Successful relief training in rural Pakistan as villagers are reached with cloth-book resource

22 October 2013

He used the cloth book developed by the Alliance in partnership with Kunri Christian Hospital in the training sessions in rural Sanghar, with people attending from local communities and village out reach partners to plan how to prepare for natural disasters. 

Nadeem Raj Khan organised the training in response to the needs, highlighted by recent floods in Pakistan, for training to help rural communities to prepare for disasters and provide a more effective response to emergencies. He said the Anglican Alliance’s cloth-book resource was very effective.

“It was great!” he said.  “Your material was very helpful for me as well as the participants.  I hope we can use this more for different communities.”

Nadeem was inspired to take the training to communities around Pakistan after visiting villagers in Kunri, Sindh province,  where the Alliance recently spent time with local people piloting the cloth book to see if it helped people to prepare communities there for the expected floods.

After speaking with the Village Outreach Partners in Kunri, Nadeem heard how valuable the Alliance visit had been and saw the innovative use of the cloth-book resource to train and prepare villagers for disaster.

The cloth-book was designed and produced by the Anglican Alliance, together with Commonwealth fellow Naveed Khurram Gill, Revd Rana Khan and students from Northampton High School. It is printed on polyester fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and includes brightly coloured pictures supported by explanations and discussion points. 

The Kunri community reported how they were now able to face the floods equipped with a new approach to disaster preparation. 

They said, “The cloth-book told us to make our home strong, so we bought plastic sheets and with the help of mud we did it.  We collected wood and did not face any difficulty cooking food.  We also made a community team, so that if we felt any kind of risk we can alert each other.  We kept extra mobile batteries and found safe places for our family to settle if there were heavy rains.”

Nadeem was struck by how quickly the villagers acted on the training from the Alliance, and saw the significance of the cloth-book resource as a training tool. 

Several communities have struggled in recent floods and still have a need for disaster-preparedness training.  Some people were particularly affected and could not repair their homes.  The risk of malaria is also increased and many cannot access mosquito nets for their family.  Clean drinking water is also unavailable during the floods.  

The Anglican Alliance is hoping to produce more cloth-books for disaster preparedness, and is encouraged by the outreach already taking place across Pakistan to prepare rural villagers before disaster strikes.