International charity WaterAid, in partnership with the European Union (EU)  launched a new three year project which aims to accelerate progress on water and sanitation in Khyber Pakhtukhwa (KP). This project will be implemented by IRSP in district Mardan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been named one of the most disadvantaged provinces in Pakistan in terms of poverty and other human development indicators. Improving access to water and sanitation in the province will lead to improved health and well being of the inhabitants.

To halve by 2015 the proportion of the world’s people who are unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation is the 10th target of the 7th Millennium Development Goal (MDG) adopted in 2000. Pakistan has an enormous role in achieving the MDG targets for South Asia, with growing concerns about poverty as it is the sixth most populous country in the world.

To help tackle the water and sanitation crisis, the EU has established a strategic alliance with WaterAid by initiating a  three year project that will commence from January 1, 2011 in Mardan, KP through the involvement of a local partner organization Integrated Regional Support Programme (IRSP).

The project aims to speed up progess on water and sanitation in the province through a practical, pro-poor, sustainable and citizen-led approach.  With a specific focus on advocacy and influencing, particularly through working with civil society groups, the partnership will promote an equitable and inclusive society where safe water and sanitation should be available for all.

According to Abdul Hafeez of WaterAid in Pakistan: “Our experience shows that excluded groups are highly vulnerable and marginalized with unique water and sanitation needs. Women and children for instance bear the greatest burden when there’s a lack of water and sanitation.”

“Through an integrated approach, this intervention will benefit an estimated 200,000 people in 30 communities of Mardan, KP through sustainable access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Special attention will be given to marginalized groups consisting of people from refugee camps and rural communities focusing on women, children, minorities, disabled and elderly.”

Some of the expected outcomes of the project are:

Increased access to appropriate water, environmental sanitation and hygiene promotion services in 30 communities including refugee camps in KP

  • Improved capacity of Civil Society Organisations to engage with government leading to more involvement of citizens in wider development processes
  • Improved capacity of local government to respond to citizens’ demands through a Right Based Approach and deliver appropriate services
  • Improved institutional systems and processes for promoting equitable and inclusive governance in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector