It’s no surprise that technological developments have quickly altered practically every aspect of urban life, reducing much of the world to the size of a palm.
However, internet connectivity has marked a new dawn for communication in the little community of Balhereji in Larkana, where the digital revolution is still a novelty.
WhatsApp, a messaging and voice-over-IP service owned by Facebook, Inc., now connects the entire hamlet. The town, which is only a few kilometres from the airport,
Prior to the Soviet Union’s unification, it was known as Little Moscow because of its residents’ allegiance with the communist party. Riaz Pirzado, one of the group admins, stated, “We created our village WhatsApp group in 2016 and it will be its fifth anniversary in November this year.” Pirzado feels that the digital chatroom has successfully revolutionised the entire community since its inception, assisting the village inhabitants in mobilising against communal challenges in ways never seen before.
The group currently has 180 members, all of whom can trace their ancestors back to Balhereji. “These include doctors, engineers, scholars, lawyers, writers, and senior and junior government personnel who contribute to the village’s affairs despite living in different areas of the province or even abroad.”
Balhereji residents claim that community activists have used WhatsApp to promote hygiene and sanitation in the neighbourhood.
In order to efficiently comply with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the group has organised and devoted social media volunteers for communication, education, health, sports, women’s concerns, literature, and technology (SDGs). “Various teams have developed sector-specific WhatsApp groups,” Riaz Pirzado explained.
A literary committee, for example, organises musical and cultural events; education groups look after the village resource centre, library, and primary and secondary schools; health groups look after the village dispensary and organise medical camps; and a women’s group called “Sartiyoon” works with the village’s women.
Members of the main Balhreji village group coordinate with the other subgroups and assist them in resolving their concerns by giving resources.
According to Esa Ansari, a member of the original WhatsApp group, they’ve built a resource centre with internet, multimedia, and computer setup for students and others to use.
Dr. Asghar Pirzado, who was important in the development of the Balhreji WhatsApp group, told The Express Tribune that the platform has supported a number of community efforts, as well as expediting village issues that had been pending for a long time.
“This includes community service-based repair of the deteriorating government dispensary. It has prompted people to launch their own Balhreji-related activities,” according to the doctor.