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Communications Office

Health & Hygiene session in the catchment area of RHC Dhoronaro.

According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS), 2012-13, maternal and child death remains a major concern in Pakistan. In the provincial public sector, health services are provided through a tiered referral system of health care facilities; with increasing levels of complexity and coverage from primary, to secondary and tertiary health services. Primary care facilities include Basic Health Units (BHUs), Rural Health Centres (RHCs), Government Rural Dispensaries (GRDs), Mother and Child Health (MCH) Centres and TB centres. Most of these public health facilities lack the provision of a broader range of preventive and curative health services.

Community World Service Asia conducted a baseline survey in first year (2015) of its health project inception in Umerkot and these are the major findings of the study:

  • Very few, small private clinics operational in some villages of the targeted Union Councils. These clinics are not affordable for most of the community members (selected in the sample size) as they have low monthly incomes, with an average of only PKR 8733
  • According to 91.7% of the respondents, there are no antenatal services. 99% of respondents replied that there are no postnatal services. 5% reported the absence of delivery services whereas 96.1% reported the absence of family planning services
  • 100% of respondents replied that there are no women medical officers available at the health facility, whereas, 76.5 % reported the absence of Lady Health Visitors (LHVs) in the health facility. A 99.5% and 81.4% responded positively to the presence of male doctors and Medical Technician (MT) respectively
  • 5% respondents raised the need for a presence of medical staff to improve health services in the area
  • 8% respondents raised the need for provision of essential medicines, whereas 37% believed that the provision of 24 hours emergency services were essential to improve the quality of services
  • 2% of the respondents believed better infrastructure and cleanliness of health facilities were key to further improving the overall health services of the area

What is the project doing?

After analysing the results of the baseline survey, three Rural Health Centres (RHCs) were set up by Community World Service Asia, with the support of Act for Peace. All three of these RHCs are functioning with a focus on delivering primary healthcare services in the district of Umerkot.

The health facilities established, have deployed Female Medical Officers (FMOs), LHVs and Medical Technicians in their centres at Hyderfarm and Nabisar Road along with providing medicines. In RHC Dhoronaro, a lady doctor sits in shifts and rotationally visits the centre as well.

The social mobilizers, under the project, have formed two Health Committees in addition to the existing six committees formed last year. An advocacy forum has also been developed at district level to address emerging health issues. The village Health Committees and advocacy forum consists of eight to ten members including both men and women activists from the community, who are responsible to facilitate and support health services provided under the project. The village Health Committees meet monthly, with facilitation of the community mobilizers, and share their committees’ progress, problems and challenges and plan for the next month. A total of eight village Health Committees and a district health advocacy forum are running actively and meet regularly at the health facility. They conduct joint meetings in the villages on a fortnightly or monthly basis to discuss the pertaining issues regarding health and other community based problems. These meetings are properly documented and shared with the project management team. The discussions of these meetings are recorded for further planning, improvement and implementation of the project activities.

Clinical support is also given at these curative and preventive RHCs with focus to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services. These services are delivered by women health staff comprising of FMOs and LHVs along with two medical technicians and one male and one female social mobilizers. The main focus of the services is on reproductive health of women of childbearing age.

Recognizing maternal, neonatal and child health care as a major component of the health services, the project team provides antenatal and postnatal assistance to local women.  Complicated cases are referred to the secondary level health care facilities in the area. The MNCH services at the RHC focus on continuum of care including family planning, pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour and childbirth, postpartum, newborn care, and child health and support high-impact, evidence-based interventions that saves lives.

Health education sessions are being conducted for men, women and children at the health facilities, in the surrounding villages of each RHC and at schools. Major topics on health education, such as Personal Hygiene, Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS awareness, Importance of Breastfeeding and Safe Drinking Water, with emphasis to prevalence of the disease, have been included in the IEC materials developed for building the knowledge of the communities.  Through general OPD, patients are treated and facilitated along with being provided necessary medicines.

The project team assessed the nutritional status of women and children under five, of all the three RHCs, through analysing their medical history, physical examination, and height to weight balance and various other parameters. The patients are then referred accordingly to different NGOs, providing nutritional care, based in the district. More complicated cases are referred to District Headquarter Hospitals of Umerkot and Mirpurkhas. Counselling sessions to malnourished, lactating and pregnant women are also provided. Children under the age of five are facilitated with de-worming medicines and family planning services are being provided to women by LHVs across the three healthcare facilities. The LHVs brief the women from these communities on the importance and benefits of family planning and the various, free of cost methods available for family planning at the health facilities.

What have we achieved so far?

The availability of services such as primary care, behavioural health, emergency, and public health services are a basic human right which must be provided to all. The project has worked towards providing this basic right and has achieved the following so far:

  • 12,156 community members provided with curative and preventive healthcare services
  • 11,307 individual have participated in health education sessions
  • 2,414 women provided with antenatal and postnatal services
  • 868 individuals have availed family planning services
  • 5,426 women and children were assessed for nutritional balance
  • 42 baby deliveries conducted at the health facilities
  • 25 delivery kits were provided to women as per criteria
  • Participation in seven coordination meetings with line departments, other NGOs and civil society organizations working at district level.

Community World Service Asia is implementing the project through its own staff, including two lady doctors, three LHVs, two Medical Technicians, two community mobilizers and a manager located in Umerkot. They are implementing the project with equally involving the Health Committees and District Advocacy Forum. The health team continues to maintain regular dialogue with the government line departments at the Federal, Provincial and District levels to ensure the efficacy and implementation of the program. Regular coordination meetings are held between key, district stakeholders including NGOs and civil society organizations.

Ghulam Haider, an elderly leader of Khalwan Village, Surkhrood District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, has been working with great dedication and enthusiasm advocating for girls’ education in his community over the past few years. “I was born and raised in an environment where people do not think with open minds. They strictly follow norms, traditions, and culture, which unfortunately do not allow our girls to access education. People here believe that women are born to stay within their homes, under strict “pardah” (veil). Sending girls to schools, colleges, or universities for education and pursuing a career is considered shameful and a dishonor for families. An educated lifestyle is considered to be no better than a disrespectful lifestyle, one which is not permitted within Islam, according to most people.”

Ghulam Haider believes that this pattern of thinking is fundamentally wrong, especially as it is being ingrained in the minds of children of newer generations. “Being a practicing Muslim, I believe that Islam is a religion of peace and prosperity, and it provides equal rights to all. In order to prosper, it’s necessary to accept the fact that Islam promotes education for both men and women equally. I always wished to discuss this aspect with our community members and religious leaders, but due to a lack of knowledge myself, I could not formulate valid arguments which would have been enough to persuade others.”

“Thankfully, the project team of Community World Service Asia, under the Girls Education Project (GEP), conducted informative sessions on the importance of education and child rights in our villages,” said Haider, “All community members, parents and religious leaders alike would sit in one space as participants in these programs.” He shared the significance of sourcing religious scripture and messages such as hadiths and Quranic verses in the sessions; quotes which explicitly favored education of men and women, and the right to provide young girls with education. “These sessions provided food for thought for the people of my village. Now that my knowledge was being built for the cause of education, I decided to take an initiative to formulate a volunteer committee.”

Ghulam Haider and his committee have since been supporting girls and women to pursue education and their dreams through acquiring knowledge and becoming educated. “Fatima, a young teacher from my village, is very enthusiastic and eager to become a professional teacher to serve our community. To accomplish her dream, she has established a literacy course for 13 women members with our support. She is voluntarily teaching basic level reading and writing to her students on a daily basis for an hour. The second batch of her classes have successfully graduated from the adult literacy class recently. Twenty six women have learnt to read and write from her literacy program which is an excellent achievement. To show appreciation, and motivate others to do the same, the committee awarded her with the title of “Best Girl of the Community”. Her services in the field of education were so invaluable that they were also acknowledged by our religious leaders, which shows a major change in the thinking of some of the most rigid minds.” In the award ceremony, Fatima gave credits of her achievement to both Ghulam Haider and the GEP project team for their outright support in her struggle. She hoped that with the passage of time, other elderly members of the community would also take Haider as an exemplary model and follow his lead in the pursuit of promoting education.

The human resources department oversees a number of functions within the organization, including recruitment, training, policy development, staff care, monitoring certain policies and even handling disputes. In addition, the human resource department must keep company employees updated on certain laws, such as gender laws, work safety and discrimination. Therefore, it is essential that all human resource managers and employees are well trained and fully competent for the job.

Nazeef Pervaiz, Senior Program Officer at Mojaz Foundation attended the Human Resource Management (HRM) Training organized by Community World Service Asia in December last year. The training aimed to further improve organizational policies and minimize communication gaps existing between the employers and the employees.

Nazeef joined Mojaz Foundation after graduating in February 2015. She was hired as an Executive in the Micro Finance Project. Nazeef was quite interested in managing human resource, and upon discovering the need of Human Resource Management in the organization she stepped forward to take the job up and set up a human resource department and develop policies and HR related material for Mojaz.

Having limited HR related academic knowledge of the development sector, Nazeef faced some challenges initially. The processes and functions of the development sector HR systems were mostly new to her as her HR experience had been in the corporate sector only. At that time, Nazeef was directly reporting to the CEO of Mojaz as there as there was no dedicated manager to report.

“When I attended the HRM training in Dec 2016, there were a lot of things which we were already implementing. It was the first time for me as a Human Resource professional attending a formal training. As we were already practicing most of the content taught at the training, I took the training as a refresher. They documents introduced were either already in place or informally being practiced within our organization. Mojaz had its HR policy in place, had performance appraisal formats and training formats.”

One of the HR team’s main responsibilities is recruiting and staff development. Human Resource managers develop plans and strategies for hiring the right kind of people. According to Nazeef, the hiring process of Mojaz involved advertising vacant positions, short-listing potential candidates, interviewing, selection and orientation of the employee. The formats of the hiring process were set and followed accordingly. “It was after the training that I realized the drawbacks of our hiring process. While publishing the job vacancy in various newspapers and social sites, we left out a lot of information like benefits and reporting lines in order to publish a short advertisement. The notice period set by our team, which was three to four days, was very short as well. Regarding employee orientation, Mojaz conducted meetings to brief the employee about the rules and regulations of the organization. There was no legal documentation that clearly specified the culture of the organization which the employees were to follow.”

“After the training, we decided to publish complete profiles of the job positions and deliver as much information as possible, including transport, travelling and communication benefits, compensations, reporting lines. The notice time was also increased to fifteen days. In addition, I got the idea of developing an employee orientation handbook. The handbook includes detailed functions of the Human Resource Department. The handbook also includes the functions of other departments existing in the organization. It will enable the employees to develop a clear understanding of all departments and their functions in Mojaz. Regarding cultural development, there were core values followed but they were not documented properly.”

“In the session of Building Organizational Culture, I learnt that there should be a document which builds a clear understanding of the cultural environment followed in the organization. For that reason, I developed a document, namely Dos and Don’ts, for our internal staff. It states what is expected from the employee of the organization from dress codes to employee performance. This brief document will provide knowledge to employees on how best to fit in the organization’s culture.” Nazeef also added that the element of uninformed employees was decreased after the development of the handbook. The handbook is available to employees at all times and Nazeef has planned to provide hard copies of the handbook to all staff in the future as well.

The Human Resource manual was updated. The team also revised all other existing documents of other departments as well. “We hired a consultant for revising our legal documents. We conducted a meeting where we highlighted the existing gaps within the organization. Our organization was fully involved in all the phases of revision- from identification of gaps till proof reading. In addition, we also revised the Standard of Procedures of the HR manual.”

“I felt the need to modify the pay scale and compensation files. Our core project is Micro Finance and for that we have a majority of field staff. Compensation management was discussed in the training and market surveys was identified as the best tool. As a result, we conducted an informal market survey in the month of January. Focusing on Micro Finance, we approached relevant institutions, all our partners and stakeholders and asked them regarding compensation and employee benefits.  Hence, we revised our pay scale on the basis of an informal survey. We have planned to include market survey as a tool in our documents for the increments process.”

The training has proven to be very beneficial for Mojaz Foundation, as the learnings were practically implemented, improving the working environment for the employers and the employees as well. On returning from the training, Nazeef drafted a Human Resource Management strategy which is in line for approval. The draft includes various objectives with set targets to achieve in this year. “The document covers various aspects of organizational growth. To develop a paper free environment, we have planned to transform our HR Management Information System into a digitalized one. In the Narowal district, human resource is short and people switch jobs when they get even a trivial salary increase offer. Therefore, to strengthen the commitment level, we planned to engage with universities and offer internship programs for management training and capacity building. We will offer the internees a job position if they perform well.”

“We have now planned to implement the Training Needs Assessment (TNA) tool. After learning about the TNA tool, we have designed a formal TNA for our internal staff to ensure capacity and skill building. Our consultant is preparing a training plan which we are looking forward to execute. We have also included a 90 degree Supervisor Evaluation for the employees to give their feedback on their supervisors and their working relationship. We felt it was important to get feedback from employees regarding their supervisors to measure their satisfaction levels and to see if there were any conflicts. I have designed a 90 degree Supervisor Evaluation Questionnaire which is included in the HR strategy.” The employee relationship and coordination has improved immensely since the training. The revision of documentation and development of new manuals and documentations has lessened the communication gap. Employee turnover has decreased and staff now approach the human resource department for clarifications on HRstrategy.”

The employee relationship and coordination has improved immensely since the training. The revision of documentation and development of new manuals and documentations has lessened the communication gap. Employee turnover has decreased and staff now approach the human resource department for clarifications on HR processes.

“An organization cannot build a good team of working professionals without good Human Resources. And for this, trainings like these should be conducted to set up a strong and effective Human Resource Management,” Nazeef concluded.

 

Under the Capacity Institutionalization Project, Community World Service Asia conducted a four-day workshop on Organizational Development during the third week of this February in Mirpurkhas, Sindh. Twenty-eight participants, including twenty-one men and seven women, belonging to fourteen local and community based organizations participated at this capacity building event.

The workshop aimed at further developing the capacity of the executive management of small NGOs and CBOs in Sindh, on the core concepts of organizational development. A specific focus was laid on developing an understanding of clear roles and responsibilities between an organization’s board and management, decentralized organizational and decision making structures. The workshop encouraged the participants to contemplate on their organizational values and equipped them with the latest tools to help assess their organizations’ structure and culture, and make the necessary modifications as per needs and requirements. On the last day of the event, action plans for each organization were developed by all the participants, to evaluate their learning and how it is being incorporated practically. A technical assistance will be provided to interested organizations on the basis of their action plans to further strengthen their systems and practices.

Quotes & Comments by Participants

  • Simon Goel: During this 3-Day Workshop, I learnt a lot about development, under-development and why organizations deteriorate due to lack of growth and policies’ enforcement.

  • Chander: I enjoyed this training. There was a lot to learn regarding organizational development. I tend to further my knowledge and strengthen the weaknesses of my organization so that it can execute different projects more effectively for the betterment of the nation.

  • Aneer Adil: I had a good time, learning new features for a strong organizational structure and sharing my experience with other at the same time. All participants were easy going. Methodologies used during the workshop were effective. Sir Sohail is one of the best facilitator. I wish all the best to everyone.

  • Humera: Before coming to this workshop, I was not aware about organizational development and its importance. But with the help of different discussions, presentations and group work, my knowledge has increased and I will definitely apply some of these tools in order to make our OD structure more effective.

  • Dur M. Brohi: I have attended many trainings and workshops but this training is different from others. Here we gained more knowledge, on how can we make our own organization and how can we improve the image of the organization.

  • Jabbar Bhatti: This training gave many new thoughts, new terminologies and new things about organization to develop and to make our organization efficient. I learnt 10 rules of social entrepreneurship and key learnings for developing organization. Overall the training was very helpful for me personally which will ultimately be a contributing factor to my organization.

  • Sarfraz Ali: The workshop was very informative. A variety of methodologies made the workshop more interesting. This workshop was advantageous for me as I came to know about different tools and techniques, which I have never heard about. I am quite confident that I will apply my learnings in my current organization to refine policies, procedures and practices.

     

  • Ahsan Goel: There are so many things which I got to know about Organizational Development. As a HR assistant it will be very useful for me and my organization. For this 4-Day workshop, I would like to say thanks to Community World Service Asia, especially Sir Suhail for training us so clearly and effectively.

Aqlan, a thirty-two year old mother of five school going children financially supports her family, including her husband and brother-in-law. Her main source of income is earned through agricultural fieldwork and livestock management.

“Badin district is situated at the tail end of canal irrigation system. Therefore, the agriculture fields are faced by severe water scarcity. The land has low productivity due to unfertile soil and lack of water. We have to depend on livestock rearing to supplement family earning,”

an exhausted Aqlan explains.

Nominated as a kitchen gardening training participant of a disaster response project in Badin, Aqsa received vegetable seeds for home-growing at her home yard in her village, Mohammad Abbas Thebo.

“Puran Nadi, a natural flow of River Indus, not only irrigates thousands of acres of land but also provides drinking water to the surrounding communities. Sadly, the disposal of chemical waste in the river has not only made the water undrinkable but unusable for irrigation as well. The contaminated water is gradually devouring the fertile soil land as well. After receiving the kitchen gardening training and vegetable seeds, I decided to prepare a patch of land for sowing the seeds to produce fresh vegetables, with the support of my family.”

As a result, Aqlan’s family grew garden-fresh vegetables on a daily basis, improving the quality and quantity of their food consumption.

“Kitchen gardening enhanced my family’s food diversification as it helps me to grow different kinds of vegetables seasonally. Our expense on purchasing vegetables from market has decreased exceptionally. I have also generated revenue of PKR5000 by selling the surplus in the nearby market.”

Aqsa revealed that she also bought a male goat from her savings which will benefit her family in the long run.

“We are planning to sell the goat on the festive of Eid for a good price of PKR25000. I am so pleased that I have been given a chance to do something meaningful in my life for my family’s support and care.”

In a country where just 16% of the workforce is female, teaching women science subjects can help foster greater equality, empowerment and economic stability. Community World Service Asia holds teacher training workshops, through which aim is to improve education quality and community’s awareness for enhancing and sustaining enrollments in girls’ schools in Behsood district, Nangarhar province. Despite of the limitation teachers are eager to learn more and are interested to enhance their teaching skills. On this Women’s Day we spoke to a young Chemistry teacher; Huda from a local girls’ high school, located in Behsood.

Huda:

“I am very pleased to have participated in the chemistry workshop, since I studied chemistry at a teacher training institute but only learnt it in theory. In this workshop however, we learned practical and conducting experiments. When I learned the philosophy, methodology with practical experiments I became more clear about the concepts and highly motivated to transfer what I learnt by continue teaching chemistry to my students.”

She added:

“We received methodic learning and used low cost and no cost teaching aids. We are now implementing those methods. My aim is to teach students according to their needs.”

When asked about the suggestions to improve subject base training, she said:

“The workshop was great and useful, but I felt the days were less for three science subjects. If the days were increased from 4 days and teaching aids for Grades 10th, 11th, 12th chemistry lessons could have been included to solve all of our problems accordingly.”

In a highly conservative country where up to 85% of women have had no formal education, and only 16% of the workforce are women, in many ways these students are the lucky ones.

Still, according to the students, they face problems at home as their families do not allow their young daughters to attend school. Some only allow them to learn basic reading and writing. Yet, most of the girls are very motivated to learn sciences.”

Says Huda

She added:

“According to methodical topics, I found the morning meeting session as very important. First I thought of it as not useful to be implemented in class, but when I practiced in these meetings among students it proved to be very effective and useful. Students interest increased a lot and they loved interacting with each other and also started participating during lectures. This even led to a decrease in absentees and now up to 90% of the students have regular attendance Moreover, before these sessions, we used to scold students, but now we motivate them through different techniques in teaching. In teaching science my students saw how they did not need to bear extra cost for learning science. This acted as a great incentive for them.”

She also spoke about her personal aspirations:

“I am also very interested and motivated to complete my higher education.”

In the end she said:

“I suggest to expand subject based training to other untrained teachers. Teachers who have participated should implement their learnings in their classes to motivate and stimulate the learning of their students for a better future for these young girls”

The story from Afghanistan feeds into a wider struggle going on throughout the world to get more women into Science. While cultural barriers threaten the dreams and aspirations of young women and girls, the opportunities they can find through the science show them a larger world than the one that they have always known.

*Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to further protect the privacy and therefore safety of students and staff at the schools.

“I was engaged to marry at the age of twelve with a boy from another village. My wedding was planned as soon as I turn seventeen. To our luck, Community World Service Asia visited our village and conducted gender awareness sessions, which my family attended. After the sessions, my father realized I was too young to bear the responsibility of marriage. He wanted me to study further and take my handicraft work to the urban markets. My in-laws insisted for the wedding to be held according to agreement but my father refused. I was very happy to see my father’s stance and his strong support for me.”

Kaveeta joined the skills center established by Community World Service Asia in her home village of Mandhal Otaaq in Umerkot, and took part in the literacy and skill development trainings. Sixteen years of age, Kaveeta lives with her parents and seven siblings. Her father is a teacher in a village school and earns PKR40,000 per month. Her brother studies and teaches as well, earning PKR10,000 per month. Kaveeta herself is a student of eighth grade at the Government Girls High School in Umerkot. Prior to the skills training, she used to do embroidery and simple stitching at home as a hobby through which she would earn between PKR600 to PKR700.

“I work on the orders I get at the center. I have received five orders from Karachi including two dupattas, two shirts and one sleeves work. I earned PKR4000 from those orders. From the money I earnt, I have bought new clothes and school books for my young sisters. I also bought a cow that gave birth to two calves and is expecting a third.”

“My father has been very supportive throughout. It is important that girls have access to work and education to transform communities on basis of equality. I want to work more and become my father’s support. I am happy now as I have the freedom to work.”

Girls’ education and promoting gender equality is part of a broader, holistic effort by Community World Service Asia. Paveeta Dessar is a 16 years old artisan from Mandhal Otaaq Village in Umerkot. “My father’s name is Desar. He is a tailor in Umerkot. We are seven sisters and one brother. My father is the only bread earner for our family. He approximately earns PKR6000 a month. The challenges we face due to low income is lack of healthcare, limited resources and scarce education opportunities.

When we face health related problem, my father seeks financial help from my grandmother or uncle. If they too are unable to lend us money, we then borrow from neighbors. My mother earns very little through stitching clothes for residual villagers here. Since our family’s income is very limited, I had to quit school while I was in class six at the Government Girls High School in Umerkot.”

“I joined the skills center when it was established in our village. The trainings on skill development and literacy were very informative as some of the artisans did not even know how to write their names. I learnt stitching and embroidery skills at the center. I have worked on rillis and different products including blouses, dupattas and shirts. The quality and finishing of my products has improved exceptionally and my rilli work was most appreciated by the buyers. I use to do simple stitching at home, but the trainings have enhanced my skills in thread work and designing which has brought an exciting diversity in the products I make. Working with seasonal, wedding and family colors was new to me.”

Through the skill building classes, Paveeta has been able to earn PKR1500 per week by producing colorful handmade rillis through a local order she received. “Since the launch and our involvement in the brand Taanka, our products have become visible in the urban markets. As my handicraft sales have improved, I have started studying at the school again. My father and I both contribute to the educational expenses of all my siblings. I want to earn more to be able to bear all my educational expenses so that I can ease my father’s economic burden.”

Community World Service Asia, continued to promote Q&A in Pakistan during 2016. Where possible, the activities related to the Sphere Project were implemented in coordination with other Q&A initiatives such as CHS and Sphere Companions. The activities are planned to reach wider audiences at various levels in order to ensure that Q&A is high on the agenda during emergency and non-emergency periods.

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Deputy Director, National Programme for Improvement of Watercourses (NPIW) visiting stall of Arche Nova.

Community World Service Asia organized a two days farmer festival in two union councils of Khairpur Gambo and Pangrio of in district Badin of Sindh under its “Promoting Sustainable Agriculture practices” project for vulnerable and marginalized farmers. The festival which aimed at highlighting local agriculture based issues with line departments and sharing project learnings with other stakeholders, was held at two venues; one at Babar Kaloion village and the other at Kamil Khosoon village, in January this year. Around six hundred people attended the festival. Representatives from from Community Based organizations (CBOs), farmer Field School Members and community women, trained in kitchen gardening and nutrition, participated took part in the festival.

Organizations working in the area, including Arche Nova, Plan International, National Rural Support Program (NRSP), SEEWA Pak, Participatory Village Development Programme (PVDP), President’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) and Local Support Organization Meharn, had held stalls at the festival as well. The stalls displayed local handicrafts and pictorial presentations reflecting project activities. Models on Key Hole Kitchen Gardening and Biological Pests Control were also on display. Local women held stalls selling the fresh vegetables grown in their kitchen gardens. Community members shared their experiences and learnings in sustainable agriculture while working under the project with visitors at the festival.

Government and Line department officials including Assistant Director Social Welfare Badin, Agriculture Officers’ from Agriculture Extension department of Badin and Deputy Director Water Management Hyderabad appreciated the efforts of the farmers and their hard work in the fields.  Local government officials, including Vice Chairman UC Khairpur, Vice Chairman UC Saman Sarkar, Ex-Taluka Nazim Tando Bagho and progressive farmers from local nearby villages also attended the festival.

An interactive theater play was performed by Perbhat, a local theater group, focusing on “Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods local farmers”. Mir Kaloi, a local poet and radio presenter, played a folk song and a group of rural women,Prem Nagar, sang a song on social development as the fun-filled festival.

The festival provided a platform for local farmers and government officials to interact directly with each other. The farmers communicated their problems and challenges faced during agricultural activities while people representatives of the line department recommended possible mitigation measures to them. The Agriculture, Irrigation and Social Development departments shared informative details about their departments and the subsidies they are providing to small-scale farmers.