The project set up by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) has now gained International recognition. It won a gold prize at World Habitat Awards organized by the United Nations Housing Agency (UN-Habitat). The project has impacted the lives of one million people and has trained 50,000 locals.
The northern areas of Pakistan experience several natural disasters, like earthquake, flood, environmental degradation and land sliding over the year. The project trained the local residents to safeguard their villages in this natural calamity.
Hailing the project, the Chief Executive of World Habitat, David Ireland said that the initiative is not about responding to the effects of climate emergency. It guides people about the protective measures from its effects, using technology and the knowledge of communities. It teaches them about the safer areas to live in the region. He also added that this project from AKAH has immense potential for success in other such areas of Pakistan.
Pakistan experiences natural disaster all around the year, as climate change is impacting the country adversely. Furthermore, the remoteness and lack of resources in the northern areas of the country make relief efforts difficult. This is why this project from AKAH includes analyzing satellite and drone images, by creating disaster management policies through the help of local residents. It aims to prepare the local residents to act promptly and responsibly in such a situation. AKAH is also planning to extend the model project in different parts of the country.
The project significantly focused on women, as it was encouraging to see that fifty percent of volunteers were female participants. The volunteers for trained for disaster response, weather monitoring, and mapping of high risk areas. Samra Siraj, a Programme Coordinator at AKAH, said that women are generally seen as vulnerable victims of disasters and emergencies. However, these trained volunteers will actively respond to disasters, and serve their communities.
AKAH initiated this project in 2006, and it has been able to play an influential role in disaster management sector. Furthermore, with the growing adversity of climate change, such projects have become a necessity to protect disaster stricken areas.