Around 60 per cent of Pakistan’s population live on less than two dollars a day. Poverty rates are particularly high in the country’s northern region, where many remote and poor mountainous communities do not have access to a basic, clean and reliable water supply.
In many communities, pipelines, distribution networks and water storage tanks are still damaged following the devastating 2005 earthquake and communities are still using temporary plastic pipes which frequently break and leak.
The lack of a decent water supply not only impacts upon health, but also on the local economy, which relies heavily on agriculture. Women and girls – upon whom it often falls to collect water – are left with little time to earn a living or attend school after walking long distances to existing water supplies two or three times each day.
Thanks to funding from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, we have been working with our partner in Pakistan, the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), to help 13 villages throughout the northern district of Mansehra to bring much-needed improvements to the water supplies in their communities.
Each village is now connected to local springs and has a water tank and individual household connections, bringing a cleaner, safer and more reliable supply to each family.
The success of the project has been greatly down to the participation of village members in the construction. Elders in each of the villages involved helped to set up committees, responsible for discussing plans with others in their communities and getting contributions towards construction costs and labour.
Community members helped to transport materials, dig trenches and install water pipes. The committees have also undergone training in operating and maintaining the new water systems, ensuring the sustainability of the new water supplies.
Throughout the 13 villages benefiting from this project, 5,589 families now have an improved water supply and are already seeing the benefits: women and girls now have more time to go to work and school and more water is available for crops and livestock, helping to improve livelihoods and nutrition within the communities.
This project is funded by the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission.