Many communities in rural Pakistan don’t have clean water or safe hygiene practises, putting them at risk of waterborne diseases, viruses and infections. In 2019 Human Appeal began a journey to transform an entire community in Tharparkar, Sindh. Here, Hindus and Muslims live side by side in peace, sharing natural resources. But Tharparkar is a place of extreme poverty and has faced six years of relentless drought.
Travelling to the area with the Anzal Begum Foundation, we found 1.6 million people living without access to safe, clean water. In Tharparkar, crops weren’t growing, livestock were dying and women had to trek at least three kilometres each day to collect water.
In fact, District Tharparkar is one of Sindh’s more isolated districts, where no other charities are currently present. So this was the district we chose to launch a ground-breaking initiative.
Instead of only focusing on just one problem such as water access, farming or education, we decided to integrate several separate projects so that we could achieve a total transformation of opportunities and living standards in the district. The Tharparkar Smart Village tackles the problems of clean water access, hygiene, food security and sustainable livelihoods simultaneously so that we can provide well-rounded solutions to the causes of poverty in each village and drastically improve the quality of life for years to come.
Integrated projects are even more beneficial because they cater for the holistic development needs of a community as well as offering a complete and contextually relevant solution for the communities.
To illustrate, if we provide these communities with clean drinking water to reduce waterborne diseases but at the same time allow them to be exposed to unhygienic practices such as the community’s lack of awareness around handwashing, then the community’s health will continue to suffer. That’s what we are delivering in Tharparkar.
In consultation with the local community, we identified a suitable water source for drinking and then constructed a central water storage tank in each of seven villages. This ensured that all villagers have equal and convenient access.
The capacity of each water storage tank is 17,000 litres, sufficient to meet the drinking and domestic water needs of approximately 2,000 residents per village; importantly, the tank can be refilled in just an hour. We also installed water supply lines and constructed water access points so that the more distant sub-villages in each area had an easier travel time to collect water. We also implemented solar technology to power the water pumps accessing the centralized water storage tank. On average each village has approximately 32 solar panels (380 watts each – 12,160-watt capacity in total) that pumps water from the borehole approximately 2.5 km into the storage tank in each village.
In each supported village in Tharparkar – average population of 1,626 people – we install solar-powered water pumps and street lights.
There are also separate community toilets for men and women, respecting cultural practices and protecting women and girls. We also train villagers to adapt to changing weather patterns, and to sustainably grow food in kitchen gardens.
Every village member has direct access to clean, safe water and sanitation facilities, as well as the means to grow food and sell crops to earn a living, giving them the tools to be self-sufficient year after year. This is how your mercy lives on.
After piloting the transformation of one village in Tharparkar in 2021, with marked improvement in health, livelihoods and nutrition, we’re now replicating this success in other villages. To date we’ve completed the transformation of 66 villages. We consult with local communities and organisations to select the villages where this project will have the biggest impact, and work to provide innovative, life-changing solutions.
In order to ensure the long-term impact of this project, we’re establishing and training a local committee to manage and maintain the new facilities. All of our projects use locally-sourced materials making it easy to repair and replace parts in the future. Once we’ve completed the project, we monitor and assess the progress of each community so that we can improve our future projects and continue to support the most vulnerable.
As the only charity working in Tharparkar, Human Appeal is so proud to showcase the transformative power of your mercy. Transformation that supplies over 17,000 litres of fresh water every day from 41 solar powered pumps. Transformation that has seen 560 solar powered street-lights being installed there and 336 toilets built to date. We’re changing the lives of more than 60,000 people and counting, forever. This is us making the most of your mercy.
You’ve entrusted us with your donation so that we can make the most of your mercy. Let’s hear from Aamir, Human Appeal Pakistan’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Manager on how your mercy allows us to transform one of the most remote, drought – stricken regions of Sindh - Tharparkar.
I joined Human Appeal in 2012 and brought together experts in the fields of engineering, architects, livestock specialists, drought experts and more to work with the government, organisations and research institutes to ensure that all aspects of this project are safe, sustainable and impactful.
We aimed to provide an integrated solution to the local communities because they cater to the holistic development needs of a community and offer a complete solution.
Just as an example, if we provide these communities with the clean drinking water nearest to their households to reduce waterborne diseases and improve villagers’ health but at the same time left them uneducated about handwashing, communities would still become ill and their health would continue to suffer.
This integrated project also allowed us to focus on empowering women and children and improving their safety & security. By building safe and secure points to access water close to their homes, we reduce women’s workload and improve their health and wellbeing. In addition, the safe toilet and water facilities improve the personal hygiene of menstruating women and girls and reduces their risk of harassment and harm.
Our water engineers determine the right location for water pumps and wells; they assess water quality and tell us how much is needed. Civil engineers ensure our construction standards are well met, and the structures we build are lasting and durable and disaster resilient. Solar engineers ensure our systems are sufficient enough to pump water from far off sources and are capable of filling water storage tanks in a minimum possible time to avoid interruptions to the water supply.
Also, food security and agriculture experts ensure the crops we grow and the seeds we provide are drought resistant and consume less water, thereby improving the resilience to drought and extreme temperatures.
From our staff to our vendors, every team member is well trained and sensitive to important safeguarding measures to ensure the protection and wellbeing of the communities we work with.
We also have a well-structured feedback and complaints mechanism that allows our beneficiaries to raise complaints through multiple options, provide suggestions and feedback, and highlight any possible risk related to safeguarding.
Thanks to your support every year we continue to invest in sustainable infrastructure to provide, and to continue to provide for, the most basic of needs for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Your mercy fuels Aamir’s passion and commitment to improving the standard of living for Tharparkar’s village communities. His teams know that an integrated solution, like the one implemented here, makes the biggest impact. It doesn’t take a lot to relieve families living a life of poverty. Thanks to your mercy, the incredible results the team is seeing will live on year after year.
Julie lives in Ghoghari village with her husband and five children. Like many families in their community, her’s struggled to meet their daily needs.
Before the Tharparkar Smart Village project, they faced many difficulties in their daily routines and duties.
“I had to walk for one to two hours every day to fetch water. And the children left behind would be crying.
We used to draw water and then fill it in pots. It was difficult for us then.”
But now, because of the solar-powered water tank and plumbing system, the hazards and challenges of long treks to collect water are gone.
“Now the water comes from the solar water tank and reaches our taps. We have water on a daily basis for drinking and domestic use; the water is very good.”
Solar-powered technology also affords them additional hours to work at night and secure their family’s safety.
“Before, we could not work at night. Now we can easily prepare food at night and look after our children.
We also could not see snakes or other insects at night. Now we can see them at night because of these solar lights. So, we feel safer now.”
Improved hygiene and sanitation is also making life better for families.
“Before when we had to go out to answer nature’s call, we had to go outside to attend nature’s call, we faced many difficulties. But now we have toilets here so we are safe.”
The complex integration of several projects also targeted livelihoods and hunger too.
“We didn’t have milk before so my children and I drank black tea. But, now we have goats and so we can get milk from them.
We are happy now. My children are much healthier. These goats offer other benefits too as they will reproduce.
Everything is perfect and now our lives are peaceful. I am thankful to those who provided us with these things.”