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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.

Situation Update: Thousands flee as a result of escalating tension in North Waziristan Agency

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

Background:

Following a series of armed attacks across the country by the militants in the month of January; domestic pressure grew on the Government of Pakistan to take tougher action against the militants. As a result, a small-scale air strike operation has been launched to obliterate the hideouts of the militants. Thousands of families have been reported to flee because of the escalating tension on ground.

Recent Displacement:

At least 6,000 families have moved out of North Waziristan Agency after Government forces began taking action against militant attacks. Military sources have reported, that they are targeting only the militant’s hideouts. However, the fear of being hit even unintentionally by both military and militants has forced the locals to vacate their homes. The exact number of displaced families cannot be assessed at the moment as the figures being reported by authorities vary. An official from Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) reported that around 6,000 families had been displaced but half of them have returned to their homes. The local people report that more than 70,000 individuals had left their homes.

Fighter jets and helicopters are being used in the airstrikes by the armed forces. It is for the first time that the air force has resorted to using fighter jets in the volatile region since it struck a ceasefire agreement with local Taliban chiefs in 2007. The nearby tribal region of Kurram was also hit by the strikes.

Early Childhood Education - Engaging Teachers and Parents

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

Trainings on early childhood education and awareness sessions about the role of family and community in early childhood education were held in December in district Mirpurkhas, Sindh province. Twenty-six teachers were imparted knowledge about the topics, some of them were; early childhood classroom environment, learning through play, and observation and assessment skills. The training also focused on improving early childhood education for marginalized children and children with disabilities.

While participants significantly enhanced their knowledge during five days of theoretical and practical learning, a family and community participation session held soon afterwards aimed at increasing the involvement of parents in their children’s mental growth. Thirty-five participants attended the session, which included a summary of the training attended by the teachers, they also developed ways of linking their professions, talents, and skills with early childhood education and the curriculum as well as enhancing participation in school and classroom.

Introducing Livestock Management in Thatta, Sindh

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

CWS-P/A has been working in Thatta, Sindh ever since the devastating floods of 2010. It is running several projects for the affectees in the area. To strengthen its holistic development approach for the recovering population of Thatta, CWS-P/A has begun an initiative to improve livestock management through the provision of trainings, medical care and shelters.

Some of the projects which have been carried out in Thatta include the provision of shelters to the homeless; organizing health and hygiene sessions for those vulnerable to disease; the first-ever mobile knowledge resource center was introduced; and during the last year, opportunities were created for sustainable development through women’s economic empowerment; the provision of accessible maternal and child health care services, and capacity building in disaster risk reduction techniques.

Building Capacities in Rural Sindh

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

CWS-P/A’s Capacity Building Program (CBP) continued to work in districts of Thatta and Mirpurkhas to impart knowledge about peace and civic education. During early December, an orientation meeting was conducted for five partners and their staff members, which included a new partner from Thatta District, for the first times. Information about project activities and the implementation strategy was shared with partners with emphasis on first time initiatives within the project including theater performances and puppet shows.

Background:

Since the last nine years, the complex emergency caused by military operations and violent clashes between armed opposition groups has imposed miseries upon millions of people who have been displaced from their homes. At one time, the number of displaced people reached three million however, with the change in the situation at the IDP’s native town some have returned back resulting in lower numbers. Still the conflicts remain leading to new displacement.

Enhancing Quality and Accountability during Emergency Response in Philippines

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • December 17, 2013

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in collaboration with Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan (CWS-P/A) continues to collaborate on quality and accountability (Q&A) initiatives. These initiatives, which are being carried out with various agencies including INGOs, NGOS, UN agencies, and donors remain essential in responding to the needs of affected communities by the recent Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Typhoon Yolanda- November 8th, 2013).

CWS-P/A’s Quality and Accountability Paper

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • December 13, 2013

As the need for sharing and learning best practices and challenges in implementation of quality and accountability among humanitarian actors remains crucial thus CWS-P/A aims to ensure that all relevant agencies including INGOs, NGOs, UN, donors, universities and government agencies playing an active role in disaster response and rehabilitation in Asia-Pacific are given the opportunity to implement quality and accountability (Q&A) approaches and tools in their work.

The Q&A document, Promoting and Implementing Quality and Accountability in Asia-Pacific Since 2005, is a review conducted by CWS-P/A. It contains an overview of CWS-P/A’s key work since 2005 and its achievements. It also includes case studies and a SWOT analysis of the organization’s processes and services related to quality and accountability and some strategic recommendations to promote quality and accountability.

Continuing Networking and Coordination Initiatives

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • December 13, 2013

As part of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) initiative to improve coordination and strengthen communication among various stakeholders, CWS-P/A hosted two dinner events in Punjab and Sindh. Approximately 30 participants including parliamentarians, government officials, and humanitarian workers attended the dinners in both provinces it was a great networking tool for improving coordination and information sharing.

During the recent dinner in Karachi, participants emphasized the need for greater coordination between the government and INGOs and stressed the importance of such meetings. They also suggested the availability of emergency data listing activities by all stakeholders to avoid the issue of duplication.

Increasing output by investing in farming, capacities and the community

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • December 13, 2013

Agricultural, livestock and road rehabilitation activities for rural communities in Laghman province, Afghanistan, continued to be carried out from September through November. They were conducted for communities residing in districts of Qarghai, Alingar, Dowlat Shah, and Alishang. Two hundred farmers were trained in two batches about fruit and vegetable processing. The trainings focused on building the capacities of farmers in harvesting, sorting, storage, and marketing and they were encouraged to use fruits and vegetables in the preparation of tomato paste, pickles, and jam. Fifty farmers also received training about the establishment of orchards and nurseries, integrated pest management, and irrigation among others.

Recently 297 farmers were selected to receive agricultural packages containing wheat seeds (50 kilograms per bag), urea (50 kilograms per bag), and DAP fertilizer (50 kilograms per bag). The selection of 297 farmers enables farming communities to continue the process of passing benefits to other families as the amounts collected each year from the 50% cost per package is utilized to distributed the same to other families.

Subsequently, forty female-led households who previously received livestock were trained for animal feed preparation and animal treatment, deworming, and vaccination activities continued in each veterinary clinic across the four districts in Laghman Province. As part of the project’s cash for work activities, 12 kilometers of road rehabilitation is currently underway. The road locations have been selected in each district and benefit over 4,500 families.

The National Lobbying Delegation meet, a step in the right direction

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • December 13, 2013

A two-day consultative meeting for the National Lobbying Delegation (NLD), a group of prominent non-Muslim community leaders working to promote non-Muslim rights within Pakistan, took place from November 26-27, 2013. The key agenda points of the meeting were to provide comprehensive information on parliamentary procedures to the NLD, prepare the members for inviting non-Muslim parliamentarians to form a caucus for further advocacy with the media and within the parliament, and prepare the NLD’s agenda points for the next 18 months.

The newly initiated project, Improving Parliamentary Representation of Minority Communities, aims to support non-Muslim parliamentarians to effectively perform their roles in the Houses. This will encourage, minority communities to become actively engaged in the democratic process and to have a voice in a bid to claim the basic human rights to which all are entitled. The project will also work to connect non-Muslim Members of Parliament (MPs) to the media to raise awareness about issues they face and promote a positive and inclusive image of a united Pakistan. The NLD will work as key facilitators in reaching the project goals.

World AIDS Day - 'Getting to Zero'

  • Features
  • Written by Beenish Hashwani
  • December 2, 2013

December 1 each year marks  World AIDS Day and is commemorated all over the world. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was marked in December in 1988. Ever since then, people around the world use this day as an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, create awareness, show their support toward people living with HIV, and  pay their respect to the many people who have lost their battle. The theme for Word AIDS Day from 2011-2015 is ‘Getting to Zero.’ The theme is used all year to advocate and remind governments and political leaders for the need to eliminate new infections in HIV.

Pakistan aims to halt and reverse the spread of HIV by 2015 according to the Millennium Development Goal – 6. For many years, the total number of HIV infected persons remains stagnant at approximately 90,000. This has been disputed by many as grossly underestimated and inaccurate. However, recently the disclosure of 800 newly identified cases in Sindh alone by the Sindh AIDS Control Program makes the MDG-6 seem a bit far stretched goal for Pakistan to achieve.

CWS-P/A Contributes to Global Quality and Accountability Initiatives

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • November 25, 2013

In late October, CWS-P/A hosted the 2013 HAP General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand. Seventy representatives from HAP member organizations attended the two-day meeting that included the endorsement of HAP’s strategic orientation and commitments to ensure it remained focused on the current and future needs of the humanitarian sector. During the meeting, updates were shared regarding the Joint Standard Initiative (JSI), post JSI phase, and the Core Humanitarian Standard. Additionally, discussions were held on HAP achievements, the attainment of more accountable humanitarian action, and the promotion of national leadership in disaster prevention and response.

Zainab Raza, CWS-P/A’s Deputy Director for Organizational Development, was elected for the second term as the Vice Chair of the HAP Board. The HAP Board includes members from a cross section of experience in humanitarian and related fields.

Shama Mall, CWS-P/A’s Deputy Director for Capacity Building and Social Development Programs, also recently accepted an invitation to be part of the Technical Group for the development of a Core Humanitarian Standard and coherent standards architecture.

Helping Families with Business Opportunities

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • November 25, 2013

CWS-P/A continues to implement health and livelihood initiatives for disaster and conflict-affected families in Shangla, Pakistan. In October, 50 families in the union councils of Shahpur, Kuzkana, Lilownai, Dehrai, and Shang received cash grants for the revival of livelihoods through small business initiatives.

“CWS-P/A’s team selected me as a beneficiary for the cash grant because I am poor and my husband is disabled,” said Mehr-un-Nisa from Barkana Village located in union council of Shahpur. She shared, “First they arranged two days of training to educate us about the basics of small business, feasibility, market values, and business plans and identifying opportunities. They then gave us 15,000 rupees (USD 150) as the first installment of a total amount of 25,000 rupees (USD 250).”

Follow-up visits conducted by the project staff revealed that many families opted to set up home-based general stores. Some families invested in goats while the others established shoe and clothing businesses.

Product Development Training in Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo Village

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • November 25, 2013

After one year of preparatory work in building the capacities of women in handicraft development and promoting women’s economic activities­, 60 women from Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo Village are currently receiving training from a Karachi-based designer. The objective of this activity is to help the women from the rural areas of Thatta to produce products which are marketable in the wider urban market of Karachi. With products that can be marketed in major cities like Karachi, the women will be able to increase the demand for their products and ultimately develop a sustainable source of increased income. This is one of many activities currently ongoing in Thatta in the project, Alleviating Poverty through Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood’s Development with a Disaster Resilient Approach through the funding of Christian Aid.

The designer prepared unique embroidery patterns for the women to produce within their vocational center. The women are currently working on mastering the embroidery patterns. These patterns will be used to create buttons, earrings, and handbags depending on the women’s skill level. Once the embroidery patterns meet market quality, the women will learn finishing techniques to finalize their products. These products will be sold in Karachi through market linkages initially established by the designer.

Minorities’ Political Rights Emphasized In Recent Report

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • November 25, 2013

A recent launch of the report, Minorities in Elections—Equal in Law, Not in Practice, held in Islamabad attracted media representatives, humanitarian and civil society workers, and members of minority communities in Pakistan. The report is a collaborative effort between CWS-P/A and the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan (HRCP) and aims at equality for minorities in their electoral rights.

“The government, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and political parties need to take affirmative actions to safeguard political rights of religious minorities,” said I.A. Rehman, HRCP’s Director, at the event. He also referred to a need for the ECP to address violations of law, citing an example from the elections in a constituency where pamphlets were distributed that warned Muslims against voting for non-Muslim candidates.

With observations from six National Assembly constituencies (five from Sindh – 80 percent Hindus and one from Punjab – 80 percent Christians), the report further highlights the various challenges faced by minorities during the general election.

Refresher Course to Promote Peace and More

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • November 25, 2013

CWS-P/A engages students, youth groups, teachers, and the community at large through activities that promote Local Capacities for Peace (LCP) and Do No Harm (DNH) concepts. An overall aim is to create an environment which is conducive for peace, tolerance, and harmony. To gauge the impact of the effectiveness of LCP and DNH activities, CWS-P/A continues to engage in follow-ups and refresher courses as part of its approach to raise awareness on religious freedom, peace, harmony, and conflict resolution. Students, youth groups, and teachers across Pakistan have been sensitized on LCP and DNH through a range of activities.

In Punjab, fourteen teachers participated in a refresher course on LCP and DNH principles. The teachers from Sindh were part of CWS-P/A’s training in 2012 during which manuals on peace and Do No Harm were introduced.

During the recently held refresher course, the teachers participated in an exposure visit to a school in Kasur, Punjab Province. They were able to observe the learning, activities, and role-play by students in classes seven and eight. The exposure visit included a trip to a shrine and the Ganda Sing border with the aim of strengthening peace and interfaith harmony.

Universal Children’s Day: Education for Afghan Refugee Children

  • Features
  • Written by Donna Fernandes
  • November 20, 2013

Afghan refugees in Pakistan are known to be one of the largest refugee communities in the world. UN records for 2013 show that around 1.6 million displaced Afghans live in Pakistan.[1] The Government of Pakistan estimates that there are an estimated one million unregistered refugees.[2] Life for the majority of Afghan refugees remains difficult and uncertain in Pakistan, and sources also report the hardships they face in finding employment. The UNHCR figures state that less than one quarter of Afghan refugees are employed and almost three quarters of children do not attend school. [3] The economic status of Afghan refugees and the education they are able to attain or provide to their children in the host country are correlated. At the same time, education previously gained in Afghanistan is often not recognized in Pakistan. This results in employment difficulties and lower economic conditions for refugee families.

In Pakistan, a large number of underprivileged Afghan refugees are deprived of education. Beside economic status, there are many other factors that contribute toward the inability of Afghan refugees to send their children to school. Many Afghan refugee settlements lack schools, learning centers, and resources. Issues of safety and security as well as the added cost of transportation also prevent families from sending their children to schools in other areas. More specifically owing to legal barriers, unregistered Afghan families are unable to enroll their children in government administered schools.

Strengthening Coordination Through Networking

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 21, 2013

A group of twenty-one parliamentarians, government ministry officials, and humanitarian workers recently attended a dinner in Punjab Province to communicate and discuss challenges faced by the humanitarian sector in Pakistan. The dinner was hosted by CWS-P/A as part of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) initiative to continue to better serve vulnerable communities and improve coordination and effective communication among various stakeholders.

Successfully, the dinner led to additional government meetings and specifically, a meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture. In mid-November, CWS-P/A will also host a similar dinner in Sindh Province to discuss challenges and network for improved humanitarian response and development.

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