Swat Relief Initiative has expanded its reach, going into even more remote areas than before. We have brought our health and nutrition seminar and medical camps to the villages of Shingartan (near Gat Piochar) and other rural villages in Swat that were Taliban strongholds during the 2009 takeover. The people in these regions are still terrorized by the brutality of the Taliban, who used to publicly execute and mutilate the bodies of anyone who opposed them. Women are especially afraid to come out of their homes, and so it is crucial that we provide much needed healthcare and give them the opportunity to take charge of their families’ health. We have also made plans to create a maternity clinic near Shingartan, which is a 2 hour bus ride from the nearest hospital, resulting in the death of many women due to lack of proper prenatal and post natal care. In addition to our health camps, we (in partnership with HDF) continue to provide preventive healthcare to eight villages.
For a year now, we have maintained two janitors and two doctors in the maternity ward of the local government hospital in Saidu Sharif. This staff, hired by SRI, work full-time to improve the sanitation, environment, and health services available to Swati women. This week, we provided an orientation session for the hospital’s doctors and nurses in the use of a CTG monitor that we purchased for them. This device non-invasively monitors fetal heart rate and uterine contractions, which provides invaluable information to doctors as they decide how to proceed with patients in labor or late pregnancy. In the coming weeks, we will be giving instructions in the use of four other pieces of equipment that we have bought for the hospital. We have also purchased multimedia equipment that will be used in the hospital to play an adapted version of our Health and Nutrition Seminar to patients and staff.
Two weeks ago, HDF sent their foremost instructor on social mobilization to train our staff in Saidu Sharif. The entire staff participated in an intensive four-day course, which taught us how to create social organizations in order to bring development through involvement of the local population. The course included practical field work and subsequent reflection sessions. The consensus from the staff was that the training was extremely edifying, and that it would be instrumental in the implementation of our planned Integrative Rural Development Program (IRDP). A key feature of the IRDP is that it will take into account the needs of each specific community. SRI and HDF believe that, more than anyone else, the local beneficiaries are aware of the kind of development they need, and also are the most motivated to bring about change. The mechanism whereby local voices will be heard is by forming partnerships with local people. The SRI/HDF program will identify activists within the community, and teach the activists how to form committees and raise awareness and funds for small-scale development projects.
The Rotary Club of Swat, initiated by the President of SRI almost a year ago, has been producing incredible results. The club has organized local activists to raise funds for various development projects, and they have also formed committees to tackle several key issues in Swat. The Education Committee’s task is to raise the standard of local schools, which have fallen far from their former quality. Another committee has been formed to monitor and generate ideas for improving hospitals, and yet another called Green Swat will work to improve the environment and prevent deforestation. On the 15th of June, SRI’s president initiated the Rotrat club of Swat, which is a junior version of Rotary Club. The members are mostly from Swat University, but more diverse members are expected to join as the club gains prominence.
I would like to thank all our donors and supporters who have helped us achieve our goals.
President, Swat Relief Initiative