From model villages to interactive theater, Church World Service– Pakistan/Afghanistan is using innovative techniques to create water projects that combine water infrastructure development with education, advocacy and awareness.
Water systems in many of Pakistan’s communities were destroyed in natural disasters, including the October 2005 earthquake and the 2007 cyclone. Other communities, such as those in the Allai valley, located in a remote pocket of the Himalayan Mountains, are so poor that they have never had water systems.
CWS, in partnership with local agencies, now has restored more than 30 water supply systems and has provided several communities with more than 400 hand pumps, more than 8,000 jerry cans for safe water storage and more than 5,000 CWS Hygiene Kits.
By encouraging community participation, providing technical training, and helping residents establish community organizations equipped to both manage the new infrastructure and designate “caretakers” trained in hand pump installation and repair, efficient operation and maintenance of the new systems is assured for generations to come.
Promoting better hygiene is a major component of the CWS program-and the agency found a way to make the hygiene training fun by creating inter-village competitions that promote practical implementation of newly-learned hygiene skills and help people change their behavior to incorporate those new skills.
In Sindh Province, an area severely damaged by Cyclone Yemyin in 2007, CWS and partner Strengthening Participatory Organization, a Pakistani NGO, has also established two model villages aimed at empowering communities to make decisions that will improve hygienic conditions in the area. Other communities visit these model villages to learn about hand pump maintenance and healthy hygiene practices.
As part of the project in Allai, interactive theater, puppet shows, participatory videos made by the children, radio messages and a best practices video produced with help from Pakistani non-profit the Interactive Resource Center, drove home the message about water safety and good hygiene.
Between January and June 2008, adults and children developed two plays and 15 interactive theater performances around issues of waterborne and sanitation-related diseases, personal and environmental hygiene, illegal water logging, solid waste disposal, household gardening and tree planting.
Source: CWS, 26 Sep 2008