Water Workshop in Swat Empowers Community

11 Apr, 2012

The beautiful villages of Swat where the IKF has been engaged during the last year and a half, is an unlikely setting for the dearth of clean drinking water. Once renowned for the purest quality spring water, the water sources have been polluted by the floods. As part of its integrated approach and mission to transform lives of people in these small villages , IKF is focussing on community based activities, to help build back better basic services including housing, drinking water, schooling and a safer, cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Forty Young Village Volunteers (YVVs) and members of Community Elders Network (CEN) from villages of Qandeel, Arianna and Damana came together for a hands on workshop on Safe Water : Better Health. Organized by the Imran Khan Foundation, the day long mobilization workshop stimulated community dialogue on the situation and urgent need for provision of drinking water in the villages ravaged by the floods. As revealed during the discussions, water borne diseases contribute to over 40 per cent of all deaths, even in the northern areas. The children and women are particularly vulnerable to cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, eye and skin diseases and a whole host of other infections.

To combat this trend, the IKF has put together a community manual to create awareness about the importance of safe drinking water, the testing of water and village level operation and maintenance of drinking water systems ranging from hand pumps to gravity flow schemes.

Following the three sessions that covered awareness creation with the help of charts and pictures , skill building exercises and group work , the three villages set up Neat and Clean Village Committees to translate the Village Action Plan into practices for ensuring that safe drinking water is available in the homes, schools and centers of community activity. The head of the CEN, Fazal-e-Subhan invigorated by the workshop said IKF’s relief and rehabiliation has inspired us to come forward and put our house in order.

In the three village of Qandeel, Aariya and Damana where the IKF has already built 80 homes as part of its Village Development Program, these social mobilization activities are fostering a strong sense of community participation and ownership to better manage the basic services.

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