Whereas RDF acts as a facilitator for Village Development Committees and Community Based Organizations for processing of projects for financial assistance from national, international agencies & donors, RDF has been directly involved in a pilot project to develop a model village in Taxila, for this purpose village Godho was selected.
Description of Target Area:
Thirty kilometers northwest of Rawalpindi out along the Grand Trunk Road lay Taxila, one of the most important archaeological sites in the whole of Asia. Situated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road, which linked China to the West, the city flourished both economically and culturally. Taxila reached its greatest heights between the 1st and 5th centuries A.D. Buddhist monuments were erected throughout the Taxila Valley which was transformed into a religious heartland and a destination for pilgrims from as far as Central Asia and China.
Undoubtedly badly shaken by the arrival of Huns into the area in the mid-5th century A.D., the city plunged into decline when quarrels among the nobility undermined royal power in the 6th and 7th centuries. The remains of the valley still stand today in the form of Buddhists monasteries and temples.
The village of Godho is a farming community located 37 miles Northwest of Islamabad. The climatic and environmental conditions in the village are typical of the sub-mountain rain-fed region of Pakistan where land is productive for growing food crops as well as cash crops. An annual average rainfall of 870 mm to 1000 mm or 35 to 45 inches usually occurs during the monsoon months of July to September. The amount and distribution of timely rainfall means a lot to sustain the people as well as plant and animal life in the area.
Godho and its neighboring villages thrive on a rain-fed pattern of farming. The sub-soil water is available at a depth of 90 – 100 feet and is insufficient for normal irrigation purposes. Irrigation water is provided by a natural stream, Haro, which flows only during the rainy season, making irrigation water a major problem. An irrigation channel coming from Khanpur Dam has been made available. The low level of newly dug irrigation channel has been identified as a serious problem of the villages. Godho is home to 2,000 residents belonging to 205 households. The population distributed is as follows: 53.3 percent male and 46.5 percent female. Age-wise population is relatively young where 55 percent are in under 21 age bracket. Children constitute 26 percent of the population. The village is near Taxila, a town where most people from Godho obtain both skilled and unskilled jobs during off-farming season. The traditional joint family system characterized by one or two male earning members in a family exist in the village.
Criteria for Selecting Godho as a Comprehensive Village Development Programme:
Among the conditions that led to the selection of Godho for the village development programme was the total lack of the basic necessities/facilities accorded to the villagers. The situation of the village was as under:
Not accessible from the main road;
No drinking water supply;
The supply of electricity covered only a small part of the village;
Main and side streets were converted into slush when water overflowed from side drain;
No health care unit was located within the village. Any medical assistance could be sought in a village about five miles away;
Only one Primary School with one class room catered to the educational needs of 100 boys. Classes were held under the shade of trees during fair weather;
No Primary School for girls existed;
There were no vocational training institutions; and there was no regular post office and telephone service.
The status of the village clearly manifested the absence of developmental initiatives in the village. Thus, the Rural Development Foundation of Pakistan (RDF) stepped into the picture and introduced development at the micro level.
Drinking Water Supply:
A drinking water supply was one of the most pressing needs of the village. The women are usually the ones who have to go a long way to fetch water for household requirements. Drinking water supply was made available with the assistance of Public Health Engineering Department and UNICEF.
Link road was constructed connecting the village with Taxila-Haripur road with the assistance of Rawalpindi District Council.
Street Pavements and Drainage:
This project was completed with the help of the village community with matching grant programme of district council. The village now has paved streets and a proper drainage system.
The presence of a one-classroom school building in the village could not accommodate the educational needs of the increasing population of school children. To augment the deficit, another room was constructed. The village had no primary school for girls. Temporary arrangements were made by RDF for girls primary education, until a separate girls school was established by the government.
A Health clinic was established by the RDF in a building raised with the help of CIDA, to take care of mother and child health. In the initial stage while RDF provided the facility, the salaries were paid by NGOCC. The assistance by NGOCC was discontinued for some reason and since then RDF is managing the centre on its own.
There are three main strategic components of RDF health programme for rural community.
In Service Delivery the first component is RDF MCH Centre Godho which has one qualified male doctor, an LHV & one paramedical staff with a labor room and a casualty room for minor surgeries. The delivery cases referred by TBAs/midwives and CHW with the assistance of VHCs and VDCs are attended by newly hired qualified health staff i.e. Doctor, Nurse, Dispenser and Aya. However, the complicated cases are referred to the Tertiary hospitals. From July 2008 to July 2009, the total numbers of patients served were 6343 out of which 970 are male (15%), 3114 are female (50%) and 2259 are children(35 %). Here the ratio of mothers and children equals to 85 % which is not a mere co-incidence but a deliberate effort to motivate mothers of child bearing age to seek help and advice.
The second component is establishment of a small diagnostic laboratory that performs essential lab tests, i.e. Sugar, Hb, HBV, HCV, TB, RE Urine, and CPE etc., at an affordable cost. This is the critical requirement in rural health centers which mostly remains unmet.
The third component is a small Operation Theatre which was set up in September 2008. Since then 170 cases of road traffic accidents, burns, traumas and wounds are treated.
The fourth component is the Vaccination Facility at health centre. Every month vaccination camp is arranged at the centre to help eradicate disabling dreadful Polio, Diphtheria, TB, Pertussis, Measles and Hepatitis.
The fifth component is Mobile Field Service Unit. RDF has one ambulance fully equipped having professional team including TBAs/midwives posted locally at focal points and essential medicines to provide full services of an MCH center including EMOC that will cater the needs of marginalized & underserved segment. The MSU moves throughout the target 32 villages of Tehsil Taxila spread over an area of approximately 100 square km. RDF provides the essential medical services at the doorstep of poor village people who could not afford repeated visits to hospitals.
RDF organizes separate training workshops for the CHWs and WRA to enhance the capacities of CHWs and to raise the awareness of the rural women on mother and child health care. The Capacity building workshops broadly have the following activities; assessment of the Participants on ECCD, Information dissemination, Communication Skills, Workshops for Capacity Building of Community Health Workers.
The mothers coming to the MCH and MSU for general check-ups or delivery purposes and training sessions are given awareness on various health related issues like child spacing and family planning, immunization and nutrition, high risk pregnancies and TT, HIV/AIDS,
Skill Development Centre:
Through RDF initiative, a skill centre for women was established, with the assistance of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
This centre provides training of hand embroidery, dress making, needle work, fabric and glass painting and hand made decoration pieces. This training helps the women to generate income through their skill and talent and thus become a source of relief for their family. It not only provides a subsistence increase in their family income but also creates a sense of empowerment in the rural women.
Computer Training Centre:
Technology is the one of many challenges that today’s world is facing. To have basic computer literacy is a must for all male and female youth, in order to remain competitive with the modern world. Keeping in mind this aspect, RDF has established a computer training centre for the village youth.