In recent years, Pakistan has been struggling to curb extremism and cross-border terrorism. And yet the population is kept on edge not only by the security situation, but also by climate change. The monsoons have shifted: often as not, some areas receive too little rain and others too much. The resultant flooding destroys the livelihoods of thousands of farming families every year. In 2010 a flood hit northern Pakistan, destroying the homes of about 11 million people, devastating an area about the size of Switzerland. On the other hand, drought-like conditions have caused widespread health problems, including malnutrition and stunted growth.
Helvetas focuses its efforts on improving the livelihood of communities in the poorest areas of the country, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northern Pakistan. Helvetas advocates for sustainable water management and careful use of water in agriculture to decrease the pressure on catchment areas. The authorities and farmers work together to ensure that local water requirements are taken into account. We also promote public-private partnerships to achieve better results.
Young men and women from conflict-ridden areas are getting an education that helps them find steady work and improves their prospects in life. This, in turn, contributes to stability and peace in the region. We work directly with communities to improve their resilience to disaster risk reduction. They acquire the required set of skills to make disaster preparedness plans and take swift action to minimize losses. They learn to use early warning signs, carry out search and rescue missions and apply first aid in case of an emergency.
In addition, we support schools in the city of Peshawar in preparing children for future disasters. To mitigate the effects of droughts and prevent malnutrition, rural communities learn about nutrition-sensitive agriculture, kitchen gardening, dietary diversity and food handling. Farmers introduce water-efficient climate resilient agricultural practices and technology and use weather forecasts for agricultural planning.
We make sure the entire population benefits from our activities, especially disadvantaged groups, in particular girls and women – which is often a challenging task in the mostly conservative project areas of Pakistan.
Visit the website of Helvetas Pakistan.
If you would like to know more about our work in Pakistan, click on each project for details.