In an effort to improve the health and hygiene of the rural population of Sindh, NUST Community Service Club (NCSC), in collaboration with Association for Water, Applied Education & Renewable Energy (AWARE), has successfully finished installation of water well for the residents of village Hyder farm. Located in Ratan Bheel Paro of union council Khejrari, district Umerkot, Sindh, the desert village is home to a population of resilient people who have been grappling with issue of inadequate safe drinking water for themselves and their livestock for many decades. The newly-installed water well will provide safe drinking water to 350 people from 50 households, contributing to improved health and hygiene.
NUST’s initiative seeks to address the issues of health and hygiene, education, women empowerment and economic well-being.
The project, fully funded by Principal SMME, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor, and implemented by AWARE, was completed in a month on a budget of PKR 46,000.
AWARE has extensive experience in water resource management. The organization has worked for the availability, access and improved quality of water in Tharparkar and Umerkot desert areas and are also working with UNICEF, WHO, ADP, Muslim charity UK and various other philanthropists.
A team from AWARE held a series of consultations and meetings with the community, in order to create ownership of the project from the beginning. A student from NUST belonging to Umerkot flew to the area and met several community members. A Terms of Partnership (ToP) has been signed with the community organization. Awareness sessions were organized for women, children and elder male members of community for communicating the importance of health & hygiene in relation to safe water. At community level, Water User Committees (WUC) comprising over three members have been formed. The project was monitored and evaluated by AWARE Management and Monitoring Officer.
Here’s a breakdown of the specific objectives achieved through the project:
· Provision of safe drinking water to 350 people through the installation of a water well
· Reduction of absenteeism and drop-out ratio among school going children through provision of easy access to water
· Promotion of participatory development approach through community engagement
Improved health and hygiene, along with greater levels of awareness.
After a successful installation of one water well, further 15 locations have been identified where extreme water shortage exists. The areas include 11 villages of UC Khejrari, Faqeer Abdullah & Umerkot 1, Tehsil & District Umerkot . On 22 May 2015, two students from NUST belonging to Thar area visited the 15 sites and met community partners. The project is expected to complete in 3 months.