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World Humanitarian Day

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 20, 2014

icon World Humanitarian Day

Aug 19, 2014

#The World Needs More #Humanitarian Heroes

Community Support Vital for Education in Afghanistan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 19, 2014

“Traditionally they say and it is believed to be offensive if a woman works outside her home and earns money to support her family,” said Zahida. Zahida is currently a teacher in Mesha Khail Girls High School located in Qarghai District, Laghman Province, Afghanistan. She had completed high school and had always dreamt of becoming a teacher. “I had already discussed this with my family many times so as to convince them to allow me to pursue my career as a teacher.” Zahida added, “After graduation, I applied for the position of a teacher in Mesha Khail Girls High School and by the completion of the formal process was hired.”

Zahida was soon left with no choice other than to leave her career when she was married two months after joining the school. Khan Agha, Zahida’s husband, had previously accepted that she would continue her teaching career after their marriage. However, Khan Agha shared that he did not want his family and relatives to think that he was letting his wife work outside their home so as to use the income she brought back.

On the day Zahida submitted her resignation she said she cried and shared her feelings with teachers and students at the school. “I had lost my happiness and felt my life was ruined.”

In Afghanistan: Helping Women Discover Good Health

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 19, 2014

In Afghanistan, CWS-P/A’s health work supports families in four districts across the province of Laghman.  Through six health facilities and in July, 1,619 men and women received health services. The facilities recorded 63 new pregnant mothers with the project’s antenatal care program, while 31 pregnant mothers received their fourth antenatal care visit.  The project’s midwives also recorded 50 deliveries and 158 mothers continue to attend postnatal care visits.  Approximately 82 children received necessary vaccination and 265 children under age five have been screened regarding their nutritional status.

More importantly, 334 community members attended health education sessions and 68 spouses of expecting women attended awareness sessions on sexual reproductive health.

As the project continues, many women like Said Bibi discovered health access that previously remained unknown to them. They have overcome challenges that previously prevented them from having children. “I was anemic and given medication by the midwife at the clinic.” Said Bibi resides in Dawlatshah District and often helped her husband in laborious chores. She shared that in her initial pregnancies she lost three babies.

Market Access and More Business

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 19, 2014

In 2012 CWS-P/A initiated a project in Thatta District, Sindh Province to increase livelihood opportunities for marginalized women.  The project focuses on empowering women with vocational skills, basic literacy, health information, and knowledge on disaster risk reduction. Women have also participated in product development trainings to modernize and increase the marketability of traditionally known skills and products which was led by an urban designer. Furthermore, the project is working to establish market linkages to help bring the women’s products to urban markets and increase their household earnings.

Women from Jaffar Mallah Village travelled to Karachi for the first time in July to visit shopping centers and malls for their initial exposure to urban markets. This provided the women with a basic understanding of market demands and contemporary trends in embroidery work. The production supervisors and sales and marketing agent from the first vocational center visited Karachi earlier in February. They reported a better understanding of how the market works. Additionally, the visit resulted in product orders for 1,000 hand-embroidery buttons and fabric yardage. The women from Jaffar Mallah received a small order which includes a few yards of the finished product. They hope that that a larger follow-up order will result based on the sample production from the small order.

Situation Alert: Rain-related incidents leave 18 dead in Peshawar

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 16, 2014

Background:

Heavy rains accompanied by windstorm wreaked havoc in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday, leaving 18 people dead. Approximately, 42 mm of precipitation was recorded in the city. The rainfall lasted for only one hour and 30 minutes – from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, but has been the cause of significant damage.

More than 80 people sustained injuries in separate incidents caused by collapsing of roofs and walls of houses in various areas of the city.

Rescue activities are underway, while those injured were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital. The rescue sources said that many wounded people remain in critical condition.

This heavy downpour uprooted trees and electricity polls additionally causing disruption in the power supply to many areas of the city for several hours.

In Youth: Mental Health, Education, and Skills

  • Features
  • Written by Donna Fernandes
  • August 11, 2014

The present generation of Afghanistan’s youth has witnessed an era of war combined with political, economic, and social upheaval. Factual information states that youth comprise more than 70 percent of Afghanistan’s population. This ‘youth bulge’ as termed by demographers evidently means that it is the progress of youth which will shape the country’s future in the coming years. It is also known that in Afghanistan, young people face a spectrum of violence that is not only limited to war. The traumatic experiences caused by war and other violence in Afghanistan lead to psychiatric disorders along with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Research states that today one in five school children in Afghanistan are likely to suffer from clinical mental health problems. It needs to be acknowledged that mental health problems in young people in Afghanistan could be greatly assisted by quality education and skills, engagement in society, and resources invested in health and other youth based programs to guide them.

This year, International Youth Day provides an opportunity to governments, agencies, and institutions to draw attention to their youth and the success of this day’s theme - the importance of youth’s mental well-being. For a country such as Afghanistan this day must hold significant importance to ensure proper allocation of resources toward building the capacities of youth and promoting skills and education along with activities that value health and engage youth in peace and governance.

In Afghanistan, a lack of education and livelihood opportunities only works to halt the progress of a generation of youthful population. Other challenges include a lack of knowledge on rights and freedom, civil engagement, and gender inequality.

Situation Update: NWA displacement - Over one million IDPs registered

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • August 11, 2014

Background:

On August 8, the civilian authorities shared that they expect another outflow of displaced families from NWA, following an extension of the operations taking place. The estimated numbers are 25,000 individuals, of whom many are expected to be family members of existing displaced families. A registration desk with all concerned stakeholders (Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Disaster Management Authority – FDMA, National Database and Registration Authority – NADRA, etc) is in place at Saidgai checkpoint, where people are expected to exit.

Earlier on August 7, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) verbally reported 1,000,428 people (95,109 families) registered as displaced from North Waziristan Agency (NWA); 286,624 women  (29 percent) and 456,049 children (46 percent).

On August 6, FDMA reported that NADRA reviewed registration data of 93,239 families, of which 53,186 families (57 percent) were verified and 40,053 families (42.9 percent) rejected. Government estimates verified families will be approximately 600,000 people.  UNHCR reported an undetermined number of displaced people from five NWA tehsils (Dosali, Ghariwarm, Razmak, Shawa, and Spinwarm) spontaneously returned.  Ministry of States and Frontier Regions - SAFRON has confirmed this but has not indicated any numbers. It is possible these returnees are registered and collect their relief assistance in Bannu.

CWS-P/A Received an Award for its Girls’ Education Project in Afghanistan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 18, 2014

The Ministry of Education Nangarhar Education Directorate awarded a certificate of appreciation to CWS-P/A acknowledging the contribution of the girls’ education project. In Surkhroad District, CWS-P/A operates a girls’ education project in seven schools, which continues to encourage enrollments of girls, improve quality of education by building teachers’ capacity, and enhance the learning experience through the distribution of school kits and the inclusion of extracurricular and recreational activities.

Do No Harm Curriculum for School Teachers

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 18, 2014

From June 3-6, 2014, a four-day training, “Do No Harm Curriculum for School Teachers,” was held at CWS-P/A’s training center in Murree, Pakistan. Twenty-two participants including school teachers and social activists participated in this workshop to build their capacity on citizenship. They also developed their pedagogical skills to conduct sessions with students in their respective schools.

Livelihood Support for IDPs and Host Communities in Kohat

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 18, 2014

To improve the livelihood of IDPs and host communities, CWS-P/A initiated humanitarian efforts in four union councils of Kohat District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Continuous insurgency and military operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan has resulted in a huge influx of IDPs in Kohat and surrounding areas. Access to livelihood opportunities and other basic necessities is a challenge for the IDPs. With the extra demand on resources and services, the host community, particularly vulnerable families, also face increased challenges. The initiative aims to reduce this burden and increase access to food and livelihood among the IDP and host communities.

During the month of June 2014, the distribution of poultry inputs among 400 families was completed. Each family received ten crossbreed hens and two roosters along with a cage equipped with a drinker and feeder. Training on backyard poultry farming and sufficient poultry feed for one month was also provided.

Empowering Girls in Afghanistan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 18, 2014

Five years into the girls’ education project in Afghanistan, CWS-P/A implemented skills based classes in fourteen schools across Nangarhar and Laghman. During the 2013-14 school year, more than 1,400 girls participated in five skill-building classes which included speech delivery, painting, drawing, hand embroidery, and acting. In addition to learning the basic school curriculum, these students built confidence, engaged in extracurricular activities, and learned topics such as child rights.

To culminate the year’s activities, girls of Kuz Sultanpur Girls High School in Surkhroad District, Nangarhar participated in a quiz competition organized in June 2014. Parents who comprised the audience shared they initially thought their daughters were studying early for exams. However, school management soon informed them about the quiz competition.

Promoting Mother and Child Health Care Step-by-Step in Laghman

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 18, 2014

The construction of a delivery room in Paytag, Dawlatsha District is a milestone for efforts to improve mother and child health care in Laghman, Afghanistan. With generous support from CIDA through Presbyterian World Service & Development, CWS-P/A has completed the construction of six delivery rooms at the Maternal and Child Health (MNCH) project sites. These delivery rooms are handed over to the community and Laghman Public Health Department. With the aim to decrease maternal and neonatal mortality rates, the provision of quality services is attracting more women to the facilities. The construction process of these delivery rooms was completed under direct supervision of Laghman Public Health Directorate with close monitoring by the MNCH team and local health committee members.

Situation Alert: 120K IDPs Flee to Afghanistan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 16, 2014

Background:

More than 120,500 individuals have fled Pakistan to take refuge in Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan. The influx is the result of Pakistan’s ongoing large scale military operation against militants in North Waziristan, Pakistan. An urgency to provide support to the displaced families as well as the host communities is felt on both sides of the border.

In Afghanistan, UNHCR began distribution of NFIs, plastic sheeting, and WFP food rations in Matun, Khost. In Paktika Province, preparations for distribution are being organized through a local organization. Mobile health clinic needs are identified in Urgun and Barmal districts to respond to the large number of displaced families settled there.

Situation Alert: Launch of Targeted Operation in Bajaur Agency

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 15, 2014

Background:

After a spate of cross-border attacks by militants on Pakistani border posts, political and military authorities have decided to launch a targeted operation in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency.

The decision has been taken in view of intelligence reports which state that militants are present in the area. It is also assumed that the decision to launch a targeted operation was prompted by Friday’s killing of three security personnel in a cross border attack claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

An alliance of political parties also met with Abdul Jabar Shah, the political agent of Bajaur Agency to seek an assurance that the planned operation would be targeted.

Situation Alert: Pakistan Threatened by 2014 Monsoon Onset

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 14, 2014

Background:

The yearly monsoon season is a natural phenomenon, which results in some degree of flooding in low-lying areas near Pakistan’s major rivers. In recent years, the country witnessed high levels of precipitation and flash floods. Coupled with the melting of snow and glaciers, the result has been severe flooding while low rainfall and extreme variations in temperatures in certain parts of the country have led to droughts. The unprecendented 2010 floods have been followed by more isolated areas of destruction during the monsoon season. As the current monsoon begins, the uncertainty of exactly where floods will occur and insufficient preparedness places millions of people at risk for loss of life, livelihoods, and property.

Despite efforts made to recover from previous years’ floods and to improve disaster resilience at the local and national levels, many communities are ill-prepared to handle a major or even minor flood. The northern areas will experience spurts of flash floods, for which only a few minutes will be available for people in the path of the water to evacuate. For people living along the riverbanks, saving their belongings and cropland will be impossible. As the monsoon continues and the increased river flow especially in Indus River travels South, Sindh will experience breaches in embankments.

Situation Alert: Darel Valley Flash Floods: More than 70 houses washed away, 3000 people displaced

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 10, 2014

Background:

Around 3,000 people have been displaced, 70 houses washed away, and 120 houses have been damaged due to flooding in Gumari Nalah of Tehsil Darel in Diamer District located in Gilgit Baltistan Province.

The floods hit the valley on the night of July 4. On the same night a 5.2 magnitude earthquake had also hit the valley at almost the same time.

Apparently, the scale of the disaster remained unknown for almost two days due to the remoteness of the valley as well as due to a sense of panic created by an attack on a police station two days prior and the resultant launching of a search operation by security agencies in Darel Valley.

Situation Update: “NWA displacement: Over half a million IDPs registered”

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • July 7, 2014

Background:

So far, 52,978 families have crossed over from North Waziristan Agency (NWA) areas of operations and have been registered. The following table shows the breakdown of the IDP’s:

a.

Male

216,165

b.

Female

243,062

c.

Children

338,758

d.

Total

797,985

According to updates from UNOCHA, registration has re-opened for those families who could not register earlier for a variety of reasons. UNHCR has also reported that as estimated 112,000 people from NWA are in Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan.

Information Minister, Pervaiz Rashid shared that according to government estimates each family would receive 40,000 rupees (USD 404) in cash and rations worth 30,000 rupees (USD 303) in the first month. As per the Prime Minister’s orders, each registered family is expected to receive compensation through Zong mobile phone SIMs, starting July 8. WFP spokesperson, Amjad Jamal shared that it was difficult to be certain at the moment as more and more refugees continued to flood into government camps each day. “There are many cases where different male members from the same family unit have registered themselves separately. This is in addition to the scores of unregistered families and others who do not possess identity cards, which is a prerequisite for obtaining aid. Data-cleaning is under way and we will soon have a clear idea of the total number of internally displaced families,” shared Mr Jamal.

Situation Update: “NWA displacement: Over 455,000 displaced”

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • June 27, 2014

Background:

Latest records indicate that over 455,000 people remain displaced from North Waziristan Agency (NWA). More than 74 percent include women and children. The flow of people from NWA stopped following the Government’s re-imposed curfew on June 24.

Most displaced families have taken refuge in neighboring districts of Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, and Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Families have also moved to Bakkar and Fatehjang in Punjab Province and other parts of the country as well as Afghanistan. Reports show that families who moved to Bannu face many hardships due to overwhelmed facilities. Only 27 families opt to live in a camp in Bannu which has been set up by the Government, while the rest stay with friends and relatives, rented houses or public buildings such as schools. Owing to cultural norms, lack of privacy and services, many displaced families avoid staying at camps.

Situation Update: “NWA displacement: PDMA registers 31,264 IDP families”

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • June 23, 2014

Background:

Latest reports state that a total of 31,264 families (394,319 individuals) have been registered at the Registration Point of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) at Saidgai checkpost. This was also confirmed by the chief secretary of the Control Room at the PDMA.

Families have brought along with them a large number of livestock.

One June 23, the World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing aid for hundreds of thousands of people who fled a military operation in North Waziristan tribal region. The WFP has requested the government for an immediate release of 60,000 tons of wheat to meet emerging food demands of the IDPs. So far, the WFP in Pakistan is the only UN agency that the government has requested assistance from.

Situation Update: “More than 100,000 IDPs leave NWA”

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • June 20, 2014

Background:

Today being the last day for locals to evacuate the North Waziristan Agency (NWA), the security forces and political administration in the agency continue to relax curfew hours as part of the three-day relaxation provided to people to allow maximum evacuation to alternate areas. News sources reported that yesterday families began evacuation from Miranshah and Ghulam Khan.

Additionally, checkpoints have been established by security forces at various places to provide displaced persons with administrative support, food, and medicines. At Saidgai Post, the number of registration points has increased to 20. These registration points, ten for men and ten for women, assist in speedy and organized evacuation.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that an IDP camp has been established in Bannu. At present, the total number of registered displaced families has reached 7,031 consisting of over 100,000 people.

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