Dear Partners and Friends,

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is organizing a webinar, titled: Q&A Standards in COVID19 Response in Pakistan on April 22nd to provide an opportunity to humanitarian professionals in the country to be familiarized and sensitised on the use and application of Quality and Accountability approaches while responding to emergencies like COVID-19.

Basic Information:

When: April 22nd, 2020

What time: 11AM to 12PM PST (60 minutes)

Language: Urdu

Where: Online link to the webinar will be shared with registered participants via email

Who is it for: Humanitarian and development practitioners working in or with hard-to-reach areas, NGOs, and INGOs involved in COVID19 response in Pakistan

Event description:

We are all affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic, in different ways. The need is to shift the approach and become part of the response to it. This requires more commitment towards Accountability to Affected People.

Organization working in Pakistan are facing multiple difficulties like access to communities, staff safety and providing efficient and timely response.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance and a Sphere regional partner.

Sphere and the CHS Alliance recently released guidelines on how the Sphere Handbook and the CHS can help guide humanitarian practitioners in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. CWSA has translated these guides into Urdu and  have made them available on their website.

CWSA is hosting a webinar to share information and guidelines on using and applying Quality and Accountability Standards while responding to the COVID 19 crisis in the country.

The webinar will help explore;

  • The different Q&A tools available to help guide your response;
  • Ways to develop key messages on raising awareness on COVID-19 among the most vulnerable populations

This hour-long webinar will also highlight key CHS commitments that are relevant to a crisis response of this nature. It will also introduce and explain the Sphere and Coronavirus guidelines, outlining the fundamental principles and the relevant standards from the Sphere Handbook’s WASH & Health sections that are crucial to a successful and holistic intervention.

Register here if you wish to participate: Registration – Q&A Standards in COVID19 Response


Kausar Bibi has many years of experience in the development and humanitarian sector specifically on developing, managing and implementing both development and emergency response projects. Kausar has hands-on experience in conducting, organizing, coordinating and designing capacity enhancement support on different thematic areas. She also has expertise in Child Safeguarding, Gender, Education and Quality & Accountability in humanitarian response.

Asif Aqeel is an experienced researcher and writer and is often considered the voice of the aid and development sector in the mass media. His specific area of expertise is “Marginality & Exclusion” with a focus on marginalized communities and groups. Asif holds an MSc in Sociology and MA in Public Policy and Governance and has long been active in raising a voice for and supporting the rights of the underprivileged segments of our society.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to sudden changes in the world. Restrictions at various levels has affected the humanitarian sector to operate for an undefined period. As in any humanitarian response, there is a need to continuously uphold accountability to the affected populations. The Sphere Secretariat and the CHS Alliance recently released guidelines on how the Sphere Handbook and the CHS can help guide humanitarian practitioners in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Community World Service Asia (CWSA) organized a webinar on 9th April 2020 to introduce these tools and its use, particularly in the context of Asia.

The webinar was mainly participated by CWSA’s regular partners in Pakistan and in the region. Almost hundred staff from NGOs, INGOs and local organizations from Asia, Europe, Middle East, America and Australia attended the webinar who had a background in programme, support functions as well as senior management roles.

The session, led by Uma Narayanan, highlighted key CHS commitments that are relevant to a crisis response of this nature. It introduced and explained the Sphere and Coronavirus guidelines, outlining the fundamental principles and the relevant standards from the Sphere Handbook’s WASH and Health sections that are critical to a successful and holistic intervention.  In addition, the standard on mental health care was also emphasized.

Participants shared the need of such sessions as the implementation of precautionary measures is weak in the region and organizations need to sensitize communities following the Sphere Standards and Guidelines for effective response.  Other participants raised concerns in relation to engagements tools, psychological support, gender inclusion in the situation, remote monitoring and evaluation, safety and security of field staff and effective planning to be adopted in the current situation.

The virtual session also focused on familiarizing participants on the aspects of advocacy, contextualization and coordination. The webinar stressed on the needs of effective advocacy, contextualization of information and support required in the situation of COVID-19. To overcome challenging situations during the pandemic, participants were encouraged to increase coordination and collaborations with humanitarian and development organizations and networks in their respective countries and in the Asia region. This includes activating existing Accountability Learning Working Groups to focus on contextualization of CHS Standards and Sphere Standards to suit their respective country needs.

It is observed that there are a number of groups and individuals who have not been provided any help as yet. Organizations who do not have proper guidelines for response are unable to provide efficient and effective help and for this reason, sessions like these will be helpful to equip humanitarian organizations to respond effectively and fulfilling the needs,

said Syed Moazzam Ali, consultant on humanitarian action. Him, along with others, further echoed the economic challenges that the pandemic has resulted in the region.  Businesses are shutting down and people at large are suffering due to the scarce resources, which is a contributing factor to the need for psychosocial support.

Participants also highlighted the need to ensure inclusion of all members of society, especially senior citizens when planning psychological support projects or activities.  During discussions in the webinar, there was agreement on the community engagement approach for emergency response projects for the crisis and the need for compliance of all organizations on safety of field staff and provision of protective gear.  Effective use of technology as a key factor in reaching out to communities in remote areas was also emphasized.

Shama Mall, from CWSA, shared a dedicated page  developed for information sharing that provides links and resources developed by the various, global, health, development and humanitarian actors on COVID-19 on CWSA’s official website.

Having promoted Quality and Accountability (Q&A) during emergency response to the Pakistan Earthquake, TDPs[1] in Pakistan, South East Asia Tsunami, Nepal Earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan, Community World Service Asia is looking at ways to continue its own learning journey during this challenging time and promoting Q&A in the region by exploring different means to reach the target audience.

[1] Temporarily Dislocated persons

The Lady Health Worker and Community Mobilizer conducting a session on COVID-19 and sensitizing community to reduce the spread of the virus in Umerkot.

Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) Health and Livelihood program teams initiated awareness sessions on prevention and safety from Coronaviruses 19 for the communities that they work with in the region. These sessions were planned and conducted in coordination with local government health departments, community Health Management and Village Health committees

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, the health teams are raising awareness as part of a larger effort to drive social change and prevent the further spread of the virus in the countries. The health sessions on coronavirus focused on limiting movement, avoiding small or large gatherings and maintaining hygiene and good sanitation. The teams ensured to use informational educational material translated in local languages and delivered the sessions, in local languages too. Communities were thoroughly sensitized on the signs and symptoms of the COVID – 19 and the precautionary measures to be taken individually and as communities.

Children, woman and families were particularly advised on the safest and most thorough ways of washing hands with soap and use of alcohol-based washes and sanitizers and the need to wear masks and staying home and away from all public contact and travel.

A total of thirty-two awareness sessions with staff, health workers and communities have been conducted by CWSA’s program teams so far.

Dear Partners & Friends,

We all are facing difficult times due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The COVID 19 presents unique challenges in relation to understanding of the humanitarian organization and their capacity to respond. In the current situation, our collective commitment to accountability to affected people will be more important than ever.

Both the Sphere and Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance (CHSA) have come up with important information for strengthening principled humanitarian action for responding to the current crises. Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is organizing a Webinar: Q&A Standards in COVID19 Response on April 9 at 11 am, to provide an opportunity to humanitarian professionals to learn about using Quality and Accountability approaches while responding to emergencies like COVID-19.

The webinar will guide humanitarian practitioners on using Q&A tools in their response and will help develop key messages to raise awareness for the most vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19.

We look forward to your Registration for this webinar. Please find attached more details on the webinar.

Click here to download Brochure

Thank you,
Best Regards,