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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.

In Afghanistan: Health Care That Makes a Difference

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

CWS-P/A initiated its mother, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) project in Laghman Province in December 2011. Recently, two surveys were conducted which helped assess the quantitative and qualitative impact the community experienced since the initiative began. A catchment area of annual census (CAAC) survey and a household (HH) survey were conducted to gauge the impact of maternal and child health care interventions. The CAAC survey focused on impacts related to maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates whereas the HH survey in six health facilities across four districts aimed to assess feedback from community members about the provision of maternal and child health services. As many as 3,560 households were part of the CAAC survey and a total of 591 households participated in the HH survey. The figures and data demonstrate the success of the health interventions including health education awareness to curb mortality rates and promote health and well-being among many poor families in Afghanistan.

Training Enhances Knowledge on Project and Program Assessment

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

In early September, eighteen staff members from CWS-P/A and sixteen participants from eight partner organizations attended “Impact and Outcome Orientation” training. CWS-P/A facilitated the training for its partner, Bread for the World (BfdW), in Murree, Pakistan. The training aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge on outcomes and impacts with reference to their project and program monitoring and evaluation systems and in accordance with the framework and procedures of BfdW. The training also focused on integrating aspects of gender justice and participatory methods into monitoring and evaluation systems.

An interactive and participatory approach was used along with presentations. Practical exercises on logframe and effect chain were included, and inputs and experiences were shared on gender sensitive monitoring. Throughout the training, field-tested examples of impacts, outcomes, and indicators were shared and participants worked in groups with concrete project examples linking existing BfdW requirements and standards.

Advanced Social Media Training for Effective Outreach

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

A one-day thematic session, ‘The Role of Media in Creating Perceptions about NGOs,’ was recently held in Karachi, Pakistan. Twenty-five participants including civil-society activists and a few students also attended the session which enhanced knowledge on the role of the media and its relationship with NGOs in the local context. Discussions and open dialogue along with information sharing were led by the facilitator, Tahir Malik. His journalism and media based background helped participants improve their knowledge on the functions of the media in Pakistan. Participants were also able to present their concerns regarding the media and critically think about their interaction and workings with all types of media.

A two-day of training, ‘Advanced Social Media for Communications,’ followed the one-day thematic session and included nineteen participants from national and international NGOs. During the training, participants benefited from theory, practical learning, and activities on a range of social media tools. Facebook, Twitter, Klout, Hootsuite, Topsy, and Wildfire were among the social media tools used to engage the participants. The participants also demonstrated an interest to evaluate their current social media forums with the use of social media monitoring tools. At the end of the training, they shared their eagerness to apply the learning toward improving their social media outreach within their organizations.

Increasing Food Access for Flood Affected Families

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

The 2013 monsoon season devastated communities in Sindh. In order to alleviate the immediate food insecurity in affected communities, CWS-P/A initiated emergency food assistance to more than 3,150 families in the districts of Thatta and Jacobabad.

Mai Sabhai is a widow and mother of seven children, who resides in Color Kot Village in Jacobabad. Nearly a year ago, Sabhai’s husband died of a heart attack.  Sabhai takes care of her children by working in the agricultural fields and is assisted by her twelve year old son in a few related tasks.

In the recent monsoon triggered flooding, Sabhai lost her food supplies, and her crops and house were damaged.

As a widow, facing many hardships and a life without basic necessities including adequate shelter, food, hygiene, and education for her children, Sabhai was identified to receive food assistance. The food package which Sabhai received in mid-September included 90 kilograms of wheat flour, 12 kilograms of pulses, 7 liters of oil, 800 grams of salt, and a packet of match boxes. “I am very happy; this is enough food for my children and me. I had to sell my assets, borrow from my neighbors and relatives. No one helped us for a long time. Now, my children are happy, too, because they do not have to sleep without eating.”

Food is integral to human survival and viewed as an agricultural act that begins with planting. In modern industrial societies, food sources are further processed by mega factories mostly into ready-to-eat sustenance that originates from the land. Yet, food which is necessary to sustain life is not easily accessible by all. Today, almost 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished.[1]

The present need is to ensure that both poverty and hunger are minimized as outlined in the Millennium Development Goal - 1. This year on ‘World Food Day,’ the focus among stakeholders should include assistance to farmers around the world and especially in developing countries in the form of fair prices, certified agricultural inputs, and best farming techniques. These steps help support sustainable food systems which work to reduce hunger and increase food supplies for future generations. It is also important to note that agriculture remains essential for income generation and poverty alleviation in most developing countries. Statistics show that three-quarters of the poor live and work in rural areas and food also accounts for a major share of their expenditure.[2]

While a sustainable food system includes cooperation at all levels among various stakeholders, it also includes farming practices which prevent the degradation of the environment, ecology, and biodiversity. Such practices help our future food supply and improve ecological conditions which are essential to the success of this year’s ‘World Food Day’ theme – ‘Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.’

Enabling Disaster Response for All: International Day for Disaster Reduction

  • Features
  • Written by Rhea Simms and Hira Sajjad
  • October 11, 2013

October 13 marks the annual International Day for Disaster Reduction. On this day all citizens are encouraged to raise awareness or take action on building communities which are disaster resilient. This year’s theme focuses on disaster reduction for those living with disabilities. Already a vulnerable group in society, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are often left completely dependent on family members in the case of disaster, with no concrete disaster response plan in place.

Pakistan is highly susceptible to disaster. Over the last decade alone over 100,000 people have lost their lives due to earthquake, flood, drought and other natural disasters (Dawn, 2011). Furthermore, tens of millions of people’s economic situation worsened after being left homeless, without their main source of livelihood, or without access to basic infrastructure. Frequent disasters, conflict, and inaccessible medical care and education have also left many people with disabilities throughout the country.

Conference Day 2 – A Holistic Approach to Security Risk Management

  • Latest News
  • Written by CWS-P/A Communications Office
  • October 9, 2013

Jambo Bwana!

The second day of “Global Conference on the Role of Security Risk Management in Effective Humanitarian Aid” provided the 70 participants and 25 speakers an opportunity to engage more deeply in discussions and interactions, discovering a more holistic – and complex – approach to security risk management.

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