Shumaila conducted a children's club session
The learning event today brought together some of Pakistan’s leading experts in the field of DRR, including Shahida Arif, DRR Manager for Save the Children Pakistan and Fayyaz Shah, National Advisor DRR for Malteser International.
Today’s session also focused on the role that children can play in DRR at the community level. Naveedul Haq and Shahid Kazmi presented Islamic Relief Pakistan’s Community-based Disaster Risk Management Reduction Model (CBDRM). They explained that the role of children and young people is vital for disaster preparedness and must be acknowledged by local and national stakeholders.
Shahida Arif from Save the Children said that child-centered DRR is a rights-based approach combining child-focused and child-led activities with interventions geared towards bringing about change in the community.
Children’s club promotes DRR in Muzaffargarh
As part of a village rehabilitation programme, Islamic Relief uses a community-based disaster preparedness approach. This was the approach that was taken in Muzaffargarh, Punjab, which was devastated by the 2010 floods in Pakistan, leaving much of its infrastructure damaged or destroyed.
Karak Walla is a village in Muzaffargarh which benefited from Islamic Relief Pakistan’s rehabilitation programme. Children gather every day to run a hygiene awareness campaign initiated by a children club’s which was formed by Islamic Relief.
Shumaila, is a student of grade four and leads the discussions in the children’s club. Shumaila’s house and school were sadly washed away by flooding and she couldn’t continue her studies for almost one year. “I remember that, before the flooding, we had to live with infectious diseases as people of the village don’t pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene” she told Muhammad Haseeb Khalid, Senior Media Officer, for IR Pakistan.
“Islamic Relief built houses, restored village infrastructure and more importantly built a community centre where we sit and discuss the subjects of our interest. Islamic Relief also teams formed a children club in our village and I am leading this club” Shumaila said with a smiling face.
“IR field teams conducted assessments in the village and they discussed the children’s concerns. I remember that I talked to IR teams and told them in my school there was not a proper seating arrangement. I told IR teams that in our school we don’t have facility of clean drinking water” Shumaila recalled.
After identification of the issues highlighted by children, such as Shumaila, IR teams in coordination with the community organization, took children the views of the village on board to initiate a project to address their needs. Girls and boys schools were rehabilitated, school kits were provided, latrines, and water pumps were ensured in their schools. These recovery actions strengthen the capacity of the communities to face disasters.
Later, Islamic Relief field teams in Punjab involved leaders of children clubs to run hygiene awareness campaigns. Shumaila with other selected children were giving training on personal hygiene, health awareness issues and later they were provided information to disseminate to their peer groups.
Even though the IR Village Rehabilitation Project is complete, community organizations and the children’s club are active and are developing community-based mitigation measures so they may reduce the effects of hazards.