Cash for work helped me to feed my family...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PAKISTAN- ‘If it doesn't rain, it pours’ aptly sums up the water situation for villagers from Keti Meer Muhammad in Pakistan’s Sindh province where there is either a dire lack of water for their agricultural lands – or too much – as in the case of the 2010 and 2011 floods.

“This is the big dilemma of our village that when the level of water is high in the river we get water in all our surroundings and when the water level is down our land goes uncultivated”, shares a member of the Village Development Committee in Keti Meer Muhammad located on the mighty Indus river in Khairpur district.

After flood waters damaged the majority of the houses in the village, driving families to seek refuge in neighbouring villages or towns, often with little more than the clothes on their backs, World Vision joined other agencies to provide emergency aid in the form of food, shelter and health care.

"We need a canal to cultivate our land" 

But the problem with channelling the water in the village remained. As part of World Vision’s recovery efforts, a team of water and sanitation experts visited the village and asked the people there what they needed most in order to get back on their feet.

“We need a canal to cultivate our land”, was the resounding response.

World Vision selected 100 residents to construct the 3.6km canal over a ten-day period through a ‘Cash for Work’ programme that would pay workers for their contribution.

The canal builders have earned PKR 350/ day (US$3.88/ day), totalling around US$39.00 for their work.

World Vision’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene and Reconstruction teams, including an engineer, assessed and guided the construction.

Asked about the importance of agriculture and this canal for the community, Ali Muhammad Channa responds, “The agricultural land is the only source of income for the community and if our lands go uncultivated we shall go hungry”.

"I have paid off some of the loan which I took to meet the medical expenses of my wife..."

“That is why we asked you [World Vision] to build a canal in our village as this canal will serve as the irrigation channel to cultivate the lands and ultimately we shall be able to see prosperity once these lands are cultivated”.

But quick gains are already evident here, thanks to the Cash for Work programme.

“I earned a handsome amount and I have paid off some of the loan which I took to meet the medical expenses of my wife and with the remaining amount I bought food and grocery items for my family”, says Rahib Ali, a day labourer who lost all of his belongings in the 2010 flood.

Muhammad Rattal, father of three daughters had taken a loan of PKR 50,000 (US$555) to pay for treatment and care for his sick wife. “With the amount I got through Cash for Work I was able to feed my children properly and I tell you in a true sense that World Vision has helped us a lot,” he shares.

Rattal adds, “During the time of the flood World Vision provided us with everything (shelter, food and medicines). For three to four months after the flood we were just buying vegetables; all other things were provided by World Vision. And now World Vision gave me the opportunity to dig the canal for the prosperity of my village and in return they gave me enough wages that I could buy food for one month to feed my family”.

The canal reconstruction and Cash for Work programme are key components of World Vision’s flood recovery initiative that seeks to give families the resources and environment to be independent and ensure their children are cared for, protected and enjoy good health.