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Group Photo of the training participants of "Leadership Development for Managers" in Sindh.

Most managers in local organizations are often not given many opportunities of professional training or grooming on enhancing leadership skills. These particular skills are crucial to achieving planned goals and to bring the best out of a team in any management role. To fill this gap and to further strengthen the role of managers, second-line leadership, and  staff in supervisory roles in local NGOs or CSOs, Community World Service Asia organized a four-day workshop on Leadership Development, under its Capacity Enhancement Program in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, Pakistan. The training, organized in early May, was participated by twenty-seven professionals from eleven local level organizations in Sindh.

The training, which was in a “workshop” format,  focused on introducing the various leadership styles recognized globally and strengthening management skills and professional competencies to lead and guide teams and individuals. Some of the key sessions of the training included “Difference between Leadership and Management Skills”, “Community types and style”, “Transactional Analysis and Coaching” and “Mentoring Skills”. Participants understood the difference between a good leader and a good manager and what characteristics stands them apart. An activity which aimed at identifying and mastering the five steps for team building helped the participants to reflect upon the critical stages of team building and how to facilitate the process. Referencing to real life challenges faced in work environments when attempting to conduct team building activities, this session was particularly relevant for most participants.

Transactional Analysis was a new approach introduced in the training. The session analyzed the social transformations of organizations. With the help of this session, the participants further built their knowledge on the various types of social transactions and how to avoid arguments or cross communication with colleagues in future.

Participants recognized the importance of mentoring and coaching towards developing second-line leadership and how vital it is for staff in managerial roles as it aids in limiting the risks of internal and external challenges faced by organizations.

Sohail Muhammad Ali, the lead trainer for the workshop applied interactive and participatory approaches throughout the training which allowed participants to be consistently engaged and active throughout the sessions. Participants voiced their concerns and opinions openly during the four-days workshop.

Participants’ Voices:

“This was a unique training experience. To me the difference between western and eastern communications style was a new thing. We are always engaged in communication without knowing our style of communication, its pro and cons, strengths and weaknesses and limitations. The discussion on different communication models really helped me understand the different backstopping I personally face in my work. Now I can analyze my style of communication and work for further improvement.

Asad Chachar, Jagarta Social Welfare Organization (JSWO)

“Training for Leadership Development for Managers was very informative. I learnt new approaches and tools including Transitional analysis, Emotional intelligence & trust building. These tools are indeed helpful in understanding the note of emotions, language style, communication type and understand what others want to communicate. Words alone do not give you the complete message. You have to understand the emotions and communication style of others to fully understand their message. Previously, we only focused on words which often created problems as there was no clarity or clear message. I am very hopeful this training will be helpful for me in my professional career and personal life”

Allah Dino Khoso, field office, Badin, Sindh, Community World Service Asia

“I am relatively new to this sector and this training really helped me to understand the dynamics of management and leadership skills.  The environment was very comfortable and it provided a culture of sharing and acquiring new skills together. The facilitator of the training was proactive in delivering the sessions. He possessed in-depth knowledge and shared good examples on the training subject. The workshop was very interactive and everyone was engaged throughout the training”

Beenish Mahak, Nishat Welfare Organization

“We do say that leaders are born with leadership skills, however through capacity building programs, these skills can be developed among second line management as well.  The culture of mentoring and coaching in the organizations builds a strong bond for staff within the organization. It increases their commitment and spirit to achieve higher targets and attain long term objectives of the organization. This is one of my key learnings from  this training.”

Fozia Kashif, Participatory Village Development Programme

Farmers' group photo with Agriculture Research Officer, Ubaid, at Ayub Agriculture Research Institute Faisalabad.

An exposure visit to Faisalabad of twenty-seven farmers and seven project staff from Badin, Sindh was conducted from the 10th to 12th of May this year. The group visited the University of Agriculture and the Ayub Agriculture Research Institute in Faisalabad. A field excursion to the Gatwala Forest Park in the city was also completed. This exposure visit provided the farmers of Badin an opportunity to observe, understand and learn the various and advanced activities carried out in these state of the art agricultural institutions. Most importantly this visit aimed at bridging the linkages between on-ground farmers and leading agriculture research institutes.

Dr. Abdul Wakeel, Assistant Professor at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, welcomed the participants on the 10th of May 10 and gave a brief introduction of the institute and its work to them. Farmers were taken to the university’s nurseries where they observed a variety of plantations and different experiments aimed at enhancing the productivity and yield of crops in process.  Dr. Asif Tanveer delivered a comprehensive and informative session on sustainable agriculture practices at the Agronomy Library at the institute which was followed by a questions and answers session with the farmers from Sindh. Many queries of the farmers were addressed and they were encouraged to implement the learnings to expect better outputs in their fields back home.

Similarly, the next day, Dr. Abid Mahmood, Director General Research at the Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI) in Faisalabad oriented and briefed the farmers group on the on-going researches and latest breakthroughs the AARI and its sister institute and substations have achieved. The Agriculture Research Officer and member of monitoring and evaluation and Quarantine committee at AARI, gave a thorough explanation of the sister institutes and substation of AARI. The farmers were made aware of the many services they could avail from the AARI institutes; such as acquiring seeds of new varieties and plant saplings, seeking recommendations for better productivity and being provided with copies of relevant IEC material.

Dr. Dilber and Dr. Khalid, Scientific Officers at AARI, informed the participants about rearing of beneficial insects, including Tricograma and Phenacoccus aceris, which play a key role in pest management during their visit of the Integrated Pest Management Laboratory. They were also made aware of the advance production technology available for different vegetables at the field site where a variety of crops were produced.  At the field area where cereal crop is produced, the farmers were updated on the development of Hybrid seeds, advanced production technology of a range of cereal crops and the availability of newly developed seed varieties at economical prices. After the AARI and on their last day in Faisalabad, the team from Sindh visited the Gatwala forest nursery and park where they explored different species of fruit, forest and ornamental plants.

The exposure visit enabled farmers from different communities to interact with and learn from each other, allowing them to view practical examples of successful integration of sustainable practices in farming communities like their own. This platform provided progressive farmers to expand their knowledge and skill by visiting agricultural sites where new technologies and techniques are adopted. The farmers learnt and understood a variety of different available methods utilized to increase and sustain their income.

Farmers’ Learnings:

I have learnt about farming of spreading tomato varieties in tunnel. I will practice this farming technique at my own field by making tunnels with available wooden logs to generate maximum revenue in scarce water conditions. I appreciate the efforts of Community World Service Asia for providing this learning opportunity to explore innovative crop production technologies.


Ishtaq Ahmed from Muhammad Ali Patafi village in Khair Pur Gambo, Badin, Sindh

I was excited to see the different high yielding varieties of vegetables and more contented to learn that we can get quality seeds of these vegetable at our door step at very reasonable prices.I am thankful to the livelihoods team for linking us to these national level institutes. We can learn much more in future for better and updated agricultural practices for productive outcomes.


Khalique Zaman from Ghulam Hussian Lail village in UC Pangrio, Badin, Sindh


This project is co-funded by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). Special thanks to the government of Canada for supporting this project.

The Government Girls High School(GGPS) of Abdul Wahid Colony is one of the few functional girls’ schools in Umerkot district of Sindh province in Pakistan. Established in 1991, the GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony branch has a total student enrollment of one hundred and twenty-one. With poor school facilities, a crumbling infrastructure and not enough classrooms, the learning outcomes of the school were justifiably low. Sami, Head Master at the GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony shared,

Due to a lack of interest in learning, students were mostly irregular in attendance and results were disappointing at the end of the academic year. In an attempt to upgrade education levels and improve and transform teaching methods, we have engaged with various organizations which has increased enrollment and students’ interest in learning here.

Three teachers, Naheed, Tania and Sakeena, from the GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony took part in a series of Teachers’ Trainings in 2017 and 2018 under Community World Service Asia and Act for Peace’s Girls Education Project. Naheed also participated in the Masters Teachers’ Training in February 2018. As an indicator of progress and as a result of the capacity building trainings, Sami shared an example of Tania’s two students of class five.

Students who were previously disengaged and irregular have been participating in class very actively since the teachers’ training and the new methods introduced in the classroom.

Ayesha, a nine-year-old student of class five, wants to grow up to be a doctor and provide medical treatment to people of all ages.

My favorite subject is Mathematics as I enjoy the way Miss Tania teaches the students through different activities and practical exercises. Initially we only solved sums on the board and learnt our lessons according to the chapters given in the textbook. Mathematics became more interesting when Miss Tania introduced diverse activities. I understand Mathematics well and now I am really good at solving equations. We use low cost material in learning addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. Miss Tania uses matchsticks, buttons, beans, balls and many other small things to solve equations which make learning fun and easy to understand,

shared Ayesha. Ayesha was a quiet student in class, but confidently participated in extracurricular activities. According to Sami, as Tania introduced new teaching methods involving role play, story-telling and group activities, Ayesha became more interactive and vocal in classroom sessions as well.

The teachers have become friendly in classrooms. They involve students in different activities making learning simple and enjoyable. Our classrooms are more child-centered now; focused on learning through activity and being friendly towards students,

narrated Sami.

Kashi, another grade 5 student, wishes to become a Police Officer when she is old enough and defend her country from criminals hurting the people of Pakistan.

Education is important if I want to become a police officer in future. As an educated professional, I will be able to serve my country in a better way,

 confidently added Kashi. Kashi’s favorite subject is Science.

Miss Tania conducts group activities which makes it easier to understand. In a recent classroom session, while learning about States of Matter, Miss Tania drew a circle on the floor. All the students were called inside the circle. Since the circle was not very big, we were standing very close to each other. Miss Tania explained that we are in a solid state where molecules are close together. She then told us to move a little away from each other, to demonstrate the liquid state of matter.

Likewise, she explained the gas state by spreading us all around the classroom, far away from each other. She teaches us through story-telling as well. For many students, science is a difficult subject, but through interactive activities, science has become easy and interesting to learn.

Kashi and Ayesha were excited to talk about the concept of “Morning Meetings” recently introduced by the trained teachers in GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony.

These meetings are conducted every morning. As a result, the school has become a fun place as all students know each other better. In the morning meetings, we share and learn something new about other students’ nature or daily routine. We share our likes and dislikes, our stories of previous days and what new we will learn in school that day. Through this interactive daily exercise, we have made more friends than before. Now we have friends from other classes as well,

 happily expressed Kashi and Ayesha, smiling at each other,

Moreover, our classmate Vaijanti, attended the summer camp. She shared her experience and learning with us. We also keep our classroom clean. Students have responsibility to keep their tables and chairs organized and the monitor supervises to maintain cleanliness in classroom. It is motivating to come to a clean classroom everyday

Kashi was not a regular student. Her parents switched her schools often.

I did not enjoy school a lot that is why I did not attend school regularly,

 expressed Kashi. Kashi initially was enrolled in GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony in class one with her elder sister, who was then in class four. She left and joined a boys’ school after a year.

Kashi was encouraged to join GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony when she saw her cousin, who studied in the school, engaged in artwork at home. She further shared her study routine inclusive of role plays, story-telling and morning meetings. Kashi came back to us in 2017 in class four and since then has been regularly attending school.  Her performance in class is outstanding and the teachers commend her work and participation in class. It is therefore important to engage students in practical exercises. It’s a child’s nature to pick fast when they enjoy studying,

 mentioned Sami. 

Keeping schools clean can help prevent students from falling ill and reduce absenteeism, giving students a better opportunity to stay on track with the curriculum. According to researches, people are generally happier and more productive in a clean work environment.

The students of Miss Tania are very enthusiastic about studying and learning new lessons every day. They proactively encourage other students to keep their classrooms and the school area clean. It is a pleasure seeing how responsible the students have become after the teachers’ training. This positive change shows how important it is to have trained and well-equipped teachers in schools,

 said Sami.

A Creative Art Competition was organized in Umerkot on May 12th this year under the Girls’ Education project. The activity aimed at strengthening creative skills of students by providing them a competitive platform to present their artistic abilities. A total of forty-three students and fourteen teachers from eleven different schools participated in the competition. The competition activities were categorized in three segments; Oratory skills (Speech, Poem recitals and skit performance), Creative Visual Arts (such as Drawing & painting) and Innovation, in which any new teaching methodology was introduced through a demonstration.

Students practiced very hard for the competition. It was the first of its kind and all teachers and students were excited to be participating in the event. Four students participated from our school participated in the event. Kashi and Ayesha were among the four students,

 narrated Sami.

I drew a beautiful scenery and Ayesha drew a Jug and a glass of drink. There were many students from different schools at the event and everyone was creating exquisite artwork. We did not know that our art piece will win a price. To our surprise, we won the third price in the art competition. We were full of joy to hear our names called out on stage,

expressed Kashi with great excitement.

Ayesha also took part in the Recitation competition. According to Sami, Ayesha delivered her recital with complete confidence and motivation.

I enjoyed reciting Naatii in front of an audience on the stage. I saw some girls go before me who were nervous. I was surely not nervous at all,

 concluded Ayesha excitedly.

A theater group, Barbhat theater, performed a play on sustainable agriculture, kitchen gardening and tree plantation.

Agricultural farmers produce a variety of nutritious substances for human and animal consumption. Farmers all over the world generously contribute to the sustenance of all kinds of life and growth. Under its Food security and livelihood project[1] (FSL), Community World Service Asia organized a farmers’ festival to encourage local targeted communities in the district of Badin in Sindh, Pakistan towards adopting sustainable agriculture practices. The festival also aimed at identifying ways to bridge linkages between farming communities and the civil society, NGOs and government departments working on agriculture in the area.

As one of the key components of the FSL project, this Farmers’ Festival which was primarily for men only, was attended by more than six hundred community members in Badin, promoted the adoption of sustainable agriculture through a variety of informational yet fun activities; interactive theater performances, tableaus and open discussions on experience sharing were all part of it. Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Farmer Field School[2] members, local women trained in kitchen gardening and nutrition actively participated in the festival.

Relevant Government officials representing the district’s Social Welfare and Agriculture departments took part in the event and recognized the improvements in on-farm activities noted since the initiation of the project. They affirmed that this sort of progress will surely ensure sustainable development and food security in the area.

Other non-profit organizations working in the region were also given an opportunity to set up stalls, displaying local handicrafts and pictorial presentations reflecting their own project activities, at the festival. Models on Key Hole Kitchen Gardening and Biological Pests Control were also exhibited. Women from the local communities had also set up their own stalls to sell vegetables freshly harvested from their kitchen gardens.

Perbhat, a local theatre group, performed an interactive theater play to highlight the benefits of kitchen gardening, sustainable agriculture practices and how to maintain a balanced diet. The audience was also sensitized on increased tree plantations and how that would reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. In addition, students of Ram Kolhi Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) performed two tableaus under the direction of their teachers, in an attempt to amplify the importance of education in strengthening and improving agricultural practices for long-term food security.

Key speakers, representing government bodies, CSOs, NGOs and local farmers also addressed the visitors and attendees of the festival, highlighting the valuable role that the communities themselves play and need to continue playing for social, economic and agricultural development. Moreover, the government officials assured the communities about addressing issues of mismanagement and negligence and recommended to work towards resolving these issues together. Local farmers also invited the Government and local officials to visit their lands to be able to better understand how they work and identify ways of increased collaboration. The festival was seen as a bridge that addressed the existing gaps between community members, local farmers and government officials and a big leap towards enhancing agricultural development in Sindh.

[1] Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin Project

[2] A group-based adult learning approach that teaches farmers to shift towards more sustainable production practices.


This project is co-funded by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). Special thanks to the government of Canada for supporting this project.

DurationJul 01, 2015Jun 30, 2018
LocationDoronaro, Hyder Farm and Nabisar of District Umerkot
Key Activities
  • Support to three of six Rural Health Centres (RHCs) in Umerkot, each with a catchment of 95, 700 community members, through provision of free of cost basic Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) services.
  • Extensive antenatal care provided to women visiting the three RHCs and follow-up postnatal check-ups conducted after safe deliveries.
  • An active Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) which assists doctors to identify and raise disease alerts at district level.
  • Our Health Information System (HIS) also helps early detection of complicated cases which speeds up referral of cases of women diagnosed as having high risk pregnancies to higher level hospitals for further treatment.
  • Training and building capacity of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) on early detection of high risk pregnancy, safe delivery of babies and distribution of safe delivery kits to 12 TBAs.
  • Family spacing advice and family planning options are provided to women in thirty villages. As a result, we are witnessing lower cases of mothers having babies within one year of delivery.
  • Health education sessions targeting school-going children within nine schools in the RHC catchment areas have been conducted
  • Close coordination and partnership with other healthcare practitioners in the district. For example, we are conducting nutritional assessments for mothers and children under the age of five and referring those identified as suffering from malnutrition for further treatment and food supplement provision.
  • Participation of project staff in organizational capacity building initiatives such as Leadership trainings, Do-no-harm mainstreaming in disaster management; quality and accountability training where staff are reviewing the Standard Operating Procedures during Health Emergencies; and online competency trainings on report writing and communication skills development.
  • Support to district-wide government health initiatives such as polio vaccination campaigns and safe pregnancy initiatives as well as hosting of health-related celebrations such as World Health Day, World Disability Day and International Women’s Day.
Participants55,620 Individual

Rashidan and her husband have always wanted to provide a quality life for their four children. A stay at home mother, looking after her children, feeding them and making the most of their menial income, Rashidan had always remained optimistic and full of life for her family. However, with Rashidan’s repeated pregnancies and subsequent miscarriages, her health started deteriorating, restricting her from being the happy and energetic mother that she had always been.

Thirty-five old Rashidan is married to Ramzan, together they live with their four children in village Ranta located in District Sujawal in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

My husband, sells biscuits in Bello city in Umerkot, 30km away from home, through which he earns an income of PKR 600, on a weekly basis. This is insufficient to feed a family of six. We hardly have any money saved for healthcare, when the need arises,

 shared Rashidan.

Whenever health needs would arise, Rashidan and Ramzan would travel to the city hospitals in Daro or Sujawal; both almost one and a half hour away from their village, Ranta. The round trip to the hospital, including the medical expenses, would typically cost them PKR 2000.

I suffered two miscarriages after I had my youngest daughter. My husband took me to the city hospitals. We could not afford the regular treatment there or buy medicines due to which my health worsened. In May 2017, I had another miscarriage (third), this time I visited the Maternal Neonatal Child Health Center (MNCH) set up here in Ranta. I was in severe pain and was bleeding all night. The lady doctor at the MNCH conducted a thorough check-up of me and diagnosed me with anemia.  After she conducted an ultrasound, she informed me that I had lost my third child, who was eight weeks old.

I realized then that I had experienced three consecutive miscarriages due to being anemic. The doctor prescribed medicines to me, including pain killers, intravenous fluid (IV) and vitamin B complex injections. She also advised me to take complete bed rest for three days. I went back to the MNCH after three days for a check-up. After an ultrasound, the doctor affirmed that the report was clear. She further prescribed iron and multivitamins tablets to overcome my weakness.

After a week of letting Rashidan rest, the lady doctor provided an awareness session on family planning to Rashidan.

I was not familiar with the concept of child spacing before. I have been taking tablets for child spacing for almost 10 months now. My hemoglobin (Hbg) has improved considerably. My health has become a priority after the tragic losses I have experience. I want to be healthy for my children and family. It is great to see that the MNCH is providing primary healthcare and the staff is very cooperative and responsive. The facility of ultrasound has brought ease in our life, especially for pregnant women here in Ranta. It is very expensive to avail good health services at city hospitals. Most of us here in the village live in poverty which is why many of us ignore the importance of good health. We have mostly relied on finding traditional remedies which is not enough in many cases. The affordable services at the MNCH are continuously providing effective treatment to many mothers and children in Ranta village.

My husband, Kewal, a gender activist here in Kharoro Charan makes me very proud and I am happy to be his wife. Kewal has brought a positive change in so many people’s lives here,

shares Patu, beaming with pride. Patu, 39 years old, has been married to Kewal for twelve years.

All was not well in their marriage of twelve years though. Kewal had been an alcoholic for many years of their marriage. In fact just uptil two years ago, he had been an irresponsible husband and father and often physically abused Patu in his drunken state. Kewal worked as a carpenter through which he earned a menial income of PKR 250 per day.

He spent most of his income buying alcohol. He eventually stopped working and spent his days drinking. It was difficult to make ends meet as we had to feed three children, run the house and meet other urgent expenses ,

 added Patu.

My wife praises me a lot now. She did not praise me like this before this project,

added Kewal laughing. Before this women economic empowerment, supported by YCARE and UKAID, came to Kharoro Charan of Umerkot in Sindh, forty-year-old Kewal acted imprudently and wasted many hours of the day doing nothing.

I used to drink in the morning, afternoon and at night. I never dreamt about a better life, education, health or of any other facilities for my children. I never thought about the future.

In May of 2016, Community World Service Asia, the implementing organization for the project, identified Kharoro Charan village as part of their livelihoods’ interventions in Sindh, Pakistan. To ensure community participation at every step of the project, a Steering Committee consisting of members of the village, was set up. In one of the committee’s initial meetings, as the members were identifying possible participants of the various components of the project, they unanimously nominated Kewal to participate in a training on gender activism. Kewal initially refused to attend the training but some of his neighbors and elderly community members convinced him to give it a try and join the training.

The training completely changed my life. The facilitator of the training was a professional and was very experienced. He explained the topics very effectively.

Kewal started feeling a passion and commitment to bring change. He felt like a changed man after the training.

I participated in all sessions actively. During the two days of the training, I was occupied for the entire day, meaning I was not able to drink for more than eight hours. The sessions in the training were so interesting that I did not even feel the need to drink alcohol. Topics including gender discrimination, domestic violence, early childhood marriage and education were all very important and shared with us in an interesting manner. I never knew how badly domestic violence affected families, especially the little minds that get tangled in the violent environment.

After taking the training, Kewal started practicing what he had learnt. Not only had he learnt to fight his alcoholism but also to fight for the rights of those whose voices were suppressed.  Patu found a different husband in Kewal after the training.

Patu and I attended the steering committee meetings together. We contributed to the decisions made on village matters. I took Patu with me in the gender sessions and meetings, as together we were stronger. Our shared efforts in bringing change in other’s lives were more effective and productive. I was given five households to work with as a gender activist.  Bhaga, my sister-in-law’s household was among them. I held meetings with the family and discouraged Bhaga’s husband, my brother, to drink excessively. He used to physically abuse Bhaga and also beat his four children. Today, he rarely drinks and Bhaga works and earns a good income as an artisan and tailor in the village. The feeling of bringing happiness and a better living to someone is the best feeling in life.

Koshaliya, a fifteen-year-old niece of Kewal, was getting married in the village. The preparations for her marriage were underway and the wedding invitations were sent as well. Kewal, now a transformed man, did not agree with the idea of marrying such a young girl.

I called off the wedding after learning the disadvantages of childhood marriage. Her in-laws to be were furious and spoke very badly of me. They came to our home, accompanied by some villagers and quarreled with us as well. I calmly explained to the family that Koshaliya was very young and putting the burden of marriage on her at such a young age would adversely affects her mental and physical health in many ways. We met with the in-laws to be a few times more before I could fully convince them on the decision being right. The wedding was postponed to take place after two years.

Kewal said that women in Kharoro Charan were never taken into consideration during decision-making processes.

We treated them like maids and ordered them to mend our clothes, polish our shoes, cook us food. I believed that it was only their duty; to take care of us. We never thought of taking care of them.  But things have changed now. Today, Patu cooks, while I cut the vegetables for her, she bathes the children, and I sweep the floor. I help my wife in home chores without any embarrassment. Many elders in the village, who have conventional mind-sets, make fun of me but that does not bother me anymore. My family matters to me the most,

 expressed Kewal.

My husband is very caring and that makes me feel exceptionally lucky. When I am not well, he cooks and takes care of children without any irritation. My husband loves me and takes care of his family very dearly. His value and importance has increased so much in village because of all the good things he does, that at one call, all the villagers gather for meetings without any hesitation or disbelief. All the women in the village say that I am the most respected wife. This makes me feel extremely blessed, 

shared Patu happily.

I aim at bringing change in the whole village. Kharoro Charan is a village consisting of a thousand households. There is a long way to go but it is not an impossible journey. Change has to come within ourselves first. If we can change our own negative ways of living, then only can we set examples for others, 

concluded Kewal confidently.

Fifteen teachers from Thatta visit East Education Publishers and Literate Pakistan Foundation last week.

We often avoid paying much attention to the weaker children in the class and overlook their hidden capacities. The Jugnu course books provided by EAST are especially designed to upgrade the knowledge and confidence of academically weak children. These books have made learning interesting through story-telling and pictorials. I will request the principal to include these books in our school’s curriculum.

Fiza Solangi

Primary School teacher, Fiza Solangi, from Makli Sindh, along with seventeen other teachers,  visited the EAST Education Publishers and Literate Pakistan Foundation as part of an exposure opportunity under the Community World Service Asia and Act for Peace supported Girls Education Project in Pakistan. All eighteen of these teachers, representing different government primary schools in Thatta, have been previously trained on various pedagogical and advanced teaching skills under the same project. The teachers from Sindh were introduced to the various new curriculum approaches that are available and are applied in urban educational systems at EAST. The were also briefed about how some “undereducated” parents of their students can be taught the basics of literacy through different models developed by various organizations.

The staff at EAST shared how teachers can apply various techniques of supporting and motivating academically weaker children through a teaching module developed by the organization. Humaira Farhan, Marketing Manager at EAST, shared their experience of providing tailor made courses for parents who have little or no education background, laborers and underprivileged community members across Pakistan. Komal Sunair, Marketing Manager at E Learn and Earn – ELE, a partnering organization of EAST, also offered kindergarten teaching courses to the visiting teachers.

Sadaf Faheem, a Teachers’ Trainer at EAST shared,

We provide teachers’ training and Montessori training courses focused on early childhood and primary education. We are a research and development organization engaged in the development of teaching and learning resources. The visit of the teachers’ from Thatta was very productive. They were more interested in early childhood education and had queries related to that. These teachers have been teaching primary education; hence, early childhood education was new to them. Education does not accept limitations and the teachers are eager to learn new techniques for making their classrooms more intellectual and fun at the same time. The teachers want to learn new ways to build the capacities of their students and involve them in practical exercises. I believe the books we provide will be very beneficial for the students in rural areas as storytelling and interactive activities will make learning fun for the students.

 

Learning at EAST

EAST Education Publishers shared their Jugnu series of books and explained how these books help students, especially the weak ones, to build their knowledge and confidence. The books are interactive and deliver lessons through storytelling. Moreover, there are online courses for teachers which will help build capacities and introduce new teaching methods to make classrooms more interactive. This online system of making courses and textbooks available is beneficial for us teachers in rural areas as we cannot travel often to cities.

Tayyaba Bano, Government Girls Primary Main Makli School, Thatta, Sindh 

The textbooks provided in the government schools are quite different from the ones provided by EAST Education Publishers. We learnt that there are different levels of books for the same standards, focusing on the capacity of different students. The series of books published by EAST was more focused on storytelling method. I was surprised to see that even the science textbook had stories which were delivering the lesson clearly.

The English language used in the books is a bit tough for the students in rural areas as their capacity lacks in efficient English. However, I plan to use the idea of storytelling and incorporate it in the subjects I teach in my school. The activities mentioned in these books can be practiced with the students which will be new and interesting for the students and will help them enjoy learning.

Saiba Khushk, Government Girls Primary School, Charan Memon, Thatta, Sindh 

Teachers in the rural areas do not have a lot of exposure to urban styles of teaching and academic curricula. These visits provide us with new learnings opportunity and a chance to upgrade our skills. Most of our students were previously mostly involved in extensive reading and rote-learning. After the teachers’ training and exposure visits, like this one, the classrooms have become colorful and friendly.

The textbooks taught in the government schools have long lessons with questions to be answered in the end of every chapter. The books published in EAST Education Publishers have interactive exercises and storytelling throughout which makes it interesting and fun to learn.

Rashida Bano, Government Girls Primary School, Darowan, Thatta, Sindh

Asiyat Azeem, 36-year-old mother of eight, is a lady health worker (LHW) from Morand Patu village located in Umerkot, district, Sindh Province.  She has four daughters and four sons.

My husband is an old man and does not work. I am the sole bread earner in my house. As a LHW with the health department, I earn a salary of PKR 21,000 monthly. My income is mostly consumed in household expenses.

Asiyat added that her two elder sons are not employed due to lack of education.

With my little savings I could not afford their education, I therefore set up a small grocery shop for my eldest son. He earns around PKR 300 – 500, varying on the daily sales. There are days when they there are no sales even. My second son assists me in my activities as a health worker.

Women in Morad Patu lived a conservative life and were not allowed to travel freely on their own. They rarely stepped out of their homes and if they ever did, it wouldn’t be without the men in their families accompanying. Most of their days were spent taking care of their children and families and completing daily home chores. Some of the women stitched clothes for their families and children in their spare time; however, their skills were not utilized to earn money.

My son, who works as a health worker with me, has been very supportive. He travels to far cities to purchase medicines and vaccines. Together, we then give vaccinations and conduct other health inducing activities together in Morand Patu and nearby villages.

Since Asiyat has been bearing all financial responsibilities on her own, she was unable to send all her children to school. However, Asiyat made sure to send her three younger children to a local school in the district to avail education. Of the three, two of her sons attend classes one and four and the daughter is in class five.  Asiyat’s eldest daughter is married and has four children of her own, while her second daughter is working as an artisan in the vocational center set up by Community World Service Asia and Ycare.

Community World Service Asia’s project team came to the Kharoro Charan village in 2017 to identify new villages for inclusion in their Livelihoods’ project. There, at the village health center, they met Rasheeda, a prominent gender activist from the village, and a few lady health workers (LHWs). Krishni, a LHW, was among the participants at the meeting. After their meeting, Krishni met Asiyat and told her about the initiative and shared contact details of the team with her. In response, Asiyat was quick to call and invite the livelihoods team to her village as she had a strong desire to bring development opportunities to the village and to improve her communities’ standards of living.

Naheed, a Community Mobilizer working with Community World Service Asia, shared,

When we first came to Murad Patu, all the girls hid in their homes and stared at us from a distance. No girl or woman was ready to sit for the skill assessment and join the center for skills development. The men in the village thought that we, the women representing the organization, will work against their cultural norms and will encourage women to disobey their families and men and leave their homes to build a future for themselves.

To bridge these social barriers between the project team and the community, Asiyat gathered a few elder community members (men and women) of the village and conducted a joint meeting to brief them about the project, its interventions and the establishment of the vocational center. In the beginning, Asiyat dedicated a room in her own to be used as the vocational center as part of the project. As more and more artisans, started registering, it was getting difficult to accommodate all of them in that room. Moreover, the natural light (being the only source of light in the room during long hours of electric load shedding) was insufficient to continue the lessons and intricate handwork. Asiyat discussed these issues with Arbab, the President of the village Steering Committee, who, vacated a room in his son’s house in the village to use as the vocational center. This room was much bigger in size and had more windows which allowed sufficient natural light to enter the room. The forty-five artisans selected at the centre were divided in groups of three; each group worked for two hours daily at the centre.

As a gender activist, I was given six households to work with and raise awareness on gender related issues. I held meetings with all households individually and observed their issues closely. After identifying their problems, I worked with each household accordingly. In the initial meeting I briefed the families about gender equality, the negative impacts of early and childhood marriage and gender discrimination. Through a booklet consisting of pictorial flip charts, delivering clear messages, it was easy to explain to the families the importance of gender equality in a society.

The views and opinions of the women in Murad Patu were generally overlooked and they had no input or say in decision-making processes. After Asiyat starting meeting these families and initiated candid discussions on prevalent issues with them, the women started to open up and participate  in decision-making, especially regarding decisions relating to their children and  their  marriages.

When a proposal comes for a girl, both the parents take a mutual decision whether to accept or refuse the proposal. We speak up when we disagree with any decision taken up by the men in the family. Before, it was impossible to say anything as the decision made by the elders was considered as the last verdict,

shared Khatoon, a woman residing in Murad Patu.

Most girls in the village rarely attended school and many of them just played in the village instead of attending school. Asiyat narrated,

I encouraged mothers to send their children, especially girls, to schools as this education will be beneficial for their future. I explained to them, if a girl is educated, she will be able to support her family financially in bad times and make important decisions for them. Women here never thought of their future before, therefore they do not encourage their daughters to be prepared for bad times either.

Zainab, a resident of Morad Patu, recalled,

My daughter did not go to school. My family was amongst the six households assigned to Asiyat to work with. She came to our house and told us why education is important, especially for girls. I did not think for the better future of my daughter. But today, I am happy to share with you that my daughter goes to school regularly and I wish to see her grow intellectually.

Fehmida and Gulzaab, daughters of Merab, another mother from Morad Patu, also started attending school after Asiyat encouraged the family to do so and enlightened them about the need and significance of education for a happy and progressive life.

Early and child-hood marriages were a common practice in the village. Girls of Morad Patu would customarily be married off by the age of 15years. Asiyat shared,

Due to the rigid mind-set and cultural norms, the people here never measured the disadvantages of marrying young girls. Shahnaz, 13 years old, and Farzana, 14 years old, were to be married in December 2017. Knowing the problems young girls face due to early marriage, I met with their families individually to try to talk them out of marrying their young daughters at such a young age. The families were told about the burden we put on young lives which affects their health badly.  Moreover, I explained the complications girls face during pregnancy at young ages, badly affecting the health of the mother and child. I gave them an example of a minor girl in our village who was married and consequently experienced three miscarriages due to which her health seriously deteriorated. Upon knowing the severe risks girls face in early marriages, the families of both the girls postponed their marriage for five years. Today, both the girls are happily working in the vocational center as artisans and earning through the local orders they receive.

Among the twelve hundred villagers living in Murad Patu, Asiyat was the only woman who worked independently, stepping out of her house to earn a living for her family.

After continuous meetings in relation to gender equality, we have 45 artisans working actively in the vocational center and contributing financially in their households. Three of the artisans travelled to Umerkot City and Chor (a city near Umerkot) to shop for their families and children. This was a great achievement.

I believe that women should be able to come out and take decisions for themselves. Mostly women do not share their opinions or wishes and only dream of being given importance. I encourage women to believe in themselves and take action to achieve their dreams. My son, who assisted me in my health activities, is also a gender activist under the livelihoods project. I am glad to see that my son is also working for women empowerment.

Teachers demonstrating lesson on child motivation, appreciating a teacher for her work.

“One can never learn enough”, it is often said and heard. The same applies to teachers; teaching and learning is a continuous process that goes hand in hand. Learning new methods and understanding the process of teaching leads to better teaching practices.

Passionate teachers understand that the greatest benefit of trainings to them is the large number of additional skills they acquire, allowing their lessons and classrooms to be more interactive, interesting and informative for their students.

For many teachers, making a positive difference in the lives of students is most valuable – the feelings of self-satisfaction as you watch your students grow and succeed due to your hard work and dedication in the field. To give an opportunity for such teachers to continue feeling valued, Community World Service Asia organized and conducted a five-days master teachers’ training on pedagogical & training skills under the Girls Education Project supported by partners, Act for Peace, in Sindh province, Pakistan.

After successfully completing three teacher training cycles on pedagogical skills in the Thatta district of Sindh, this training was categorized as an advance level for those teachers already trained. The five-day sessions aimed to strengthen teachers’ capacities on adult learning, teaching methods, professional teaching standards and lesson planning on daily, weekly, monthly and basis.

Twenty-five teachers from twenty government primary schools of Thatta participated in this workshop.  As a training of trainers of sorts, the purpose of this workshop was for teachers to develop specific expertise on developing model lessons and classrooms and further mentoring teachers in their respective schools on quality teaching methods and techniques.

Sessions on adult learning theory, types of learning styles and creative teaching methods were conducted for teachers where they were also specifically guided on ways to address learning needs of students as per their dominant learning style. Moreover, the need and importance of lesson planning was emphasized in the training sessions as it was realized that teachers often overlooked that and did not recognize the many benefits of this activity.  The teachers were taught on how to develop lesson plans at different stages of their yearly activities.

During the training, the teachers’ skills on class observation tools, reporting and delivering model lesson in schools was enhanced with a particular objective of increasing class participation and students’ involvement in practical learning. As part of the five-days workshop, the 25 teachers were taken on a field visit to a government primary school in Thatta. As one of activities, participants were required to observe teaching methods at the host school and record their observation on the checklist provided by the facilitator. Teachers also observed practical and learning environments seen in different classrooms and later discussed and delivered group presentations on the gaps recorded during the visit. One key observation from the field was that since there was no lesson planning, the lessons lacked clarity of flow and were ineffective and uninteresting for the students.

Teachers, with the support of the trainers, were asked to develop “model lessons” on the gaps observed during the field visit and deliver them as part of a group exercise. Some of the topics presented by the teachers included child motivation; classroom managements; and less responsiveness by teachers. Participants also developed action plans as part of the exercise, to implement active and practical learning in their schools. As a follow up to the training, the graduate master teachers planned to conduct these “model lessons” in their respective schools and would share its calculated impact with the facilitators of this training.

As a concluding sessions on the training’s final day, Rubab Shah, Tallaqua Education Officer (TEO) Thatta, awarded certificates to all the participants of the five-day teachers workshop and appreciated their participation as they shared their learnings with her. Rubab Shah further expressed,

These innovative trainings on pedagogical and training skills have been very significant in delivering quality orientated lessons using interactive methods.  I am glad to say that I have noticed visible changes in classrooms post such trainings as teachers have developed low cost learning material with and for the students.

Teachers’ Voices:

“I am happy to attend this training as I have acquired new knowledge that will help me in becoming a good teacher. The best part of the training was its methodology and taking us on a school visit and then helping us in developing model lessons. I was a bit hesitant in delivering lessons as a master teacher in front of all other teachers but the facilitators encouraged me and I delivered complete lessons successfully.” Seema, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Muhammad Hanif Khushk.

“I believe such teachers’ training help a lot in improving classroom environments. Its adding to my experience as we get new opportunities to learn from other teachers’ experiences by interacting with them. The action planning section will help us immensely in improving our lesson planning and managing classes effectively.” Nasira Parveen, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Jeelani Muhalla School.

“I’m grateful to the facilitators as I learnt new ways of improving learning and delivering quality lessons. I learnt classroom observation, lesson planning and interactive methods with students. I will apply this learning in my class and share with fellow teachers in my school.” Noor Jahan M. Baqar, Primary School Teacher at Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Ali Muhammad Jokhio