The major concerns of refugee families in many refugee villages (RVs) were inadequate water supply in quantity and quality as well as poor sanitation. Limited water resources shared by refugees and local communities were often the cause of disputes too. Many water supply systems (WSS) in RVs were decades old and needed major repair or even replacement, which could not be funded by the community. In many refugee villages sanitary conditions were bad due to lack of funds for proper infrastructure and maintenance, as well as due to lack of knowledge and personal awareness. A considerable portion of RV households did not have its own latrine, or just had a badly maintained one. FRD with support of UNHCR intervened in those cases and provided major repair or replacement of water supply systems and sanitation facilities as well as water management training and hygiene education in 31 RVs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for improved living conditions of Afghan refugees.
During project implementation, the need for schools rehabilitation was identified in many refugee villages as most of the primary schools buildings in refugee villages were made up of mud and were at least two decades old that required frequent maintenance, which the community could not afford. Thus 28 refugee schools were prioritized for rehabilitation in 11 RVs of 7 districts i.e. Swabi, Peshawar, Hangu, Lower Dir, Nowshera, Mardan and Bunir. The school rehabilitation component of the project activities ranged from repair of roofing, to replacement of doors and windows, to white wash and construction /rehabilitation of toilets.
In order to improve water supply system, based on the needs assessment, major repair/replacement of water supply systems were carried out which included maintenance of 38 wells/boreholes, water testing for chemical and biological contaminants and 63 new hand pumps installation.
The existing Water Management Committees (WMCs) or Water and Sanitation Committees (WSCs) lacked technical expertise, funds and capacity for self-management which resulted in their lack of effectiveness in managing water needs and sanitation concerns of the RVs. To improve their management capacity, sense of community ownership and sustainability of repairs undertaken by the project, FRD conducted 400 capacity building training sessions and offered technical instructions to WMCs/WSCs regarding record keeping, fund raising management, daily operations and technical maintenance.
For improvement of sanitary conditions in refugee villages, FRD constructed/rehabilitated 30 households and 50 community latrines while for hygiene promotion FRD conducted around 1,200 hygiene awareness and behavioral change trainings along with household and communal waste management trainings. In addition to that, 5 special sanitation weeks and 31 school hygiene days were observed in different RVs.Refugees living in those designated RVs in KPK province then enjoyed the benefits of improved living conditions and improved learning environment as they had been provided with safe and clean school buildings, adequate amount of safe drinking water, access to potable water closer to their homes, improved sanitation and reduced exposure to water-borne diseases, as well as improved hygiene practices.