Empowering Communities

“The turning point arrived when I discovered projects aimed at the betterment of Jacobabad, spearheaded by HANDS and USAID.”

I am Shahid Hussain Jawadi, a 42-year-old Shaikh Abdul Nabi Mohalla resident in Jacobabad, Pakistan. My educational journey, culminating in Matriculation in 2000, has taken a back seat to my ardent desire to contribute positively to my city.
In my solo pursuit of change, I stumbled upon a transformative opportunity through projects led by HANDS and USAID, which sparked a collaboration that continues to shape our community. The journey commenced in 2014, with HANDS, USAID, UNICEF, and MSG welcoming us into their fold and introducing effective ways to address our community’s unique challenges.
Focused on a Jacobabad mohalla, our initiatives have been groundbreaking. One notable success involved rectifying water distribution issues caused by an ice factory’s unauthorized connection to the main supply, leaving our community in dire need. We collaborated with HANDS, Civil Lines Police, and the Municipal Committee to disconnect the unauthorized connection, ensuring equitable water access for all.
Health and hygiene became paramount. We actively engaged residents in cleaning activities, educated them on waste disposal risks, and discouraged children from handling garbage. Resolving communal disputes, such as shared drains between houses, led to a harmonious living environment. Motivated residents installed lights, transforming once-dark surroundings into a safer space.
Recognizing the absence of a garbage dumping site, we collaborated with an under-construction house to create a communal dumping point. The community’s willingness to contribute materials and professional assistance exemplified the collective spirit toward a common goal.
Volunteers swelled during area meetings, providing a platform to address issues promptly. Collaborating with the Chairman of the Municipal Committee, we initiated preventive measures, such as using mesh to prevent plastic bags from clogging drains—a solution we got at a discounted rate from a local rag man (kabaria).

Education played a pivotal role, focusing on handwashing and food protection. We educated about fly-borne germs and the importance of boiling water, and contributing soap to schools. This proactive approach resulted in a decrease in illnesses, crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 floods presented a new challenge, as drinking water mixed with dirty water, increased the risk of waterborne diseases. In response, HANDS guided us in forming a committee of 10 people to efficiently manage relief efforts. This experience prompted us to register our mohalla with the Social Welfare Department Jacobabad, enhancing our accountability and effectiveness.
Infrastructure improvements, such as water lines laid by the government, further enhanced our community’s access to water. We constructed water reservoirs and tanks for storage, reducing our dependence on external sources and minimizing costs. Bills are paid promptly from our funds to ensure immediate resolution of any issues, reflecting our proactive approach.
Our door-to-door campaigns emphasized the importance of maintaining cleanliness not only within homes but also in the surrounding areas. Residents were encouraged to collect garbage at designated points, fostering a collective responsibility for a cleaner environment.

Looking ahead, we aspire to form a Water Board in Jacobabad, recognizing the need for self-reliance in addressing persistent issues. This initiative, focused on responsible governance, prudent spending, and community involvement, seeks to be a pioneer project offering a platform for those who share our values.
The major challenges facing our city, particularly water quality, cleanliness, and resulting health problems, require sustained efforts. We appeal to USAID and HANDS for support in providing mesh to cover water tanks, and preventing mosquitoes and insects from breeding—a crucial step in safeguarding the lives of children and adults from diseases like malaria.
In conclusion, our collaborative journey with HANDS and USAID has been instrumental in transforming Jacobabad. The resilience and dedication of our community, combined with the support of these organizations, have paved the way for positive change and a brighter future.

Water Governance for District Jacobabad

In 2010, USAID/Pakistan embarked on a collaborative venture with the Government of Sindh (GoS) to enhance the provision of basic municipal services. This initiative, known as the Municipal Services Program-Sindh (MSP-S), focused its efforts on Jacobabad City, the capital of Jacobabad District in Northern Sindh. The project aimed to elevate water and sanitation service delivery through three primary components: water and sanitation infrastructure upgrades, civic engagement for inclusive governance and the establishment of management information systems.

As the water and sanitation infrastructure upgrades near completion, USAID is directing its attention to further enhance wastewater, effluent and solid waste management in Jacobabad. The Water Governance for Sindh initiative, undertaken in collaboration with HANDS and the Municipal Committee Jacobabad (MCJ), is designed to provide technical assistance and capacity-building interventions. The goal is to empower MCJ to deliver clean drinking water, manage wastewater and solid waste effectively fostering sustainability and financial self-sufficiency.

The project has made significant strides towards achieving its goals in the 2022-23 period. Noteworthy accomplishments include staff training on project management and water quality testing initiatives, formation and activation of 128 Muhallah WASH Committees, formation and activation of 55 School WASH Clubs, Health and hygiene awareness sessions, 07 mega events for BCC campaigns on World Water Day, Importance of Solid Waste Management, Handling Drinking Water and Willingness to pay for MCJ services, Advocacy for solid waste and wastewater management.

The milestones achieved by the project team are Functional Water Quality Lab for MCJ with routine tests across three key points, establishment of a user information and billing system, successfully initiation of the collection and redressal of complaints, reinforcing transparency and accountability. 21,000 households now have water supply connections, marking a substantial improvement in access, MOU Signing with MCJ, Dept. of Health and Education in District Jacobabad.

The project’s success hinges on community trust and ownership. The formation of Muhallah WASH Committees, School WASH Clubs and health and hygiene sessions underline a concerted effort to engage citizens actively. The theory of change posits that these interventions will lead to MCJ becoming financially self-sustainable, with transparency, citizen-centricity and efficacy ingrained in its operations.

HANDS and USAID’s partnership in Jacobabad exemplifies a comprehensive approach to municipal service improvement. The project has made significant strides in enhancing water and sanitation services through strategic partnerships, capacity-building and community engagement. As the initiative progresses, it is poised to leave a lasting impact on the lives of Jacobabad’s residents, fostering a model of effective and sustainable municipal governance.