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Fifty years, fifty countries: Pakistan

By Gideon Heugh | 06 Sep 2018

Pakistan is one of the least developed countries in Asia. Nearly a third of the population live below the international poverty line (less than $1.90 a day), while more than half lack secure access to sufficient food. Lack of basic clean water and sanitation facilities claims the lives of 250,000 children each year.

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of the least developed countries in Asia. Nearly a third of the population live below the international poverty line (less than $1.90 a day), while more than half lack secure access to sufficient food. Lack of basic clean water and sanitation facilities claims the lives of 250,000 children each year.

Tearfund has been working in Pakistan since 2005. Originally, this was in response to natural disasters. The country is vulnerable to numerous hazards – including cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes and landslides. In 2010, for example, monsoon rains caused massive floods, killing nearly 2,000 people and inflicting over US$16 billion in damage.

Shifting the Power
Wherever possible, Tearfund works hard to put more power and decision-making into the hands of local organisations. Locally-based groups tend to have a much clearer idea of what is needed for their communities and regions.

It means that when disaster does strike, men and women are already present on the ground, ready to act – however remote and inaccessible the affected region.

This is the thinking behind the Shifting the Power project, in which Tearfund collaborated with Pakistan’s National Humanitarian Network. Over 170 national organisations have been empowered to respond more effectively to disasters so far. It makes thousands of communities less reliant on direct interventions from outside organisations.

Not a waste
Pakistan currently produces 20 million tonnes of waste per day, only half of which is currently collected. There are huge implications for this, both for people’s health, and the environment, as much of the waste is burned.

Tearfund is responding with an innovative waste management project, known as the Haryali Hub. It’s a community-based model that recycles 90 per cent of waste, sells high-grade organic compost and recyclables, and costs 10 times less than regular waste-collection alternatives. It also provides vital employment for local people, as well as making people’s homes cleaner and safer places to live.

‘My life has changed altogether,’ says Hameed Gul, a local who has been given a job at the Hub. ‘My financial situation has improved, and I have learned practices that have improved my health and the health of my family. I am happy and satisfied with my life, as I am playing a productive role in the society.’

PLEASE PRAY

  • The province of Sindh, in south-east Pakistan, is currently experiencing a prolonged and severe drought. Please pray that rains will come soon, and pray for provision for the people who have been affected.
  • Pray that initiatives such as Shifting the Power and the Haryali Hub will continue to change lives, and that their success will be replicated around the country.
  • Pray for the newly elected government, that they are able to overcome all the challenges (poverty, corruption, security, health, education) the country is facing and lead it towards self-reliance.

If you would like to know more, please visit our Pakistan page. And if you've missed any other articles in this series you can find them here.

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Photo of Gideon Heugh

Written by Gideon Heugh


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