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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.

DurationApr 01, 2006Dec 31, 2008
LocationDistrict Mansehra, Battagram and Shangla of KP
Key Activities
  • 11 latrines and washrooms + one toilet
  • 48 water supply schemes
Participants69,370 individuals

DurationDec 15, 2009Mar 31, 2010
LocationUC Kotla Saidan, Naewela and Marrha of D.I Khan district
Key Activities
  • Reconstruction of 328 latrines
  • 20 bathing places
  • 20 washing places
  • Installation of 60 hand pumps
  • Construction of 10 waste collection points
  • Distribution of 2,100 hygiene kits
  • Health and hygiene sessions for adults and children
Participants15,792 individuals

DurationMay 15, 2016Apr 30, 2018
LocationUnion Council Bar Puran, Bengalai, Damori, Kuzkana and Shahpur in Shangla District
Key Activities
  • Repair/rehabilitation of 26 water supply schemes
  • Construction of 560 new latrines
  • Repair of 370 partially damaged latrines
  • Construction of 150 latrines for people with disabilities
  • Distribution of 1,400 Self help repair shelter kits
  • Distribution of 4,600 hygiene kits and waste bins
  • 1,182 sessions on hygiene promotion using PHAST and CHAST techniques
  • 210 sessions on safer construction techniques and DRR
Participants61,461 community members

photo credit: https://www.samaa.tv

Monsoon rains have made its onset in Pakistan started Monday, June 26, 2017 and since then different parts of the country have received precipitation with intervals. Karachi and Hub are the most affected areas where flooding and electrocution has claimed seventeen human lives. Five persons were electrocuted in different parts of Karachi city and two children drowned in a pond, while nine people including two children died due to heavy rains in Hub and Lasbela areas of Baluchistan. Flash floods have also swept away several houses in Hub, Baluchistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Gilgit Baltistan intermittent rain was witnessed in various regions, out of which Chitral, Lower Dir, Bajaur, Shangla and Upper Dir saw minimal rain while Attar Pak saw received the heaviest spell. One boy lost his life in Chitral in rain related incidents.

Rain-thundershowers with gusty winds may occur at scattered places of Hyderabad, Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Shaheed Benazirabad division, and at isolated places of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Malakand, Hazara, Kohat, Bannu, D I Khan, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

There is risk of landslides in hilly areas of upper Khyber-Pakhtukhwa, Malakand, Hazara, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia will monitor the situation and will try to get updated information from different stakeholders. Its emergency response teams are ready and will be deputed immediately if the need to respond to the crisis arise.

Contacts:

Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Email: dennis.joseph@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

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

Sources:
www.samaa.tv
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com

A Cold Winter – Making winter warm for Nowroze and his family 

“I’ve met so many who have lost so much. But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return – only our support in their time of greatest need”UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

June 20th is World Refugee Day. This day is marked to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes and dear ones because of violence, natural disasters or war. World refugee day provides an opportunity to the global community to help refugees worldwide in rebuilding their lives and achieving some sort of normalcy in their everyday living. This day is celebrated to increase awareness on the challenges, resilience and real life stories of refugees to among people.

Pakistan has been home to large influx of refugees since its very existence in 1947. First their were migrants from the newly divided subcontinent. Then in 1990s a new wave of settlers came into Pakistan from Afghanistan. They have since then lived life as refugees in Pakistan. Recently, as part of national policy, the Afghan refugees were asked to repatriate back to their homeland.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan have been supported with many forms of lifesaving assistance, safety and protection by the government agencies and aid organizations for many decades. They have been provided tents, shelter, kitchen took kits, home-kits, beddings and also provided with livelihood opportunities. The goal of celebrating this event is increasing public awareness among common public by sharing the related refugee stories.

Nowroze Khan, son of Toor Khan, is an Afghan refugee who lived in Peshawar, Pakistan for twenty years. He started his family there and worked on daily wages (from PKR 400- 500 per day) on and off to support his family of seven. Difficult to meet all the needs of his family with the limited income, life however remained peaceful and comfortable for them. In September last year, Nowroze and his family were repatriated to Afghanistan – a homeland still in conflict and left in rubbles. Upon their return, the family lived in an old tent in Gamberie Refugee Camp, Qarghaie District in Laghman Province.

On an unfortunate December night (December 12th) last year, Nowroze Khan lost the little that him and his owned in a fierce fire that engulfed their shelter. With all his belongings gone and the only PKR 27,000 that he had saved over the year, Nowroze was left homeless and destitute in his very own country once again.

“I cried out to the villagers to save my burning house but it was too late,”

narrated Nowroze sadly.

“The fire spread very fast and my wife and I only managed to save our children in the given time.”

Resources and infrastructure at the Gamberie Camp, which is no less than a dessert, are limited for returnees like Nowroze Khan. No proper mechanism was present to combat such unexpected incidents. Our neighbors in the village, whom we had been acquainted with in the few months since our return, were generous and provided us with whatever food, clothes and blankets that they could afford. That support could not go on for long either since they themselves were living in poor conditions.

“After a few weeks and for going around the villages seeking help, I came across a needs assessment team and was selected as a beneficiary under the emergency response for Returnees project supported by Community World Service Asia. I received a tent, two blankets and a two rounds of cash grants. We purchased essential food items including vegetables, oil, flour, tea and pulses with the money we received.  We also availed health services at the Gamberie Camp, when my children got ill.”

In addition, Nowroze Khan received a shelter and blankets at the Gamberie camp as part of the assistance by Community World Service Asia. The winter was harsh, and his family needed all the protection they could from the freezing winds and the snow.

Nowroze is now living in a shelter with his six children and wife at the Gamberie camp among many other returnees. These are Afghanis living a life of refugees in their own homeland. Many of them are in need of homes, health care, livelihoods and education.

Refugees are true survivors – they must be given the necessary support for them to recover from their loss, rebuild their life to its full capacity and up to international human rights standards.

Distribution of hygiene kit after training session on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST)

Community World Service Asia is implementing an integrated emergency WASH and Shelter project for families affected by the 2015 earthquake in District Shangla, Pakistan. The target Union Councils of the intervention included Shah Pur, Damorhi, Kuz Kana, Bar Puran and Banglai.

The key components of this short-term disaster response project include Rehabilitation of Water Supply Schemes, Repair and reconstruction of Latrines and Distribution of Self help repair Shelter kits. The project also provides trainings on Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Children Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) techniques of health and hygiene along with provision of hygiene kits and waste bins to the communities.

The distribution of self-help repair shelter kits to the affected families has been completed. A total of 1400 shelter repair kits have been distributed among the targeted earthquake affected households. The shelter kits distribution was done in three of the selected union councils including Damori, Kuzkana and Shahpur.

A standard process for the distribution based on the selection criteria of participants was followed under the project. Tokens were distributed amongst the concerned communities and information regarding the distribution ceremony was shared with all participants. It was mandatory for the community member to bring their original identity card along with the token to receive the assigned kit.

On the day of distribution, an orientation sessions on safer construction techniques was conducted to enable the communities to utilize the shelter repair kit as per the guidelines. Follow-up visits are scheduled to be conducted in the coming months to guide the communities on how and where to construct their shelter and how to utilize the kit to avail its maximum benefits. Along with follow-up visits, follow-up sessions on safer construction techniques are also planned in the year ahead.

Department of Social work, University of Peshawar organized a consultation with the Executive Director, The Sphere Project about use of Sphere Handbook globally and how academia around the globe is promoting Sphere Standards for ensuring quality response during humanitarian response.

Honorable Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abid welcomed the participants and guests. At the start of the consultation there was a brief shield distribution ceremony. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Abid presented shield to Mr. Furruk Marvin, Regional Representative of Community World Service Asia for the valuable partnership with University of Peshawar. He also presented a shield to the visiting guest, Ms. Christine Knudsen.

Community World Service Asia Paid its deepest regard for the outstanding partnership and support provided by university of Peshawar Mr. Furruk Marvin Pervez Presented shield of honor to the worthy Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhamamad Abid, Prof. Dr. Rashid Khan, Chairman Department of Social work and the focal person for the partnership Dr. Muhammad Ibrar for their valuable support in making this partnership a success.

Ms. Christine Knudsen shared the overviews of the sphere project and shares the purpose and progress on sphere handbook revision. She also shared how Sphere handbook is used by academia around the globe and the role academia is playing in promoting Sphere standards. Among the consultation participants were the Academician from Department of Social work University of Punjab, Department of Social Work , University of Peshawar, PRCS, Health Department, Government of Khyber Pukhtun Khwa, FDMA.

Source

Remote and rural areas affected by recurrent natural disasters often suffer the most when it comes to their recovery, rehabilitation and development. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake epicentered in the Hindu Kush range in winter of 2015 severely shook Pakistan’s mountainous northern belt, killing nearly three hundred people. In its aftermath, more than 14,000 houses were severely damaged or completely destroyed; community infrastructure was unusable and livelihoods were diminished.  Almost a year later, the poor socio-economic life of the inhabitants remained largely unchanged.

High altitude villages perched on the steep mountain slopes of district Shangla in northern Pakistan were severely damaged by the earthquake. One of the hardest hit areas was Village Tanshit; mainly comprised of steep, rocky terrain dotted with 221 traditional, rural homestead compounds. Multiple families reside in each compound. After the earthquake, the community’s most basic infrastructure and facilities, which had been built with great effort and years of savings, were lost. The village’s sole water supply scheme became one of the earthquake’s most significant casualties.

For the next nine months after the earthquake, the local women had to make a forty five minute climb on foot to a mountain stream and return with as much water as they could carry everyday. Families living in mountain village compounds have strong traditional, social and cultural codes for the protection of women, even for those undertaking daily domestic responsibilities.  This usually means that the women stay very close to their homes.  However, to access water, the women of Tanshit had to travel a long distance carrying water on their heads through wild and rocky mountain treks.  As the water carried by a single person was insufficient for the entire family’s needs, sometimes the children were tasked with carrying water from the streams on their way back from school. This was dangerous and had to be done in daylight. In warmer months, these communities became very vulnerable to waterborne diseases as hygiene could not be maintained while carrying and storing this stream water.

“Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals,” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

The human right to water and to sanitation constitutes the right of every individual, without discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable water and sanitation for personal use. To ensure this right, in 2016 Community World Service Asia, in partnership with Norwegian Church Aid and ECHO, assessed the village Tanshit’s water system and was selected as one of the twenty communities under its’ integrated WASH, Shelter and Cash-for-Work programme.  Technical assistance, construction materials and paid labor opportunities were provided to help villagers to restore their water system, reconstruct latrines and bathing facilities, and repair their homes.  A village WASH Committees was formed to articulate the basic communal needs according to the project’s objectives and scope.

The project team arranged hygiene sessions with the village women’s group and sensitized them on hygienic practices through Child Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) approaches. A pre-KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices) survey was also conducted to gauge the pre-existing or baseline hygienic practices of the families and to help demonstrate subsequent gains.

To ensure ownership, each village’s drinking water supply scheme was selected on the recommendation of village committees. After a technical feasibility assessment conducted by members of Community World Service Asia’s engineering team, Tanshit’s water supply scheme was rehabilitated, with additional resources, successfully. The water source was reconstructed, protected and pipelines were installed throughout the village.  The community contributed additional labor and materials as well to this reconstruction.

Today, Tanshit’s drinking water supply scheme supplies clean, safe and ample water to 221 households as per Sphere standards. The risk of waterborne diseases has been decreased. The social protection of women has been ensured and their cultural sensitivities are preserved. Around 1,200 individuals are undertaking more hygienic practices that will significantly contribute to maintaining healthier families. The project team also mobilized the local community towards the maintenance and upkeep of their water system through a local community savings plan.  They have also begun a small, intra-village savings and lending activity to commonly support their lowest income groups. This will enable every community member to maintain their compound’s connections to the scheme.