RAWALPINDI, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th july, 2016) :- Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) in collaboration with WASH Sector Partners Pakistan organized a two-day National Learning Event which commenced here on Tuesday. The representatives of all the four provinces, AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan, implementing organizations, multilateral/unilateral agencies and government officials attended the event. The field staff working in various areas at grassroot level shared their experiences and success stories regarding sensitizing masses about sanitation and hygiene.
The speakers highlighted the current situation of open defecation in their respective urban and rural areas and also pointed out the issues being confronted to the population. They elaborated WSSCC's ongoing efforts to enhance learning and sharing between the wider WASH sector at national, regional and global levels to boost implementation, innovation and advocacy. The National Learning Event (NLE) will provide an opportunity for detailed exchange and learning for scaling up and sustaining improved sanitation and hygiene with a range of sector stakeholders.
The event aims to bring the experiences of the WASH sector partners to the fore and discuss potential for wider application and replication. They also talked about the key programmatic challenges around at scale behavior change programming and ensuring sustainability and equality. During interactive session, the sector partners to explore how their programs leverage and support locally based structures to transform sanitation and hygiene behavior at scale.
Director Local Government and Community Development Department Punjab Najeeb Aslam in his presentation briefed about the activities being carried out by the provincial government to improve the sanitation and hygiene. He informed that 120 master trainers were trained to supervise the capacity building of community based organizations about observance of hygiene principles. He also discussed diseases surveillance programme started in the province under the directives of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif to overcome eight viral diseases.
Earlier, National Learning Event on Sanitation and Hygiene was inaugurated with video message of President of Pakistan about Open Defecation. Irfan Saeed of UNICEF gave presentation about behavior change, approaches in Pakistan and their links to sustainability and equality. Tanya Khan of WSSCC moderated the brain storming session about formulation of strategies and approaching for reaching scale. The provincial representatives presented roadmaps, investment plans and district WASH plans.
Tanya Khan stressed for providing enabling environment for improving hygienic conditions in the province. She also highlighted civil society role and government responsibilities to overcome health and sanitation issues. Director General Benazir Income Support Programme Dr. Tahir Noor talked about efforts of BISP for poverty reduction and social issues. The two-day event precedes a Thursday meeting which will enable high-level Pakistani WASH stakeholders to provide input into WSSCC's 2017-2020 strategy. According to Tanya Khan, WSSCC’s aim is to continue its role as a global organization but to focus increasingly on more robust technical and financial support in Pakistan and 19 other countries in the coming years.