80% women, including pregnant, compelled to travel 1-5km to fetch water in Kohistan !

KARACHI: About 82% of women, including those with pregnancy, collect 15-20 liters of water for homes by travelling 1-5 kilometers daily in Kohistan, which is arid hilly region in Thatta district bordering Karachi in the province of Sindh. This trouble-making situation for women in this modern era is due to negligence of authorities concerned, who are responsible to provide water to the people living in the hilly areas of Sindh.

This was the crux of a meeting at a local hotel in Makkli near Thatta during a Karachi media team’s field visit to Kohistan, arranged by Indus Earth Trust to check the work on its project – Water for Women, being implemented in collaboration with Coca Cola. During the visit, Coca Cola representative Ms Natasha also distributed 250 water wheels among women in village Haji Shafi Mohammad Jokhio. It was told in the meeting that only 8% of males feel responsibility to fetch water for their household needs.

Speaking on the occasion, Indus Earth Trust leader and renowned environment expert Afia Salam said that under Water for Women project, check dams were being built to store rain-water for nearby villagers, while some dams had already been deepened and widened, where recent rain water is restored. “It is irony that women, including girls, are used for fetching water from far-flung area in Kohistan as authorities concerned had deprived area people of their basic facilities of life. However, Indus Earth Trust’s Water for Women project will help them provide water at their door steps.”

She said that this project would focus on water replenishment through rainwater harvesting and rehabilitation of dug wells. She said that villages in Kohistan had also been deprived of electricity and other facilities of life. We have also provided four solar grids to four villages in Gharo which are functioning successfully. Efforts will be made to provide solar powers to the people of Kohistan, she said.

Ms Natasha, a leader at Coca Cola said: “Coca Cola has committed to return water to people, which it is using in their products besides providing microfinance loans and other facilities of life to underprivileged people across the country, including Kohistan. She said that over 7000 women had been given microfinance loans worth Rs10,000 to Rs 50,000 in the country including Sindh. “In Sindh, 1500 women have been provided such loans and more will be given soon, she vowed.

Natasha said that 10 projects for water stewardship in KP, Punjab and Sindh had also been provided. “We are also providing vocational trainings to women for better employment opportunities. “We are also striving to improve health conditions and reduce mortality rate in underprivileged areas,” she concluded.

Aijaz Ali, Chief Operating Officer at Indus Earth Trust, said that Water For Women project was aimed at reducing sufferings of women and girls who fetch water for homes by travelling 1-5 kilometers. He said that under this project, check dams were being built in Kohistan to store water. He said that IET was also training women for improving health and hygiene conditions in their villages.

He said that in some places, people drink water with animals, while the area had been deprived of basic facilities of life. He said that Water for Women Project would benefit 15,000 people of 22,000 households residing in 34 villages of one union council in Kohistan. “The components of this project are check dams, rainwater harvesting, social mobilization, WASH awareness sessions, hand pumps, dug wells, and health and hygiene training,” Ali concluded.

Mohammad Akram Jokhio of village Haji Shafi Mohammad told PPI during this visit that they were passing lives in miserable conditions as they did not have even drinking water and electricity. He said that local MNA and MPA did not visit them after taking votes.

Another villager Mohammad Yousuf Jokhio asked IET to help provide them solar powers and they had been deprived of electricity facility by the government. He said that they were passing life in great trouble. The government has ignored this area, he said.

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