PESHAWAR - To continue their commitment to work for environmental health and provision of clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) renewed the MoU to further strengthen their collaboration. The IRC has a longstanding partnership since 2018 with PHED and both the entities have worked closely on initiatives pertaining to environmental health.
This collaboration envisages staff trainings, knowledge sharing, joint project implementation and behaviour change and climate smart water and sanitation systems. Speaking at the ceremony Muhammad Idrees, Secretary PHED, said that such partnerships can play a significant role in improving the environmental health in the province. By working together, the PHED and IRC can leverage their strengths and resources under financing, technical expertise, and innovation approaches to address the prevalent challenges facing the sector.
He further noted the potential economic benefits such as less burden on public health infrastructure and higher attendance ratios in schools. Shabnam Baloch, Country Director IRC-Pakistan, while speaking on the occasion, shared that it is pertinent to foster gender and climate inclusive WASH interventions that take into account the different needs and experiences of men, women, and gender-diverse individuals in the new reality of climate change. Moreover, WASH interventions should be sensitive to the unique needs of women and girls, who are often disproportionately affected by poor WASH practices.
This includes ensuring that facilities are safe, private, and accessible for women and girls. The PHED has the mandate for the provision of clean drinking water, hygiene facilities, and a healthy environment to the public of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The department also plans, executes, and maintains the supply of drinking water and sanitation schemes in the province. Moreover, IRC through the continued support of the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) implemented “LIFE project” in over 75 villages across three districts of Peshawar, Swat and Buner.