Yearly Archives: 2021

When: 24-26 August 2021
Where: Murree Punjab
Language: Urdu
Interested Applicants: Click here to register
Last Date to Apply: 5th August 2021

Rationale:

Since the 1950s the development agenda has been characterized by projects and programmes aimed at improving the quality of life of beneficiary communities, be it in physical or qualitative terms. Despite significant inputs of human and financial resources, many fell short of expectations. Projects failed to meet the priority needs of communities; stated outputs were not achieved or, if achieved, not sustained; target groups did not benefit in the manner intended; project costs escalated and implementation dates slipped, and adverse outcomes were not anticipated.

These failures were attributed in part to poor project management, such as inadequate opportunities for potential beneficiaries to participate in project identification, weak financial management, inadequate monitoring during implementation, poor linkages between project activities and project purpose, and insufficient attention to the external environment during project design. It was also recognised that projects were more likely to succeed when account was taken of the socio-economic context in which they operated.

The rationale for imparting training of NGOs in project cycle management is the wish to achieve sustainable development. Projects should identify and understand the different roles and entitlements between various beneficiaries in focused communities, and the special challenges faced by disadvantaged groups. During recent decades, many tools have been developed to strengthen the management of projects, such as project cycle management, the logical framework and rapid appraisal techniques. Similarly, technological revolution has also contributed significantly to plan, design, implement and keep track of the activities by all team members while geographically spread and/or different locations.

Participants of the training will go through all critical phases of project cycle management both theoretically and practically and there will be ample room through group exercises to benefit from the rich knowledge of participants that they will be bringing from their respective fields and focus areas.

The training will specifically focus on:

  • Comprehend concepts and terminologies of Project, Project Management
  • Recognize various phases of Project Cycle Management and its importance
  • Understand and sharpen their skills to use various analytical tools for Project Identification
  • Use Project structure, Logical Framework Analysis, External Environment, OVI and sustainability and work plans based on activity analysis during projects’ design phase and preparation phase
  • Learn to undertake use of technology for documentation, communication, quality assessments at each phase of PCM

Number of Participants

  • A maximum of 20 participants will be selected for the training. Women applications, differently abled persons and staff belonging to ethnic/religious minorities are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to participants representing organizations working in remote and under-served areas.

Selection Criteria

  • Primary responsibility for program/project management.
  • Mid or senior level manager in a civil society organization, preferably field staff of large CSOs or CSOs with main office in small towns and cities
  • Participants from women led organisations, different abled persons, religious/ethnic minorities will be given priority
  • This 3-day training session is suitable for CSO and NGO workers of all levels particularly from locally-based organizations with a small staff size
  • Willing to pay fee PKR 10,000 for the training. Exemptions may be applied to CSOs with limited funding and those belonging to marginalised groups. Discount of 10% on early registration by 1st August 2021 and 20% discount will be awarded to women participants
  • Commitment to apply learning in their work, including dissemination of learning within their organisation Commitment to apply learning in their work, including dissemination of learning within their organisation

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance, a member of Sphere and their regional partner in Asia and also manages the ADRRN Quality & Accountability Hub in Asia.
Facilitator/Lead Trainer:

Ms. Sofia Noreen is an ambitious professional with over 28 years’ eventful career studded with brilliance predominantly in the area of research, program/ project designing and execution, monitoring, international development, and liaison & coordination. Her areas of focus include Gender and Women Empowerment, Climate Change/ Food Security within rural communities, and Governance issues both at policy and implementation levels.

She is a dependable professional with a comprehensive understanding of Pakistani politics, the parliamentary setup, and electoral reform agenda and familiar with election management systems both for general and local bodies elections.

Ms. Sofia has delivered multi-day training programs on train-the-trainer, team building, and other related topics. She is an articulate communicator who is highly well versed in Log Frame Analysis, Risk Analysis, and management for Result Based Management, budgeting, staff recruitment, capacity development, NGO management, stakeholder engagement, evaluation of program and projects, report writing, and manuals. Throughout her career, she has been committed to following the principles set forth with the UDHR, ICCPR, CEDAW, and other international conventions and standards.

Scholarship Details: Special Scholarships are available for those organization that send two or more females to attend the training.

Additional Details: The final deadline for applications is August 5th, 2021. Please be assured that incomplete applications will not be entertained.

The Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Surge Approach is designed to enable health systems to effectively treat children diagnosed with acute malnutrition. The CMAM approach relies on the assumption that the number of children with acute malnutrition increases drastically at certain times of the year in many places. Low birth weight owing to poor maternal nutrition, protein-energy malnutrition, anaemia, and iodine deficiency are all major nutritional issues in Pakistan. Since 2013, Pakistan has been a part of the worldwide Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) effort to address these nutritional issues. Sindh is severely affected by intensifying malnutrition and stunting indicators. As many as 48 percent children under the age of five are stunted while 35pc of them are severely stunted[1].

Aware of the rising rates of acute malnutrition among remote and impoverished communities of rural Sindh, the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI)[2] of Sindh, in collaboration with Community World Service Asia, conducted orientation sessions on CMAM Surge Approach for community-level implementation for early diagnosis and referral of malnourished children in Umerkot district of Sindh.

In June, awareness and orientation sessions on CMAM Surge approach were held in two villages of Umerkot where forty members (both men and women) of village level Health Management Committees (HMC) participated

The sessions focused on the CMAM Surge Model that seeks to improve the resilience of health systems to be able to deliver more efficient and effective medical and preventive treatment for acute malnutrition over time. The focus was on providing the best care during times when cases are at a peak and the need for health services to address these cases is the highest. The potential to save maximum lives is at its greatest then, while ensuring that the capacity and accountability of the public health sector is not undermined.

The CMAM Surge applies an eight step approach to assist health teams in responding to rapid changes in capacity and caseloads. The scaling up of CMAM Surge has resulted in additional learning and adjustments to the methodology that are context-specific. The sessions were facilitated by PPHI and along with thorough learning on the CMAM, nutritional plans, relevant reading material, referral slips and brochures were shared with participants.

In the last six months, 45 cases of malnutrition have been recorded at the MNCHs of Samaro and Pithoro as a result of insufficient food and an absence of a balanced diet. Participants learned about the prevalence of malnutrition and its causes, particularly among children. During the sessions, participants were made aware of the many different forms of malnutrition and how to prevent it. The importance of breastfeeding and consuming a well-balanced diet were stressed upon with participants. A practical exercise was also conducted where participants learned how to measure lactating and pregnant women and children using the Mid-upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape.

Learnings of HMC Members:

“I knew very little about malnutrition and the services provided by PPHI to alleviate malnutrition in Sindh. We learned a lot about identifying cases of malnutrition and when and how to refer them to doctors. I will now be able to check children for malnutrition and, if necessary, refer them to the nearest PPHI centre. I also learned that malnutrition is not a disease, but rather a result of human negligence, poverty, unsanitary conditions, and food insecurity. I will sensitise people in my community to maintain hygiene at home and their neighbourhood and provide a healthy diet to their children to avoid malnutrition.”

Chetan Kumar, member of Health Management Committee in Samaro

“The CMAM Surge Model approach is a great way to assist health systems offer treatments to children with acute malnutrition more effectively. Members of the HMC will be able to predict when seasonal caseload surges are likely to occur and will use this information to better prepare themselves for management of services during times of high demand. We were able to gain a thorough understanding of malnutrition, its causes, and how to prevent it. We are now better equipped to refer malnourished children to the nearest PPHI centre for treatment.”

Nabi Bux Solangi, member of Health Management Committee in Samaro

“We discovered that the MUAC is utilised to determine nutritional status of women and children. Because it is simple and inexpensive to use, we can efficiently apply it for active case finding. MUAC is an effective indicator of mortality risk associated with malnutrition, it is therefore a better measure to identify children most in need of treatment. The use of MUAC tape will allow me to immediately refer children with acute malnutrition to doctors in a timely manner.”

Lachmi, member of Health Management Committee in Samaro

“It was my first nutrition training session, and it was a great learning experience. Malnutrition awareness is critical in our community, and individuals must understand how to prevent it. The knowledge on malnutrition, its prevention, and the usage of MUAC tape will help in the mitigation of malnutrition in our village, Mirashah.”

Shanti, member of Health Management Committee in Pithoro

“We were not aware of PPHI’s nutrition program being operated in our vicinity. This session improved our knowledge of malnutrition and its many forms, as well as the use of MUAC tape and the referral of suspicious cases to the PPHI health centre for treatment.”

Sisliya, member of Health Management Committee in Pithoro


[1] https://www.dawn.com/news/1426604

[2] Footnote: PPHI Sindh is a not-for-profit company setup under section 42 of The Companies Act 2017. PPHI Sindh has focused on mother and child health and has continuously improved delivery coverage all over Sindh.

World Environment Day 2021

For too long, we have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems. Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, like forests and peatlands, at a time humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is at one pace for potentially catastrophic climate change.

The emergence of COVID-19 has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread. Considering all these challenges, this World Environment Day focuses on the restoration of our ecosystem, with the theme “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.”

Only in a healthy ecosystem can we sustain people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change impacts and reduce the degradation of biodiversity. A recent German Watch Report of the Long-term Global Climate Risk Index 2020, a global think-tank working on climate change, had rated Pakistan number 8th most affected country due to adverse impacts of climate change. Community World Service Asia continues to encourage and build awareness on environment conservation with communities on the ground that are most affected by climate change and pollution.  We are continuing to invest in preservation, prevention and preparedness, together with the communities, as a necessary part of all systematic efforts to increase resilience to climate change and disaster risks and protect the environment.

Growing Sustainable Kitchen Gardens

Sustainable farming and kitchen gardening impacts everything from the air we breathe to the carbon footprints we leave behind. Community World Service Asia has been working with the most vulnerable, flood and drought affected rural communities by promoting sustainable agriculture among them to improve their food security, health and nutrition. These activities are allowing community members to sustain livelihoods, ensure good well-being and be an active part of preserving their environment.

Growing your own food allows you to stop relying solely on traditional methods of purchasing your produce from a grocery store. When you buy foods from these shops, you should take into consideration the sad, but true, fact that these foods travel several miles before ever being consumed. Not only does this impact the freshness and flavor of the food, but more importantly, this emits dangerous amounts of carbon emissions and waste associated with air freight and other transportation methods into the atmosphere. The concept of kitchen gardening is helping to reduce the high amounts of burning fossil fuels that fill our environment as a direct result of importing foods from commercial farmers. This initiative is also reducing waste from food packaging materials such as man-made plastics and cardboard, that also travel hundreds and thousands of miles. Women in Sindh feel safer and satisfied knowing what they are eating and what has gone into producing their food.

Under its Livelihoods portfolio, CWSA has conducted 291 workshops for more than five thousand people, a majority of these rural women, on kitchen gardening since 2015. Through these trainings, rural communities, especially women, have started growing kitchen gardens in their homes and have applied low-cost irrigation methods in their agrarian farming.

Introducing Eco-Friendly Farming

Most local communities in interior Sindh rely heavily on agriculture, but farmers in this region have struggled to cultivate bountiful harvests in the vicinity due to extreme water scarcity, harsh weather conditions and limited knowledge and resources on sustainable farming.

Under its food security projects, CWSA promotes sustainable farming and agri-based enterprises and provides continuous technical support and guidance on business development to rural farmers to enable them to achieve high quality agricultural produce. To further strengthen the skills and expertise of these agrarian communities, CWSA facilitated six exposure visits of 476 farmers, including men and women from twenty-five villages, to renowned agricultural research institutes in Sindh. During these visits, the community members observed multiple ongoing researches and agricultural activities. Some of these included kitchen gardening activities using drip irrigation systems, pitcher gardening schemes, solar desalination units and hydroponic cultivation systems. They were also familiarised with the use of bio fertilisers 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 fertilisers.

Through workshops on sustainable farming, 13,125 farmers, more than 50% women, from ninety villages in Sindh have been trained on sustainable agriculture. Communities have learned about crop production sustainability and productivity in changing climatic conditions. Most of these trainings focused on increasing productivity in agriculture and the level of economic prosperity among target communities while working on resource and environment conservation.

Improving ecosystems by restoring natural balance

Afforestation is key to sustaining the ecosystem and accelerating socio-economic development. Trees have remained a main contributor for sustaining resources including food, fiber, livelihood resources and water. Community World Service Asia has launched aeroculture[1] campaigns with farming communities in Sindh. These campaigns have promoted and enhanced biodiversity and mitigated adverse impacts of climate change in the areas that we work. One of the more long-term outcomes of the campaigns has been to provide an alternative livelihood source to water-deprived farming communities in the area. Tree Plantation activities have strengthened peoples’ bond with nature and helped purify the environment.

A variety of fruit and plant saplings such as Sapota, Lemon, Azarirachta indica (neem), Moringa, Falsa, Jujube and Guava, have been distributed among 690 targeted agrarian families of Badin and Umerkot. As many as 34,192 samplings were given out during the campaign that chanted the slogan Let’s make a promise to grow more trees.”

Ensuring human wellbeing and environmental health through Fuel-Efficient Stoves

To reduce smoke emissions and decrease deforestation, CWSA, under its Climate Action and Risk Reduction portfolio, is training women on effectively using and adopting a new technology of fuel-efficient stoves in their homes. The fuel-efficient stove is an energy system that has a positive impact on the ecosystem while providing basic cooking needs. The stoves are made of mud and straw enabling caretakers in the house to cook on two burners simultaneously while being able to control the flame at a required temperature. As a result, it reduces smoke emission and fuelwood consumption. A total of forty-seven trainings have been conducted by women community mobilizers for almost a thousand rural women on the use of the stoves and raising awareness among them on its environment-friendly nature. A cleaner environment and reduction in kitchen expenses has been seen as a direct impact of these trainings. More than three thousand stoves have been effectively installed in 2002 households in 16 villages of Umerkot district of Sindh province since 2019.

Ecosystem restoration can take many forms: Growing trees, making cities greener, rewilding gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts. This is the generation that can make peace with nature so let us all join hands to play an active role in Reimagining, Recreating & Restoring our precious ecosystem.


[1] A method of growing plants without soil by suspending them above sprays that constantly moisten the roots with water and nutrients.

To effectively empower women socially and economically and reduce economic inequality, it is critical to encourage women in rural entrepreneurship. Rural women’s entrepreneurship is a relatively recent phenomenon in Pakistan, and policy efforts to encourage rural women’s interest in entrepreneurship need more work in well-targeted ways. The absence of or lack of awareness of entrepreneurial processes is having a significant impact on the enterprising capability of aspiring rural women entrepreneurs in the country. Furthermore, their lack of experience or expertise in formal enterprises’ management and marketing affairs further impacts their potential for business expansion and profitability.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) has worked with rural women artisans on enhancing their skills, providing them exposure and promoted their craftsmanship in the national and regional market for more than a decade. CWSA has worked with over a thousand women artisans through its livelihoods programme, giving them a platform to enhance their embroidery and stitching skills and become economically empowered. We have particularly worked towards creating and establishing many market linkages for these artisans to expand their clientele and increase demand for their products. We believe that by establishing sustainable links and maintaining partnership models that are tangible in their deliverables and outcomes, we can provide a critical platform for changing rural women’s position from one of vulnerability to one of decision makers and successful change makers.

By creating or participating in a formal Chamber of Commerce, women entrepreneurs can avail more opportunities to prove their economic clout and convince the government and large corporations to pay attention to specific requirements of women in the workplace and in the enterprise sector. The establishment of an active association specifically focused on women will ensure mentoring, information sharing, simplification of processes and support to rural businesses through policy lobbying.

To develop a pertinent platform, an Association of Rural Women Entrepreneurs is in the process of being registered with the Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Pakistan, which will ensure representation of thirty rural artisans as members. CWSA’s team supported the women artisans to prepare and submit all required documents for the registration of the association, including SIM cards, national identification cards and complete profiles of each artisan. Shaiyanne Malik, CWSA’s consultant on women’s skill building and empowerment projects, is in close coordination with the Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Pakistan to process and complete the registration of the association successfully. The association will promote entrepreneurship of rural artisans and help rural women connect with business hubs and institutes that will further help them achieve social and economic empowerment.

The primary goal of this association is to give technical assistance and coaching to women who are starting businesses, as well as to promote initiatives from the Export Development Funds (EDF) that are specially targeted for women. It will provide women economic liberty as well as an effective voice to echo their issues, challenges and needs. The chamber will assist rural women in building and operating successful and secure businesses and careers, along with gaining access to government contracts and developing their leadership skills.

This association will be dedicated to changing the economics of business and labour markets, as well as removing impediments to long-term business and economic growth of women in rural regions. In the future, the association will look at funding and capacity-building options, along with promoting the work and products of these rural artisans on a global scale.

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A4EP, a global alliance of Southern organisations, the 63rd and the newest signatory, will ensure GB policy discourses remain centred on affected populations and informed by the experiences of local actors to strengthen effective, efficient and timely responses through a nexus approach. A4EP commits to working together with international actors to address the barriers in establishing equitable partnerships with local actors. We will work with others to ensure distributive and collaborative decisionmaking in the global governance of the Grand Bargain and at the country level.

The last five years of experience of the Grand Bargain has shown that progress is slow and deep rooted systems change takes time. The short term two-year planning is leading to ad hoc activities which are not bringing required system wide change. Given the ongoing pandemic and the climate crisis and its longer terms impacts, the Grand Bargain v2.0 needs a longer time horizon and commitment, in line with SDGs and Sendai Framework for DRR and Paris Climate Goals. For the Grand Bargain commitments to be meaningfully moving forward, it needs to be systematically implemented at country level by contextualising it to the country context. There must be a country level process roadmap with M&E framework to ensure accountability.

  1. Extend the timeline for the Grand Bargain v 2.0 to 2030.
  2. Engage Principals in high level dialogue to harness political will to make real progress on shrinking needs and dignified life for affected population.
  3. Carry out a review of state of localisation at country level and create a road map and action plan to ensure efficient, effective and timely response for affected populations in which they are the main decision-maker and actors.
  4. Create a localisation task force co-led by local actors and supported by international actors which can jointly monitor the progress at country level

Shrinking space

In the race for deepening and broadening the resource base the INGOs are now nationalising and the UN agencies are now also raising funds in the aid-recipient countries. Both INGOs and UN agencies are now monopolising every operational, policy and resource space in countries. If the GB signatories want to make real process on localisation and participation revolution, there is a need to revisit the IASC Definitions Paper to make the definition apolitical and thereby creating a facilitative environment for locally rooted CSOs. The GB signatories need to complement the local and national actors not replace them.

  1. Review and revise the IASC definitions of local, national and international actors and develop a localization marker to assess progress.
  2. Stop further nationalisation of INGOs. The existing branches of INGOs registered in countries should not be treated as national CSO but should be required to complement and support home grown CSOs as intermediaries. They should be shifting roles, shrink their operational space while providing support for increasing space for local/national actors.
  3. INGO and UN should only be operational as a last resort otherwise they should be reinforcing and not replacing local actors in operational and policy space and should be complementing the local actors and sharing risks.

Increasing inclusion and representation of local organizations

At present the global and country level aid architecture displays authoritarian and colonial tendencies with decision making in the hands of a few powerful international actors with patriarchal (or patronising) attitudes who dominate the resources. There is a serious lack of diversity and inclusion of local actors in the decision-making in aid architecture and the Grand Bargain process. Where local actors are present, their voices are not being heard or being able to influence the decision making because they are outnumbered.

  1. Open up and broaden the representation and participation of diverse networks of local actors from local, national and regional level at the Grand Bargain table.
  2. Democratize Grand Bargain governance and decision-making so it does not remain in the hands of a few powerful international actors and become more inclusive.
  3. Create a safe space for local actors to share openly and honestly the issues without retaliation or backlash.
  4. Let GB be a template, which can be evolved by local and national actors according to a specific context with complementary support from international actors, instead of it being prescriptive.

Funding and financing

Funding and financing of local organisations has made the least progress in the last 5 years.

  1. Support or establish country-owned and locally led pooled fund in aid-recipient countries earmarking percentage only for access by local actors.
  2. Pooled funds that are created must be operated with consistency and with full transparency and accountability.
  3. Given that pooled are only available in a few humanitarian contexts, a pool of local actors need to be identified for direct support or through intermediaries, based on the GB commitment 4.
  4. Provide fair overhead costs and multi-year flexible funding to local actors for timely, effective, efficient and predictable response that is accountable to the community.
  5. Set up a simplified county level dashboard, respecting the IATI principles, that can be used by all actors so funding can be more clearly tracked to where it is most needed at country level and establish open feedback mechanism from recipient of funds up to donors.

Members of the Alliance for Empowering Partnership

Website: www.A4EP.net Twitter: @A4EP2

When: 11th June, 2021
What time: 2:30 TO 4:30 PM (Pakistan Standard Time)
Where: ZOOM – Link to be shared with registered participants – Register Now
Language: Urdu
How long: 2 hours
Who it is for: Pakistan-based NGOs interested in registration with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD)
Format: Presentations followed by discussion

Speakers:

Ms. Adeela Bukhari – Joint Secretary NGOS/INGOs — Ministry of Economic Affairs Division, Pakistan

Objectives of the webinar:

  • Navigate through the processes and procedures of signing an MOU with EAD in Pakistan
  • Explore the scope and nature of support available to NGOs under the CWSA NGO Help Facility

Background

Civil Society Organizations in Pakistan, especially working at the grass-root level, sometime finds it difficult to navigate through regulatory framework due to lack of understanding to the government procedures and requirements. The regulatory information is at times complex and technical in nature. The need is to simplify the information, develop guidance notes for the documentations and advice on how to do follow-up on their application.

It is critical for all NGOs, small or large, to sign an MOU with the Economic Affairs Division in Pakistan to receive funding and implement projects across Pakistan. The process for the registration with EAD and then the reporting procedures including the submission of Annual Plan of Actions, NOCs for projects and biannual reporting requirements are difficult to fully comprehend for NGOs of all type and scale.

To help overcome this, CWSA is providing practical assistance to local and national NGOs in Pakistan that require assistance with any of the processes and procedural requirements for application to EAD.

CWSA has established an “NGO Help Facility” for technical discussion, coaching, on-line information resources and virtual clinics to support NGOs intending to file their applications and sign MOUs with the EAD. The help facility will also support organization in understanding the reporting requirements at EAD.

This service is facilitative and free of cost. CWSA will help to clarify application guidelines, support organizations to develop complete application documentation as per EAD requirements, and, guide for any needed follow up. Activities offered by the NGO Help Facility will include the following:

  • Advisory sessions/ days for NGOs
  • Webinars on EAD Process and Procedures
  • Creation of a center within CWSA, available to any and all NGOs on demand.
  • Provision of training and coaching to NGO representatives to support development, and revision of their application documentation

Disclaimer: Assistance provided through the NGO Help Facility is a pro bono service that offers technical support and brokers positive relationships.  Engagement, in itself does not guarantee that the client organization will be granted an MOU without having successfully completed all of EAD’s required due diligence processes. CWSA mandate is to support the local NGOs in understanding the process and procedures for the MOU with EAD and ensure complete documentation to avoid unnecessary delays due to incomplete documentations.

Interested in Participating? Register here for the Webinar! 

Community World Service Asia is a Pakistani humanitarian and development organization addressing factors that divide people by promoting inclusiveness, shared values, diversity, and interdependence. It engages in the self-implementation of projects, cooperation through partners, and the provision of capacity building trainings and resources at the national, regional and global levels.

Pakistani farmers have been struggling to combat the worst locust plague to hit the country in nearly three decades. Large parts of the country were hit by severe locust infestations since June 2019, with insect swarms decimating entire harvests in the country’s agricultural heartlands, leaving food prices soaring and many farming communities’ food insecure. On February 1st 2020, tackling the insects was declared as a national emergency as a large scale of crop land was destroyed in the country’s most fertile Punjab province.

Heavy rains and cyclones sparked “unprecedented” breeding and led to an explosive growth of locust populations on the Arabian Peninsula early last year. The same locust swarms made their way to Pakistan after wreaking havoc on agriculture lands in other neighboring countries, such as Iran. Locust swarms from southern Iran started migrating to Pakistan from the Iran-Baluchistan border. These locust swarms have since laid hundreds of thousands of pods which are likely to hatch as soon as they get a favorable environment. Local farmers feared their new batch of kharif seasonal crops would also be devoured by the locusts.

To mitigate further impact of the locust attacks on local small-scale farmers, Community World Service Asia (CWSA) in partnership with CWS Japan and Japan Platform (JPF) launched a project to assisted 1,600 farmer families with provision of cash grants for the tilling process in their lands. Under the project, 16,193 hectares (40,013 acres) of land has been cleared from locust eggs through introducing the tilling method to farmers in district Umerkot.

Tilling/ploughing is a renowned process used and adopted around the world to eradicate locust swarms. This process involves the ploughing of the infected land to a certain, carefully calculated depth and exposing the locust eggs to sunlight, which effectively destroys them.

“Community World Service Asia have been very supportive in Government’s effort to eradicate locust swarms by introducing innovative ideas that are much helpful for the communities. The trainings provided to the local farmers on Integrated Crop Management have made the communities resilient and have allowed them to mitigate the risks caused by the locust invasion,” shared Ayaz Kachelo, Agriculture O at the Agriculture Extension Department, Umerkot.

Through the project, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan has also been provided with 58,508 liters of Lambda Cyhalothrine insecticides to use for chemical application on the mature/adult locust swarms. The local farmers have also been further trained on Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques as part of the assistance. Since the tilling, use of chemical insecticides and the application of new farming techniques in the area no locust swarms have been seen. The farmers in the area have in fact also been able to cultivate their lands in time due to the effective tilling process.

“We were introduced to new techniques to eradicate locust swarms from our fields, such as digging trenches in the agricultural area. We have also been supported by the project teams in tilling/ploughing of our lands. The existing locust eggs on our lands were destroyed in the process. Our lands have finally been cleared from locust eggs, eradicating any future threat to our crops, and ensuring that the lands are ready for the next cropping season,” shared Nago, a sixty-year old local farmer from Nagho bheel village in Umerkot.

Sodho is the President of the Village Management Committee and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committee of Male Jo Par Village in Umerkot, Pakistan. He has actively been working to promote sustainable farming practices and build community awareness on DRR to enhance community resilience on recurrent hazards and climate change impacts. The Village Management and the DRR Committees[1] were established in September 2020 under Community World Service Asia’s emergency response project[2], supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

“I have coordinated and helped the project team conduct 19 trainings focused on kitchen gardening, fuel efficient stoves, sustainable agricultural practices and DRR since last year. It is a relief to see that our people have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from natural hazards.”

On September 24th, 2020, an orientation for VMC members was organised to share project objectives and to familiarise members with the role of the committee and as individual members.

“All 15 members, seven women and eight men, were explained their responsibilities as VMC members. We were taught on how and when to coordinate with the project team and how we can contribute in organising project activities. By the end of the training I was also elected as the President of the committee.” 

Sodho, along with fifteen other community members, participated in a training on DRR held in October 2020. All training participants shared and learned about common natural and man-made hazards such as earthquakes, floods and fire, experienced in the region.

“The knowledge on DRR was new to the community members. They now know of and are well aware of the different disasters that their people are faced with and have identified ways of alleviating and lessening its effects. Through the training, communities were provided technical knowledge on all kinds of hazards, developing disaster prevention plans and the importance and methods of raising community awareness on DRR.”

Sodho shared a recent accident where a fire broke out at a house in a nearby village. The family was saved but they suffered a massive loss as all their essential belongings and household items were burnt.

“As an active member of the VMC, I immediately called for a meeting to discuss how we can collect donations and help the family recover from the loss. We were able to collect some clothes, food items and essential household items for the family. Through the immediate help, the family found some relief and were hopeful to recover from the monetary and infrastructural loss sooner.”

“VMC members also organised a lesson learning session for their local communities on what they had learned at the DRR training to further enhance community knowledge and capacity on preparedness and mitigation. To overcome natural and man-made disasters, the participants were told about the different disasters and how to minimize the destruction they bring to affected areas. We also shared the story of the house-fire as an example and conducted drills to show what items to save first in the case of a fire and how to prevent the damage caused by such disasters.”

Kitchen gardening, primarily engaging women in the target villages, is another key component of the project. Sodho was personally quite interested in this initiative as having an opportunity to grow healthy vegetables at home seemed like a blessing and was a new concept introduced in the village.

“I saw the benefits of kitchen gardening immediately when the team shared the concept. Growing healthy vegetables at home can bring good health to families and save money as well which was otherwise mostly consumed on purchasing vegetables from the market.”

“I encouraged all women in the village including my own wife to participate in the kitchen gardening trainings. In the last winter season, my wife grew white radish, carrots, spinach, lady fingers and pumpkin in her new kitchen garden. I could see how much she enjoyed working and bringing seeds of different vegetables and fruits from the market to grow in her garden. She is now growing watermelon, guar[3], pumpkins, bottle gourd and lady fingers.”

Sodho further added that their village, Male Jo Par, has existed for the past hundred years and in these many years no-one had ever thought of starting kitchen gardening.

“We reside in the remote areas of Umerkot. The agriculture fields are faced by severe water scarcity. The land has low productivity due to unfertile soil and lack of water. We never thought of growing vegetables in our homes so conveniently with the help of home-made fertilisers and compost. Today, families in Male Jo Par grow garden-fresh vegetables on a daily basis, improving the quality and quantity of their food consumption, nutrition and well-being.”

Sodho also participated in a training session focused on sustainable agricultural practices for farmers, conducted in December 2020 under the project. Ten other small-scale farmers took part in this training.

“Before we took the training, all of us farmers stocked all seeds together in plastic containers and could not differentiate good ones from the bad ones. We would plough the land and sow all the seeds. Consequently, not all crops would grow well. The money that we spent ploughing and harvesting the land would be wasted as the produce would not be as fruitful as expected. This year was different. We stocked the seeds in Stoneware Pots (Matka) and before sowing them, we dried the seeds for at least three days under the sun. As a result, we had a good harvest this year.”

Our village has seen a positive change since the initiation of the DRR project. There has always been severe water scarcity in our area. The RO plant[4], which is being constructed in our village, will also help our people and those of surrounding villages to a great extent. It will provide clean drinking water at a walking distance. Our wives and daughters will not have to travel far places to collect water.”


[1] These are community based structures, members consisting of community people, who are responsible to coordinate project activities and awareness building. They are the key for sustainability and viability of project activities and mobilization of available local resource.

[2] Enhancing disaster resilience against droughts in Sindh Province

[3] Guar is an important legume crop. It is cultivated for fodder as well as for grain purpose.

[4] A reverse osmosis plant is a manufacturing plant where the process of reverse osmosis takes place. Reverse osmosis is a common process to purify or desalinate contaminated water by forcing water through a membrane.

2021Tue06Jul(Jul 6)9:00 AMThu08(Jul 8)5:00 PMFeaturedTraining on Monitoring and Evaluation for Impact Management9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (8) PST MurreeTheme:Quality and Accountability,CEPType:TrainingRegister Here

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