All News

Expanding HIV&AIDS Awareness

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

Between early and mid March, CWS-P/A held a three-day youth camp in Narowal District, Punjab and a one-day awareness session on HIV&AIDS in Thatta District, Sindh. A total of 83 participants attended the camp and adolescent session which took place in both districts for the first time.

A participatory approach was used to raise awareness as participants expressed their views of HIV&AIDS. During the youth camp, participants also developed posters and art work to express ideas about the topic as they enhanced their knowledge.

In Pakistan, cultural and social barriers hamper awareness and discussions on topics such as HIV&AIDS. CWS-P/A believes that knowledge and information sharing helps to reduce prevalence. “Awareness is our right, but we are restricted to know what our elders tell us without any reasoning. Here, I also got to know about gender roles in our male dominating culture,” shared a male participant in Thatta.

Capacity Building: Theater for Development

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

CWS-P/A’s Capacity Building Program has conducted several trainings over the years to build the capacities of civil society organizations, community groups, teachers, and students on the use of theater as an important communications and advocacy tool.

Recently in March, the Capacity Institutionalization Project (CIP) carried out a training, “Theater for Development,” in Lahore, Pakistan. The training focused on engaging participants to use theater as a tool to address various issues while also creating awareness. Additionally, the training helped participants enhance their knowledge on interactive and street theater, the art of creating stories, and developing issue-based content in interactive theater.

DRR: Communities Relate to Vulnerabilities

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

Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan (CWS-P/A) educates rural communities on disaster risk reduction through its Mobile Knowledge Resource Center (MKRC). During the last two months, more than 500 community members and 353 students participated in twenty-six trainings, successfully conducted in various villages of districts, Sujawal, Umerkot and Thatta. Participants are engaged through a variety of theory, IEC materials, and practical application activities. The approach is designed to attract interest and help communities relate to DRR in a way that encourages them to practice effective preparedness and mitigation. Through the training, the community also benefits from identifying actual vulnerabilities in their villages, developing a disaster preparedness plan, and assigning roles and responsibilities.

During the hazard, vulnerability, and capacity assessment (HVCA), participants produced maps of their localities with the aim to collect information on particular hazards in their area and identify vulnerabilities which contribute to disasters. This exercise assisted in categorizing short and long-term interventions required to reduce risk levels and root causes of floods, fires, and cyclones. A disaster preparedness plan was strategized by the community to classify levels of self-help and external interventions.

CWS-P/A and The Sphere Project Renew Partnership

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

CWS-P/A collaborates closely with The Sphere Project to promote awareness and encourage implementation of the Sphere minimum standards for disaster response. Since 2011, CWS-P/A has been the Sphere regional partner in Asia. Based on a review of CWS-P/A’s role in the region and the findings that reiterated the value addition of this role, CWS-P/A and The Sphere Project recently renewed this partnership until 2016.

As part of CWS-P/A’s role in promoting quality and accountability initiatives in Asia, CWS-P/A supports Sphere country focal points and other organizations that promote quality and accountability. CWS-P/A in collaboration with the Sphere Project held for the first time a Sphere Focal Point Forum in Bangkok, Thailand in 2011. As the regional partner, CWS-P/A organized regional training opportunities which benefited 400 individuals from 40 organizations. More than 1,000 copies of the Sphere Handbook (2011) were distributed to humanitarians throughout Asia.  CWS-P/A has been actively developing and translating materials, which include a workbook on quality and accountability, and most recently a publication on Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management (PCM). The PCM publication is available in English, while French, Urdu, and Dari versions will be available.

Quality and Accountability Update - Typhoon Yolanda

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • April 16, 2014
Download the pdf version of CWS-P/A's Q&A update number four. 

Situation Alert: Landslide in Northern Afghanistan claims lives and destroys homes

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

Background:

On Saturday, April 12, 2014, heavy rains and a 4.1 magnitude earthquake triggered landslides in Afghanistan’s Takhar Province. At least four people have been killed and 100 houses were destroyed. The death toll is expected to increase as rescue efforts to remove people trapped under debris are underway.

Damaged roads which were flooded make the rescue efforts by Afghan police forces and rescue teams more difficult.

Government officials shared that residents of the province moved to higher ground for safety.

The province is approximately 245 kilometers from Kabul, and landslides occasionally occur during the spring rainy season in this mountainous region.

World Health Day 2014: Preventing Vector-Borne Diseases

  • Features
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office and Mola Bux Umrani
  • April 7, 2014

More than one million people die every year from vector-borne diseases which include malaria and dengue. Vectors such as mosquitos, bugs, and ticks transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person to another. Malaria causes more than 600, 000 deaths every year globally, most of them are children under five years of age and more than 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk of contracting dengue. These infections are most commonly found in tropical areas and places where populations have inadequate housing and lack access to safe drinking-water and sanitation 1. Vector-borne diseases are attracting attention globally and are also the focus of this year’s World Health Day.

CWS-P/A Launches First Quality and Accountability Booklet on Project Cycle Management in Pakistan

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

Islamabad, March 11, 2014 – As part of Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan’s (CWS-P/A) long-term commitment to enhance quality and accountability in humanitarian and development interventions, a booklet on Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management (written by Sylvie Robert and Astrid de Valon) was launched in a ceremony held at a local hotel.

Sphere Handbook’s E-edition

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

The Sphere Project recently launched the eBook edition of its Handbook (2011 edition). The new eBook is available for the most popular e-readers in English, French, Russian, and Spanish. An Arabic version will be available later this year.

The Kindle version is available from most Amazon online stores and works on the Amazon e-reader. Whereas, the ePub version of the eBook works on many e-readers.

“Masters Teacher Training on Pedagogical Skills” in Laghman

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

To increase knowledge about civic education and improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools, a five-day “Masters Teacher Training on Pedagogical Skills” was held from February 10 – 14, 2014. Twenty male teachers from seven girls’ high schools in Qarghayee district of Laghman province in Afghanistan, attended the training with the aim to acquire knowledge, skills and practical proficiency to become good trainers.

During the training teachers were introduced to child centered approaches and methodology to foster an environment which promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. To strengthen the capacity of teachers, a variety of training methodologies and facilities were adopted by applying principles of adult learning and steps to behavioral change by using audio-visuals; and practicing training sessions. The basic principle is to share information by active participation to increase the interest and efficacy of the trainees and introduce them to ways about how to make learning fun and interesting by creative activities. The teachers were encouraged to replicate and share their learning’s and enhanced skills with other teachers within their schools, community and stakeholders to develop their capacity. “Usually the trainings I have attended were all theory based but this training was practical which helped us to learn more. This training was very well and I learned how to develop low cost teaching material. I will also share my experience and learning with other teachers,” said Najeebullah, a teacher who attended the training.

Affirming the Rights of All to Live With Dignity and Justice

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

A three-day residential camp on Political Education and Human Rights was held for the first time in District Narowal, Punjab for private and government schools. After organizing several camps in Sindh since the year 2003, the political education program of CWS-P/A has not only extended operations in the province of Punjab but also organized several camps in schools of Afghanistan. District Narowal borders India therefore the community comprises of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus. “We don’t talk about the rights of fellow human beings, tolerance and dignity are missing from our lives. If someone has a difference of opinion, we term them an infidel and pass judgment against their lives and well being,” shared one of the teachers from Government School Duska.

International Women's Day: Creating Linkages for a Brighter Future

  • Latest News
  • Written by Hira Sajjad
  • March 7, 2014

Visiting a new city for the first time can be quite overwhelming, especially when you have spent your entire life in a rural village in Pakistan. When everything around you is new, approaching it can be overwhelming and slightly terrifying at the same time. However, on February 6, 2014 five women from the village Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo reached Karachi filled with a lot of excitement, anticipation and motivation. These women are trainees of a vocational center run by CWS-P/A in their village and were brought to Karachi to get some market exposure and find potential buyers for their hand-embroidered products. They were overcome with fear as they approached an escalator for the first time, and felt a little out of place outside the posh shopping center. Despite all odds they faced the city for the first time and managed to accomplish their goal.

“At first I was wondering, what we would do with these embroidered laces, but today I have observed how these will be used in developing different products. These laces are used to produce handmade goods. Materials used in embroidery are not costly but skills and fine finishing add more value to the product. I am determined that I will be able to generate a minimum amount of PKR. 5000 per month from these skills which I have acquired from CWS-P/A,” said an excited Haseena.

Situation Alert: Drought claims over one hundred lives in Tharparkar in three months

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

History of Drought in Tharparkar Region:

Drought has become a frequent phenomenon in the Pakistan especially, in Sindh due to an increase in pollution and climatic changes. According to a report issued by the Economic Survey of Pakistan, the drought is one of the factors responsible for poor growth performance in the country. Drought is common in Pakistan if there are no rains during the monsoon season.

The drought of 1998-2002 has been  considered the worst drought in the last 50 years in the history of Pakistan. It started in 1997 as El-Nino developed, but gained intensity in 1998 and reached its peak in 2000 till 2001 and thus gradually weakened in 2002.

In Sindh, 127 people died during that time, mostly in the Tharparkar region near the Indian border, as a result of severe water shortages and dehydration, nearly 60% of the population of Sindh migrated to irrigated land.

International Women's Day - Bridging Gaps

  • Features
  • Written by Alison Sneddon
  • March 7, 2014

8th March this year marks the 103rd annual International Women’s Day. The worldwide event aims to celebrate the achievements of women around the globe while highlighting the progress, which still needs to be made in order to achieve equality. For many women in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this road to equality has been a long one and continues to be so, with many obstacles to overcome. Cultural constraints and restrictions inhibit the freedom of women and the conservative patriarchal society prevents them from participating in education and employment in both countries.  Violence against women including domestic abuse, sexual assaults and acid throwing are alarmingly common. Women are politically underrepresented and lack the opportunities, forum and institutional support to make their voices heard. Gender-specific issues, such as maternal healthcare, are therefore neglected, literally endangering the lives of Pakistani and Afghan women.

This year, International Women’s Day is challenging the global community to advocate for the advancement of women everywhere through the theme of Inspiring Change. Inspiration and change are certainly imperative to the realization of empowerment and equality for women and girls in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Inspiring women to strive for opportunities, and inspiring communities to celebrate and support their mothers, daughters, sisters and wives, are central to affecting positive change in the status of these marginalized women.

Situation Update: Influx of IDPs continues from North Waziristan

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • February 28, 2014

Recent Displacement:

A large number of people from North Waziristan continue fleeing to safer areas due to fear of military operations against militants. Most of them have reached Bannu where no more homes are available as majority of them have already been rented out. Consequently, people are residing on the roads and awaiting government help. There is an accelerating rate at which IDPs are entering the district, share the district administration official, given frequent bombings on militant hideouts in the agency. While tribesmen are making their way from the war-torn area, there are some families stranded in the more troubled areas of the agency; they cannot afford to pay for transport for themselves and their luggage. 14,435 people had been transported in 796 vehicles to other parts of the province via routes passing through Bannu. “The total figure [as yet] includes 3,203 males, 6,390 women and 4,842 children,” a district administration official shared. The official said uprooted families were renting houses but complained the government was not assisting them in their bid to seek shelter far from North Waziristan. Meanwhile the federal government has decided to establish 10 tent housing habitation centers for the IDPs in five districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in the wake of expected operation. The in-habitations will be established by next week with the cooperation of provincial government and district administration. The in-habitations will be established in Bannu, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Karak, Laki Marwat.

Situation Update: Thousands Flee Waziristan Due to Fear of Military Operation

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

Background:

The much-hyped up controversial peace talks with Taliban were suspended on February 17, 2014 following the execution of 23 FC (Frontier Constabulary) soldiers captured from Shongari check post in 2010 by a terrorist outfit calling itself Mohmand Agency Taliban. This proved to be a devastating blow to the government’s ‘last-ditch’ efforts to bring peace to the terror-stricken nation through negotiations. A total of 93 people have been killed since the reconciliation effort was launched at the end of January, including the kidnapped soldiers. After being convinced by the top military leadership of Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave a go ahead for the airstrikes in North Waziristan and Khyber agencies that killed at least 35 suspected militants. Scores of residents near the Pak-Afghan border have started migrating to safer places due to fear of a possible military operation in North Waziristan Agency. People have started migrating from their homes in search of safer places as a military operation by Pakistan Army is expected anytime in the agency, which is primarily occupied by local and foreign militants affiliated with banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Section 144 has been imposed in Islamabad for 2 months as peace talks have now stopped and the threat of retaliation from the militants is now extremely high. Section 144 states that whoever, being armed with any deadly weapon, or with anything which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, is a member of an unlawful assembly/shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

A two day National Caucus conference on “Marriage legalization of non-Muslim communities in Pakistan: Issues and Challenges” was held in Hyderabad, Sindh from February 15-16, 2014, organized by Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan. Members of The National Caucus and National Lobbying Delegation, representing non-Muslim Pakistanis in both houses, at community level members of civil society organizations, media, lawyers, academia, researchers and think tanks passed a declaration and called for immediate action to legalize marriages and related matters of the non-Muslim Pakistan.

Increasing Citizens’ Engagement in the Local Government System

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

In order to create awareness and to engage citizens in the local government system, CWS-P/A organized three thematic workshop sessions entitled ‘Citizens Engagement in Local Government System’ in the cities of Kasur, Multan, and Hyderabad. A total of 160 participants representing government officials, local NGOs, members of civil society, and student bodies, attended the sessions, which focused on the local government system in Pakistan. Furthermore, participants were given orientations about the concept of State, Government, and the Republic. Global examples were discussed and comparisons were drawn with the system of local governance in Pakistan.

The sessions also included discussions about the Local Government Act 2013. This helped in gauging different opportunities within the system to engage citizens in governance. One of the group activities focused on identifying the challenges participants faced in engaging with the local government and solutions to overcome the challenges. Mr. Zahid Islam, facilitated the session in Kasur and Multan and in Hyderababd, the session was led by Mr. Jami Chandio.

A historical analysis of the Local Government systems and discussions about the post-18th amendment Local Government System in Hyderabad sensitized participants about the roles and responsibilities under the new system.

Life-saving Health Work Continues in Sindh

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

“CWS-P/A has been working for more than a year in Thatta District and as a result a lot of change has been seen, mentions Raheela Ghauri, CWS-P/A’s lady health visitor. “We have spent enough time here and now we can see things have improved. There was no concept of hygiene before and now people have become aware.”

With more than 35 patients per day who come to seek medical care in CWS-P/A’s mother and child health care center, CWS-P/A’s health workers are ensuring that community members are being regularly treated.

“We provide first-aid to those who come in with serious injuries. We also refer them to the district’s local hospital if needed.”

Disaster Preparedness Trainings

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

In a recent training in Phul Jakro Village, Thatta District, Sindh Province, Haseena shared her experiences when the first flood warnings were given. She relates that her father who was disabled was carried to the river bank on his charpoy (local word for bed) during the floods in 2011. It was the safest place and all community members collected there. She also related that when early warnings were issued everyone was busy in evacuating and saving their own lives and those of their own families.

Haseena and many affectees like her have recently been trained in making use of available resources to save themselves and others. Moreover, the trainings encourage community members to share information with others about safety tips and risk reduction when disasters strike.

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