PESHAWAR: Rejecting the impression that there was a setback in Unicef’s commitment and one of its partners the Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) in the WASH sector in tribal districts, SRSP Syed Awlad Hussein, SRSP program manager for tribal districts, said Thursday the fight against Covid-19 will be continues.
“Publication of a story has created the impression that there is a decline in UNICEF’s commitment and one of its partners, SRSP in the WASH Sector in the tribal district and is fighting back against Covid-19 in the province. “It’s confusing to a change in strategy to adapt their work to the changing circumstances after Covid-19,” he complained.
On the contrary, he said, after Covid-19, this partnership worked with renewed enthusiasm to help governments and communities in the region. He said that the decision to close projects in the tribal district was made after intensive discussion between the SRSP and Unicef which lasted for two months and was not carried out suddenly.
The main component of the closed project, he said, is community engagement that is not possible in the current situation without posing serious risks to the community and staff involved in the project. He said that the water supply scheme, which is being implemented through the Department of Public Health Engineering, has not been affected by this decision and will be completed on time in June under the revised SOP for projects implemented with contractors.
Awlad Hussein said that 2000 marked the seventh year of a partnership between SRSP and Unicef to respond to the needs in the WASH sector and the main objective of this partnership was to end open defecation in the province, specifically the tribal districts. The partnership has grown over the years and has reached more than 900,000 people, including those who have been temporarily displaced, returnees and the host community.
Various WASH projects have been carried out ranging from Tanks, Kurram, Buner, Bannu, North and South Waziristan and Swabi. This partnership also helps increase government capacity in the sector and services. This work is not limited to the WASH sector but is also carried out in close collaboration with the Health and Education Sector to address various related problems.
This partnership supports the achievement of sustainable development goals in collaboration with the government. Collaborating, he said, under a partnership more than 700 village sanitation committees had been built and 131,000 people had benefited from the rehabilitation capacity of the water project.
More than 164,000 people have access to sanitation facilities, 13,000 low-cost latrines were built with the help of the community by providing basic materials and cash support.
More than 35,000 communities have been provided with improved WASH facilities at schools; 75 Basic Health Units have been provided with health and sanitation facilities; 205 latrines are built for people with special needs.
The official said awareness campaigns had been carried out regularly to support the sector. He said that this partnership was committed to helping people deal with the Covid-19 crisis facing all communities. A contingency agreement called the Contingency Program Cooperation Agreement has been signed with SRSP in the WASH Sector which allows partners to respond in a humanitarian emergency as it is today.
This agreement will go up until 2022. It was recently activated to assist the government’s efforts to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. Interventions have been conducted in 15 main health care facilities in four high-risk districts such as Peshawar, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan and Kurram which have benefited more than 138 people through this intervention.
Awlad said that changing circumstances require adaptation in all development programs and donor strategies to meet unforeseen circumstances and it is wrong to create the impression that there is a delay in commitment to the sector.
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