CHITRAL: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan (AKAH,P), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), inaugurated a water and sanitation system in Khot village in Upper Chitral, bringing clean water and safe sanitation to 265 households. It is in addition to the over 500 systems built by AKAH,P in mountainous and disaster-prone areas of Pakistan, providing more than half a million people access to clean water.
President Aga Khan Council for Pakistan, Hafiz Sherali, presided over the ceremonies as the chief guest. Heads of the district administration of Chitral, senior management of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, leadership of the Aga Khan Regional and Local Council and representatives of the community participated in the event.
Khot, a remote village located at a high altitude with a rough terrain, is difficult to access. Health facilities are also not easy to reach. Contaminated water supply and poor sanitation have been the primary causes of illness and health emergencies in the village. Women and children fetched water from sources far from their homes and were exposed to risk of injuries in the rough terrain.
Working with the community to build a safe habitat, AKAH,P identified a clean drinking water source within the village and constructed a water supply system including water storage tanks, channels, pipeline and tap stands. As a result, more than 1,500 residents of Khot have access to clean drinking water in their homes throughout the year even in harsh weather conditions.
Speaking at the inauguration of the water scheme, President Hafiz Sherali highlighted the importance of providing basic necessities such as clean water and sanitation through sustainable interventions in which the community’s participation is central. He said, “AKDN’s approach to development engages communities in the design, operations and maintenance of such systems.”
Developing countries, including Pakistan, are more vulnerable to threats of climatic changes, which add to risks of waterborne disease due to poor sanitation and sewerage systems and inappropriate water management. According to the UN and Pakistani authorities, between 30 and 40 per cent of diseases and deaths nationwide are linked to poor water quality.
CEO, AKAH,P, Nusrat Nasab praised the community’s contribution and emphasised that the community needs to take an even greater interest in its maintenance to continue to benefit from clean water throughout the year. This initiative will also help improve the health conditions of women and children by reducing the burden of waterborne diseases, and the effort women make to fetch water.