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Sixteen years old Dhelan Kumari, is the only girl of her age in village Khunhar, who continues to attain education and attend school to seek higher education. She is currently in 11th grade.

I got engaged when I was only 15 months old. My fiancé is from a different village but is of an equal status as my own family so our parents planned to wed us when we would turn 12 years.

Dhelan’s parents have six children and she is one among their five daughters.

My husband, Jumoon, is a farmer and earns a small income of PKR 300 daily. All my daughters are married except Dhelan. She is the youngest of all. Dhelan has always been enthusiastic about going to school and bringing more meaning to her life,

said Dhelan’s mother, Lakshmi.

During one of her school activities, Dhelan got the opportunity to attend and watch a theater play organized by one of the local landlords in Kunhar.

It was a play by a local theatre group called Purbhat[1], on early child marriages. It was my first experience attending a play and I got to learn so much about the prevailing issues that were never discussed with us before. I learned the challenges a girl faces when she is married at a very early age. She is unable to complete her studies; she is unable to cope up with the new family which results in a lot of challenges for young girls and their families. Moreover, she is never happy that way.

After attending the theatre play in early 2019, Dhelan’s drive to prioritize her education grew even more and she wanted the same for all the other girls in her village.  One day, Dhelan grew the courage to talk to her brother and mother on the issue and they both supported her with this cause and helped her spread awareness on the importance of education for girls and the disadvantages of early marriages.

Dhelan’s dedication and energy motivated me to support my daughter and help her in achieving her dreams,

shared Lakshmi.

Although she faced a lot of retaliation from the village community, Dhelan was determined and committed to work for her cause. She wanted to create awareness among young girls and highlight the adverse consequences of early child marriages. She wanted to emphasize on the importance of education for girls and prove that girls are no less; they have equal rights as men and should not be suppressed.

To Dhelan’s advantage, a theater group was formed in Khunhar village and was named ‘Khunhar’. Everyone from the village was encouraged to join the group, especially young girls and boys. Dhelan showed her interest in joining the group. Ashok, the president of Khunhar’s Steering Committee came to Dhelan’s family and recommended Dhelan and Lakshmi to join the theater group to inspire other women and girls of the community.

My uncle discouraged us and tried to stop me from joining and participating in the theater plays. He said this will bring disgrace to the family and my in-laws will not approve of it as well. However, the support of my family made me strong and gave me the courage to take the step of joining the Khunhar Theater Group,

 shared Dhelan.

Dhelan was relentless. Her mother Lakshmi and she joined the Khunhar Theater Group along with eight other members from the village. This theater group is the first ever to be formed at a community level along with three others in Umerkot. As part of the group, each member is paid a stipend of PKR 1000 for every play they perform.

Dhelan’s education expense is covered by the stipend we earn through the theater group.

said Lakshmi.

Dhelan wanted to continue her studies and did not want to be wedded off soon. She was lucky to have a family that supposed her. Her mother stood by her side,

Education is very important whether it is for a girl or a boy. It teaches you the difference between right and wrong and not the difference between a man and woman. No one can take away the knowledge you gain in your lifetime and that can be your highest achievement in life. I wanted Dhelan to be an educated girl and lead a better life. Dhelan shared with her brother that she did not want to get married and continue her studies instead. I want to see Dhelan in a better position as well, rather than just being a housewife and a labor worker in the fields. We talked to her in-laws and insisted on postponing the marriage. Dhelan’s brother also encouraged her fiancé to continue with his studies so that they could build a better future for themselves together. As a result, the marriage was postponed and no date for the wedding is decided as yet. Dhelan continued her studies and is now in 11th grade,

 shared Lakshmi happily.

My college is in the city which is a twenty minute walk from home. I am also taking computer classes in the evenings. I topped the board exams of standard eight, nine and ten in Umerkot. I aim to top again in standard 11. On the weekends, I give free tuitions to young girls in the village. I want to do as much as I can for women and children, not only in the village, but in all of rural Sindh. The plays we perform are aimed at ending child marriages and encouraging girls’ education. Many people in the community have become aware of the negative consequences of early marriages. They put an end at child marriage when they witness any,

firmly concluded Dhelan.


[1]  A local theater group in Umerkot

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is providing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services, under its Health program, in collaboration with the district health department at two Taluka Hospitals (THQs) in Umerkot and one Mother Neonatal Child Health Centre in Sujawal district. The MNCH caters to thirty surrounding villages in the two districts.

CWSA implements long-term health programs for vulnerable and marginalized communities in the region. The projects under this program operate through static health units within the provincial health structures, Preventive and curative health services, vaccination campaigns, mother and child health, and health education are some of the key components of these projects.

In most remote areas of Pakistan, cultural barriers prevent women from seeking medical treatment from male nurses and doctors and as a result prolong their illnesses or leave themselves undiagnosed. The health centers set up by CWSA are equipped with women medical staff to ensure that women and girls in the communities have equal and easy access to health services.

These rural health centers employ women medical staff that provide vaccinations, pre and postnatal care, education and awareness on sexual reproductive health and family planning, and delivery services to women and young girls in the villages.

Since January 2020, the health team has organized and facilitated eleven awareness sessions on polio eradication, HIV/AIDS, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), hepatitis, family planning, antenatal and postnatal check-ups, breast-feeding benefits and healthy nutrition for pregnant women in the catchment areas of both THQs, namely Samaro and Pithoro. In addition, the health team participated in a ‘Family Mela’ organized by the Population Welfare Department in Umerkot.  Through the awareness activities, communities, Health Management Committees, local schools and children were sensitized on the major causes of epidemic diseases and their signs and symptoms and precautionary measures. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material was also distributed and displayed among communities on related topics during the sessions. Baby kits were also distributed for the mothers of newborns and pregnant women. Whereas, Hygiene Kits were distributed among school children and wheel-chairs among disable persons in the community.

Moreover, the health teams collaborated and supported a government lead polio vaccination program in Yousaf Bhatti village to help them mobilize communities and convince them to take the vaccinations as many local communities were against the campaigns. The medical staff sensitized the community members on severe effects of polio and how it could lead to permanent disabilities, with vaccination being the best prevention. The community was convinced and agreed for their children to get vaccinated.

Rural communities facing poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and inaccessibility to basic services, often put health-care as their last priority. Community World Service Asia is committed to helping such communities access their health rights, find sustainable solutions and reduce disaster risks as they survive and find ways to earn livelihoods.

 Most families in Anwar Pathan live in a joint family system. Early marriages and living in a big family bring along a lot of responsibilities for new and young brides in this community. The new bride is expected to take on all the home chores, go to the field and harvest the seasonal crops in addition to taking care of all the family members living in the house. A tremendous amount of burden is put on the little shoulders of a child bride. This naturally deteriorates her health. As you see, there are very few or almost no woman here who is overweight. This is because all women here work a lot and are weak due to the many burdens they bear since a very young age. If these women or girls complain even a little, it results in conflicts among family members,

shared a young man, named Gom Chand, who is a member of the Steering Committeeⁱ and Community Group set up in Anwar Pathan village, located in Umerkot district of Sindh province.

Gom Chand and his wife were only 14 years old when they got married. Four years on, now 18 years old, Gom Chand teaches at a local private school in Anwar Pathan.

Women in this village are not educated as most have not attended school and those who did get the opportunity, have only studied up till class 5. Even as a boy, I was forced to marry at a young age and had to leave my education, with no one encouraging me to continue studying. Instead, I was told to earn a living as I had to bring home money for my wife and bear family responsibilities. Soon after my wedding, I began work as a daily labourer, and earned a mere income of PKR 200 a day.

For many centuries, it has been a cultural norm to wed off young couples aged between 12 and 16 years in villages such as Anwar Pathan. Just as a child would be born, their families would start searching for a perfect matrimonial match for them and in many cases even engage them at birth and as soon as they would turn 12 years or reach their teens, they would be married off.

I never supported this idea though,

shared Gom Chand,

And as it turned out, I also suffered a lot by being married so young.

We are a family of six members, including my parents, wife and siblings. My relative, Chander, told me about the EVCⁱⁱ project as the team visited for an orientation meeting at the village. He shared the main objective of the project which was eliminating and discouraging the practice of early and childhood marriages. This convinced me to join the Steering Committee. I saw this as a platform to share my experiences and motivate the youth to gain education and build a bright future for themselves.

Fifteen of us, seven men and eight women, joined the Steering Committee of Anwar Pathan. As members of the committee, we largely work towards achieving for four key objectives. Firstly, we will build awareness on the importance and access to health care for men, women and children. We encourage women and children to avail proper healthcare treatments from the nearest health facility instead of always adopting traditional home remedies. Secondly, we discourage the practice of early childhood marriages. Thirdly, we are advocating for increasing girls’ education in the village.   Since this is not encouraged much in our village, we are conducting meetings with parents who do not send their girls to school and are urging them to educate their daughters and sisters as it is equally important as is educating boys. Lastly, we are promoting the role of women in decision-making.

Gom Chand watched a theater play in Bharo Mil village which highlighted the disadvantages of early childhood marriage and encouraged communities to educate their children instead. The play exhibited how societies would flourish if their people and youth were well educated. Upon his return from Bharo Mil, Gom Chand felt the need of opening up a school for girls in his village. And he did as he had planned and did inaugurate a school in Anwar Pathan in March 2019. Gom Chand teaches at this school and earns a monthly income of PKR 14000.

There was no school in our village so no girl in our village ever went. With the help of a friend working in another welfare organization, I registered the school and encouraged parents to specially send their daughters and sisters to the school. Today, 45 girls and 12 boys are enrolled in this school and attend classes every day.

There are 10 pairs of Community Groups established in each village, each pair consisting of a man and a woman. Every one of these pairs is assigned five households to work with and build awareness on the same objectives as the Steering Committee. Gom Chand and his Shama, another resident of Anwar Pathan village, make up one these pairs.

The training that was organized on Gender and Women Empowerment on November 2018, and a refresher course that followed a year later in 2019,  delivered sufficient information on the fundamental rights of women and the importance of education, especially for girls. We understood how the existing gender issues in our community adversely affected the lives of.

 Gom Chand and Shama held meetings with the five households allotted to them and encouraged women in those families to voice out their concerns and participate in decision-making processes.

Gom Chand’s brother, Prem Chand, was to be married at the end of 2019.

When I heard about the wedding preparations, I could not hold myself back from standing against this decision and lifelong tradition. He was just a 16-year-old boy and his bride to be was only 15-years-old. My father did not want to go forward with the wedding either but due to the pressure from my brother’s in-laws to be, my family decided to go with it. Shama and I visited the in-laws’ and tried to convince them on postponing the wedding. After hearing about my early marriage experience and the challenges my wife and I faced, the bride’s family postponed the wedding for three years.

In terms of contributing to women empowerment, Gom Chand encouraged his wife to further enhance her embroidery skills by enrolling her at a nearby vocational center. A District Engagement Group member, named Shanti, helped him identify this center and facilitated them with the enrolment process.

A skill building training was held in Mirpurkhas to which I accompanied my wife, Pooja, every day for fifteen days as it is difficult to commute alone in this area. After successfully completing the training, Pooja received five sewing machines.

I am very proud of my wife as she teaches embroidery and stitching skills to other girls and women from our village at our home now. Fourteen woman and girls come to learn the use of different threads, design methods and colors. For running this home-based coaching center and working on orders, Pooja receives PKR 4000 monthly from PCDPⁱⁱⁱ. The attendees of the centre pay a monthly fee of PKR 100. I can see the happiness in the eyes of my wife as this initiative has brought new meaning to her life.

Hina, 16 years, and Seeta, 15 years old, are two of Pooja’s students at the center.

Miss Pooja teaches us stitching and embroidery. We come to the center for four hours daily. If it wasn’t for this center, we would be doing home chores the whole day. This is a fun activity and us friends get to sit together, share jokes and learn new skills of designing and stitching,

 shared Hina.

A video screening, highlighting the goals of the Steering Committee and its role in promoting positive change in the communities by reducing early childhood marriage and motivating women towards decision-making, was organized on December 18th, 2019 in Anwar Pathan, by the Steering committee members.

The members of the committee invited the Chairman of the Union Council as a special guest at the screening. It was an honor to welcome a higher official in our village. The community members were excited to see the video as these visuals are appealing and conveyed the message very clearly. More than 250 people attended the video screening. It was a very proud moment for us.


ⁱ 22 Steering committees are formed in each village, comprising of 15 representatives with equal representation of male and female participants. The steering committee works on different issues of the village and supervises the Community Groups. They represent grass root level issues with civil society and local authorities at district level and work towards resolutions in collaboration with the EVC Team. The committees were formed in the month of August 2018.

ⁱⁱ   Every Voice Counts – Community World Service Asia’s project

ⁱⁱⁱ Parkari Community Development Program

Zohra, a student of class four, is an intelligent girl who studies well and has been a class monitor from the day she joined school due to her remarkable academic and extra-curricular performance. A few months ago, Zohra’s teachers observed that she had started being irregular in school and when one teacher, Naureen, asked her why, she started crying but did not say why and left school abruptly that day.

Zohra often spoke about becoming a doctor after completing her education. She had such great dreams for herself. I was worried about her and wondered how and why such a good student would lose interest suddenly,

shared Naureen.

Zohra stopped coming to school one day. After waiting for a week, I called Zohra’s mother but she did not agree upon meeting me or any of the school faculty. I waited one more week and called again and this time I insisted for her to meet me.

Her teachers shared Zohra’s excellent performance results with her mother and asked her the reason behind her leaving school suddenly. Zohra’s mother was very happy to hear of her daughter’s performance in school and of her being assigned the class monitor. She heard this information for the first time. Since most parents in rural areas have little interest in the education of their daughters, she had never bothered asking about how her children performed at school. But to know this now, she felt very proud.

After repeatedly being questioned by the teachers, Zohra’s mother replied,

We have six children and all of them have dropped out of school. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and is unable to work anymore. His was our only source of income. We can barely afford food to eat for the family, therefore paying for our children’s school fees has become unthinkable. Moreover, we feel that educating girls is not that important anyway because they will be at home washing dishes and cooking food eventually. In this difficult situation of ours, my daughters will stay home and will manage household chores while my sons will find work on daily wages.

Listening to Zohra’s mother, her teachers expressed sympathy but still tried to encourage her to send her daughters to school.

Many families here are living in challenging conditions but we have to deal with these issues and cannot let them impact our children’s future.  It is difficult to totally eradicate our issues but we can still educate our children so that they have a better future.

It was difficult to convince Zohra’s mothers who was burdened with the family’s responsibility and was facing many challenges at home but she agreed at last.

Fine, the girls can continue their education but who will bear the educational expenses. We have no money to anymore.

The teachers assured Zohra’s mother that the school will take care of the monetary expenses of their daughter’s education.

A day later, the teachers spotted Zohra and her sister present at the morning assembly in school. They were overjoyed to see them and to realize that their efforts in convincing their mother had worked.

A School Management Committee (SMC), has been established in Zohra’s school under the Education project [1]implemented in the district. These SMCs are set up to increase the participation of communities in the functionality of their local schools and improve education quality and strengthen accountability to the principles of positive learning environments and inclusive education.

Along with mobilizing public awareness on the importance of education for children and girls, the SMCs also work towards enhancing parents community participation in the school and provides mechanisms for more effective management. The committee also monitors the teachers’ attendance, school enrolment trends and builds awareness amongst parents on the long-term benefits of education for their children. Teachers are also part of these SMCs. Zohra’s teachers,  including Naureen, are members of her school’s SMC. As part of the SMC, they have also been trained on ‘Positive learning Environment’ which focused on teaching members the significance and ways of ensuring inclusiveness, promoting gender equality and providing access to quality education to all children. Naureen has played an important role in bringing Zohra back to school to ensure that she is provided consistent access to quality education.


[1] Early Childhood Care and Education Project-July 2018-June 2020 in Collobration with Act for Peace and Ausaid and support of Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D)

Pakistan has recently experienced a fierce desert locust attack. On February 1st, the Government of Pakistan declared the attack as a national emergency due to the presence of the prolonged locust swarms and the damages that they have caused to the agricultural crops and local rural communities in parts of Sindh and Balochistan. The locusts enter Pakistan from two sides; on the western front, the locust swarms enter Pakistan through Balochistan from Iran, while from the east, they attack through Indian Rajhastan in Cholistan and Tharparkar deserts.

Last year in March, the locust swarms entered Balochistan and further spread into the Sindh and Punjab provinces by June 2019. After summer breeding in Thar, Nara and Cholistan deserts of Sindh and Punjab, the locusts migrated to Indian Rajhastan deserts in July and re-entered Tarparkar in Sindh in October 2019.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) anticipated that the locust infestation in Pakistan will persist throughout October and then will move into south eastern Iran and Sudan by mid November. However, the outbreak has continued due to moisture in the atmosphere, sandy soil and vegetation and favourable weather conditions ( caused by climate change) for the locusts to breed. This is not the first time for such an attack. Locust swarms have caused huge damages to Pakistan’s agriculture back in the 1950s, 1960s and 1990s as well. According to FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer, “locusts increase 20-fold every generation, which equates to roughly 8,000 times the number of locusts compared to the beginning. In search of food, locusts travel in swarms (of between 30 to 50 million) and can cover a distance of 150 kilometers to devour 200 tonnes of food in a day.”

After three years of arid conditions, the region saw pouring rains this season, recharging the wells and pushing up tall grass. The villagers sowed their crops and were looking forward to a bountiful harvest when the locusts struck.

The General Secretary of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture has announced that the locust attack this year has destroyed 40% of crops which include wheat, cotton, maize and tomato. The local communities feel that the locust attack has destroyed their standing crops. The area had received some rains in monsoon season, and though the rains were inadequate for the revival of all agricultural activities, it had still produced some pasture/grazing areas for livestock. These pastures have also been entirely damaged by the locust and has resulted in extreme food insecurity among local communities and their livestock.

The Government has taken action against this insect infestation over 0.3 million acres (121,400 hectares)  and aerial spraying over 20,000 hectares of land has already been done. “District administrations, voluntary organizations, aviation division and armed forces are all positioned into operation to combat the attack and save the crops,” shared by the Minister for National Food Security. In order to mitigate the effects of the locust attacks in future, Integrated crops and pest management (ICM/IPM) trainings are proposed to make the communities aware on pest management and on which crops to be cultivated and are less prone to such attacks.

Source
www.dawn.com
www.gulfnews.com
httts://expresstribune.com.pk

Contacts:

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

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

Seventy-three-year old Kasi, from village Ranahar of Umerkot district, takes care and provides for her bed-ridden son and his family. She works for agricultural produce on their local fields.

While sharing her challenges and talking about her sufferings of recent years, Kasi could not help but reminisce about their better days,

Just a few years ago we were leading a very happy life. My son earned PKR. 15,000 per month as a tractor driver. His monthly income was sufficient to meet our family’s needs. However, those days were short-lived as our happiness turned to sorrow when my husband started experiencing frequent chest pains and fever and had to leave his job. Soon after, just four years from today, he was diagnosed with asthma and severe lung illness which could lead to chest cancer within years if not treated properly. With his job gone and barely any income, we could not afford his medication which further aggravated his illness.

Kasi added,

Our worries further heightened when our agricultural fields completely dried up. The drought had struck our lands.  I was not even able to collect a single grain from our field in the last two years.  Only my God knows my struggle and how I was trying to feed my family since the last two years. Not even our neighbours or relatives were able to help us.

On March 2019 Kasi and her family were selected as participants of a drought response project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by Presbyterian World Service & Development and Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Through the project, Kasi’s family, along with ninety more severely drought-affected families in Ranahar village of Umerkot received six rounds of food packages.

Before receiving this food assistance, I used to start worrying about what we would eat each day at the first light of dawn. Having even a single nutritional meal seemed to be a challenge each day. But thankfully, I do not need to worry about that anymore. The food provided to us has saved us from many sufferings. The quality and quantity of food provided is much appreciated by all of us.

Kasi is happy that her family and other families affected by drought in the area will be assisted with food supplies for the next six months. This support will be sufficient to feed the families until their own agricultural produce can be harvested in September.

The United Nations World Health Organization (UNWHO) standards state that a country should have at least a twenty-five percent forest cover to help conserve ecosystems that provide for all living things and also works as a barrier against disasters[1]. Forests play an important role in helping species, people and countries adapt to climate change. Sindh lags behind in reaching this standard.

According to the latest Sindh Forest Department data, the forest cover in Sindh has reduced to an alarming level of less than two percent, forcing an estimated one million people in the province to migrate to other areas in the last 30 years.

To mitigate climate change impacts and help reduce deforestation rates in Sindh, Community World Service Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Japan, and partners, have initiated a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project in Umerkot district of the province. As one of the project’s interventions, 334 women from eight villages were trained on effectively using a new technology of fuel-efficient stoves in their homes. The fuel-efficient stove is an energy system that has a positive impact on the ecosystem while providing basic cooking needs. The stoves are made of mud and straw. It enables cooking simultaneously on two burners and the flame can be controlled as per temperature required. As a result, it allows for less emission of smoke and less consumption of fuelwood. Thirteen of these training were conducted by women community mobilizers that oriented rural women on the use of the stoves and made them aware of its environment-friendly nature.

The trainings enabled the women in the communities to help reduce health risks associated with smoke emissions that women and children often experience while cooking on traditional stoves made of firewood. Consequently, it has reduced incidents of household fire that were caused due to uncontrollable firewood flames.

Cleaner environments and being provided cheaper cooking sources has been seen as a direct impact of these training and the increased use of fuel-efficient stoves.  The adoption of these stoves has significantly increased in the area since the training. Other women in the communities have also requested for training and construction of these stoves.

The utensils turned black when we cooked on traditional stoves using firewood. The fuel stove is a remarkable tool which not only saves time and fuel, but it endows relief in cleaning utensils. Many women in the community are requesting me to construct the fuel-efficient stove in their households. We are grateful to be introduced to these remarkable stoves,

shared Saleemat from Mandhal Thakar Village in Umerkot.


[1] https://www.dawn.com/news/1402307

For development and humanitarian interventions to be effective, they must meet the needs of affected populations, and must be implemented in ways that ensure the accountability of humanitarian actors towards communities they aim to serve. To do so, Community World Service Asia believes in strengthening the Quality and Accountability (Q&A) mechanisms at an organizational level by effectively investing in building and enhancing the capacities of staff and partners.

To address the capacity needs and equip staff with the most updated information and relevant skill required for effective implementation of projects and engagement with stakeholders, CWSA organized a series of internal trainings for staff members in the last quarter of 2019.

Trainings on ‘Do No Harm’, ‘Gender Inclusion in Emergencies’, Effective Communication through Transactional Analysis(TA)’, and ‘Leadership and Teambuilding’ were participated by forty-eight staff members in Umerkot, Sindh province.  These trainings were facilitated by Moazzam Ali and  Sohail Muhammad who are both consultants with CWSA and carry decades of experience on organizational management, development programs and leadership.

In October the training on Gender Inclusion took place which focused on teaching participants the minimum standards required for gender inclusion and protection in different emergencies; its forms; and strategies for prevention of gender inequality during emergencies. In the same month, a daylong session on Do No Harm was conducted. Participants were introduced to the concept and background of Do No Harm and learnt about the sources of tension; “dividers” and local capacities for peace “connectors”, in the communities. Staff members were sensitized on how to respond to negative feedback and complaints from the affected communities they work with. The Do No Harm framework and its application in projects’ activities and events was also thoroughly explained to participants during this session.

Interactive and activity-based trainings on ‘Staff Professional Development’, ‘Effective Communication through Transactional Analysis (TA)’ and Leadership Skills and Team Building Strategies were conducted in November for the same project teams in Umerkot.

Participants’ Experience:

“The participatory approach carried out during the sessions encouraged us to participate actively throughout. We took grave interest in group exercises and shared our learnings and experiences with new staff.”

Mir Hassan, Agriculture Officer
Disaster Risk Reduction/Food Security Project

“The training on “Gender Inclusion in Emergencies” was very informative and I learned a lot of new things in relation to Disaster Management in emergencies. The session provided information on gender equality and equity, gender sensitivity approaches in disaster management. The methodology applied during the session made it easy for us to understand and implement the learnings in our working environment.”

Shama Shano, Community Mobilizer
Disaster Risk Reduction/Food Security Project

Nazar Mohammad, a grade three teacher, used to be very strict with his students. He was new to the field of academics but he really enjoyed teaching and loved his students. One day at school, his students were being particularly rowdy. Frustrated with the students being unmanageable, he started yelling at his students. That scared them a little and after five long minutes of silence, Nazar stood at the front of the class saying,

The only child interested in learning in this class is this young boy here. He is the only one who says ‘Wow, that’s interesting’.

Nazar was pointing at his student named Sanjay.

Being made an example for the entire class, Sanjay felt very motivated. This was the power of validation. Sanjay did love studying and his teacher acknowledged that.

After a few months though, Nazar noticed that Sanjay had stopped coming to school. After inquiring, he learned that Sanjay had started working at a cobbler’s shop to support his family with their household expenses. Sanjay’s father was also a good acquaintance of Nazar, so he asked him why he would make his son to work at a cobbler’s shop when he would have the capacity to earn a much better livelihood if he would complete his education.

Such simple words were all that was needed to make Sanjay’s father reconsider his decision of making Sanjay work at such a young age. He remembered Nazar’s words,

Trust your child.

Mr. Nazar continued to question and speculate Sanjay’s father about the reasons behind making his son work at this age. He also feared that his questioning may offend the father but it did not stop him from pressing him to change his mind. After a long silence, Sanjay’s father,

I can only send Sanjay to study in the evening if you are willing to teach him at that time.

Nazar replied with a sure ‘yes’.

I will teach him in the evening.

After many years of evening schooling with Nazar, Sanjay completed his primary and secondary education. HE also continued to complete his college and attained a bachelor’s degree from a university too. Both Sanjay and Nazar struggled along the way, but Mr. Nazar did not give up on Sanjay. He consistently motivated and mentored Sanjay until he became a doctor one day.

Sanjay is now a certified practicing doctor in Karachi. Nazar happily shares,

I am proud of Sanjay. It is all just because of his hard work and commitment that he has achieved all of this. Us teachers have to light up the way for our students even at times of difficulties, it is our duty to ensure they do not give up.

However Nazar was not the part of this project at that time but due to his disability he possesses empathy to provide equal opportunity to those children who are away from education Mr. Nazar is associated with Community World Service Asia for one year in Education project which mainly aims on Early childhood Care and Education its focus, hence, is on catering to overall child development rather than academic readiness or cognitive development alone. However, ensuring quality benchmark parameters in preschools undoubtedly aims at upscaling standards through standardization. Unfortunately, when it comes to local customization and administering a curriculum tailored to suit the specific learning needs of a child, standardization of curriculum might come as a challenge. It, however, does not mean focusing on academics alone but paying equal attention to developing life-skills, offering fun-based exploratory learning activities to the child during his formative years. It defends and promotes the rights of children to education, care and supports activities improving accessibility to high-quality education and care. Nazar was assigned in another class but after receiving training on Early Childhood Care and Education he decided to conduct ECCE class due to its arising challenges and finding it most crowded among other classes with the enrollment of 70-80 students.

I was hesitant to attend any training because of the expected behavior of dealing with disabled people. But the way, the team treated me with respect and gave me equal opportunity to participate in each activity with others. To be seen not as a disable individual to do something, but as a normal person to participate, learn and grow. It motivated me to attend more training and take ECCE class in school because managing a room full of young children can be delightful, but it can also be hard and can drain a lot of your energy. The day-to-day challenges you will face can range from dealing with difficult behaviors to crying and cranky children. Throughout the day, you must balance all of their unique needs to keep your classroom functioning smoothly.

said Nazar.

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Good leaders are made, not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.

Jago, 1982

With over fifteen years of experience in the development sector, Muhammad Bux Kumbhar’s passion is to advocate for the rights of disadvantaged communities. As an Executive Director of a local organization named, Sukaar Welfare, Muhammad Bux works to achieve women and youth empowerment through community development and advocacy initiatives. For years Muhammad Bux has been engaged in global networking and voluntary activism initiatives with different partners on issues such as child marriages, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, youth empowerment and gender mainstreaming. He regularly participates in social and digital awareness-building campaigns and writes proposals to implement relevant local projects.

As an active member of the District Engagement Group[1], we engage with different government departments such as Social Welfare, Women Development, Health, Education and the Police to build relationships and influence public authorities and provincial stakeholders on structures of law and policies related to women empowerment,

shared Muhammad Bux.

Finding the topic relevant to his responsibilities, Muhammad Bux registered himself for a four-day training titled, Influencing for Social Change, organized by Community World Service Asia. Impressed with the trainer’s twenty-five year national and global experience, Muhammad Bux could not contain his excitement to participate in the training.

Muhammad Bux shared that the training offered participants practical \ tools that were easily applicable in their daily work.

The training helped us understand the influence processes that can lead to achieving sustainable change. During the training, participants developed awareness-raising campaigns focused on influencing effectively through the use of different tools. We analyzed risks and sensitive features involved in designing influential campaigns,

he said.

The training enhanced the participants’ knowledge and skills on developing effective and persuasive educative campaigns that could lead to social change. Muhammad Bux was able to apply the learnings from the training to his work immediately. He said,

On my return, I modified the language of our nature of work. During our coordination campaigns, we now use new terms like ‘influencing,’ ‘networking’ and ‘liaising with stakeholders.’ I replicated part of the training and transferred the learning amongst the staff of Sukaar Welfare organization. They are already engaged voluntarily with organizational campaigns, so they understand the new term ‘influencing for social change’. I also shared my key learnings from the training to ensure more impact of the advocacy work done and to help our organization influence the communities effectively and resolve our issues with stakeholders.

Sukaar Welfare is now reevaluating and restructuring their advocacy strategies to be able to bring about more effective social change among the communities it works with.


[1] Formed under the ‘Every Voice Counts’ project, implemented by CWSA and supported by CARE International