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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.

Youth for Democratic Pakistan

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

During April 2014, workshops which outlined the concepts of human rights and democracy were organized for sixty-five students from the University of Punjab and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Through the workshop, students also became aware of the social, legal, and political discrimination faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. This opportunity is the result of CWS-P/A forming working relationships with three institutions of higher learning.

Due to the positive response of the university faculties at the University of Central Punjab, the University of Sindh, and the University of Punjab, CWS-P/A was able to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with these esteemed universities. These universities all share a dedication to educating and supporting young people to become strong critical thinkers, leaders, and ambassadors of peace and unity.  In partnership with these institutions, CWS-P/A looks forward to engaging one of the country’s most valuable resources, its young people, to work toward eliminating the discrimination against religious minority groups and to promote a peaceful and prosperous society.

The students participated actively and enthusiastically in the discussions and activities, and demonstrated strong beliefs, knowledge, and understanding from a variety of perspectives as well as expressive, skilled, and respectful dialogue. Throughout both sessions, the students consistently exhibited sincere and committed political engagement and concern for the future and well-being of Pakistan.

In Sindh: Puppets Bring Important Messages

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

“We must live in love and harmony. We need to help each other, and this is what the puppet show and theater performance also showed us,” said Indra, a third grade student from Mirpurkhas. Indra participates in CWS-P/A’s project, Peace Education for Primary and Middle Schools. CWS-P/A and its partners including Society for Safe Environment & Welfare of Agrarians in Pakistan (SSEWA-PAK), Primary Education Project (PEP) Hyderabad, Participatory Village Development Program (PVDP), and Kaachi Community Development Association (KCDA) work to promote peace education among primary and middle schools in rural areas of Sindh Province. CWS-P/A’s peace manual for teachers and workbook for students has been made part of the curriculum among schools that have incorporated peace education as a course.

Over 100 participants including teachers and students recently attended a puppet show organized in Mirpurkhas. Children also participated in role plays which addressed important messages on social issues. They advocated for education for girls, the inclusion of women in electoral processes, gender equality, and good social and moral values among others.

“The role plays taught us that we should avoid bad habits and work toward progress,” said Gul, a fifth grade student.

Situation Update: North Waziristan Operation - FDMA scrambles to provide for IDPs”

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • June 17, 2014

Background:

On June 16, 2014, locals in North Waziristan asked the government to ensure safe passage to leave the tribal agency after the authorities blocked all roads from the area ahead of the military operation. FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) Director General Arshad Khan said that unless the curfew in the area is lifted, the FDMA is unable to help those stranded in the area. “We will provide free transport to tribesmen wishing to leave once the curfew is lifted,” he said. Arshad Khan explained that during previous operations in the region, the FDMA was given at least two weeks warning in order to finalize provisions for aid and the sudden operation has left the FDMA scrambling to provide for an estimated 600,000 IDPs.

The registration of displaced people on the Bannu-Miramshah Road has commenced. The FDMA director general shared that migration toward Bannu has been underway since May 22 where security sources confirmed that camps have been established. “So far, we have registered 4,350 families, with 60,000 individuals including women and children,” he said.

Situation Alert: “Pakistan Experiences Two Natural Disasters”

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

Earthquake

A moderate earthquake struck northwest Pakistan on Saturday, causing panic in towns and cities, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, an official shared.

Mohammad Riaz, a senior scientist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, shared the magnitude 6.0 earthquake was felt in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Swat Valley, and several nearby areas. The epicenter was located in the Hindu Kush in neighboring Afghanistan. Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province which borders Afghanistan. On June 12, 2014, mild tremors of magnitude 4.3 on Richter scale were also felt in Shangla District.

Cyclone Nanauk

More than thirty villages of Sindh and the Makran coastal belt have been submerged by the high tide in the Arabian Sea, preceding a cyclone that was predicted to hit the coast of Oman on June 15.

The protective embankment of Keti Bunder in Thatta was damaged due to which several villages in Keti Bander, Kharochhan, and Ghorabari were flooded which includes the villages of Esa Khaskheli, Usman Khaskheli, Siddique Ronjho, Arif Samo, Allah Dito Sahito, Ahmed Jatt and others in Kharo Chhan, Hashim Rajwani, Muhammad Hussain Chandio, Qadir Bakhsh Sakhani and Yousuf Dablo in Keti Bunder and Aarib Mallah, Bachayo Mallah, Ahmed Sodai and Idrees Gagwani in Ghora Bari.

Background:

The targeted security operation in North Waziristan Agency started after a suicide bomber hit an explosive laden truck at an Army check post, which destroyed the check post and the adjacent Masjid, killing 5 soldiers and injuring many on December 18, 2013. Non-state armed groups attacked soldiers involved in the rescue operation after the attack. On December 19, 2013, in retaliation, the military commenced targeted security operation against the militants.

A series of attacks followed including a suicide attack on a military outpost near Mir Ali which resulted in the killing of 23 Frontier Corps Personnel by the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP). Fear of a counter attack by the military resulted in the displacement of 23,061 individuals by February 20, 2014. Most of the internally displaced people (IDPs) moved to their second homes in Bannu or stayed with relatives in the area. The affected area was never notified, thus, those who moved were not entitled to be registered by the Government.

Bazamgull’s Story

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A staff
  • June 6, 2014

“My father died three years ago, and now, I lost five family members in this disaster. It seems my death is better than my life. Now, there is no one to support in the upbringing  of my two remaining children or look after their safety while I go out to earn for our meals, clothes, medicines, and other necessities,” shared Bazamgull, 30, resident of Ab Barik Village, Argo, Badakhshan.

“It was around 11:00 a.m. while I was working in the city of Faizabad. I received a phone call from one of the villagers who asked me to come back to the village as soon as possible since my entire family, my home, and my assets were ruined under the debris of a landslide.

“I immediately stopped working and rushed back to my home.” With extreme sorrow Bazamgull expressed, “As I arrived at my village, I was astonished to see that my entire village, my home, everything had disappeared under the mud. I started to ask around about my family; a village member directed me toward two of my children. My two youngest children, my wife, mother, and sister all were under the debris. The villagers had tried their best to save them, but it was impossible for them to rescue my family.”

In Jawzjan, Mothers Speak about Loss and Survival

  • Latest News
  • Written by Engr. Sharif and Dr. Hazrat Ali Hamid
  • June 6, 2014

Khurma Bibi lost her husband two years ago due to cancer. Prior to his death, Khurma Bibi’s husband provided for the family’s basic needs by working as a daily wage laborer. He also supplemented his income by harvesting wheat on a small area of land that he owned in their village, Chosbash Turkmania, which is located in Khawaja Do Koh District, Jawzjan Province. “I faced many problems after his death because I became the only provider for my family. My sons Sharif (7 years) and Saifuddin (4 years) are too young,” shared Khurma Bibi.

Khurma Bibi soon adapted and began working from home, using her skills in carpet weaving to earn income. “This was not enough, but I could manage to some extent with it.” She explained that she could earn an average of 2,500 afghani (USD 44), which she budgeted well in order to meet her family’s daily expenses.

For Khurma Bibi life became tougher when heavy flooding destroyed her home including her machinery and carpet weaving tools. “I was only able to escape with my children. When I looked back at my home and the other homes in my village, they were completely destroyed along with all the agricultural lands. The lands were the only source of income for many of the residents. The year’s food supplies as well as household belongings and animals were all under murky waters.” With tears in her eyes, Khurma Bibi said, “I lost everything.”

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