Post-flood health vulnerability should be alarming

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 24, 2014

Recent assessments by the humanitarian community indicate that the post-flood health situation in Pakistan is deteriorating. Scabies, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections are significantly increasing. Dengue fever continued taking its toll as the number of cases reached an alarming 9,402 in Punjab on Friday, October 19.

Nearly two months after the floods devastated parts of the country, stagnant water remains a major factor in health risks. Inaccessibility to proper water and sanitation facilities coupled with poor hygiene practices increases the prevalence of illness and the spread of diseases.

Pakistan’s health system is insufficient to meet the health needs of the population; public health expenditure is only 1.0% of GDP.[1] Government health facilities have the main responsibility for providing health services, but they often lack qualified staff and infrastructure. The weak health system is overburdened. Parallel to the public health system are private health facilities which are only accessible by the middle and upper classes due to cost.

Challenging Social Discrimination through Youth Leadership

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 22, 2014

Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan held its second workshop with university students on the issue of social discrimination against religious minority communities, attended by 26 students from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.  The four-day workshop was held at O’Spring, Murree, and explored the ways in which minority communities experience discrimination at a social level.  The students all have extensive experience in the creative arts, with a range of backgrounds including photography, theater, music, film, art, and dance.

Dr. Atif, who has been facilitating CWS-P/A’s partnership with the university, shared that both he and the students initially had some concerns about attending the session.  After the introductory workshop held on campus, some of the students had been afraid that the purpose of the project was evangelical, and they had been resistant to the concept of religious discrimination.  However, Dr. Atif confirmed that these fears have now been resolved.  “The facilitator let the students speak, and the concerns about religion were addressed very well.”

Dr. Atif remains convinced of the importance of the project for his students.  “I have experienced discrimination, and I had a choice to either close myself off or try to break the cycle.  Everyone has a right to peace and happiness.”  Dr. Atif viewed the premise of the workshop as a gateway to addressing discrimination more broadly in the future.  He believes that by addressing discrimination against religious minority groups, awareness will also be raised about existing prejudices across society and the ways in which ethnic, linguistic, and economically marginalized communities face discrimination.  He feels that the message of tolerance will be well received by other students on campus and that the action planning included in the workshop is a valuable way to support the students to maintain their efforts.  “There are so many things we can do,” he says.

Capacity Building: Monitoring and Evaluation Training

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 22, 2014

In September, CWS-P/A organized a three-day workshop on monitoring and evaluation for participants from various civil society organizations and NGOs within Pakistan to enhance their knowledge on the topic. The training, including an in-house session for Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), was attended by 48 participants in Islamabad and Hyderabad. Through a mix of lectures and group work, the participants received knowledge on basic concepts of monitoring and evaluation and developed an understanding in using Logical Framework Matrix (LFM) as a planning, monitoring, and reporting tool. The workshop was designed based on expressed interest from civil society organizations and NGOs to ensure that the capacity building opportunity was in line with skills and organizational requirements for enhancing monitoring and evaluation as a way to improve effectiveness of initiatives with communities.

Focus was placed on effective tools to aid in monitoring and evaluation which are further used to track progress and facilitate decision-making within an organization. While the participants actively engaged in group activities involving designing efficient and effective programs and activities that reinforce comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems, they also received guidance from the facilitator, Ms. Rifat Shams. These activities and programs additionally benefit organizations to determine priorities and develop strategies through best practices and lessons learned.

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