Tearfund has been working in Pakistan since 1973. Currently, we are collaborating closely with 20 local organisations. We focus on several issues, ranging from responding to disasters, developing theological training and small scale community savings groups known as Self-Help Groups.
Wherever it’s possible, Tearfund works hard to put more power and decision-making into the hands of local organisations – particularly when it comes to preparing for, and responding to, disasters. Locally-based groups tend to have a much clearer idea of what is needed for their communities and regions. It means that if disaster does strike, men and women are already present on the ground, ready to act – however remote and inaccessible the affected region.
This is the thinking behind the Shifting the Power project, in which Tearfund collaborated with Pakistan’s National Humanitarian Network. Over 170 national organisations have so far been empowered to respond more effectively to emergencies and disasters. It makes thousands of communities less reliant on direct interventions from Tearfund or other outside organisations.
After a disaster such as a quake or flooding has struck, the immediate response to save lives, and keep people warm and fed, is only the beginning. The communities hit, need to rebuild their lives and often their livelihoods, as land and equipment is damaged and destroyed. In particular we seek to make sure that the needs of women are recognised, through the promotion of women’s livelihoods and small scale community savings groups.
A recent example of this work is the Food Security and Livelihood program, supported by the Scottish Government, which responded to the widespread flooding at the beginning of the decade, with a focus on women’s livelihoods. Over 19,000 people from rural communities have received support and training to rebuild their existing livelihoods or start new ones, including goat-rearing, vegetable gardening and much more besides.
Vast numbers are affected by a basic lack of clean water and basic sanitation throughout Pakistan. Tearfund and our partners have helped to change the lives of millions with community-led water and sanitation projects. These help communities gain access to clean water, build functioning latrines and learn about low cost water purification techniques.
Pakistan currently produces more than 20 million tonnes of waste annually, of which only half is currently collected. There are huge implications for this, both for people’s health, and the environment, as much of this is burned. The Haryali Hub is a major new waste management project, which has already been recognised, winning the international aid and development award at the Charity Awards 2018. It is a community-based model which recycles 90% of waste, sells high-grade organic compost and recyclables, and costs 10 times less than regular waste-collection alternatives. It also provides vital employment for local people, as well as making people’s homes cleaner and safer places to live.