Hira Gul has worked in Pakistan’s development sector for more than 10 years. As a Community Mobilization Officer, Hira works with LASOONA to mobilize communities around improved livelihoods, governance reforms and health in Thana in the Malakand District. Her job is busy and multifaceted—she conducts sessions on developing market linkages, skill development, water and sanitation, inclusive development, improved governance, women’s empowerment and much more—and she is always eager to learn how to better support the communities she serves.

When Community World Service Asia announced the “Essentials of Social Mobilization” training, I immediately showed interest in attending the workshop as I was eager to learn modified and effective processes of social mobilization,

she shared.

Hira was one of 22 participants from five national nongovernment organizations who gathered in Peshawar in March 2019 to enhance their social mobilization skills to raise awareness of and demand for a particular development objective through dialogue. Lead Trainer Muazzam Ali, a seasoned expert in community mobilization with CWSA, facilitated the four-day training workshop on practical skills for successful social mobilization.

The training enhanced our understanding of social mobilization as an approach. We learnt the key elements and the true role of a social mobilizer. Basic communications skills, ethics and tools were provided for successful mobilization processes. Moreover, the training taught us how to manage community expectations and keep them engaged through the project life cycle, 

Hira recalled.

After the training, Hira said she was able to use the learning right away, including actively implementing the Do No Harm Policy while engaging communities in project activities.

In addition, through rapport building with women, I gave a session on the Do No Harm policy and mobilized them towards the outcomes of the project. This way the project participants are provided assistance with dignity and safety.

She also found the training useful in managing an ongoing conflict in communities she supported. Under LASOONA’s Governance Reform project, two communities in Union Council Miadam in Swat were engaged in a conflict in relation to Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI) Schemes. Thanks to Community World Service Asia, Hira managed to resolve the conflict through her learning she gathered from the session on Conflict Resolution.

Social Mobilization is considered key towards ensuring a participatory approach in rural development and poverty alleviation programs. It aims to create a sense of ownership among communities by involving them directly in decision-making processes. Civil society organizations apply social mobilization to raise awareness, motivate people to bring change and to organize communities to take ownership of project interventions.

Under its Capacity Enhancement Program, Community World Service Asia offers a variety of learning and skill enhancement opportunities to support the growth of non-governmental, civil society, and community-based organizations in Pakistan. These initiatives aim to strengthen the capacity of all the stakeholders involved in humanitarian and development assistance to effectively advocate for the communities with which they work.

Acknowledging the strong need and positive impact of effective social mobilization, a four-day residential workshop on Essentials of Social Mobilization was organized under the program at Peshawar University’s social work department. The training was open to community mobilizers, social organizers, coordinators and team leads of medium to small local and national NGOs.

A total of twenty-four participants from seven different organizations and the university’s own social work department took part in this training that focused on strengthening participants’ understanding of social mobilization as an approach and to furnish them with skills and tools for its effective application and implementation.

Emphasis on the Do No Harm approach for community development was placed among other topics such as social mobilization policy & procedures, significance of community engagement, and sustainability of development work. The training also covered technical aspects such as basic communication skills, ethics, successful community mobilization tools, managing power dynamics and conflict management that are essential to ensure the inclusion, ownership, well-being and human dignity of the communities in need.

Some participating organizations, who did not previously have a social mobilization policy, planned to develop one soon after the training and included it as a high-priority task in their upcoming organizational work plans.

All participating organizations devised six-month action plans to include and implement learnings of the social mobilization training, with assistance of the training facilitators, in their program interventions and organizational development targets.

Participants’ Learning

The participatory learning approach was the highlight of the training for me. The Do no harm approach, role plays and activities were interesting and new for us. The session on social mobilization policy and its link with sustainability was very effective for local organizations like ours.

Sajjad, Lasoona Organization, Swat, KPK.

The training content was very informative and the methodology and quality were good too. I learnt new concepts such as the do no harm approach and the role of connectors and dividers in communities. The overall environment of the training was positive and productive. All participants got equal opportunities to engage.

Shahmer Ali, The Awakening Organization, Charsadda 

The training was quite relevant to our work experience in the field. The methodology of the training was effective and there was a lot of practical learning through group activities and discussions with other participants.

Mussarat, representative from Lasoona Organization, Swat, KPK

I worked in the coal mines in Hangu district for twenty years. When I was a child my family was unable to pay for my education so I had to start work as a coal miner at the age of 15. This was the practice for all young boys of my age in our village. We had to do it to support our family, 

expressed Mian Syed Zaman, a 55-year-old father of seven children from Serei Kana village of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.

Although Syed Zaman’s income was not much, he lived a content life with his wife and children. In 1998, that changed. Zaman started feeling sharp aches in his lower back. The pains kept worsening until one day Zaman felt nothing in his lower body. He was paralyzed from waist down. He tried everything to cure himself, whatever he could afford, wherever he had to travel for it. But it was all in vain. Zaman had become bed-ridden for life. Following his father’s early footsteps, Zaman’s eldest son, Zia-ur-Rehman,  had to leave school, graduating from Grade 8th, to start work to support his six siblings and mother. He had no choice but to do so.

Married and with two children of his own today, Zia-ur-Rehman is the sole bread earner for a large family of twelve members now.  He works in the same coal mine his father used to work at  as a daily wager. He earns PKR 25,000 (Approx. 215 USD) a month. With this income, it is difficult to make ends meet and provide sufficiently all family members. Neighbours and relatives of Zaman and his wife often gift money and used clothes to the struggling family. Zaman’s family also receives Zakatⁱ, in the form of money, once each year from the Government Zakat Department under the quota for disabled people. The family owns a cow, three goats, some poultry and a small piece of land adjacent to their home. Zaman uses the land to grow animal fodder, some vegetables and maize which helps the family sustain their meals for about five months.

Zaman’s house is a scantily constructed mud house where they all live together.

In all these years I could not afford to construct a latrine in my house. My family would use the nearby fields or jungle to attend nature’s call. Being paralyzed, it was not easy for me to do so. I felt embarrassed. I commuted on a small cart. The cart had a hole in the middle with a plastic bucket attached at the bottom. The bucket was half filled with ash and sand. I defecated in it and my wife would clean it. To avoid this trouble, I ate far less then actually required,

shared Syed Zaman unhappily.

During a survey conducted by Community World service Asia (CWSA)  in early 2016 to identify and select most vulnerable earthquake affected families, Zaman and his family were selected as participants to receive support in rebuilding their house and in construction of latrines. Zaman was selected on the basis of being a Person with Disability (PWD) and because his house had been severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake that epicentered in the Hindukush mountain range.

Zaman received Corrugated Galvanized Iron (CGI) sheets which were sourced by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). They were also provided with raw materials to reconstruct their house by CWSA.  Zaman’s house was completely reconstructed in 2016. CGI sheets were used to construct the roof to ensure the family’s safety during future hazards in mountainous and risk prone areas like Shangla. Most importantly, in early 2017, a complete latrine with two commodes was constructed and included in Zaman’s new house by his son himself.

Our family is living comfortably now. They do not need to go to the jungle for open defecation anymore. There are no flies and smell of excretion around our home anymore and the surrounding environment looks and feels much cleaner and fresher now. I have installed four small wheels in my cart to easily reach the latrine with the help of a stick. It would be great if I can be provided clutches and wheelchair.

In addition to latrine and shelter construction, Zaman’s family was provided with hygiene kits, which included two plastic cans with lids, one water pot (lota), soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family to carry and store drinking water in safely, minimizing the risks of water contamination.

 Health and hygiene sessions were delivered by the project team. We are more aware of hand washing techniques and importance of using latrines now. This protects my family to from diseases and illnesses, 

 stated Zaman.

ⁱZakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It is a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich and is considered to be a tax, or obligatory alms.

Integrated Emergency Shelter and WASH support to EQ affected families project is implemented by Community World Service Asia in district Shangla, Pakistan with the support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

Group photo of Community World Service Asia project staff with the representatives of participants of the consultation meeting.

Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) Quality and Accountability team organized a consultation meeting with selected representatives and officials of the academia community of Pakistan to explore the existing practices of student engagement in field work and to initiate the process of designing a comprehensive guide on “Field Work Practicum”. Field Work Practicum is part of the course work of Social Work Department of Pakistani Universities. This involves field work for practical exposure and experience for a certain period of time. The practicum enables students to connect their theoretical curriculum with practical field work. Universities in Pakistan lack guidelines about student placement, role of external and internal supervisors, ethics and norms for students to learn before going to field, scope and limitation of engaging students with organizations, gauging students’ performance and allocating grades for specific subject area. CWSA will facilitate these Universities in developing guidelines which will support the Social Work Departments with well-defined parameters, roles, responsibilities and plans for student engagement and field work.

The meeting held on June 23rd was attended by eleven faculty members from three universities, including University of Sindh, Jamshoro, University of the Punjab, Lahore and University of Peshawar (UoP). The broader aim of the consultation was to identify the existing practice of field work and form a core team responsible for drafting the guideline and developing a detail plan of the “Field Work Practicum Guide Development”.

Dr. Ibrar, Assistant Professor at the Social Work Department, UoP, welcomed all the participants of the meeting and shared the agenda of the day, while, Khurram Saeed, Community World Service Asia representative, facilitated the consultation and explained the process required to work on the guidelines.

The existing practices of academic field work and challenges faced by students and supervisors in its initial stages of implementation were shared by all participants. Arshad Abbasi, Lecturer at University of the Punjab and Waheed Akbar, Lecturer at University of the Sindh, Jamshoro particularly explained the informal mechanism used by their respective universities for field work and various challenges associated with students and supervisors due to informal arrangements. Some major challenges highlighted were the lack of proper plans, clear objectives and follow up mechanism for student performance, role of internal and external supervisor in coaching and mentoring of students and forms and formats for different levels (Objective setting, student plans, reporting and student assessment).

Each of the three participating universities shared their existing practices and challenges through presentations followed by a Question & Answer session. Participants further shared solutions to challenges faced in field work activities with each other and discussed steps to develop the first draft of the guidelines.

Rizwan Iqbal, Community World Service Asia staff member, explained the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework (CHCF) to the participants and how the CHCF can contribute to the development of competency-based student placement programs. In a group exercise, each participant briefly studied the core competencies and identified important features to be incorporated in the program and the practicum. The CHCF was found to be useful and applicable by most of the academia members present at the meeting.

Nominations were requested to form a core committee to begin work on the different stages and drafts of the field work practicum guide. The core committee will receive nominations from universities by the end of July.

Dr. Ibrar formally concluded the session and appreciated the vigorous participation of all the participants and their valuable contribution at this initial stage of development of the field work practicum guide. Nasira Nasreen, Lecturer, Peshawar University, shared,

I am quite impressed by the idea of developing the field work practicum guide as students face challenges from departments and immediate supervisors when conducting related activities. This guide will help improve the processes of field work, resulting in productive outcomes.

 Waheed Akhtar, Lecturer at University of Sindh, Jamshoro highlighted the importance of the meeting

as this experience sharing gave them an opportunity to learn new practices to improve their field work exercises and activities. A standard document will further clarify the processes for students and relevant departments, which will allow efficient and smooth working.

Bacha Rehman, father of six, runs a small grocery shop in Karora town, near his home village of Serei Kana in Shangla, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan. He has been running the shop for nineteen years now. With his parents living with him, Rehman has ten family members (including his own wife and children) to support and provide a livelihood for. To meet the dietary needs of his large family, Rehman grows maize, vegetables and animal fodder on a small piece of land he owns. His wife and him also own three goats, two cows and some poultry as a means to provide for their family.

In late 2015, an earthquake struck parts of Serei Kana and other villages, destroying Rehman’s house among many others.  He reconstructed his small house using cement blocks with RCC1 pillars for the main walls and wooden RCC beams for the roof. The roof was further secured with CGI2 sheets, rafters and then covered with mud and soil. This sort of construction came as a new trend in the area and soon became a common practice here especially after the area was hit with recurring natural calamities such as the earthquakes in 2005 and 2015 and the heavy rains leading to floods in 2010.

Serei Kana, however, has only one water pipeline that provides water to twenty-three houses. The water supply through this line is quite limited and inconsistent, making it insufficient to meet the needs of these many households. To add on, this main supply line has been leaking since it has not been well maintained over the years, resulting in an unnecessary wastage of gallons of precious water.

With Shangla receiving less rain and prolonged drought seasons (from September to end of February), the district experiences perpetual water scarcity.

We barely received five gallons of water per day to fulfill our daily needs. This water is used for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, to water the crops and the livestock. This was naturally insufficient to meet the needs of ten family members living under one roof.  To ensure that our water needs were somewhat fulfilled, we would walk to a stream that was quite far away from home to fetch water. It was almost an entire day’s travel if we walked to it with our livestock for them to drink from there and then return,

 shared Rehman. 

Rehman was very concerned about the dismal water conditions in their village. The other villagers and him were unable to devise a long-term solution for the water scarcity situation on their own. After much thought, Rehman thought of storing the rain water that stands still on his CGI roof and is ultimately wasted, to reuse for actual consumption. He quickly shared this idea with a local carpenter, who agreed to working on it and soon created and installed a “rain water harvesting” system on the CGI roof of Rehman’s self-built house. Collecting the water from the roof was thus initiated and was a sensible solution but storing the water still remained a major challenge. Purchasing large barrels for water storage was a large additional and unaffordable expense for Rehman.

Community World Service Asia initiated an Integrated Emergency WASH and Shelter support project for the earthquake affected families in District Shangla in August 2016. Under its sanitation component, Rehman fulfilled the beneficiary selection criteria drafted for the project and was selected as a participant for construction of a new latrine. Under the project, material for complete construction of a new latrine along with cash for work labor was provided to him.

Rehman constructed a latrine in his house. He managed the material in a way that he built a RCC roof along with a water storage tank to store rain water on top of the latrine. The water tank measured 6×6 square feet and five feet deep. The rain water collection system installed on the CGI roof was directed to the storage tank, with a valve being fixed with the tap and pipe line of the storage tank to control the water supply. The construction of a rain water collection system was Rehman’s own initiative. He used the material, which was left over after the construction of the latrine, provided by Community World Service Asia.

Rehman and his family now have a constant supply of water in their house, fulfilling all of theirs and their livestock’s daily needs.  His innovative storage system has inspired many fellow villagers who plan to replicate and install the water harvesting system on their CGI roofs to overcome water crisis.

The water is used for all purposes including cooking, drinking, livestock, washing clothes and dishes. Once the tank is filled with water, it is enough to last a month for my family. The water is mainly stored to last us during the drought period.

With the support of Community World Service Asia, I was able to install a latrine and a water storage system. I now have a cleaner and hygienic environment at home and there is less shortage of water. The construction of the storage system cost me half the actual price as I did not purchase cement and other raw materials myself, 

 admitted Rehman happily,

My family was provided with a hygiene kit as well, which included two plastic cans with a lid and one water pot (lota). The cans helped the family to carry and store drinking water in a safe way to avoid risks of water contamination. The frequency of having diarrhea and fever has been considerably reduced in our family. Soaps and sanitation cloths were also provided in the kit.

 Health and hygiene sessions were delivered to Rehman’s family as part of the project interventions as well. These sessions included awareness on maintenance of cleanliness in latrines and households and the importance and correct method of washing hands before and after meals and general guidelines on keeping their surrounding environment clean and safe. 

We are more aware of germs transfer and its preventive measures. I feel the difference as my children look fresh and healthier. It is very important to maintain domestic hygiene as it protects us from various diseases and illnesses. Moreover, my wife and children utilize water according to our needs now, avoiding wastage of water,

 affirmed Rehman.

1 Reinforced Cement Concrete

2 Corrugated Galvanized Iron

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:

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.


Dennis Joseph
Associate Director – Disaster Management Program
Cell: +92 300 855 7414

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Tel: +92 42 3586 5338