Broghil valley is home to more than 200 families, located around 260 kilometers from Chitral, the district headquarters. This valley, which lies at the border area, is known for its remoteness and limited accessibility, which requires a visitor to travel an unpaved, hard and vulnerable road. However, it has great tourism potential as it is home to green fields, mountains, glaciers and more than thirty alpine lakes. But because of that road and the general lack of paved roads, harsh weather, snow for over eight months of the year and a lack of water and electricity, the valley’s inhabitants – and visitors – face many challenges. Women and children must travel long distances to fetch water from rivers and streams. Not only does this result in lost time and labour but often the water is unclean, which causes waterborne diseases.
“A few months back, we did not have clean water to use. The women had to fetch it from rivers in drums and jerry cans. This was done even when there was four to five feet of snow for eight months in winters. Also the water brought was unsafe as it was contaminated by both humans and animals”. Mohammad Aziz, Member Water & Sanitation Committee, Garel, Broghil.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), Pakistan, which has a mandate to improve human habitat across vulnerable areas, addressed this issue under its Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP). AKAH, using its experience and technical expertise, identified safe water sources; tested water quality against WHO standards; constructed water and sanitation infrastructure with community involvement; and provided every household with water taps in their homes.
With support from the Pakistan Afghanistan Tajikistan Regional Integration Programme (PATRIP) Foundation, local authorities and the community, AKAH completed water supply schemes in nine villages in Broghil, providing more than 200 households with year-round access to clean water. These households now have water in washrooms, improved hygiene conditions and a reduced incidence of waterborne disease. Women, in particular, are able to spend more quality time with their families and have more time for income generating activities such as woollen handicrafts. By providing a safe drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, AKAH has helped improve the health and well-being of more than 2,000 people in Broghil.