Changing Lives: Nageena Shaheen's Story
Daboola village is in a remote area located near the beautiful Khanpur Dam. The green yet rugged hilly topography is extremely picturesque and serene, which is increasingly becoming rare in this era of growing urbanization. While life here appears to be peaceful and easy, not long ago the reality was quite the opposite, especially for women of the community.
Availability of clean water had been the biggest challenge of the region for decades. Most of the nearby communities only relied on the heavily polluted Najafpur spring to meet their water needs. Community women, along with managing daily chores and livestock, were responsible for bringing water from the spring to their households. Nageena Shaheen, aged 35, was no exception to the community norms. Despite having a teenage son, who was out of school and unemployed and a husband, she was the one chosen for this tedious work. Every single day, she would walk for hours and make numerous trips to carry several cans of water from the spring for household needs. She would also carry dirty utensils and laundry from her home and travel to the water source for washing. Life, for the most part was spent on the road between the spring and home.
WWF-Pakistan identified this issue of the area and during the Integrated Watershed Management and Livelihood Improvement project supported by The Coca-Cola Fundation in selected sub-catchments of Khanpur Dam installed water storage tanks in the multipurpose pipe irrigation scheme in Daboola village. This allowed communities to have access to clean water and more than 1,400 households in the area are now benefitting from this intervention.
Nageena while explaining the earlier hardships said, “On average it took me an hour and a half to fill and bring one tub of water. My life was in a constant spin bringing water, cooking, cleaning the house. With the limited water I could carry, the washroom and veranda were hardly ever sparkling.” While talking about her health she said, “On days when I made extra trips to the spring, I sometimes experienced muscle and back pain as well.” She further added, “The situation became worse when it rained, especially during the monsoon season. I had to call my nieces on the days when the weather was slightly clear to help with carrying extra water cans for storage.”
With readily available clean water, she now saves time and is done with household chores before the midday. This has allowed her to pick her hobbies. She now maintains a small kitchen garden where she grows seasonal vegetables, which also helps her save money from the grocery budget. She is spending time in self-care, relaxes and watches shows on TV, which was not possible earlier. Although women used to socialize with other community members at the spring, now they are frequently visiting each other’s houses where the host treats them to snacks and tea in a comfortable environment.
Nageena is extremely happy with her life. She believes that WWF-Pakistan has helped in uplifting the community as a whole, especially the lives of women. She was extremely grateful of the project team and said, “WWF-Pakistan has considerably eased my life. I feel healthier, more productive and present. I am enjoying my life in ways I could not have imagined before.”