The ongoing militancy and military operation against Taliban in different regions of Malakand division in NWFP have produced the largest internal migration in the history of Pakistan. Within short time it has caused displacement of about four million people from their homes. As a result, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been forced to settle in formal camps and with host communities across Pakistan especially districts of Mardan, Nowshera and Swabi.
The overall result of mass displacement in a short time has appeared in the shape of humanitarian crisis. IDPs continued to experience poor sanitation, shortage of safe drinking water, lack of privacy and essential medicines. Moreover, the cultural barriers of IDPs further limited access of women to health care and other facilities which further generated psychological problems.
Realising the intensity of the situation, Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) is providing relief assistance to the people who have been rendered insecure by the conflict. To assess the real situation, SPO collected data of families living with host communities. This exercise was necessary because most of the NGOs and INGOs focused on camps established by the government, whereas eighty percent of IDPs took refuge within the host families. The assessment study has facilitated in identification of the areas where IDPs were in urgent need of help.
Immediately after the study, SPO launched assistance programme in Mardan District with the help of several humanitarian agencies including Oxfam Novib and Care International. The main objectives of SPO’s relief and response programme are:
To reduce the short-term effect of the conflict on vulnerable groups living with host families by providing assistance through,
NFIs and Health & Hygiene Kits
Cash for Choice with special focus on women headed families and destitute
To sensitize and generating awareness among the vulnerable families about hygiene practices and IDPs rights through training sessions.
To establish mobile medical camps to reduce health hazards.
To support women and children to bring them back to normal life through psycho-social support by creating women and child friendly spaces.
Realizing the serious psychological effects of uprooting women and children from their surroundings, SPO has established sixty friendly spaces through its own resources and funding from other donors. In these spaces SPO arranged puppet shows, theatre performances and psychotherapy session with women and children who had traumatic experience. Such sessions are essential for the psychological rehabilitation of traumatized children.
Following the practice of participatory approach, SPO has made partnerships with other organizations by providing relief and working for rehabilitation. Through financial assistance of Oxfam Novib, SPO has been able to reach to the people where aid has not reached yet. SPO is supporting approximately two hundred and fifty thousand affectees by providing NFIs and Hygiene Kits, cash for choice, awareness sessions on Health and Hygiene and holding advocacy on IDPs’ rights.
To initiate early recovery and rehabilitation of IDPs, an assessment study in district Bunir, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi is in the process. This study will be completed next week. In order to expand its area of operations within the conflict areas, SPO has finalized its operation plan for the rehabilitation of victims of conflict in Lower Dir.
In order to make the implementation and rehabilitation systematic and effective, SPO is contributing to the formulation of rehabilitation policy and is certainly engaged in advocacy work.