Sunday, February 21, 2010

Connecting people from Tribal Areas on Climate Change

Tribal area of NWFP in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan is famous for its special and different culture where from years, people have ruled by their own without the influence of government authorities. Social harmony, helping known and unknown without any wish for reward, bravery, people with arms, high level of respect to guests, specially to women are some of the strong characteristics of the tribal belt. However, the area has also remained deprived from the basic socio-economic services. Very tough mountainous area with number of problem continued to affect standard of lives in terms of poor access to basic health, education and other income generation activities. The tribal belt has always remained very conservative with strict rules of tribes and male domination. Due to illiteracy, conservative society and highly remote geography, local communities, specially women have always faced problems in access to information and other socio-economic needs.

Unlike other parts of the country where there are different ways to access information, the tribal areas have remained very less fortunate. The time when every where in the world, different organizations, media and governments are talking about Climate Change and the way it is impacting lives of poor, most of the tribal areas are totally unaware of this term and that what is happening around the world. While the fact is that Pakistan being an agricultural country will be worse impacted due to Climate Change and count for the most food insecure country in the world, the people of tribal areas continue to think of such happening as the will of nature only where there is no responsibility of human beings that alter the climate.

I couldn't stop my self to happily include the two volunteers from Khyber Agency of tribal area in the Climate Project Connectors campaign when they showed their willingness to participate in connectors training programme. They had very strong reason to become climate campaigner and that was no attention given to their remote areas on the issue like Climate Change, environmental pollution and lack of awareness among common people. For me, it was a great opportunity to reach the people in tribal areas through these two CONNECTORS (volunteers) to start work on awareness raising on the issue of Climate Change.

Abdul Wahab, one of the Climate Project Connectors has completed his masters in environmental science from University of Peshawar and now working as vice president in a local NGO SPEED. He belongs to Khyber Agency of tribal area, well educated and eager to mobilize his community on the catastrophe of Climate Change in his area. In January 2010, Abdul Wahab and his friends organized a painting competition among student in a local school to create awareness about environment and Climate Change. They have also started series of discussions among local community group, friends and family members on different environmental issues and interrelated factors of Climate Change. Wahab and his organization SPEED is also planning for a training of local communities on Climate Change and want to replicate his learning from Connectors training programme.

I feel a lot of pleasure that the connectors voices have now started reaching in Khyber Agency, the area where people remain unaware and continue to suffer.

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