One woman's push for change at a village in Pakistan

Woman stands in front of a group in a mask speaking inside a colorful room

With support from IRC, Ms Komariya is inspiring her community to improve their health and wellbeing through better sanitation by promoting safe and inclusive WASH through interfaith harmony in Pakistan (IRC)


“I am thankful to IRC and all the villagers for their support and trust,” says Komariya. “We have started the journey but it will not stop here. I have already started promoting menstrual hygiene management at village level and our journey will continue till we have achieved our objective of dignified life for all.”


Supported by the Australian Government, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is delivering their Water for Women project, 'Leveraging Inclusive WASH for Empowerment - LIFE' in Pakistan through a hybrid model of self-implementing in district Peshawar while working through implementing partners in districts Buner and Swat.


Through this model, IRC and partners work with selected change agents to deliver program outcomes. Change agents in the community include Transformation Facilitators (TFs), and the members of the Inclusive Wash Jirga’s (committees), as well as community opinion leaders. A total of 154 TFs (male, female and transgender) are engaged in three project districts, with 50 of them solely in Peshawar.


Komariya has voluntarily assumed a leadership role in her community in Peshawar, comprising of 80% Christians and 20% Muslim families. Her village, located in Peshawar had often been overlooked when it comes to WASH improvements due to many living there belonging to marginalised and minority groups, there was also little interest from within the community to take up the role of improving village sanitation - but Komariya was up to the task! She self-organised a female group with representation from all Muslim and Christian families within the community and approached IRC to work with their village.


Following a formal assessment process, IRC selected the village as one of the target areas for their LIFE project. The monthly meetings brought women from both faiths closer and they started discussing common issues affecting their community, including the issue of solid waste disposal.


After a few meetings, Komariya motivated the women inclusive WASH Jirga to launch a joint Solid Waste Collection and Village Cleaning Campaign. She also approached the TMA to help them clean their village drains.

two women are cleaning up an area outside to improve the sanitation of their village

Cleaning campaign day!


On the campaign day of 9th June 2020, all the women gathered at a common place along with their respective equipment, assigned specific areas to each group, and started gathering and dumping waste at the designated point. In the evening, when the men returned from work and observed the initiative, they were inspired to join in and helped the women in cleaning up. The next day, the TMA staff arrived and transported the waste to government designated dumping sites and helped villagers in clearing their wastewater drains.


All villagers have since agreed to make this exercise a monthly feature and they have designated the last Friday of each month for the cleanliness campaign. Village Shad Bagh is now a much better place to live, neat and clean with friendly and cooperative neighbors -and it all started with one motivated woman - Ms Komariya.


As one male resident said, “Ms. Komariya has changed the village’s fortune by triggering change in our thinking; she is our leader now.”

World Toilet Day is celebrated on November 19th.

On World Toilet Day, we celebrate the role of safe, accessible toilets as a building block of healthy and resilient communities.

But World Toilet Day is not just about toilets, it is also about the important role of the systems and people that surround and support adequate toilets to ensure they are sustainable and can withstand the impacts of climate change.

Water for Women partners are working hard to ensure all people within communities have access to safe and sustainable sanitation.


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