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photo credit: www.afp.com

The prevailing drought like situation is likely to worsen in coming days mainly because of insufficient rainfall during the monsoon season.

Overall, Pakistan has received -24.4% below average rainfall from May to August this year, while among provinces, Sindh has received the most insufficient rainfall during this period which is -69.5% followed by -49% in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and -45% in Baluchistan.

Sindh has witnessed a substantial 87.7% decline during the months of July and August where Baluchistan is at number two during the same period with a decline of 53.5%. The overall decline in Sindh from May until end of August remained at 69.5% while in Baluchistan it remained at 45.7%. Due to this deficient in the rainfall, moderate drought like conditions has emerged in most southern parts of the country. Owing to the current insufficient rainfall across the country, Pakistan Metrological Department’s National Drought Monitoring Center (NDMC) has issued drought alert. As per the alert, the moderate to severe drought is prevailing in most parts of Sindh districts which includes, Tharparkar, Mitthiari, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Dadu, Karachi, Kambar Shahdadkot, Umerkot, Sanghar, Sajawal, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro and Khairpur.  The districts in Baluchistan included Dalbandin, Gawadar, Jiwani, Panjgur, Pasni, Nokundi, Ormara, Quetta and Turbat.

Mild to moderate drought is prevailing at few places of district Multan and Mianwali in Punjab and Bunji, Chilas, Gilgit, and Gupis in Gilgit Baltistan.

It is expected that the drought condition may get severe in the coming days in southern parts of the country due to no further forecast of significant rainfall.

Community World Service Asia response team is in the field and is coordinating with Government agencies, Non-Government humanitarian actors in the field and other relevant departments to collect the latest information on ground. Community World Service Asia is planning to address the immediate food needs of the drought affected/at risk families and fodder for their livestock. The teams in the field will further monitor the situation and will formulate the next plan as per the requirements.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4

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

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com
www.pmd.gov.pk

District Tharparkar is currently faced with a drought like situation due to minimal rains in the region. This is leading to adverse effects on agricultural and domestic needs of the local communities in the area, leaving many children malnourished and severely ill. Nine infants have been reported dead this month, while a total of 375 children have died due to malnutrition in 2018.

Years of below-average crop production and losses of cattle has worsened the already-dire food insecurity and malnutrition situation in the Tharparkar district. Limited access to clean water and proper sanitation has deeply compromised health conditions of the resident communities.

With no further expectation of adequate rainfall, the situation seems to worsen in the near future. The sufferings of affected communities are only expected to increase as they have very limited crop production and their own health, as well as that of their livestock, is only further deteriorating due to a lack of water and food supply. Analyzing the current situation, the district administration has appealed to international aid organizations to send their teams support the government in its efforts to provide relief to the people of Thar. The affected communities require immediate emergency relief in terms of nutritional, WASH and health support.

Drought-stricken families from several areas have started migrating along with their livestock to the barrage areas of Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and other districts.

Community World Service Asia’s Response:

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) has worked towards providing relief and rehabilitation to drought affected communities in the same area before and is currently monitoring the situation. CWSA’s emergency response team is on standby and shall start response activities in case of need.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4

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

Sources:
Geo.tv
District administration

DurationSep 01, 2017Feb 28, 2018
LocationNangarhar and Laghman of Afghanistan
Key Activities
  • Assessment, validation and identification of 1,155 IDPs and Undocumented returnees families in Laghman and Nangarhar provinces.
  • Conditional cash transfer 1st and 2nd trenches distribution at first and second phase of JPF project.
  • Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) after 1st and 2nd trenches distribution.
  • Distribution of Non food items for targeted IDPs and Undocumented returnees families in targeted provinces.
  • Regular coordination meetings with DoRR, local authorities and community Shuras, UN-OCHA, SCI and DRC in timely manner during assessment and identification of targeted beneficiaries in targeted provinces.
Participants11,234 Individual

DurationJan 01, 2017Dec 31, 2020
LocationNangarhar and Laghman Provinces of Afghanistan
Key Activities
  • Disaster Risk Reduction project has been shared and coordinated at central, provincial, district and community level
  • In coordination with Afghanistan Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), DRR project team selected two most risk prone districts in Nangarhar province (selection has been carried out based on risk assessment probability). After selecting the two most risk prone district, Project team has formulated two hazard map making team in the target district, consisted of communities (DDA and CDCs), district offices and provincial ANDMA
  • Capturing Risk: Under the project core activities, hazard map teams have provided with technical training on developing hazard maps and understanding different approaches on DRR. Both the teams have been taken to Japan for technical training in order to transfer technical know-how from Japan to Afghanistan. Hazard map teams have been also taken to DRR training which was held in Delhi India, the participants have been given a detailed training on using risk information and utilizing those information in saving lives.
  • Hazard and DRR Mapping: based on the training and transfer of technical know-how, hazard map teams along with project team developed hazard maps for the risk prone areas in two districts (there were 11 risk prone areas in the two districts for which hazard maps have been developed)
  • Risk Information Communication: Project Team has communicated the risk information with the relevant stakeholders including communities, district offices, central and provincial ANDMA offices, media, parliament, Institutions, academia etc…
  • DRR Awareness Raising Messages: Project team, in coordination and cooperation with CWSA communication, has developed DRR Awareness audio and video messages, which have been broadcasting and telecasting at zonal and central level (there were 5 audio and 5 video messages on flood and landslides)
  • DRR Awareness Tools: To nurture map reading culture in Afghanistan, Japan Conservation Engineers (JCE) developed a textbook, reader friendly and interesting, which is contextualized and translated in two local languages (Pastho and Dari), this book will be taught at community level in order to train them, how to read maps, importance of maps and some technical techniques for understanding different map parts. JCE has also developed Evacuation Activity Game (EVAG) for evacuation process, DRR project team has contextualized and translated into local languages (Pashto and Dari). This tool is basically designed to easily train the community people to understand evacuation process
Participants7,000 individuals

Gul Khan relied on daily wages and lived with his wife and four children in Karshat village in District Shangla of Khyber Pakhtoonkhowa (KPK) province in Pakistan. The family of six lived in a small mudhouse[1] in the village. The house, being his only asset, and home to six members, had no latrine or washroom for the family to use. All its residents had to resort to rushing to the nearby forest or scanty bushes whenever nature would call.

In rural villages such as Karshat, most inhabitants survive without latrines inside their homes and mostly depend on their own livestock to meet their daily nutritional needs.  Amina Bibi and her children however did not own any livestock and solely depended on Gul Khan’s daily earning to buy food that they could survive on. Their daily meals consisted mostly of black tea and plain bread.

To add on, Gul Khan’s house had no direct water supply either. Since he had once been in a dispute with his neighbors over the construction of a water pipeline that would connect to his house. The neighbor disagreed and it was decided that no water supply line would connect to his house.

Amina Bibi and their children fetch water from a nearby spring located some three hundred yards away from their house. Amina would sometimes ask her neighbours for some water as well. Gul Khan and his family were living at the lowest poverty level and his children looked malnourished and underfed at first sight.

In August of 2015, Amina and her children received devastating news. They were told Gul Khan had been reported missing in Karachi. Gul Khan’s male relatives went down to Karachi to verify this news and to enquire about his disappearance or probable whereabouts. However, to no avail. They had to return back in vain and could not stay there longer to find him as they had to return to their own jobs and families.

Survival and meeting daily ends became a challenge for Amina Bibi and her children, specially the three going to school. One of Gul Khan’s brother, working in Saudi Arabia as a laborer, sends around PKR 2,500 to 3,000 (USD 17-25)  monthly to  support his brother’s family. The family also receives  charity money support from a local mosque on periodical basis.

In August 2016, Gul Khan’s family was identified and selected as participants under the WASH[2] project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by ECHO as part of a humanitarian response.. A latrine was constructed for the family in their house and they were also provided with hygiene kits and health hygiene sessions under the project. The hygiene kit included two plastic cans with a lid, one bodna[3], soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family carry and store drinking water safely as the containers were covered reducing the risks of water contamination. While the sessions helped the family learn how to use the  latrine and adopt a thorough hand washing technique to maintain and sustain a clean environment. Awareness was built on the use of washing hands with soaps before having meals and after attending latrines which minimized the transfer of diseases in the food and water.

As there was no male relative was available to assist the family during the construction of their latrine, Ibadullah, Chairman of Local Village Committee, stepped in to help. With Ibadullah’s support, the latrine was successfully established with the help of other village members and project team volunteers.

Amina Bibi and her children expressed their highest gratitude to the project staff for fulfilling their most basic needs. She also reaffirmed that the recurrence of diarrhea had reduced among her children.

Being chosen as a participant of this project has been a blessing for my children as I was aware of the danger my children were facing due to the unhygienic environment we lived in. After losing my husband, my children and their good health is very important to me. I will always continue to incorporate cleanliness and hygienic practices in our daily life.

[1] Houses made of mud walls supported with wooden beams and slanting roofs made of tiles.

[2] Integrated Emergency WASH and Shelter Support to EQ Affected Communities of District Shangla KP Project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)

[3] A lota or bodna is a small (usually spherical) water vessel of brass, copper or plastic used in parts of South Asia for personal hygiene.

Group Picture

The world is ever changing and with it is the role of women in every field of life. Women are there everyday, somehow or the other contributing to someone’s achievements, celebrations and life in all its glory. To celebrate the strength of women and their progress and to promote their rights, International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated in the month of March globally. Buxo Lund, a small village in the rural district of Badin in the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, celebrated the day with as much vigor and zest as all over the world. This day gave the people of Buxo Lund an opportunity to recognize the role of their women who work effortlessly all year for their families and their communities.

Women in Buxo Lund are usually occupied with household errands, stitching clothes or handicrafts for their family members or helping on the agricultural fields. They were  never aware of International Women’s Day or its global commemoration.

It became an important occasion for all of us to pause for a moment, to reflect on ourselves, to appreciate how much we have done and what more needs to be done in the field of gender equality,

shared Goveri, a resident of the village.

Under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin Project, the program team, in coordination of the local Farmer Field’s Group (FFS) established under the same project, organized community based activities to celebrate Women’s Day. Thirty-five women participated in the event.

Amina, resident of Buxo Lund, officially opened the event with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Shazia Shah, a Nutrition Officer with Community World Service Asia, delivered a brief introduction of the organization and its project with the community in Badin.

Apart from promoting sustainable agriculture here, we highly support and encourage the participation of rural women farmers to ensure achieving food security here and long-term development of the village. The on-going capacity building activities, including farmer festivals, exposure visits to agricultural institutes, awareness raising session and celebration of international day with the community’s participation has served as an engaging and empowering platform for women here.

Shama, the project’s Agriculture Officer, shared,

International Women’s Day is a day of recognition and celebration of women globally. This day values the contributions that women bring to communities.

Farzana, Community Extension Worker highlighted the basic rights women are granted globally and emphasized on minimizing cultural and social barriers to strengthen gender parity in the society.

The women of Buxo Lund village actively participated in the event and some shared their views openly as well. Bhambo expressed,

Women play a significant and prominent role in every household. A family without the contributions of women is incomplete. She cares for her family as a wife, feeds the children as a mother and supports her siblings as a sister.

Another resident, Goveri, expressed,

Every human being deserves to live a happy life. Women should not be overlooked, but they should be respected as equally as men. This event has enhanced our knowledge in women’s rights. We now know that women deserve equal rights as men do in our village.

The views and statements contributed in the event by the local women indicated towards the compassion, will and resilience of these women.

I was not aware of this special day for women and its international importance. I am glad to know about it as we will work hard and raise our voice to press for progress in the societies we live in,

positively added Bhoori, a mother and farmer living in Buxo Lund.

The communities in the Indus river delta encounter disastrous floods and other climatic hazards very frequently. The most devastating effects of these disasters reflect on the agrarian livelihoods of these communities. To combat these adverse impacts and to lead normal lives, communities must resort to alternative sources of income. In this fight for survival, women must equally participate in livelihood generation and disaster risk reduction activities.

Women of Rahim Dino Thaheem village  in District Sujawal in Sindh, Pakistan are aware of these challenges and are responding in an exemplary way. Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is working closely with these women and their supportive communities, among many other in rural Sindh, to facilitate them in achieving economic empowerment.

This film tells the story of Bakhtawar, a young theater activist, who is spreading awareness about reproductive health and rights as well as against the generations long custom of child marriage. She has also managed to convince her parents about the importance of education and wants to continue her studies. She is an active participant in disaster risk reduction activities.

Shahnaz, a mother of nine, belongs to the same village and, despite hurdles from her family, has been able to earn a decent earning by joining the vocational center established by Community World Service Asia. Other than enhancing her skills, the center has also made her part of the Women Enterprise Groups, developed by CWSA, and connected her with sales agents that help her, and many other similar artisans, receive orders from renown fashion designers and urban fashion labels in metropolitan hubs of Pakistan. This practice has helped reduce the exploitation rural craftswomen face at the hands of middle-men as well as empowering them with a sustainable livelihood.

Through a comprehensive community empowerment project, Community World Service Asia is instilling messages of self-reliance as key to the resolution of both economic and social problems. Whether it is economic empowerment or disaster risk reduction, women are equal to men in resolving the issues confronting families and communities, leading them to pave paths to a resilient future.

Farmer families in Badin trained in Kitchen Gardening through Clay Pitcher Technology with the purpose to grow vegetables

Many rural communities in Badin have benefited from Community World Service Asia’s and CFGB’s Food security project, which started in 2015. This initiative seeks to ensure food security and sustainability in rural areas by providing villagers innovative farming skills. By doing this, they are positively impacting the community sustainably by guiding them on how to acquire their own necessities rather than merely distributing tangible products such as food kits or shelters. Through the project, villagers are encouraged to become self-sufficient instead of dependent on external assistance.

Using various methods, the project is equipping rural communities of Badin with essential knowledge on health, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. The project recently held a Farmers Festival for women farmers to celebrate World Food Day and the achievements of these farmers over the last two years. The festival featured many performances, including poem recitals, song competitions, and two didactic dramas enacted by local children and the village’s theater group, which has been formed as part of Community World Service Asia’s projects in the area. More than three hundred and fifty women from Union Council Khairpur Gambo and Pangario of Badin and fifteen elementary school students from the same area participated in the festival. The children (students) enlightened the attendees at the festival on the  importance of kitchen gardening, tree plantations, good nutrition, environment conservation and the history of World Food Day through tableau performances. Representatives from the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Participatory Village Development Programme (PVDP), Arche Nova, Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians in Pakistan (SSEWA-Pak) and Local Support Organizations (LSOs) also participated at the festival.

I came to this festival because the project staff has become like family. They teach us so much that I respect them. When I received the invitation to this festival, I was very excited to attend the event. The atmosphere in this festival is delightful. It is a wonderful opportunity for us women to come out of our houses, enjoy ourselves, and learn. What we learn will help us change our lives,

remarked, Fozia Iftikar one of the farmers at the festival.

The mother of four children, aged between 4-11 years, Fozia deeply cares for her family. She hopes that her children will be able to learn vocational skills that will help them in the future but has not yet been able to find an opportunity for them. Fozia lives in Shukaraldin, a rural village of Badin, where her husband works as a farmer on a small plot of his own land. Due to the nature of his work, Fozia’s husband does not earn a steady monthly income. Fozia explained,

After every six months, my husband sells whatever crop he has been growing on the land, and we live off the profits. However, we have to wait for that income since some crops, like cotton and peppers, take six months until they are ready to sell.

Fozia is not able to do full-time work because of her young children, but she does sewing at home. She rarely receives sewing commissions, and when she does, they are usually from relatives. Thus, the family’s main source of income is through her husband’s farming. The family is dependent on the water and weather for their crop’s wellbeing, creating an unstable financial foundation for the family.

Two years ago, Fozia started growing a kitchen garden after the team came to her village and began to teach the community about health and nutrition. They encouraged the villagers to create kitchen gardens so that families would have food security and eat more healthily. Fozia shared,

We learn a lot from the project team who taught us about health and hygiene. Because of this teaching, my family has been able to prosper. We didn’t know anything about growing vegetables until they taught us about it. My family did not pay any attention to health, but now we are all very interested in this matter.

Community World Service Asia holds teaching sessions in Fozia’s village once or twice a month. The staff teaches the community members about agricultural techniques so that kitchen gardeners will be able to maintain their produce. Sessions for men on  fishing and other food-gaining practices are also held.

Fozia confidently asserted that it is easy to maintain her kitchen garden, and she appreciates the change—in terms of finances and health—that it has brought in her family.

I am very happy,

she expressed,

I like eating my freshly grown vegetables. The healthiest diet for my family is to eat our homegrown vegetables.

Ever since Fozia’s family has been eating homegrown vegetables, the family has had some extra money, initially used to purchase vegetables. They use it on other household necessities, such as oil, sugar, clothes, and the children’s school books. Moreover, when Fozia’s kitchen garden has excess vegetables, she either sells them to generate more income, or she gives them to people who do not have any food.

Fozia has also noticed that her family’s health has improved. She estimates that in a year, there may be one or two illnesses among her children, but no more than that. Furthermore, she noted that her family is much more energetic than they were when they ate vegetables from town.

This kitchen garden has had positive effects on my family. We eat clean and healthy food which has improved our health,

Fozia declared.

Fozia’s children did not like eating vegetables before, so the family often ate lentils, the children’s favorite meal. Fozia did not know the nutritional value of vegetable before. However, after Community World Service Asia began holding sessions in her village, she discovered that their diet was unhealthy. Now, the family consumes vegetables at least once a day rather than only once or twice a week as they did previously. After Fozia began attending the sustainable farming sessions, her family has much more variety in their diet.

The vegetables that we used to buy in town are grown with polluted water, and they were always several days old when we bought them. On the other hand, the water I use to grow my vegetables at home is clean, safe water. Our homegrown vegetables are much fresher than the ones in town. We grow all sorts of vegetables at home, such as tomatoes, cauliflowers, pumpkins, squash, and many more. Homegrown food is optimal for my family’s wellbeing.

Rural women have been trained in kitchen gardening under the food security project. Fozia Iftikhar is just one of many women who have benefited from the project. Another woman farmer, Heeri, from village Prem Nagar, Jhudo, expressed herself at the farmers’ festival,

The kitchen gardening training build our skills and knowledge in growing vegetables at home. Before this, we always had to buy vegetables from the nearby market which was not only tasteless but also difficult to purchase due to high prices. With the kitchen gardening training and vegetable seeds provided by the livelihoods team, we are no more dependent on our men to fetch vegetables from the nearby market.

 She further added that the nutrition training also helped enhance inclination towards taking healthy and balanced diets through the food that is available to them.

Nasreen, another farmer, from Shukarddin Araen village, Jhudo, further added,

Kitchen gardening is a ray of hope for me and my family. My family enjoys fresh and chemical free vegetables from our garden. In addition, I have earned PKR 35000 by selling fresh vegetables in nearby markets. This has improved our standard of living.

The community will continue these kitchen gardens. We did not force this project on people. All we did was sensitized and mobilized them. People are beginning to realize the benefits of kitchen gardens themselves,

a staff member of the project assured.

Hundred percent of the target families have been trained in nutrition and kitchen gardening, providing fresh vegetables at the doorstep of villagers. Families were provided with vegetables seeds to grow in their kitchen gardens. This availability of vegetable at their doorstep not only increased diversity in their meals but also enhanced the quality and quantity of food consumption of the targeted families. A periodic survey report revealed that acceptable food consumption score of the targeted families have increased up to 70% at the end of second year of the project implementation. This was at 43 % initially. Through the teaching sessions in villages, the food security project staff hopes to see continued development in the communities of Badin. The change evidenced in the lives of village women, such as Fozia Iftikhar, reveals that the project is bringing the world one step closer to achieving the second sustainable development goal: Zero Hunger.

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

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

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

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

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

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