitches and various color combinations that improved the products i made and its value.

Chandri, along with all the other women registered at the center received literacy sessions. These sessions enabled them to read and write, and to communicate in Urdu. Before, they could only communicate in their native language which is Sindhi.

Although Chandri is now a skillful artisan and a confident entrepreneur, she was not always this way. She has been through a rich learning journey. Chandri lived  mundane life, in which she would send her child to school everyday, then help with his homework. She would go to collect water, clean her house, cooking all three meals, and wash clothes. This was her regular routine, and sometimes when time would allow, Chandri would do basic sewing for fellow villagers and would roughly earn about PKR 1,200 a month depending on the number of orders she received.

Chandri’s husband, Ladho, works in a garment factory in Karachi and earns a monthly income of PKR 10,000. He keeps half of his salary to cover his living expenses in Karachi and sends the rest to his family back home. To avoid the hefty travel expenses, Ladho visit his family once every four months. For the family to survive and meet all expenses within PKR 5000 was close to impossible but they struggled and somehow managed to make ends meet. It was very difficult to pay for their six-year-old son’s nursery school and tuition fees and affording health care was out of the question. But they prioritized their son’s education and squeezed all other expenses in what was left.

In addition to the family’s regular expenses, they were also burdened with meeting the financial strain of Chandri’s maternal issues. In order to experience a safe pregnancy, Chandri has to receive monthly medical treatment, costing PKR 3,000. Because she could not afford to receive consistent treatment, she aborted three of her babies within their first three months. It has been five years since she had a baby.

Since Chandri joined the centre and started earning, she was able to save some money and afford her regular medical treatment.  Now, Chandri is five months pregnant and is excited to be able to healthily conceive and deliver a baby after all these years.

Ladho and his mother supported Chandri’s participation in the training center since they knew it would be favorable to the family’s economic conditions. And right they were, not only has it benefited the family, but it has also positively impacted Kando village.

Chandri narrated,

Before the villagers attended awareness sessions on gender issues and rights, the women were not allowed to meet anyone from outside their villages, not even other women and not even very nearby villages. Women were only allowed to visit the local hospital with their husbands. Both these scenarios have changed for the better since the village residents have been sensitized on gender issues.

Women from neighboring villages now meet regularly with the women of Kando village and they chat, discuss new ideas and work on handicraft projects together. Chandri further shared,

Many of us engaged in basic stitching at home whenever we got the time. It was time consuming, as we individually worked on orders. Now, we work together in the center. We are able to help each other and improve as a team. Working together is definitely better than working individually. We finish our orders on time and the quality of the work has also improved, increasing our value and demand of our products.

The men of Kando village now allow the girls and women of their community to receive an education and work on such enterprises. Women no longer have to wait for men to accompany them on hospital visits. Instead, women gather in groups and visit the hospital whenever they need. This way they do not need to wait for a man to accompany them in cases of emergency.

Chandri’s participation in family discussions and household decisions was not encouraged earlier. She was silences by her husband if she tried to voice her opinions in front of others, specially other men in the family.  It was after the family took part in some of the gender sessions at the centre that Chandri became more open to expressing her opinions and started being active in family decision making. In Fact Ladho now encourages her to contribute to family discussions and even asks her about her work and how it’s going. Chandri concluded,

It is important for women to earn and support their households financially. It makes life easier. Women must be strong and independent when their husbands are away to earn money in other cities. In the time of emergencies, she must be able to emotionally and financially support her family to overcome the hurdles. My involvement in the vocational centre has made me a strong woman and I am able to support my family, which makes me a proud mother.

Farmers learning about the Hydroponic Cultivation method at the research institute

Under the Food Security[1]project initiated in Badin, Sindh in 2015, continuous technical support and business development services are provided to rural farmers to achieve high quality agricultural production in order to promote agri-based enterprises. To further strengthen the skills and expertise of these agrarian communities, an exposure visit to the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) in Umerkot was organized in the last week of February this year. The visit was conducted in three groups, one day allocated to each group. Sixty farmers, nineteen men and forty-three women, from three Union Councils (UC) of Badin participated in the visit. Project staff and ACRI officials facilitated the visit.

Dr. Atta Ullah, Director AZRI, welcomed each group at the start of their exposure visit and briefed them on the importance of sustainable agriculture and the various methods they will be exploring at the institute. At the AZRI, the farmers observed many ongoing researches and activities underway. Some of these included kitchen gardening activities using the drip irrigation system, pitcher gardening schemes, solar desalination units and hydroponic cultivation systems.

The Drip Irrigation System and ways of cultivating vegetables using this system was explained to the farmers.  This irrigation method was introduced during a time of water scarcity in the area. It was through this system that 70 percent of the water was saved at the time. Many vegetables, namely tomato, garlic, onion, spinach and coriander are cultivated through this technique.

Farmers learnt how saline water is converted into drinking water using the Solar Desalination Unit at the institute. Eight liters of saline water is converted into drinking water each day, making this technology highly useful in area that lack clean water.

The farmers from Badin found the Hydroponic Cultivation method most interesting as this was very new to them. Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is the growing of plants in a soilless medium, or in an aquatic based environment. Hydroponic growing uses mineral nutrient solutions to feed the plants in water, without requiring any soil. The staff at the ACRI shared with the farmers that the use of hydroponics had increased since pesticides and other toxins produced during traditional farming practices increased the risks of damage to crops.  Plants produced by hydroponic techniques do not have any pesticides; therefore they are absolutely safe for human consumption. Qadir Bux Mirza, one of the farmers from UC Khair Pur Gambo, Badin remarked,

Hydroponic cultivation was a completely new innovation for me as I never knew such a quick way of growing nutritious fodder like maize, wheat and oat for animals even existed. I plan to implement this new technique of farming when i return to my lands.

Other units such as the Bio fertilizer Mill and Compost Making, Drip irrigation for the Crafted Jujube Orchard and Bio Remediation System where wastewater is treated and used for irrigation purposes were also shown in detail to the farmers’ group. They were sensitized on the use of biofertilizers as one of the most important components of integrated nutrient management, being cost effective as well as being a renewable source of nutrients to supplement chemical fertilizers.  Plantations of date palm, agro forestry of arid trees, nursery garden of different grasses, shrubs & trees were also shown to the farmers during their visit.

Staff at the AZRI encouraged the farmers from Badin to adopt agricultural practices that use less water as Badin is facing a major scarcity of irrigation water. They further advocated the growing of crops and orchards which require less water. The farmers were enriched with learning new techniques of farming including drip irrigation, drought resistant plants and development of fodders by the end of the exposure visit.

Rabia Khatoon, a kitchen gardener from Babar Kaloi village of UC Khairpur Gambo, shared,

It was amazing to see such a large variety of fodder that can be grown with limited use of water. This is highly beneficial for farmers like us who reside in water scarce areas. I have also been provided with some seeds which I will grow on my field. In addition, I will share my learning with other farmers in my village so that everyone can benefit from these new techniques of sustainable farming.

[1] Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin Project implemented by Community World Service Asia. The project is co-funded the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). Special thanks to the government of Canada for supporting this project.

This March 8th, It is time to #PressforProgress!

“With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress”.

This International Women’s Day let’s all be determined in accelerating gender parity. Together, let’s all Press for Progress.

Community World Service Asia is celebrating the #PressforProgress campaign with all the communities, partners and individuals it works with – not just the women but the men who are constantly there to support too. We believe in women empowerment and #genderparity and we know the #TimeisNow to make it happen!

Group Photo of alumni students of University of Sindh of the Social Media management Training in Mirpurkhas.

A series of trainings on Social Media Management for alumni students of the Youth United for Change network from different universities across Pakistan were held in the cities of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Lahore and Faisalabad. The trainings aimed at enhancing the knowledge of students and graduates on social media, its key tools, its impact and usability for bringing positive changes and awareness.

Popular social media campaigns and their impact were shared with participants. Through assignments and interactive exercises alumni students were guided on how to plan and develop their own successful social media campaigns on social causes, awareness issues and development goals. Inspiring and innovative video and photo campaigns successfully run on social media platforms by UN agencies, international aid organizations, CSOs and global academic networks were shown to participants to get inspiration from. Group activities on developing informative viral campaigns, #Hashtag activism, infographic development and creating facebook pages encouraged students to bring out their creativity and put on their thinking hats. At the same time, these youth representatives were cautioned on the cons of mis-using social media and the ethical considerations to take while developing and implementing campaigns on social networks.  A significant session of the training emphasized on using social media tools to share knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to develop campaigns that would help us achieve the global goals unitedly as a nation.

Students’ Corner:

“Youth must be united for progress and development of their country and in today’s age social media is the most effective and engaging platform which is easily used and available to everyone. Together we can bring positive change through innovative social media and #hashtag campaigns,”  Mohammad Shebaz, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“The training was very fruitful. The facilitator of the training delivered all sessions effectively and efficiently for us to build a clear understanding of social media and how to use it. We learnt to use social media ethically as well which most of us overlook and do not take concern of. These kind of trainings fulfill the need of today’s society where social media is frequently used by most individuals, especially youth,” Ajay K. Rathore, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“This experience was very informative, creative and productive. We learnt new ways of interacting in different social media sites and how to make our content effective and eye-catching.” Maham Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“The way of delivering sessions step by step was helpful to understand the different terms and sites of social media. In a short period of one day, we managed to gain interesting facts regarding the techniques of using social media which we were initially unaware of.” Hoorab Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“Being an Alumni Member, this training was very helpful as social media has become one of the main modes of media to get connected globally. The frequent use of social media is productive and impactful, for youth especially. The training helped in understanding blogs and article writing and how to start campaigns within ethical boundaries. Furthermore, it helped to understand getting over the distance gap and stay connected and united with youth from the South-Asian region through social media platforms. It also enabled me to develop effective and productive messaging for positive social changes in the region.” Mahnoor, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.


My husband works as a laborer in a construction company in Iran. He earns a daily wage of AFN 500 (Approx. 7 USD). I live alone with my two sons and one daughter in Afghanistan,

shared Asma sadly. The mother of two sons and a daughter, Asma lives with her children in Mashinna village, located in Qurghaie district of the Laghman province in Afghanistan. Her husband sends her money on a monthly basis but his low income is insufficient to bear all the household expenses. Asma has hardly been able to save money for health care emergencies of her own or her children and with no health facility nearby, travelling to distant hospitals has been out of the question.

When Asma was pregnant with her third child, her husband could not stay till her delivery and had to fly back to Iran for work. Being alone and economically bound, Asma would have had no one to assist her during the delivery of her third baby. Fortunately, a lady Community Health Worker (CHW) came to her when she was in her third trimester and informed her about the maternal and neonatal health assistance provided in the Nowdamorra Sub-Health Center (SHC) which is located near to their village.  The health worker thoroughly examined her and prescribed her multivitamins and micronutrient pills. Asma was told about the safe delivery services and antenatal and postnatal care provided at the health facility and was then registered as a patient in the sub-health centre. She was advised to visit the health center regularly for antenatal care.

As a patient registered with the SHC, Asma received regular and quality antenatal Care throughout her last trimester. She came to the SHC for regular checkups and was prescribed micronutrient medication. A midwife at the SHC conducted health and hygienic sessions for Asma and other expecting mothers from the village and shared a suggested diet chart with them, advising them to eat food that was healthy and nutritious for them and their babies. Thus, Asma was well-informed on the prevention of risk factors during pregnancy and delivery.

In July 2017, Asma delivered a healthy baby girl with the assistance of a skilled midwife and nurse at the Nowdamorra health centre. Asma regularly visits the SHC for postnatal care where she receives family planning and breastfeeding sessions. In addition, she was also given a diet chart to follow for a period of six months postpartum.

The staff at the health facility is very cooperative and facilitated me timely resulting in the safe delivery of my beautiful daughter.

*The Nowdamorra Sub-health centre is among six sub health centres established in four districts of Laghman province in Afghanistan by Community World Service Asia and financially supported by PWS & D.

Training Sessions for Female on CMST is underway

The provision of medical facilities to rural areas has been a major developmental objective of Pakistan.  The government has undertaken several programs to train and deploy women doctors, lady health visitors, and dispensers in their health facilities in the rural areas of the country. However, district Umerkot in Sindh, similar to many other rural districts in Pakistan, is faced with a severe shortage of human resources in the medical sector. Community World Service Asia is addressing this limitation through implementing effective and affordable interventions so that progress towards SDG Goal 3, on achieving health and well being, is successfully met.

In its third year of implementing a Health Project in Umerkot, with the financial support of Act for Peace (AFP) and PWS&D, this project was initiated after consultation and coordination with the all district health authorities and local communities in Umerkot. Rural Health Centres (RHCs) in three villages of Umerkot have been set up to respond to a broad range of health issues including general hygiene, communicable disease prevention, awareness on safe motherhood and safe deliveries, vaccination for women and children, breastfeeding, family planning and access to safe drinking water.

Six Health Committees, comprising of men and women of the communities have been formed in the villages of Nabisar Road, Hyderfarm and Dhoronaro in Umerkot. These are the villages where each RHC is established. Each of these health committees consists of ten members from each village. An advocacy forum, made of ten health activists, has also been set up at the district level to address emerging health issues and to facilitate the successful functionality of the health centres. These activists represent government line departments, civil society organizations and the local community from the catchment areas of where the health facilities are established. Acknowledging the significance of community engagement, the advocacy forum and its work is seen as a back bone for the success of the project and key to providing sustainability to the health centres.

The training titled, Community Management Skill Trainings (CMST), was designed for members of the village health committees to strengthen their capacities on health issues and clearly define their roles and responsibilities. Health committee members were expected to clearly identify health related problems of their village and establish linkages with line department and prioritize health concerns on their own after taking the training.

Altogether, a series of six, two day trainings on CMST with all the village health committee members. In each of the three locations, separate two day training sessions for men and women were conducted. In addition, a one-day orientation session on Leadership Management Skills Training (LMST) was also conducted for the representatives of each line department, civil society organizations and the local community.  A total of ten participants attended this training.

With enhancing the awareness, skills and capabilities of the participants, the training aimed for the Health committees to better plan and manage their relevant activities and effectively utilize the local resources available to them. It also provided the participants an opportunity to strengthen their abilities to work towards breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and overcome communal health concerns, specifically that of women and children.

The purpose of empowering the health advocacy forums is to facilitate positive change and to see development of new policies that will tackle unmet and emerging health needs at district level.

In total six, two days CMST training sessions were conducted with the village committee members. In each of the three locations, two days training session for men and two days training session for women were conducted. 30 males, 10 each from the three locations and 30 women, 10 each from the three locations participated in the training. Apart from that, a one-day orientation session on Leadership Management Skills Training (LMST) was conducted for the representative of line department, civil society and communities. In total 10 participants attended this training which included one woman and nine male members.


The aim of all professionally trained project managers is to deliver high quality deliverables at every stage of the project, with effectively utilizing their team and without compromising costs and deadlines. Professionals must be trained to be effective leaders and managers by developing key qualities and applying smart strategies that uphold the integrity of the organization. Recognizing this requisite, Shewaram Suthar felt that his organization and department needed to enhance their capacities on specific skills to ensure that their organizational goals and objectives are met timely, effectively and efficiently.

Shewaram is working as Manager Programs with the Association for Water, Applied Education & Renewable Energy (AWARE) and firmly believes that training and skills development provides both, the organization and the individual employee, with expertise and benefits making it a worthwhile investment.

I have been with Aware since 2014. We have four offices operating in Sindh. Our head office is in Umerkot with district offices in Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan and Tharparker.

Though I completed my masters in Zoology, I was always attracted towards the social sector. The work done for the development of the country and building better lives for the people of the country inspired me to join the development sector. I wanted to play my part in making the world or Pakistan a better place to live. We are not a very big country but playing our part to make living easier for even a few is an essential motive to achieve.

Shewaram is heading a group of teams implementing eight projects in four districts of Sindh.

Many challenges are faced internally and externally. One of the main problems in the organization was the lack of technical knowledge in reporting, project planning, financing and monitoring. With time changing so rapidly, new methodologies and tools are being introduced to improve the functions of various departments. However due to lack of resources, it is difficult to stay updated. This affects the quality of work we do on a daily basis. In addition, we particularly lacked in proposal writing skills. My team and myself, failed to develop winning and all inclusive project proposals.

Through November 2016 to March 2017, Shewaram attended trainings on Project Design and Project Planning conducted by Community World Service Asia. The trainings aimed to provide a systematic approach to managing and maintaining different types of projects, organizational changes and development. Shewaram also nominated his team members to participate in other topic and subject specific trainings conducted by Community World Service to enhance the organization’s overall staff capacity.

Given a platform by Community World Service Asia, I thought of utilizing its benefits to the fullest. I sent relevant staff members to the trainings which were conducted under the Capacity Institutionalization Program. This capacity building opportunity offered to us provided all the necessary guidelines for seasoned and skilled professionals to effectively master project management,

quoted Shewaram. Prior to the participating in the trainings, the departments of Human Resource Management, Finance, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and Programs lacked in quality management and technical knowledge shared Shewaram.

Coming back from the project planning training, I initiated work on revising all policies and manuals. All the documents for our Human Resource, Finance and M&E departments were updated. The Gender Policy, Child Protection Policy, Communications Strategy, Accountability Framework and other existing documentations were renewed. Each department assigned a focal person who was looking into implementation and enforcement procedures of the revised documents. That focal point would be contacted in relation to any query addressed by internal staff or external stakeholders, donors or partners.  The Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) of M&E was formed after two of our staff participated in the M&E Training conducted in March 2016 in Islamabad.

Shewaram further added that the M&E methodologies incorporated in the M&E LFA has helped to derive quality outcomes from the projects. The Complain Mechanism (CM) Policy was revised, providing a contact number to all staff members and assigning the number to the focal person appointed to handle complains according to the CM Policy.

Every focal person has a Terms of References (TOR) document according to which they deliver their duties. They are trained to research for new tools or methodologies for timely revision of all policies and manuals existing in all departments.

Shewaram also recognized that it is essential to have consistent collaboration among projects with multidisciplinary teams.

We established the Resource Mobilization Unit (RMU) lead by the CEO of Aware. The unit consists of seven members including the CEO, Manager Programs, three Project Managers, one M&E staff and a Finance Manager. The main function of the unit is to secure new and additional resources for the organization. It also involves making better use of, and maximizing, existing resources. This unit has filled the gap which existed between the employers and the management team. The RMU has become a useful tool through which we communicate effectively and share necessary updates about the status of the project and departments. The progress and challenges faced internally and externally on field by all departments are discussed and inputs are shared in the meetings we conduct on a monthly basis.

The training I attended on project proposal writing was very beneficial. I use to write basic proposals due to lack of knowledge in technicalities. The training helped built a better understanding in format writing, word limit, line spacing and various components attached to make a good proposal. We often overlooked these minor details which resulted in improving the quality of our proposals immensely.

Shewaram and his RMU have developed five project proposals since the proposal writing training out of which two have been accepted.

We developed the proposals as a team. I would draft the project proposal which was reviewed by the RMU individually or in a joint meeting.

The HR officer of Aware took part in the Human Resource Training held in July 2016 in Islamabad.

The training highlighted various HR tools which can be effective for the organization. Web Human Resource (WebHR) was one of the tools shared in the training, which is a cloud based HR application. After revising the HR manual, we brought WebHR through which we have been working efficiently. We are currently in contact with the purchasing company for more information on its working. WebHR has made it easy for the HR Department to start managing HR processes and maintain databases effectively. It acts as a bridge between human resource management and information technology. WebHR has converted human resources information into a digital format, allowing that information to be added to the knowledge management systems of the organization.

 In addition, three of Aware’s Finance staff participated in the Financial Management Training conducted in May 9-13, 2017 in MirpurKhas to which Shewaram opined,

The quality of financial and budget monitoring reports have improved significantly due to the technical knowledge learnt in the training.

According to Shewaram, Aware is working in a more organized manner.

The teams’ capacity has enhanced allowing the deliverance of quality work. With polices and manuals revised, the working of all departments is running smooth and orderly. Some documents are in process of being revised. Moreover, the staff sent to the trainings, shared their learning with their concerned departments This exercise allowed enhancing the knowledge of all departments in their field of work. I am pleased to say that we have progressed immensely in a year and half,

reported Shewaram proudly.

The series of skill-building opportunities not only reinforced the need to encourage unity and a sense of purpose where teams are working towards a common goal, it also allowed to assess areas where we can improve to be effective leaders with a result-oriented, yet humane, focus,

concluded Shewaram.