Water Journal : Water Journal March 2011
feature article feature articles 56 MARCH 2011 water Recovery efforts had already commenced in some villages during my time in Pakistan. These included rehabilitating boreholes and hand pumps and restoring latrines. A community participatory approach (via a village committee) is used to ensure that recovery interventions are appropriate for the local context, and will be sustainable. To be successful, interventions must be designed to ensure safe and secure accessibility to water and sanitation facilities for all, including women, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Women are responsible for providing drinking water and hygiene in the home. Therefore, demonstrations of household water treatment items must be provided directly to women, otherwise there is no guarantee they will be properly used and implemented. For women, the safe and secure access to sanitation facilities is also critical. Cultural practices restrict the mobility of women in many parts of Pakistan. Due to these restrictions, washrooms containing latrines must be located within the household area. This poses a significant issue for women in camps, where the household area is often ill-defined or lacks privacy, and must be considered when designing facilities. In designing these interventions, understanding the role of women in WatSan is pivotal. Due to restrictions on mobility of women, including myself, my greatest challenge by far was accessing women affected by the floods. This made it difficult to appreciate their specific needs and aspirations for recovery. Accessing some affected communities was challenging due to security concerns, damaged roads or bridges, landslides, or difficult mountainous terrain. Some communities were still isolated by floodwaters. In October, I left Pakistan with mixed emotions. I was inspired by the resilience of the people I spoke with, but saddened by the overwhelming need for help. The water and sanitation needs of the affected population were still great, despite the already remarkable efforts. I have fond memories of the people and especially the PRCS volunteers committed to the humanitarian response. Mass Sanitation Module (MSM): Providing Sanitation Facilities and Hygiene Promotion David Dalgado Although access to safe water has a large impact on reducing illness, of equal importance is access to sanitation facilities and hygiene promotion. The British Red Cross MSM ERU, was set up specifically for this task and consisted of four team members including one sanitation engineer and one hygiene promoter who undertook an integrated response. The MSM can provide appropriate hygiene promotion and sanitation for up to 20,000 people; however, due to the nature of the flooding in Pakistan, with many people dispersed in small IDP camps spread across great distances, the MSM was only able to reach between 10,000 and 12,000 people. The MSM, through the PRCS, worked in the IDP camps to determine their sanitation needs, which often involved establishing the camp committee if it did not already exist. Once the camp committees were in place, sanitation needs were discussed and suitable locations for facilities established. The MSM then supplied the tools, materials and money to pay any day labourers, to allow the camp committees to construct their own sanitation facilities. This approach had several benefits: • Camps got the facilities they wanted and to a design they were happy with; • The act of building encouraged ownership of the facilities, such that the number of facilities which had parts stolen or that were not maintained was minimised; • Skilled labour (which was nearly always present in the camp) was usefully employed; PHOTO: KYM BLECHYNDEN A female volunteer conducts a Community Health Session with women affected by flooding.
Water Journal April 2011