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Communications Office

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A 7.3 magnitude quake that struck the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday (November 12th) has killed more than 300 people and left an estimated 2,530 or more injured. As aftershocks continued till this morning and as rescuers sped up their operation, Iran’s state news agency IRNA confirmed the death toll, saying at least 382 of the injured remain in hospital.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.3 magnitude tremor was centered 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran. Most of the victims are believed to be in the Iranian town of Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province.

In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150. “Four people were killed by the earthquake” in Darbandikhan, the town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP. Another two people were killed in Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Darbandikhan.

The electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.

Iranian rescue teams are rushing to try to find survivors but their efforts have been hampered by landslides which have cut off many rural areas. Officials expect the casualty toll to rise when search and rescue teams reach remote areas of Iran.

Community World Service Asia Response: Community World Service Asia’s disaster response team is in contact with local partners in Iran and are compiling information on damages and losses incurred due to the earthquake. Community World Service Asia’s team is on standby and will act as the need to respond  arises.

Contacts:

Emmeline Managbang
Deputy Director
Disaster Management Program
Email: mae.manags@communityworldservice.asia
Cell: +93 78 635 0703 / +63 908 102 1016                                                                             

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 42 3586 5338

Sources:

www.samaa.tv
www.telegraph.co.uk
www.aljazeera.com

Before construction, the road was narrow and the ground was not leveled.

Community World Service Asia is working in partnership with Christian Aid towards making the hazard prone communities of Thatta more resilient to disasters and its impacts through various participatory activities. Under this project, small mitigation schemes have been designed to provide access and safe evacuation to make communities more resilient to flooding, cyclones and other natural hazards.

Following a series of meetings between community mobilization and community based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) teams, the design and implementation of the mitigation scheme for Raeem Dino Thaheem village was planned.  After attending the Village Development Training conducted in May this year, the Village Organization (VO) of Raeem Dino Thaheem listed down the issues faced in the village on priority basis. Referring to this list, the project team decided to work on reconstructing the main road linking the village to Bello and Darro city.

Laborers to work on the road construction were selected from amongst the VO members of the village in question. A total of ten VO members from Raeem Dino worked on leveling the ground and widening the road through earth-filling. These laborers worked effortlessly for ten days under the cash for work scheme of the project. As a result, the road was successfully completed within the timeline, benefiting approximately 1500 people residing in Raeem Dino Thaeem and nearby villages.

Ali Hassan, a member of the Rahim Dino Thaheem VO, expressed,

Being part of the construction activity gave me a sense of ownership. We worked hard so that the whole community can benefit as a result.  I appreciate this project’s team to provide us with this platform, enabling us to work for the betterment of our own people.

Tech. Assistance by CWSA at RDA Office Mithi_ Tharparkar District, Sindh

The training helped my organization to better understand methods of budgeting and keeping financial records. It also gave us the competence to develop sound and applicable financial policies for our work,

Muhammad Bakhsh Khaskheli, from the Rural Development Association (RDA) participated in a financial management training organized by Community World Service Asia in Mirpurkhas in May this year. The objective of the financial management training was to increase the financial management capacity and improve policy development of local community-based organizations. Kashkheli particularly sought after these improvements for his organization.

Our financial procedures were not that swift, and we had to work hard on assembling documents, making photocopies, and preparing missing formats for going through the annual audits. Moreover, we do not have an internal audit department, so an internal audit committee consisting of three executive body members did our internal monitoring. However, this committee was not competent to conduct an internal audit that provides insight on future planning and procedural intricacies.

A resident of Hyderabad city, 42-year-old Muhammad Khaskheli works as a program manager in RDA. Khaskheli’s primary responsibilities include program development, implementation, and resource mobilization. He is also responsible for corresponding with donors.

Khaskheli attended the Financial Management training, expecting that it would help improve and develop RDA’s financial management system. Various topics were covered in the training, such as financial planning, bookkeeping, and accounting. Khaskheli remarked,

The session on accounting taught us to base accounting on the principles of consistency, accountability, transparency, viability, integrity, stewardship, and accounting standards. The session was highly interactive. For each principle, the participants shared examples on how to harmonize accounting with these principles.

Khaskheli gained valuable information and tools at this training, which he introduced at his organization in order to improve their financial management. After the training, RDA developed updated financial management and Human Resources’ manuals. Community World Service Asia outsourced a consultant, who visited Khaskheli’s office, discussed and reviewed every policy and procedure in the updated manuals, before finalizing it, and then a held a one-day workshop with the staff to orient them on it. The consultant also supported RDA with developing specific policies in the newly revised manuals.

Before this training, we had a very simple manual, but we were not able to develop a clear financial management system. However, these revised manuals’ detailed policies and procedures have positively affected the organization’s financial management in different ways,

Khaskheli affirmed.

Our financial procedures have improved since the training. Now, we have a better financial policy system and our documentation is complete and updated, ready for audits.

According to updated policy, the organization will hire a professional consultant to lead the internal audit committee and provide reports that will help in identifying policy and procedural gaps that are beneficial for future planning. This will continue until RDA attains resources to develop an independent audit department. After the training, RDA developed procedures to minimize financial risks. A code of conduct was also incorporated within the finance and administration departments and a clear delegation of authority was planned.

The training led to profound changes in the organization’s budgeting techniques. According to Khaskheli,

budget reporting has become easy.” At RDA, budget reports only included numerical figures before, now however, they include proper budget codes and budget narratives where necessary so that external stakeholder can easily understand the budgets. Khaskheli attested, “Because of the training, we better understand how to prepare budgets through an accountable and transparent financial system.

Adding further, Kashkheli stated,

Rural Development Association is a growing grassroots organization. We needed to develop a robust financial management system to make our financial matters transparent, easily functional, and to increase our credibility among the communities we are working with and other stakeholders, including donors.

Life was not easy for Indra, a mother of three children and married to a mentally handicapped man, Hoto Mal. The family lived with Hoto’s parents in the village of Kundo Meghwar, and Indra worked hard to support her family since her husband was unable to work due to his mental condition. Despite these difficult living conditions, Indra remained positive and hardworking since she believed that her situation was God’s will. She chose not to worry about anything but instead to accept everything as it came. Indra was content and loved her family.

Six months ago, Community World Service Asia started a skills-enhancer program of Embroider and Appliqué in Indra’s village, and it selected many women from rural villages in the district to become artisans in the program. Indra was amongst the women chosen. Through this program, women artisans are supported to become self-sufficient by teaching them embroidery and sewing techniques, linking them to the markets, and are also taught business tactics so that the women will sell their products at a market rate. Indra was already sewing women’s clothes, but she now has another platform through which she can enhance her handicraft skills. After being chosen as an artisan, Indra expressed,

I really feel proud of myself because now I can manage all my domestic expenses without any help and can give my children a better life. My aim in life is to educate my children so that they can live fulfilling lives.

Indra learned many new stitching styles such as the Hurmich, Kacho, Pako and Moti Taakna at the trainings, along with making trendier and subtler designs. She tried different color pallets and identified the ones that had the most demand. She is delighted and thankful that she was able to learn new handicraft skills through this program.

After enhancing her skills as an artisan through the program, Indra now receives product orders from surrounding villages and designers based in Karachi (through the project). Through the course of the trainings, she has established strong linkages with buyers in nearby villages and the local markets. This is where she plans to sell the orders that she is currently working on and also to promote her own private orders.

Indra has already received orders from local retailers and villagers. Once the trainings and the project ends, she also plans to introduce her own new products and designs to ensure that she provides unique and one-of-a-kind products to her clients.

Through these gained handicraft skills, women artisans like Indra earn decent incomes that are unprecedented for rural women. Besides acquiring skills, these trainings and classes are an imperative avenue of social interactions and much needed entertainment for these girls and women. Prior to her participation in the project, Indra was not allowed, and even did not get the time, to go out of her house or her village much. Now, she has made many close friends at the training centers and is looking forward to meeting them every time.

I feel much happier as a person now as I now have friends whom I can talk to, share my views with and also gossip with,

smiled Indra.

We artisans will use these lifetime skills to earn as much as possible. I really appreciate the positive and rare work environment provided to women like me. This type of environment will not only change the future for artisans like us, but it will also enhance the skills of and inspire other non-artisan women.

Since 2015, Community World Service Asia with the support of PWS&D, has been providing health services in four districts of Laghman province, Afghanistan. As part of this intervention, two sub-health clinics, one in Nawdamorra and one in Surkhakan, of district of Qurghaie, have also been set up.

Fahima, a mother of four, lives in Nawdamorra with her husband and children. Her youngest daughter is four years old, and the couple has chosen not to have any more children because of the financial strain it would put the already struggling family in. Fahima’s husband earns through daily labor work in Jalalabad city; so his income is unpredictable as it is dependent on finding work each day. Fahima engages in farming in a small plot of land. Currently, she has cultivated wheat and corn, and the amount of her work varies with different seasons. She does everything to harvest these crops on her little plot: irrigating, shoveling, and reaping. One day, Fahima was in the fields lifting heavy loads when she felt intense abdominal pains. She realized that she was pregnant, and the couple decided to abort the child as they could not financially afford to support another child.

However, life had something else in store for the family. A few months later, Fahima conceived again. In March this year, she found out about the local sub-health center in Nawdamorra, through another woman, from a nearby village she met. This woman told her that they were going to the sub-health center to receive treatment for general illnesses, vaccines, and to get medical support during pregnancies. This came as good news to Fahima and encouraged her to get a complete check-up and receive advice in relation to her health. Fahima decided to go to the health centre with these women.

At the sub-health center, Fahima shared her medical issues and her pregnancy history with the midwife. Based on Fahima’s information, the midwife recorded Fahima as an Anatenatal Care patient. Following Fahima’s trip to the sub-health center, the village lady health worker visited Fahima for a follow-up. Since then, the midwife from the sub-health centre, has also come to see Fahima thrice to guide her on taking care of her health and the baby’s. She received advice on taking a balanced diet, a session on health and hygiene and to avoid picking up heavy loads and overly exhausting herself. Fahima has been following all the advice that the midwife and the health worker gave her.

It is my hope to deliver my baby as safely as possible and to be a mother of a healthy baby. If I follow all the medical advice the midwife and the health worker have given me, then I believe that this hope will become a reality. I also appeal to Community World Service Asia to continue these services for destitute and needy people like us.

As country focal point in Pakistan and regional partner for Sphere in Asia, Community World Service Asia has assumed a leadership role in the field of Quality & Accountability (Q&A) among aid organizations in Asia since 2005. It has initiated and supported the recognition, understanding and adopting of Q&A principles in development and humanitarian assistance across Asia. We have been committed to mainstreaming Q&A standards, tools and practices throughout our programming. Our goal has been to promote and develop our internal technical capacity, as well as to support our colleagues and partners in the region to incorporate Q&A into their interventions. Community World Service Asia’s strategy continues to ensure shifts in mindsets and practices leading to a growing capacity to self-monitor the levels of Q&A compliance.

To further support humanitarian and development practitioners/organizations in the region and enhance synergy between current scope of our work and emerging needs on Q & A we have now become the focal point of ADRRN’s Q&A Hub in Asia. The Hub has been developed as part of ADRRN’s marketing strategy for 2020, to Increase the effectiveness of humanitarian response of front line national organizations in Asia through enhanced Q&A mechanisms. The main objectives of the Q&A Hub in Asia for the upcoming three years will be to:

  1. Ensure that ADRRN members/partners comply with the Q&A standards reflected through their organizational policies, procedures and practices
  2. Develop a pool of Q&A expertise amongst ADRRN members/partners to provide peer support in applying Q&A at organizational level during preparedness phase
  3. Mentor and coach ADRRN members/partners to promote Q&A amongst stakeholders at the national level especially the communities, local government and the academia
  4. Deploying Q&A expertise during humanitarian response in Asia to support ADRRN members/partners
  5. Developing a strong and visible Q&A Hub at Asia level to promote accountability through cross learning, peer support, research and advocacy

Read more on the ADRRN Marketing Strategy 2020 and its Hubs Toolkit here.

Download: ADRRN Hubs Toolkit

Download: ADRRN Strategy 2020 Marketing Toolkit

A group photo of the training participants

Community World Service Asia organized and hosted a four-day training on Project Planning for development and humanitarian organizations in the third week of September in Murree. The training focused on enhancing capacities of participants on project planning, its tools and their application, and donor-specific planning approaches and frameworks.

Thirty-five participants from eleven organizations including Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKDN), Helpage International, Malteser International, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Multan Discoes Trust Association, Sungi Development Foundation, Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), AAR Japan, AWARD, The Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) and Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) took part in the training. The training was facilitated by Zeeshan Noel, a development professional and trainer with expertise in project management, policy research and advocacy, and emergency response planning. Noel has been working in the development sector for almost ten years, and has been associated with development agencies, human/civil rights bodies, NGOs, and public sector offices.

Comprehensive project planning and effective compliance with the requirements of donor agencies is often one of the key challenges faced by humanitarian and development organizations. Many small and medium scale organizations in the region lack these formal skills or have very limited focus on this significant aspect of project management.  Whereas, it is the efficiency and effectiveness of  a project’s planning that determines its true success. Applying accurate planning tools help in the smooth execution of a project, continuous tracking of progress and towards readjusting implementation approaches at any stage of the project, needed to achieve the desired outputs.

The prime objective of the training was to create a conceptual clarity on the subject of and improve Project Planning skills, specifically in development phase of projects. This four days training was designed for mid-level managers with interest and prior experience in project planning and execution of development sector organizations. Participants, with prior basic knowledge on project planning and management, were selected for this training. Key concepts of pre-planning stage were introduced in the training, including understanding on Project Cycle Management (PCM), key results, problem tree analysis and Logical Framework Analysis (LFA). It helped the participants to thoroughly understand and provided a base for practically applying these tools.

On the first day, many participants were new to the concepts of PCM and Logical Framework Analysis, specially those who did not have any prior experience in the planning phase before. The timing of the training had to be adjusted and duration of some sessions had to be prolonged to make sure that all participants are on the same page and planned topics are fully covered. However, by day two the concepts were much clearer and actual practice on developing the plans was initiated.

By the end of training, all the participants were able to develop project planning and implementation tools for their organizations. Through group exercises, they developed problem tree analysis, LFA, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Performance Management Framework (PMF), Work plan and budget and costed work plan. In addition to the planning tools, M&E plans were developed and the concept of GSMART planning was also explained.

As a concluding exercise, an action plan for the participants was drafted in which each organization identified the gaps in their project planning and committed to introduce the newly learnt tools to overcome these challenges. Besides all learning, one of the key activities of the training was its fun night in which all participants, coming from different corners of the country, exhibited their cultures and tradition. They sang folk songs, danced and played games.

Muhammad Fazil Sardar, General Manager-Monitoring, Evaluation & Research, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), participated as a chief guest on the final day of the training and awarded certificates to all the participants. Addressing the training, he talked about the importance of project planning tools especially problem tree analysis to identify the root causes.

Project planning tools carry equal significance in project cycle management and day to day life as well.

While my personal achievement is important to me, I believe that true happiness is achieved by serving others. Zareena, 17-year-old gender activist from Umerkot.

The lifestyle and traditions of the people of Ahori Farm (a rural village in Kharor Syed) in Umerkot have remained the same for years. Most of the residents here toil the land on a daily basis in an effort to survive. Through this on-going mundane lifestyle, little thought is given to educating girls or helping them develop as equal and empowered community members of Ahori farm. Many girls here do not go to school and educating girls is widely condoned in the village.

Seventeen-year-old Zareena is a rare exception in this close-knit village of Ahori Farm. She has always been different than the other girls – she spoke out against inequalities and had a fierce inclination towards education and learning new things. With her determination, she completed secondary school, unlike a majority of the girls her age in the village. However, Zareena is now being pinched by the bitter-truth of the society she has been born it – her further education has been put to a stop. Due to cultural and social reasons, her parents have refused the continuation of her further studies.

Only twenty percent of the Ahori farm girls have been allowed to complete their education fully, and sadly, Zareena was not among them. All of her friends, Monika, Roshana, Sonia, and Nadani, have also been prevented from pursuing higher education due to the same reasons. To fulfill their urge to study and as an act of goodwill, Zareena and her friends started giving home tuitions to younger boys and girls in their neighborhood.

In May 2017, a skills development center was set up in Ahori Farm. Many of the girls immediately enrolled for trainings on embroidery and other handicraft skills at the centre but Zareena had no interest in learning those kind of skills and did not join the centre.

Soon after, though, she found out about the gender equality related activities that were part of the same project (Community World Service Asia & YCare). That is what sparked her interest in the project. She was soon contacted and was selected to be trained as a community gender activist in the project. After receiving a couple of sessions of the training, Zareena realized that it was the centuries’ old norms and traditions of their village that had led to suppressing women. These customs had left the women with no determination to progress.

As women, we regularly face situations where we are treated unfairly in life, and yet are not allowed to question this tradition or reality. I had never heard about the term gender discrimination before I took the gender training. In the training, I not only discovered the concept of gender discrimination, but I also learnt how to understand gender inequalities and all its complex dynamics.

Zareena was very apprehensive about her work as a community gender activist when she started it initially at the village level. She knew that the society that she had grown up in would not accept women in such roles of change and influence. However, seventeen-year-old Zareena persevered and decided to take the risk and try changing the old norms of her community by starting from her own home. She tried to talk to her parents about the need and importance of girls’ education and how a change is vital towards the pre-conceived perception set of women in their community. At first, they ignored her, but Zareena’s mother slowly began to understand her, and eventually agreed with her. Sensing the positivity, Zareena was encouraged to further magnify this notion and cause.

With the support of her mother and elder brother, Zareena conducted interactive meetings on Girls Education and Women’s Role in Decision making with targeted households in her village. Many in her village still did not welcome a girl as young as Zareena talking about such unmentionable concerns.

More than a hundred girls still do not attend formal school in Ahori Farm even today. However, Zareena is hopeful that she can convince many parents in the village to allow their daughters to be enrolled in schools. Zareena’s elder brother has assured her that he would establish a girls’ tuition center for free.

The centre has provided me a platform through which I can serve the girls of my village in supporting them to be educated. Recently, from our village, five girls, including myself, have just enrolled into the Government High School and Government Girls Degree College in Umerkot. The parents of the other four girls trust and support my cause. They have faith in me for improving the lifestyle of our people. More than anything, I am grateful to my mother and to Mr. Ramesh Kumar, a member of our Community Gender Activists group, both of whom stood by me, helped and supported me.

According to the project team, many more parents from Zareena’s village are now allowing and encouraging their daughters to attend not only primary but high-schools as well.

It is difficult to manage all expenses within a small income like my husband’s. Healthcare treatments were most sidelined as the incoming money barely lasts a day with two young daughters and an elderly mother to care for.  All of it is consumed in household expenses. If there was a dire need for healthcare, we would travel long distances to access services. It seemed like a burden in terms of both time and money. In addition, we women here are more dependent on men to travel far distances which makes it even more inconvenient to avail the healthcare resources,

expressed a twenty-three years old, Zeena unhappily. The family of four, the family’s only source of income is her husband’s daily wage of approximately PKR 150 (USD 1.5). With this menial income, meeting everyday needs become very difficult for the family.

Two years ago, when Zeena was expecting her second daughter, she heard of a Maternal Neonatal Child Healthcare (MNCH) center established in Ranta village from her neighbors. Upon finding out that the MNCH center is located near her village, Zeena’s husband allowed her to visit the MNCH on her own for a check-up.

After my first visit to the MNCH, I started visiting the center regularly through my nine months of pregnancy as prescribed by the lady doctor there. The doctor’s fees at the MNCH was minimal, thus very affordable for villagers like ourselves, who earn less and have no savings.

The services provided at the center were always timely and effective,

added Zeena who, along with her husband, was also given health and hygiene sessions at the MNCH for her to start developing a healthy diet during pregnancy and after.

My hemoglobin was low therefore the lady doctor advised me to eat food which contains iron including fish, green vegetables and beans. My husband made sure I took a healthy diet as prescribed by the lady doctor as this time he was more aware.

I was also given a family planning session. It was the first time I took part in a session like this, as in our area there is no concept of child birth spacing. In fact, here parents opt for more children so that they can contribute financially once they grow up. I was very glad to know about family planning as it highlighted the importance of good health for women and infants,

expressed Zeena.

Zeena adopted healthy and hygienic nutritional practices at home which improved the health of her baby and her during pregnancy. After her daughter’s birth, Zeena visited the MNCH for antenatal care regularly, which helped the doctor to treat and prevent potential health problems throughout the course of her pregnancy. It also aided in promoting healthy lifestyles in the village, benefiting both mothers and children.

After a smooth nine-month pregnancy, Zeena gave birth to a healthy daughter at the MNCH center without any complications as she had strictly followed the diet chart and took all her prescribed medicines on time. Zeena’s husband and mother-in-law were very pleased with the services and efforts of the staff at the MNCH.

It is difficult to find effective services especially for pregnant women in our area. When Zeena was pregnant the first time, we had to travel to Belo city which was very costly and Zeena would get very tired during travel as well. The MNCH at Ranta is a blessing as many in nearby villages now have a proper health facility, which is affordable for our community, to go to. Zeena’s second pregnancy was very easy for us as I would bring her to the MNCH regularly as per doctor’s advice. The doctor guided us well and today I am blessed with a healthy grand-daughter,

shared Zeena’s mother-in-law.

Zeena has regularly been attending the MNCH for postnatal care. She was given a session on breast feeding by the midwives at the MNCH. Zeena was also advised on breast-feeding her newborn for six months and gradually to start feeding her small meals as per diet plan then after. The effectiveness and sustainability of the MNCH is empowering rural women and communities in many villages of Thatta. Moreover, the center is facilitating in addressing the health needs of the community and in raising awareness on health issues and rights of women and children.

Yousif Channa briefing the participants about implements placed in Agriculture Training Institute (ATI).

An exposure visit of fifty-five rural farmers from different villages in Badin, Sindh, to the Wheat Research Institute (WTI) in Sakrand, Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI), Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) and the Seed processing unit of Sindh Seed Cooperation  took place in September. This visit was conducted as part of building the capacity of rural farmers on adopting sustainable agricultural practices, under the CFGB supported, Sustainable Farming and Food Security project implemented in Sindh, Pakistan.

Through this project, together with the participation of the farming communities, we are promoting the production of food, fiber, and other produce using farming techniques that aim to protect the environment, public health, communities, animal welfare as well providing long-term development and food security among the communities. Most of these Sindhi communities are most affected by climatic hazards and the adverse impact of climate change.

Muhammad Yousif Channa, Senior Instructor at ATI and Coordinator of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Unit, Sakrand facilitated this farmers’ exposure visit. The work and development of high yielding new wheat varieties of WTI were shared with the farmers and the two new wheat categories, of early and late sowing,  released by WTI, were introduced to them.

The farmers then visited the Wheat Museum where different varieties of wheat were on display. The different types of machinery in use to implement the diverse practices used for wheat crop management were shown to the farmers. This learning was essential to the rural farmers’ knowledge as they could see it’s practical implementation, enabling  them to easily apply it in their own farming to ensure successful integration of sustainable agricultural practices in their villages.

Ashraf Soomro, Director at the WTI, Sakrand, engaged the farmers in an interactive discussion to identify and address the issues they face in crop management. While responding to questions about water shortage Ashraf Soomro recommended sowing wheat on Ridge, which was also demonstrated to them, as it would save 30% to 40% of the water. He also shared with them hand bills and a booklet on wheat production technology.

At the CRRI, the farmers watched a presentation on the institute itself, the many cotton varieties it has developed and most importantly on cotton pesticides and the damages it does. The Senior Scientific Officer at the institute, then went on to talk about insects that are beneficial to crop growth and how those can be managed. During these presentations, it was learnt that development of different cotton takes 10-12 years.

The Plant Physiologist at CCRI delivered an in- depth presentation on crop production technology, focusing on soil analysis and fertility management, for the farmers. He emphasized on the importance of soil analysis, without which it would be impossible to identify if the soil is enriched with nutrients or not.

After the CCRI, the farmers’ visited the Seed Processing Unit of the Sindh Seed Corporation. The focal person at the Unit, shared and demonstrated the process of adulteration, the removal of broken and shriveled seeds, and the process of seed grading,  to ensure the production of the best seed quality.

As the last stop of the exposure visit, the farmers were introduced to the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) and to different methods of adopting sustainable agriculture practices. The Senior Instructor at the ATI demonstrated different and cost effective methods of farming. These included compost making, plantation with pitcher irrigation, drip irrigation by using water material, propagation via air layering and organic gardening, all carried out at the ATI.

Ashraf Memon, Instructor and Veterinary Doctor at ATI, not only shared better livestock management practices but also responded to queries and prescribed medicines and indigenous techniques to control the various diseases.

The farmers were very appreciative of this exposure and learning opportunity. Not only did they learn various crop management techniques first hand but would also take back the learnings to share among their farming communities. For them it was much appreciated the visit as they learned different techniques of cop management which will be useful for them to implement in their field of work.

Since our forefathers’ time, we used to sow either by placing the seed or a vegetative part of the plant in the soil. The technique of Air Layering, i.e. to make new plants from the  branch which is in the air, was very new and  we couldn’t ever imagine that we could produce a new plant this way. This exposure visit has taught us innovative techniques of farming which can be beneficial for us.

Ghulam Mustafa Kaloi, farmer from Babar Kaloi village, Badin.

It was the first time for me to ever visit such specialized institutions. Visiting the Cotton Research Institution was a great opportunity for us to witness  and learn how to develop new cotton varieties and manage pests through an integrated approach.

Muhammad Zaman Lalial, Ghulam Hussain Lalial village, Badin.

We waste many thing which, if processed properly, can be very productive for the land. One of the example is the dispose off the medical infusion drips after utilization however we have learnt that that wasted drip can further be used for drip irrigation where there is scarcity of water. This was a new learning for me at the Agriculture Training Institute Sakrand. Water scarcity is a serious issue in our village and we cannot afford expensive irrigation Drip and Sprinkler irrigation systems due to our weak financial status. I learnt the simple and no-cost DRIP irrigation technique by using the waste material at the ATI and I applied that technique at home for kitchen gardening. I am very thankful for being given this exposure visit as it has taught me a lot.

Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Sheedi village, Badin.