By Hazeen Latif
Change is happening and its infectious! The development changes we have seen in the last few months in Majukay, a community in Charsadda, Pakistan, were almost unimaginable 4 years ago when the community members set ambitious goals for being a healthy thriving society. It feels like a corner has been turned, and the change is gaining momentum.
The main street leading into the village is being upgraded with a concrete surface. Until a few months ago it was a rough, soil track scarred with ditches and puddles.
A new transformer is soon to be installed. This summer people can enjoy a cool breeze from their fans. Previously the low capacity in the electricity supply meant people suffered in the heat with fans running at tortoise speed.
The local administration has agreed to spray the community to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and spreading Dengue fever. Summer heat is on its way and with it the risk of Dengue increases.
Structural development like this doesn’t happen easily because of bureaucratic inertia. But something new has happened in the last year few months. Local authorities have started to release funds for development as they pay new attention to the community needs, and to the appetite for change. Other are taking notice too. Nearby villages want to know how to bring similar changes to their own communities.
“It is all due to our radio program and WhatsApp group”
Zahid Ullah Zahid, who heads the Naway Saher Community Services Group.
Naway Saher formed a small radio production team, trained by HCR Pakistan, and, since November 2018, they have been broadcasting a community radio programme in Pushto language on a local FM station. The village voice is getting louder and stronger through radio and it reached the ears of the district councillor. He decided to support the new structural developments and even came to be interviewed in the radio studio.
“We didn’t realize that our voice was so effective and strong”
One of the newly trained production team members.
So far the Majukay story has been one of gradual change. People have been coming together to discuss issues and establish unity. Less and less people have the mindset that nothing will happen and only the government should do everything. Naway Saher (New Dawn) Community Services Group, supported by HCR Pakistan, has held community workshops, village committees, and youth sports events. Village elders have given their support. Families have started boiling water for drinking to avoid illness from contaminated water sources. In 2016 HCR Pakistan supported the community to dig a well and the well has been giving clean water since. People come from far away to get the only clean drinking water and are claiming that it is a miracle as the water never stops giving odorless good water.
The Majukay story is spreading – upwards, outwards and inwards.
“More people are joining with us” says Zahid Ullah. Not only are surrounding villages wanting to see similar changes, but more people from within the community want to get involved.
Help keep this viral effect going! HCR Pakistan is seeking funding to help Naway Saher become even more inclusive, with more media content created for and by women and girls. We are also seeking funding to help two more communities in nearby districts to develop community-centred media projects. Please contact us if you want to know more, or you can Donate via this web site.