Thatta, March 24, 2016: Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), formally concluded a two-year project titled ‘Climate Resilient Communities in Coastal Lying Areas of Sindh’ in a closing ceremony at Makli Gymkhana in Thatta district, Sindh. The ceremony was attended by Senator Dr. Karim Khwaja from Sindh and several government officials, representative from civil society organisations, and community members.
“Villages located in the coastal belt in Sindh, especially in the regions of Thatta and Badin, are prone to natural hazards. So we need fortified efforts from the government and support from civil society organisations to help us improve the quality of life of people in these areas. I am glad that this project by AKPBS,P marks a step in the right direction, ” remarked the Senator at the ceremony.
Damage caused by climate related natural disasters such as floods and cyclones has exacerbated vulnerabilities and coping capacities for low-income rural communities who are often not exposed to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptive mechanisms.
In response to these needs, the ‘Climate Resilient Communities in Coastal Lying Areas of Sindh’ project adopted a demand-oriented approach to strengthen civil society initiatives and reduce vulnerability against climate change in 30 villages in Thatta benefitting more than 12,000 people. Funded by Global Affairs Canada through Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the project falls under the ‘Partnership for Advancing Human Development in Africa and Asia’ programme.
Under the project, AKPBS,P led the construction of 15 mitigation infrastructure schemes, including link roads, culverts and earth-filling projects, to mitigate risk of flooding in the coastal villages. AKPBS,P also formed Climate Change Adaption Committees (CCACs) in 30 villages to drive climate resilient assessment, response, and mitigation measures. The CCACs include community representatives from all target villages, with a specific focus on female representation, who were provided training to design Disaster Risk Reduction adaptation plans for their villages.
“This project supported adaptation to climate change through civil society initiatives in interior Sindh, with particular emphasis on gender empowerment and environmental sustainability,” explained Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive, AKPBS,P. “We appreciate the support of the Government of Canada and the provincial government in Sindh of such important efforts. .”
In addition, the project initiated campaigns to sensitize the community and increase awareness and action on preparedness and prevention strategies against climate change. Local artisans were also trained to manufacture, develop and market more than 800 energy efficient stoves which use less wood and allow cooking to take place in a cleaner environment.