Pakistan: Access to water key to development
For many disadvantaged minority communities, basic access to water is a key barrier to progress and development.
In Pakistan’s Bahawalpur district, the problem is even more acute. Much of the district lies on arid desert, where water is scarce. Without access to water, the district’s minority Christian and Hindu populations struggle to pull themselves out from poverty.
But local non-governmental organizations are trying to address the issue. Kehkashan Development Organization, or KDO, works to install water hand pumps where the need is greatest.
There is a “great scarcity of water,” says Munib ur-Rehman, KDO’s general secretary. “Women have to travel miles just for one can of water.”
In this photo, students at the Dominican Convent School Bahawalpur stand beside a pump that was installed earlier this year.
“Water handpumps are the best solution for water needs,” he says. “They are smart, efficient and self-sustaining because they do not require post-installation maintenance for years.”
Development experts say the availability of water and poverty are closely linked. In fact, increasing access to water is a crucial aspect of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
Photo: Sister Katherine, from Bahawalpur's Dominican Convent School, stands with students beside a newly installed water hand pump. (KDO)