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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

We live a happy life in the village. I have five daughters and one son. All my children are married. My husband is a farmer who earns PKR 250 on a daily basis. The money earned is mostly consumed in food and household expenses. The income is therefore not sufficient and is difficult to make ends meet,

shared sixty year old Fatima, wife of Tayab, residing in Phul Jakhro village, Union Council Bijora, Tehsil and District Sujawal. Their son and his wife are mostly dependent upon them as well, as he only earns Rs. 50 per day.

I came to the Maternal Neonatal Child Health Center for my foot injury. While visiting my daughter who lives in a nearby village, I was attacked by a wild animal, which injured my foot very badly

shared Fatima. Fatima’s husband initially took her to Bello and Sujawal city for treatment, travelling far distances was costly and the additional treatment costs in the hospitals were burdensome.

After 15 days of treatment and medication, my foot was no better

she recalls,

I was in immense pain. My husband then took me to Sujawal city and the doctors advised me to get it operated upon, as the infection had grown worse and they wanted to amputate it.

Fatima and her husband were very worried and had lost hope. Her son advised her to go to the Maternal Neonatal Child Health Center (MNCH) in Ranta,

My son’s wife has visited the MNCH for healthcare and therefore he was very satisfied with the services the health center was providing,

said a satisfied Fatima. The Maternal Neonatal Health Center is providing basic health services for the villagers residing in nearby areas, with special focus on women and children.

The MNCH provides good health services at very minimal cost of fees. The doctor treated my foot. The doctor treated me with injections, medicines and daily intra-septic dressing. I was treated for 15 days on regular basis. I then visited the MNCH once every week for a month. My foot healed completely and I was able to walk without pain again. The health staff at the MNCH was very cooperative and active.

Fatima fully recovered and she recommends every villager residing nearby to avail timely treatment at the MNCH in Ranta village.

Women in the rural village of Kando in Umerkot, Sindh were a living example of what rural women in patriarchal societies are often stereotyped as: subservient, financially dependent, and restricted to their homes. Remarkably, much of this changed for the women of Kando village after a vocational training centre teaching sewing and embroidery skills, basic literacy and gender awareness sessions, was set up.

Chandri Ladho, a thirty-two year old mother and a resident of Kando, heard about the vocational center from the president of the village’s Steering Committee. She was compelled to find out more about it. After acing her assessment test for the admission to the vocational center, Chandri started learning at the centre and subsequently worked as the Quality Assurance Supervisor (QAS) at the centre. As a QAS, Chandri ensures that artisans reproduce a product if fails to deliver the set standards of quality.

As a trained artisan herself at the centre, Chandri has received many orders since she joined the vocational training center. Enhancing her sewing skills has allowed Chandri to generate a higher income for her family. She receives a monthly stipend of PKR 1600 and is currently working on a piece that will sell at PKR 10,000. Chandri attested,

The six month training was mind opening. I did not know there were so many stitches through which various designs could be developed. It was at the center that I learned six different stitches and various color combinations that improved the products I made and its value.

Chandri, along with all the other women registered at the center received literacy sessions. These sessions enabled them to read and write, and to communicate in Urdu. Before, they could only communicate in their native language which is Sindhi.

Although Chandri is now a skillful artisan and a confident entrepreneur, she was not always this way. She has been through a rich learning journey. Chandri lived  mundane life, in which she would send her child to school everyday, then help with his homework. She would go to collect water, clean her house, cooking all three meals, and wash clothes. This was her regular routine, and sometimes when time would allow, Chandri would do basic sewing for fellow villagers and would roughly earn about PKR 1,200 a month depending on the number of orders she received.

Chandri’s husband, Ladho, works in a garment factory in Karachi and earns a monthly income of PKR 10,000. He keeps half of his salary to cover his living expenses in Karachi and sends the rest to his family back home. To avoid the hefty travel expenses, Ladho visits his family once every four months. For the family to survive and meet all expenses within PKR 5000 was close to impossible but they struggled and somehow managed to make ends meet. It was very difficult to pay for their six-year-old son’s nursery school and tuition fees and affording health care was out of the question. But they prioritized their son’s education and squeezed all other expenses in what was left.

In addition to the family’s regular expenses, they were also burdened with meeting the financial strain of Chandri’s maternal issues. In order to experience a safe pregnancy, Chandri has to receive monthly medical treatment, costing PKR 3,000. Because she could not afford to receive consistent treatment, she aborted three of her babies within their first three months. It has been five years since she had a baby.

Since Chandri joined the centre and started earning, she was able to save some money and afford her regular medical treatment.  Now, Chandri is five months pregnant and is excited to be able to healthily conceive and deliver a baby after all these years.

Ladho and his mother supported Chandri’s participation in the training center since they knew it would be favorable to the family’s economic conditions. And right they were, not only has it benefited the family, but it has also positively impacted Kando village.

Chandri narrated,

Before the villagers attended awareness sessions on gender issues and rights, the women were not allowed to meet anyone from outside their villages, not even other women and not even very nearby villages. Women were only allowed to visit the local hospital with their husbands. Both these scenarios have changed for the better since the village residents have been sensitized on gender issues.

Women from neighboring villages now meet regularly with the women of Kando village and they chat, discuss new ideas and work on handicraft projects together. Chandri further shared,

Many of us engaged in basic stitching at home whenever we got the time. It was time consuming, as we individually worked on orders. Now, we work together in the center. We are able to help each other and improve as a team. Working together is definitely better than working individually. We finish our orders on time and the quality of the work has also improved, increasing our value and demand of our products.

The men of Kando village now allow the girls and women of their community to receive an education and work on such enterprises. Women no longer have to wait for men to accompany them on hospital visits. Instead, women gather in groups and visit the hospital whenever they need. This way they do not need to wait for a man to accompany them in cases of emergency.

Chandri’s participation in family discussions and household decisions was not encouraged earlier. She was silences by her husband if she tried to voice her opinions in front of others, specially other men in the family.  It was after the family took part in some of the gender sessions at the centre that Chandri became more open to expressing her opinions and started being active in family decision making. In Fact Ladho now encourages her to contribute to family discussions and even asks her about her work and how it’s going. Chandri concluded,

It is important for women to earn and support their households financially. It makes life easier. Women must be strong and independent when their husbands are away to earn money in other cities. In the time of emergencies, she must be able to emotionally and financially support her family to overcome the hurdles. My involvement in the vocational centre has made me a strong woman and I am able to support my family, which makes me a proud mother.

Farmers learning about the Hydroponic Cultivation method at the research institute

Under the Food Security[1]project initiated in Badin, Sindh in 2015, continuous technical support and business development services are provided to rural farmers to achieve high quality agricultural production in order to promote agri-based enterprises. To further strengthen the skills and expertise of these agrarian communities, an exposure visit to the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) in Umerkot was organized in the last week of February this year. The visit was conducted in three groups, one day allocated to each group. Sixty farmers, nineteen men and forty-three women, from three Union Councils (UC) of Badin participated in the visit. Project staff and AZRI officials facilitated the visit.

Dr. Atta Ullah, Director AZRI, welcomed each group at the start of their exposure visit and briefed them on the importance of sustainable agriculture and the various methods they will be exploring at the institute. At the AZRI, the farmers observed many ongoing researches and activities underway. Some of these included kitchen gardening activities using the drip irrigation system, pitcher gardening schemes, solar desalination units and hydroponic cultivation systems.

The Drip Irrigation System and ways of cultivating vegetables using this system was explained to the farmers.  This irrigation method was introduced during a time of water scarcity in the area. It was through this system that 70 percent of the water was saved at the time. Many vegetables, namely tomato, garlic, onion, spinach and coriander are cultivated through this technique.

Farmers learnt how saline water is converted into drinking water using the Solar Desalination Unit at the institute. Eight liters of saline water is converted into drinking water each day, making this technology highly useful in area that lack clean water.

The farmers from Badin found the Hydroponic Cultivation method most interesting as this was very new to them. Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is the growing of plants in a soilless medium, or in an aquatic based environment. Hydroponic growing uses mineral nutrient solutions to feed the plants in water, without requiring any soil. The staff at the AZRI shared with the farmers that the use of hydroponics had increased since pesticides and other toxins produced during traditional farming practices increased the risks of damage to crops.  Plants produced by hydroponic techniques do not have any pesticides; therefore they are absolutely safe for human consumption. Qadir Bux Mirza, one of the farmers from UC Khair Pur Gambo, Badin remarked,

Hydroponic cultivation was a completely new innovation for me as I never knew such a quick way of growing nutritious fodder like maize, wheat and oat for animals even existed. I plan to implement this new technique of farming when i return to my lands.

Other units such as the Bio fertilizer Mill and Compost Making, Drip irrigation for the Crafted Jujube Orchard and Bio Remediation System where wastewater is treated and used for irrigation purposes were also shown in detail to the farmers’ group. They were sensitized on the use of biofertilizers as one of the most important components of integrated nutrient management, being cost effective as well as being a renewable source of nutrients to supplement chemical fertilizers.  Plantations of date palm, agro forestry of arid trees, nursery garden of different grasses, shrubs & trees were also shown to the farmers during their visit.

Staff at the AZRI encouraged the farmers from Badin to adopt agricultural practices that use less water as Badin is facing a major scarcity of irrigation water. They further advocated the growing of crops and orchards which require less water. The farmers were enriched with learning new techniques of farming including drip irrigation, drought resistant plants and development of fodders by the end of the exposure visit.

Rabia Khatoon, a kitchen gardener from Babar Kaloi village of UC Khairpur Gambo, shared,

It was amazing to see such a large variety of fodder that can be grown with limited use of water. This is highly beneficial for farmers like us who reside in water scarce areas. I have also been provided with some seeds which I will grow on my field. In addition, I will share my learning with other farmers in my village so that everyone can benefit from these new techniques of sustainable farming.

[1] Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin Project implemented by Community World Service Asia. The project is co-funded the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D). Special thanks to the government of Canada for supporting this project.

Group Photo of alumni students of University of Sindh of the Social Media management Training in Mirpurkhas.

A series of trainings on Social Media Management for alumni students of the Youth United for Change network from different universities across Pakistan were held in the cities of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Lahore and Faisalabad. The trainings aimed at enhancing the knowledge of students and graduates on social media, its key tools, its impact and usability for bringing positive changes and awareness.

Popular social media campaigns and their impact were shared with participants. Through assignments and interactive exercises alumni students were guided on how to plan and develop their own successful social media campaigns on social causes, awareness issues and development goals. Inspiring and innovative video and photo campaigns successfully run on social media platforms by UN agencies, international aid organizations, CSOs and global academic networks were shown to participants to get inspiration from. Group activities on developing informative viral campaigns, #Hashtag activism, infographic development and creating facebook pages encouraged students to bring out their creativity and put on their thinking hats. At the same time, these youth representatives were cautioned on the cons of mis-using social media and the ethical considerations to take while developing and implementing campaigns on social networks.  A significant session of the training emphasized on using social media tools to share knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to develop campaigns that would help us achieve the global goals unitedly as a nation.

Students’ Corner:

“Youth must be united for progress and development of their country and in today’s age social media is the most effective and engaging platform which is easily used and available to everyone. Together we can bring positive change through innovative social media and #hashtag campaigns,”  Mohammad Shebaz, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“The training was very fruitful. The facilitator of the training delivered all sessions effectively and efficiently for us to build a clear understanding of social media and how to use it. We learnt to use social media ethically as well which most of us overlook and do not take concern of. These kind of trainings fulfill the need of today’s society where social media is frequently used by most individuals, especially youth,” Ajay K. Rathore, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“This experience was very informative, creative and productive. We learnt new ways of interacting in different social media sites and how to make our content effective and eye-catching.” Maham Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“The way of delivering sessions step by step was helpful to understand the different terms and sites of social media. In a short period of one day, we managed to gain interesting facts regarding the techniques of using social media which we were initially unaware of.” Hoorab Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“Being an Alumni Member, this training was very helpful as social media has become one of the main modes of media to get connected globally. The frequent use of social media is productive and impactful, for youth especially. The training helped in understanding blogs and article writing and how to start campaigns within ethical boundaries. Furthermore, it helped to understand getting over the distance gap and stay connected and united with youth from the South-Asian region through social media platforms. It also enabled me to develop effective and productive messaging for positive social changes in the region.” Mahnoor, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

 

Training Sessions for Female on CMST is underway

The provision of medical facilities to rural areas has been a major developmental objective of Pakistan.  The government has undertaken several programs to train and deploy women doctors, lady health visitors, and dispensers in their health facilities in the rural areas of the country. However, district Umerkot in Sindh, similar to many other rural districts in Pakistan, is faced with a severe shortage of human resources in the medical sector. Community World Service Asia is addressing this limitation through implementing effective and affordable interventions so that progress towards SDG Goal 3, on achieving health and well being, is successfully met.

In its third year of implementing a Health Project in Umerkot, with the financial support of Act for Peace (AFP) and PWS&D, this project was initiated after consultation and coordination with the all district health authorities and local communities in Umerkot. Rural Health Centres (RHCs) in three villages of Umerkot have been set up to respond to a broad range of health issues including general hygiene, communicable disease prevention, awareness on safe motherhood and safe deliveries, vaccination for women and children, breastfeeding, family planning and access to safe drinking water.

Six Health Committees, comprising of men and women of the communities have been formed in the villages of Nabisar Road, Hyderfarm and Dhoronaro in Umerkot. These are the villages where each RHC is established. Each of these health committees consists of ten members from each village. An advocacy forum, made of ten health activists, has also been set up at the district level to address emerging health issues and to facilitate the successful functionality of the health centres. These activists represent government line departments, civil society organizations and the local community from the catchment areas of where the health facilities are established. Acknowledging the significance of community engagement, the advocacy forum and its work is seen as a back bone for the success of the project and key to providing sustainability to the health centres.

The training titled, Community Management Skill Trainings (CMST), was designed for members of the village health committees to strengthen their capacities on health issues and clearly define their roles and responsibilities. Health committee members were expected to clearly identify health related problems of their village and establish linkages with line department and prioritize health concerns on their own after taking the training.

Altogether, a series of six, two day trainings on CMST with all the village health committee members. In each of the three locations, separate two day training sessions for men and women were conducted. In addition, a one-day orientation session on Leadership Management Skills Training (LMST) was also conducted for the representatives of each line department, civil society organizations and the local community.  A total of ten participants attended this training.

With enhancing the awareness, skills and capabilities of the participants, the training aimed for the Health committees to better plan and manage their relevant activities and effectively utilize the local resources available to them. It also provided the participants an opportunity to strengthen their abilities to work towards breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and overcome communal health concerns, specifically that of women and children.

The purpose of empowering the health advocacy forums is to facilitate positive change and to see development of new policies that will tackle unmet and emerging health needs at district level.

In total six, two days CMST training sessions were conducted with the village committee members. In each of the three locations, two days training session for men and two days training session for women were conducted. 30 males, 10 each from the three locations and 30 women, 10 each from the three locations participated in the training. Apart from that, a one-day orientation session on Leadership Management Skills Training (LMST) was conducted for the representative of line department, civil society and communities. In total 10 participants attended this training which included one woman and nine male members.

 

The communities in the Indus river delta encounter disastrous floods and other climatic hazards very frequently. The most devastating effects of these disasters reflect on the agrarian livelihoods of these communities. To combat these adverse impacts and to lead normal lives, communities must resort to alternative sources of income. In this fight for survival, women must equally participate in livelihood generation and disaster risk reduction activities.

Women of Rahim Dino Thaheem village  in District Sujawal in Sindh, Pakistan are aware of these challenges and are responding in an exemplary way. Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is working closely with these women and their supportive communities, among many other in rural Sindh, to facilitate them in achieving economic empowerment.

This film tells the story of Bakhtawar, a young theater activist, who is spreading awareness about reproductive health and rights as well as against the generations long custom of child marriage. She has also managed to convince her parents about the importance of education and wants to continue her studies. She is an active participant in disaster risk reduction activities.

Shahnaz, a mother of nine, belongs to the same village and, despite hurdles from her family, has been able to earn a decent earning by joining the vocational center established by Community World Service Asia. Other than enhancing her skills, the center has also made her part of the Women Enterprise Groups, developed by CWSA, and connected her with sales agents that help her, and many other similar artisans, receive orders from renown fashion designers and urban fashion labels in metropolitan hubs of Pakistan. This practice has helped reduce the exploitation rural craftswomen face at the hands of middle-men as well as empowering them with a sustainable livelihood.

Through a comprehensive community empowerment project, Community World Service Asia is instilling messages of self-reliance as key to the resolution of both economic and social problems. Whether it is economic empowerment or disaster risk reduction, women are equal to men in resolving the issues confronting families and communities, leading them to pave paths to a resilient future.

Various material developed by the participants in the training displayed in the training venue.

A four-day teachers training on pedagogical skills was conducted under the Girls Education Project supported by Community World Service Asia and Act for Peace in Sindh province, Pakistan. The training was held for primary government schools’ teachers in the Thatta district in the late weeks of December and was attended by twenty teachers (women) from fourteen schools. The workshop aimed at teaching classroom management skills to teachers to enable them to create child-friendly and conducive learning environments.

Focusing on child psychology, child rights and child protection, the training included various sessions on classroom management, language, mathematics, introducing the morning meeting, developing low cost and no cost teaching materials, and awareness on gender, health and hygiene. These interactive and working sessions helped the teachers to convert their traditional classroom into child-centered ones, where students are at the centre of the learning process.

The sessions on child psychology, rights and protection emphasized on treating all students with equal respect and love irrespective of their gender, age, religion and other ethnic stereotypes. The teachers learnt how to deal with student issues via understanding their needs through basic psychological analysis. Teachers also learnt to develop low cost teaching aids from recycled materials to make classes fun, easy and memorable for their students. Health and hygiene sessions, especially on adolescent health care, aimed to build capacities of teachers on guiding their students towards instilling good hygiene habits and environmental preservation practices from an early age.

Teachers’ Corner

“Teachers are role models for their students. This training has enhanced our skills and behavior towards students, making us better role models for our students. A child-centered classroom develops a friendly relationship between teachers and students.  The job chart was one of the most interesting initiatives learnt in the teachers’ training. This activity will enable students to become more responsible in classroom and encourage them to make a better and interactive school environment.Fehmida Khushkh, Primary School Teacher,GGPS Mohammad Hussain Khushk Makli, Thatta

“There are more slow learners in my classroom than fast learners. Lack of confidence is the main reason for this. Learning through the practical activities we learnt in the training will increase students’ learning capability and boost their confidence. Moreover, the sessions of the training were not only for the benefit of the students, but as teachers, parents and human being, this was a very informative experience. The health & hygiene session will not improve the healthy practices of the students, in addition, it will built awareness of cleanliness in ours and students’ homes. This will bring in a healthy change on community level.”Hafiza Solangi, Primary School Teacher (Teaching Classes 4 & 5), GGPS Uza Mohammad Jokiyo, Thatta

“I was hesitant to speak up in front of people. The training boosted my confidence and enhanced my capability to express openly and without any fear. Likewise, through group work and practical activities I learnt in the training, I will encourage the quiet and shy students to come forward so that they can overcome their fears of facing the audience and increase their confidence level. ”Halima Shahid, Primary School Teacher (Teaching Class 2) ,GGPS Yusuf Elayo Keenjar Jheel, Thatta

“The training taught us to take the students forward with us and not just teaching them and promoting them to higher classes. It is our duty as teachers to motivate and encourage each student to become confident and sharp for the betterment of their future. During a session, Mrs. Nazakat, facilitator of the training, started to scold us suddenly and we, even as teachers and adults, became scared and confused in the work we were doing. It was act to make us realize that anger not only puts a negative impact of the teacher but it discourages and lessens the confidence of students. Hence, it is important for all teachers to maintain a calm and friendly attitude with students throughout the learning period. This increases the learning capacity and encourages students to be more active and creative in classrooms.Tayyaba Bano Primary School Teacher (Teaching Class 3), GGPS Model Community School Makli

“The training was executed in a very timely manner which is mostly overlooked in some events. All activities are thoroughly explained to us and the facilitators are very cooperative as well. Moreover, Morning Meeting was a new learning for me. Engaging students in activities like Morning Meetings, will help them become more confident and friendly towards each other. In addition, this activity will also develop a good understanding amongst the students. I will definitely incorporate this activity in my school.Sahiba Khushk, Primary School Teacher, GGPS Chara Memon School, Thatta

“Every child has their own personality and talent. From this training, we have learnt not to judge students on the basis of their learning ability or personality.  In the child psychology and child rights session, we have learnt that we should be calm and friendly with children who have a slow or weak learning capability. IF we become harsh, our strict attitude will further weaken the child and he or she will lose their confidence completely. In order to improve their capabilities, we must engage them more in practical activities. The low cost no cost material development session was very effective and informative. The material used to develop creative art will help increase the creative skills of students and give a boost to their enthusiasm level. Students enjoy working through playing, therefore, we as teachers have to engage them with us and develop a child-friendly classroom so that we can all gain positive results.” Azra Abbasi, Primary School Teacher (Class teacher of Grade 3), GGPS Qazi Maula School, Thatta

The buyer displays embroidery designs and color combination used on wall hangings.

As a small district in interior Sindh, Umerkot has a limited a market space for rural artisans to expand their handicraft business to be able to reach large consumer groups.  To expand this outreach, twelve Sales and Marketing Agents (SMAs) from among the rural artisans in Umerkot, were facilitated with a market exposure visit to Mithi and a two-day Capacity building Training. This exposure opportunity aimed at building artisans’ awareness on new market trends and consumer demands outside of Umerkot district and familiarizing them with product pricing, bargaining with middlemen and customers and creating market linkages that will enable a sustaining business environment for these  women artisans from remote villages of Umerkot.

Buyers at the Mithi marketplace warmly welcomed the SMAs from Umerkot and made them comfortable enough to display their finished products, the materials with which they were produced and prices at the foreign market. The artisans were overwhelmed with joy to see their traditional embroidered and appliquéd products being well-received and valued among buyers in Mithi.

Potential buyers and renown retailers of Mithi, such as, Nathoo Raam Block Printing and Handi Crafts, Mama Handi Crafts, Waswani Handi Crafts and another local entrepreneur, met with the Umerkot artisans and showed them their own products as well to give them an idea of the product cycle, latest market trends and best selling products. These experienced retailers further shared tried and tested, successful, marketing techniques with the artisans to enhance their business circle, networks and advertising skills. This was a new learning for the artisans and they openly welcome it as it would surely help in building their handicraft enterprises.

Most of the handicrafts salesmen in Mithi encouraged the SMAs to invest in producing new products by using locally available raw materials and fabric. One of the local entrepreneurs displayed his new range of products, including purses, handbags and pouches, made from shawls that are easily available in local markets, of different designs at his finishing unit and told them how popular these products were.

During the visit, the SMAs from Umerkot received an order of hundred cushions from a popular Mithi retailer, Loveraj Handicrafts. The artisans dealt with confidence and professionalism with their customer and assured him that the order given would be timely completed, with utmost attention to quality.

I gathered innovative ideas to strengthen and increase the work of rural artisans. We had limited access to buyers before. I am confident that our handicrafts will be sold in the urban markets in good price now.,

expressed Naz Pari, SMA from Village Talo Malo, Umerkot.

Farmer families in Badin trained in Kitchen Gardening through Clay Pitcher Technology with the purpose to grow vegetables

Many rural communities in Badin have benefited from Community World Service Asia’s and CFGB’s Food security project, which started in 2015. This initiative seeks to ensure food security and sustainability in rural areas by providing villagers innovative farming skills. By doing this, they are positively impacting the community sustainably by guiding them on how to acquire their own necessities rather than merely distributing tangible products such as food kits or shelters. Through the project, villagers are encouraged to become self-sufficient instead of dependent on external assistance.

Using various methods, the project is equipping rural communities of Badin with essential knowledge on health, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. The project recently held a Farmers Festival for women farmers to celebrate World Food Day and the achievements of these farmers over the last two years. The festival featured many performances, including poem recitals, song competitions, and two didactic dramas enacted by local children and the village’s theater group, which has been formed as part of Community World Service Asia’s projects in the area. More than three hundred and fifty women from Union Council Khairpur Gambo and Pangario of Badin and fifteen elementary school students from the same area participated in the festival. The children (students) enlightened the attendees at the festival on the  importance of kitchen gardening, tree plantations, good nutrition, environment conservation and the history of World Food Day through tableau performances. Representatives from the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Participatory Village Development Programme (PVDP), Arche Nova, Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians in Pakistan (SSEWA-Pak) and Local Support Organizations (LSOs) also participated at the festival.

I came to this festival because the project staff has become like family. They teach us so much that I respect them. When I received the invitation to this festival, I was very excited to attend the event. The atmosphere in this festival is delightful. It is a wonderful opportunity for us women to come out of our houses, enjoy ourselves, and learn. What we learn will help us change our lives,

remarked, Fozia Iftikar one of the farmers at the festival.

The mother of four children, aged between 4-11 years, Fozia deeply cares for her family. She hopes that her children will be able to learn vocational skills that will help them in the future but has not yet been able to find an opportunity for them. Fozia lives in Shukaraldin, a rural village of Badin, where her husband works as a farmer on a small plot of his own land. Due to the nature of his work, Fozia’s husband does not earn a steady monthly income. Fozia explained,

After every six months, my husband sells whatever crop he has been growing on the land, and we live off the profits. However, we have to wait for that income since some crops, like cotton and peppers, take six months until they are ready to sell.

Fozia is not able to do full-time work because of her young children, but she does sewing at home. She rarely receives sewing commissions, and when she does, they are usually from relatives. Thus, the family’s main source of income is through her husband’s farming. The family is dependent on the water and weather for their crop’s wellbeing, creating an unstable financial foundation for the family.

Two years ago, Fozia started growing a kitchen garden after the team came to her village and began to teach the community about health and nutrition. They encouraged the villagers to create kitchen gardens so that families would have food security and eat more healthily. Fozia shared,

We learn a lot from the project team who taught us about health and hygiene. Because of this teaching, my family has been able to prosper. We didn’t know anything about growing vegetables until they taught us about it. My family did not pay any attention to health, but now we are all very interested in this matter.

Community World Service Asia holds teaching sessions in Fozia’s village once or twice a month. The staff teaches the community members about agricultural techniques so that kitchen gardeners will be able to maintain their produce. Sessions for men on  fishing and other food-gaining practices are also held.

Fozia confidently asserted that it is easy to maintain her kitchen garden, and she appreciates the change—in terms of finances and health—that it has brought in her family.

I am very happy,

she expressed,

I like eating my freshly grown vegetables. The healthiest diet for my family is to eat our homegrown vegetables.

Ever since Fozia’s family has been eating homegrown vegetables, the family has had some extra money, initially used to purchase vegetables. They use it on other household necessities, such as oil, sugar, clothes, and the children’s school books. Moreover, when Fozia’s kitchen garden has excess vegetables, she either sells them to generate more income, or she gives them to people who do not have any food.

Fozia has also noticed that her family’s health has improved. She estimates that in a year, there may be one or two illnesses among her children, but no more than that. Furthermore, she noted that her family is much more energetic than they were when they ate vegetables from town.

This kitchen garden has had positive effects on my family. We eat clean and healthy food which has improved our health,

Fozia declared.

Fozia’s children did not like eating vegetables before, so the family often ate lentils, the children’s favorite meal. Fozia did not know the nutritional value of vegetable before. However, after Community World Service Asia began holding sessions in her village, she discovered that their diet was unhealthy. Now, the family consumes vegetables at least once a day rather than only once or twice a week as they did previously. After Fozia began attending the sustainable farming sessions, her family has much more variety in their diet.

The vegetables that we used to buy in town are grown with polluted water, and they were always several days old when we bought them. On the other hand, the water I use to grow my vegetables at home is clean, safe water. Our homegrown vegetables are much fresher than the ones in town. We grow all sorts of vegetables at home, such as tomatoes, cauliflowers, pumpkins, squash, and many more. Homegrown food is optimal for my family’s wellbeing.

Rural women have been trained in kitchen gardening under the food security project. Fozia Iftikhar is just one of many women who have benefited from the project. Another woman farmer, Heeri, from village Prem Nagar, Jhudo, expressed herself at the farmers’ festival,

The kitchen gardening training build our skills and knowledge in growing vegetables at home. Before this, we always had to buy vegetables from the nearby market which was not only tasteless but also difficult to purchase due to high prices. With the kitchen gardening training and vegetable seeds provided by the livelihoods team, we are no more dependent on our men to fetch vegetables from the nearby market.

 She further added that the nutrition training also helped enhance inclination towards taking healthy and balanced diets through the food that is available to them.

Nasreen, another farmer, from Shukarddin Araen village, Jhudo, further added,

Kitchen gardening is a ray of hope for me and my family. My family enjoys fresh and chemical free vegetables from our garden. In addition, I have earned PKR 35000 by selling fresh vegetables in nearby markets. This has improved our standard of living.

The community will continue these kitchen gardens. We did not force this project on people. All we did was sensitized and mobilized them. People are beginning to realize the benefits of kitchen gardens themselves,

a staff member of the project assured.

Hundred percent of the target families have been trained in nutrition and kitchen gardening, providing fresh vegetables at the doorstep of villagers. Families were provided with vegetables seeds to grow in their kitchen gardens. This availability of vegetable at their doorstep not only increased diversity in their meals but also enhanced the quality and quantity of food consumption of the targeted families. A periodic survey report revealed that acceptable food consumption score of the targeted families have increased up to 70% at the end of second year of the project implementation. This was at 43 % initially. Through the teaching sessions in villages, the food security project staff hopes to see continued development in the communities of Badin. The change evidenced in the lives of village women, such as Fozia Iftikhar, reveals that the project is bringing the world one step closer to achieving the second sustainable development goal: Zero Hunger.