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Mai Kenkoo, a 70-year-old elderly grandmother to four young children, lives in the remote, drought-struck village of Ramsar[1] with her son and his family. The family managed their expenses well with harvesting two acres of agricultural land that Mai Kenkoo owned. Her daughter-in-law worked to manage their land’s agricultural output and cattle which sufficiently fed the family and allowed them to save money to pay for the education of three of their elder children[2].

Life, however, became difficult for Mai’s family when severe drought hit the region and Ramsar village in September last year 2018. The area had been frequently affected by droughts in recent years, but the latest one had a more severe impact on the people living here. For more than a year, Mai’s family has not grown anything eatable. Mai remembered her deceased husband,

Not only were we better off when he was around but also it was less difficult to cope with the rigors of life in drought-stricken conditions.

 Her husband who was a cobbler and was a support system for their family until he passed away in 2009.

The old couple only had one son and no other children to call their own. Their son was diagnosed with tuberculosis a few years ago and treated with incorrect medicines which further exacerbated his health. Mai’s son works as a cobbler for a living and mended rubber skinned water gallons commonly used for fetching water in the area. His monthly income is between PKR 800 -1000 (approx. USD 6). His wife works on handicraft production from her house and embroiders ethnic Sindhi caps for the local community on order. Through this, she earns an average monthly income of PKR 3000-4000 (approx. USD 25). Before the drought, she was also engaged in farming activities on their land.

Since mid of last year, there were no yields from our fields. My daughter-in-law worked hard but could not grow a single crop without water. Her health started deteriorating too and was unable to breast-feed my youngest grandchildren. The children’s health suffered too. There wasn’t enough food to feed them.  They felt weak and refused to walk to school. I could see the weakness on their face. None of us were able to fill our stomachs well. And there was nothing to save for future meals or to sell-off. My son’s health also worsened as good nutrition fights back his illness but there was not enough food to keep him healthy anymore. He had to stop working due to his worsening health.

The drought had affected the health of their livestock.

With no rain and the continuing dry spell for two years, we had no fodder or water to feed our cattle. They had become like skeletons and we eventually lost them to malnutrition,

narrated Mai. With the leftover farm animals (four goats and a donkey), currently, the family’s daily needs are met with the fresh produce of the cattle. Mai’s goats and donkey graze on dried sunflowers receptacles that grow wild around their land which saves their fodder expenses and gives the donkey enough energy to fetch drinking water for the family[3].

While Mai’s two elder grandsons, seven and eight years old, are off from school for summer vacation, they fetch water as they place a tire-shaped rubber water gallon on their donkey on a three-kilometer (one-way) ride.  The water they fetch is used for the family’s drinking and cooking needs of a day. When their school was on, this task was carried by either of their parents. Water for animals is sought from a nearby approachable tube-well the quality of which is bitter in taste.

Mai shared that her grandchildren’s primary education is free, but the family’s income is insufficient to meet even their household expenses. In times of illness or medical emergencies, they cannot afford the travel expenses to go to hospitals or buy medicines.

To respond to the severe drought conditions in rural Sindh, Community World Service Asia launched its emergency food assistance project, supported by Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) and PWS&D, in Umerkot district of Sindh in March this year.  The project aims to assist 1600 households affected by drought through the distribution of one-month food packages between March and August 2019. Some of these households belong to Ramsar village. Mai’s family is selected as a participant of this emergency food-security project.

God has now provided us a means to food through this project. We are coming out of difficult times and not only get to eat three meals a day but are also able to save for later. In the past, we not only worry about our own meals but also for that of the cattle.  Now we only worry for their survival. Worrying about providing meals for the family lead to a lot of tension among people at our home and in the neighborhood. Tension impacts our ability to do other work also,

stated Mai.

Water scarcity is a common problem in most villages of Umerkot. Rural women carrying matkas[4] on their heads and young boys riding donkey carts to fetch water long distances away are an everyday sight here. But with no water at all and the long droughts, it is becoming difficult for these agrarian rural communities to survive. Mai highlights other issues crippling the already resource challenged community, such as increasing unemployment and lack of nearby health facilities, especially for women. She remembers facing these problems here since she was a young girl but with time she feels the conditions have worsened.

This humanitarian drought response project not only supports provision of food inputs to communities but also ensures sustainability of livelihood beyond the project period through distribution of millet (baajra) seeds in its fourth round of distribution for the upcoming sowing season. These millet seeds will be cultivated and will provide the families a source of agricultural output in the months to follow.

My daughter-in-law will cultivate the seeds. If it rains, we will be self-reliant for our food needs. I have faith in God, he will do better for us,

 hoped Mai.


[1] Located 45 kilometers from Umerkot city.
[2] They walked to their school which was half a kilometer away from their home
[3] Water had to be fetched from a well it was 3 kilometers away from their house.
[4] Sand-made jars

The emergency food security and nutrition project launched in March 2019, supported by the Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) and the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB, is assisting 1,600 most vulnerable drought affected families in Umerkot district of Sindh province in Pakistan. Through the project, these disaster-hit families are supported with food distribution and nutritional programs that will last for six months.

The low rainfall has triggered a drought situation in the southern parts of Sindh Province. The districts have not receive any significant rainfall in the monsoon seasons resulting in a long dry spell.  The Pakistan Metrological Department released a drought alert in September declaring Umerkot and seven other districts of Sindh as severely drought affected areas. As per the assessment conducted by National Disaster Consortium (NDC), comprising of International Organization for Migration (IOM), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), ACTED and Hands, District Umerkot was identified as one of the worst drought affected districts in Sindh with 31,390 affected families in 25 Dehs (A deh is an area composed of number of small villages). The assessment results of NDC for district Umerkot revealed that as per the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), approximately 72% of the surveyed households in Umerkot are moderate to severe food insecure while 28% are severely food insecure.

In the third week of June, the third round of the project’s food distribution was successfully completed in four different locations, reaching hundreds of drought-affected families from twenty-two villages of Umerkot District. Most of the affected families, who have solely been dependent on agricultural income, were also provided with millet seeds, sufficient to cultivate two acres of land, for the next sowing season to provide a more sustainable means of economic support and to improve their food security conditions. . To ensure easy accessibility, the distribution points were selected in consultation with local communities.

Food packages distributed under this project are developed in line with the minimum standards outlined by Sphere for food security. Meeting these standards, the food packages designed and distributed ensured the provision of 2,100 kilocalories for each person daily. The package includes 60kgs of wheat flour, 15kgs of Rice, 7kgs of pulses, 4kgs of sugar, 6liters of cooking oil, 400g of tea leaves, 800g of iodized salt and a pack of 10 matchboxes.

In response to the severe climate change lead drought in the Sindh and Baluchistan provinces of Pakistan, Community World Service Asia activated its emergency food security and nutrition project in Umerkot last month. This initiative, which is supported by the Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D) and the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB), aims to assist 1,600 most vulnerable drought affected families through food distribution and nutritional programs for six months.

Since most of the affected families belong to purely agrarian communities, millet seeds will also be distributed among them for the next sowing season to ensure their nutritional and livelihood sustainability. The first round of this project’s food distribution was conducted during the last week of April at four different villages, namely Rohiraro, Bhadi, Dhalo Jo Tarr and Ramsar, in Umerkot District. The distribution points were selected in consultation with the local communities to ensure easy access for all selected project participants.

Food packages distributed under this project are developed using the Sphere minimum standards for food security which ensures the provision of 2,100 kilo calories per person per day. The package includes 60kgs of wheat flour, 15kgs of Rice, 7kgs of pulses, 4kgs of sugar, 6liters of cooking oil, 400g of tea leaves, 800g of iodized salt and a pack of 10 matchboxes for every family until they start harvesting their own produce. These families will also be provided16kgs of millet crop seed in June.

Community Voices:

“During the last few months, our family could barely afford three meals a day as due to our poor financial conditions. We had limited availability of food at home, most of which was borrowed at high interest rates. The small amount of money that my four daughters earn by embroidering traditional Sindhi caps is not enough to even cover the expense of my medicines as I am a patient of Epilepsy. A few days ago my husband fractured his hand in an accident, increasing our problems and expenses further. In this difficult time, the food aid provided to us through this project has been a blessing for our family.  The quality of food has been good and will be sufficient to serve my family three meals a day for more than a month. We are hopeful that there will be a good downpour this year and we will have sufficient harvest from our fields.”

Reshama, wife of Kirshan, resident of Ranhar village, UC Kaplore, Umerkot District

“The past two years have been very difficult for my family as there have been limited work opportunities in the area and there have been no harvests from our fields. We have bee surviving with limited resources. Access to food has been challenging. My elder son earns a meager income which is not sufficient to provide food to a six-member family thrice a day. Some community members lend us food sometimes.

We are now eating three meals daily for four consecutive days as a result of the food assistance provided under the food aid project. The food items received from the team are of good quality and quantity. I am glad to see my children sleeping with their stomachs full.”

Kheian, wife of Pargho, residing in Ranhar village, UC Kaplore, Umerkot District

“Due to my physical disability, I manage and try to earn through the little livestock we own. Providing basic necessities for my family of eight people was becoming very difficult. The drought in the area further worsened our living conditions, making our lives more difficult. We barely had any means of income or food. We were not even able to migrate to other areas due to lack of resources.  In order to feed my family, I had to sell some of my livestock, leaving me with only three goats. The situation was getting worst by the day. My miseries came to an end when Community World Service Asia came knocking at my door to provide food assistance. The food package provided is enough to meet the food needs of my family for an entire month.”

Chander Singh, resident of Bhadi village, UC Kaplore, Umerkot District

The low rainfall trend in the last five years  in Pakistan has resulted in drought conditions in most of southern Pakistan, where the Pakistan Metrological Department expects a further escalation of the drought condition in the following four years. The low or no rainfall has resulted in acute shortages of water, food and livestock fodder which has further damaged the food security, nutrition, livelihoods and health conditions of the local communities of the affected areas. The Government of Pakistan estimates an approximate of five million people (three million in Sindh and two million in Baluchistan) being affected by the drought in twenty-six districts of its Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.

Both Sindh and Baluchistan provinces have high rates of poverty and food insecurity. The incidence of multidimensional poverty is forty-three per cent in Sindh and seventy-one per cent in Baluchistan. While the incidence is even higher in rural areas; with seventy-six per cent in Sindh and eighty-five  per cent in Baluchistan.

Access to health facilities in these areas is extremely difficult due to the long distances, with the nearest health facilities located at an average distance of 19.8 km in Sindh and 30 km in Baluchistan.  The high costs of travelling to these health facilities, the poor road infrastructure and a lack of cheaper public transport facilities acts as additional barriers to health services here. Even at the nearest health facilities, there is an acute shortage of lifesaving medicines and a general lack of essential medical equipment.

Most rural population of Sindh and Baluchistan live in poor socioeconomic conditions . Their sole source of income in most cases is agriculture. Therefore, the shortage of water and scarce rainfull leaves these communities in further depreviation; with no livelihood and dying livestock. To meet their most basic household and survival expenses, seventy-three percent of these drought affected communities have taken loans from relatives, shopkeepers and landlords in the last six months and  are living in debt.   

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Agency (PDMA) have been appointed with coordinating response efforts to support the drought affected communities at the national level and provincial level. While the UNOCHA is supporting these government bodies with its coordination mechanisms. Other UN agencies, international and national NGOs who plan to provide assistance to the drought affected communities have been asked to coordinate with NDMA and PDMA for response plans.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Sindh has distributed 50kgs (a two time distribution for two months) of wheat to drought affected families in the province. Additionally, three rounds of monthly distribution of ration bags  to pregnant and lactating women in districts Umerkot and Tharparkar was completed on March 10th [1].According to UNOCHA, around twenty-six national and international organisations are currently working in Sindh province, while twenty organisations are working in Baluchistan province. Some of these organizations are working on  drought response while the rest engaged in regular development interventions.

According to the latest reports by the metrological department, the current rainfall rate has given some relief to the drought situation in some previously affected districts of Baluchistan and Sindh provinces. However, other districts, namely  Awaran, Chaghi, Kharan, Noshki and Gawadar in Baluchistan, while Dadu, Khairpur, Mitiari, Qambar Shahdadkot, Sajawal, Sanghar, Thatta, Tharparkar and Umerkot districts in Sindh province are likely to remain under moderate drought conditions.

Community World Service Asia is currently responding to the food security and health  needs of the drought affected communities in district Umerkot of Sindh. Under the food security component of our emergency response, we have completed distribution of food packages  to two-hundred and eighty drought affected families through a voucher scheme. In addition, a response project supporting five-hundred and fifty-five  pregnant and lactating women and  providing food vouchers to sixteen-hundred families is underway and expected to be completed in the following six months. Under the health component of our emergency response, we are providing emergency health services to 15,600 drought affected people through two mobile health units as well  distributing baby kits and T-shirts for children.

Nonetheless, there is still a massive gap between the actual needs of the drought-affected communtiies and the assistance provided to them so far. Many affected communities have still remained unattended due to limited funding and resources. More funding is needed to provide basic assistance to the communities that remain unsupported.

Since droughts are slow, onset disasters, its response requires more planning and resource mobilization. There is therefore a dire need to organize resources for long term interventions to address drought mitigation and resilience building of affected communities.

Contacts:

Faye Lee
Associate Regional Director
Emergencies, DRR and CCA
Email: faye.lee@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 51 2307484

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

Sources:
http://humanitarianservice.info/droughtportal
www.pmd.gov.pk


[1] The first round of this distribution started in December 2018.

Final Selection of project participants in a meeting held in collaboration with the Village Committee.

Our Emergencies Program is addressing food security needs of drought-affected communities in district Umerkot of Sindh, Pakistan. Food items have been distributed to 280 drought-affected families through voucher schemes at a “market day” that was organized by the project team in Sekhro, a union council of Umerkot.  The food package has been designed in line with Sphere food security standards and includes wheat flour (60kg), basmati rice (15kg), pulses (7kg), cooking oil (6 liters), sugar (6kg), tea leaves (600 grams), iodized salt (1kg) and matchboxes (pack of 10).

During the planning stage of the project, introductory meetings with affected communities were held to form village committees and train them, on project participant selection, use of voucher and complaint response mechanism, to participate in and take ownership of project activities. With the help of the village committees, women-headed households, families with low and no income, orphan children, elderly and the disabled village members were identified as key recipients of the food packages.

The village committee facilitated the entire voucher distribution process that took place a day prior to the “market day” and ensured that the food vouchers were distributed to the identified and most-vulnerable drought-affected families. The selected families were also oriented on how to use the voucher to buy the food items and about the venue and process of distribution on the “market day”. All the project participants were informed of the code of conduct of ACT Alliance and the process of registering complaints as well.

A total of 140 women, 138 men and 2 differently abled individuals took part in the “Market Day”, where they were given a range of food items to choose from with their vouchers for their respective household and family needs.

Community Voices:

“Due to the severe drought in our area we were unable to harvest a single grain. It was difficult to find other labour opportunities in the vicinity as well. I was worried about feeding my family with no work and zero harvest. I was just about to sell my livestock when Community World Service Asia came to our door to provide food assistance in these difficult times. We received quality food items that are enough to cater to the nutritional needs of my family for more than a month.”

Deepo, son of Muko, Sadamani Village, Umerkot District

“I have been unable to feed my children adequately since the last couple of months. With the onslaught draught and lack of fodder for our animals, we barely had any means of income or food.  Many families had to migrate from this area, as they were unable to grow anything or find other work.  This relief project has come to us as a blessing. The method of selecting project participants and the distribution method at the market day was very organized and hassle free.”

Jaman Khatton, wife of late Vishno, New Sobahani Village, Umerkot District

“My wife and I were dependent on our neighbors and other villagers who would provide us with little food assistance as my poor health does not allow me to work and earn a living. The food assistance provided by the project team of the relief project catered to our immediate needs. We now have food items stored in our house, which will last us more than two months. The food package includes a sufficient amount of basic food items required to cook a good meal.”

Mr. and Mrs. Adho, Sadmani Village, Umerkot District

photo credit: www.afp.com

The prevailing drought like situation is likely to worsen in coming days mainly because of insufficient rainfall during the monsoon season.

Overall, Pakistan has received -24.4% below average rainfall from May to August this year, while among provinces, Sindh has received the most insufficient rainfall during this period which is -69.5% followed by -49% in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and -45% in Baluchistan.

Sindh has witnessed a substantial 87.7% decline during the months of July and August where Baluchistan is at number two during the same period with a decline of 53.5%. The overall decline in Sindh from May until end of August remained at 69.5% while in Baluchistan it remained at 45.7%. Due to this deficient in the rainfall, moderate drought like conditions has emerged in most southern parts of the country. Owing to the current insufficient rainfall across the country, Pakistan Metrological Department’s National Drought Monitoring Center (NDMC) has issued drought alert. As per the alert, the moderate to severe drought is prevailing in most parts of Sindh districts which includes, Tharparkar, Mitthiari, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Dadu, Karachi, Kambar Shahdadkot, Umerkot, Sanghar, Sajawal, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro and Khairpur.  The districts in Baluchistan included Dalbandin, Gawadar, Jiwani, Panjgur, Pasni, Nokundi, Ormara, Quetta and Turbat.

Mild to moderate drought is prevailing at few places of district Multan and Mianwali in Punjab and Bunji, Chilas, Gilgit, and Gupis in Gilgit Baltistan.

It is expected that the drought condition may get severe in the coming days in southern parts of the country due to no further forecast of significant rainfall.

Community World Service Asia response team is in the field and is coordinating with Government agencies, Non-Government humanitarian actors in the field and other relevant departments to collect the latest information on ground. Community World Service Asia is planning to address the immediate food needs of the drought affected/at risk families and fodder for their livestock. The teams in the field will further monitor the situation and will formulate the next plan as per the requirements.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4

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

Sources:
www.tribune.com.pk
www.dawn.com
www.pmd.gov.pk

District Tharparkar is currently faced with a drought like situation due to minimal rains in the region. This is leading to adverse effects on agricultural and domestic needs of the local communities in the area, leaving many children malnourished and severely ill. Nine infants have been reported dead this month, while a total of 375 children have died due to malnutrition in 2018.

Years of below-average crop production and losses of cattle has worsened the already-dire food insecurity and malnutrition situation in the Tharparkar district. Limited access to clean water and proper sanitation has deeply compromised health conditions of the resident communities.

With no further expectation of adequate rainfall, the situation seems to worsen in the near future. The sufferings of affected communities are only expected to increase as they have very limited crop production and their own health, as well as that of their livestock, is only further deteriorating due to a lack of water and food supply. Analyzing the current situation, the district administration has appealed to international aid organizations to send their teams support the government in its efforts to provide relief to the people of Thar. The affected communities require immediate emergency relief in terms of nutritional, WASH and health support.

Drought-stricken families from several areas have started migrating along with their livestock to the barrage areas of Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and other districts.

Community World Service Asia’s Response:

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) has worked towards providing relief and rehabilitation to drought affected communities in the same area before and is currently monitoring the situation. CWSA’s emergency response team is on standby and shall start response activities in case of need.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4

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

Sources:
Geo.tv
District administration

Gul Khan relied on daily wages and lived with his wife and four children in Karshat village in District Shangla of Khyber Pakhtoonkhowa (KPK) province in Pakistan. The family of six lived in a small mudhouse[1] in the village. The house, being his only asset, and home to six members, had no latrine or washroom for the family to use. All its residents had to resort to rushing to the nearby forest or scanty bushes whenever nature would call.

In rural villages such as Karshat, most inhabitants survive without latrines inside their homes and mostly depend on their own livestock to meet their daily nutritional needs.  Amina Bibi and her children however did not own any livestock and solely depended on Gul Khan’s daily earning to buy food that they could survive on. Their daily meals consisted mostly of black tea and plain bread.

To add on, Gul Khan’s house had no direct water supply either. Since he had once been in a dispute with his neighbors over the construction of a water pipeline that would connect to his house. The neighbor disagreed and it was decided that no water supply line would connect to his house.

Amina Bibi and their children fetch water from a nearby spring located some three hundred yards away from their house. Amina would sometimes ask her neighbours for some water as well. Gul Khan and his family were living at the lowest poverty level and his children looked malnourished and underfed at first sight.

In August of 2015, Amina and her children received devastating news. They were told Gul Khan had been reported missing in Karachi. Gul Khan’s male relatives went down to Karachi to verify this news and to enquire about his disappearance or probable whereabouts. However, to no avail. They had to return back in vain and could not stay there longer to find him as they had to return to their own jobs and families.

Survival and meeting daily ends became a challenge for Amina Bibi and her children, specially the three going to school. One of Gul Khan’s brother, working in Saudi Arabia as a laborer, sends around PKR 2,500 to 3,000 (USD 17-25)  monthly to  support his brother’s family. The family also receives  charity money support from a local mosque on periodical basis.

In August 2016, Gul Khan’s family was identified and selected as participants under the WASH[2] project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by ECHO as part of a humanitarian response.. A latrine was constructed for the family in their house and they were also provided with hygiene kits and health hygiene sessions under the project. The hygiene kit included two plastic cans with a lid, one bodna[3], soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family carry and store drinking water safely as the containers were covered reducing the risks of water contamination. While the sessions helped the family learn how to use the  latrine and adopt a thorough hand washing technique to maintain and sustain a clean environment. Awareness was built on the use of washing hands with soaps before having meals and after attending latrines which minimized the transfer of diseases in the food and water.

As there was no male relative was available to assist the family during the construction of their latrine, Ibadullah, Chairman of Local Village Committee, stepped in to help. With Ibadullah’s support, the latrine was successfully established with the help of other village members and project team volunteers.

Amina Bibi and her children expressed their highest gratitude to the project staff for fulfilling their most basic needs. She also reaffirmed that the recurrence of diarrhea had reduced among her children.

Being chosen as a participant of this project has been a blessing for my children as I was aware of the danger my children were facing due to the unhygienic environment we lived in. After losing my husband, my children and their good health is very important to me. I will always continue to incorporate cleanliness and hygienic practices in our daily life.

[1] Houses made of mud walls supported with wooden beams and slanting roofs made of tiles.

[2] Integrated Emergency WASH and Shelter Support to EQ Affected Communities of District Shangla KP Project implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)

[3] A lota or bodna is a small (usually spherical) water vessel of brass, copper or plastic used in parts of South Asia for personal hygiene.

Group Picture

The world is ever changing and with it is the role of women in every field of life. Women are there everyday, somehow or the other contributing to someone’s achievements, celebrations and life in all its glory. To celebrate the strength of women and their progress and to promote their rights, International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated in the month of March globally. Buxo Lund, a small village in the rural district of Badin in the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, celebrated the day with as much vigor and zest as all over the world. This day gave the people of Buxo Lund an opportunity to recognize the role of their women who work effortlessly all year for their families and their communities.

Women in Buxo Lund are usually occupied with household errands, stitching clothes or handicrafts for their family members or helping on the agricultural fields. They were  never aware of International Women’s Day or its global commemoration.

It became an important occasion for all of us to pause for a moment, to reflect on ourselves, to appreciate how much we have done and what more needs to be done in the field of gender equality,

shared Goveri, a resident of the village.

Under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin Project, the program team, in coordination of the local Farmer Field’s Group (FFS) established under the same project, organized community based activities to celebrate Women’s Day. Thirty-five women participated in the event.

Amina, resident of Buxo Lund, officially opened the event with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Shazia Shah, a Nutrition Officer with Community World Service Asia, delivered a brief introduction of the organization and its project with the community in Badin.

Apart from promoting sustainable agriculture here, we highly support and encourage the participation of rural women farmers to ensure achieving food security here and long-term development of the village. The on-going capacity building activities, including farmer festivals, exposure visits to agricultural institutes, awareness raising session and celebration of international day with the community’s participation has served as an engaging and empowering platform for women here.

Shama, the project’s Agriculture Officer, shared,

International Women’s Day is a day of recognition and celebration of women globally. This day values the contributions that women bring to communities.

Farzana, Community Extension Worker highlighted the basic rights women are granted globally and emphasized on minimizing cultural and social barriers to strengthen gender parity in the society.

The women of Buxo Lund village actively participated in the event and some shared their views openly as well. Bhambo expressed,

Women play a significant and prominent role in every household. A family without the contributions of women is incomplete. She cares for her family as a wife, feeds the children as a mother and supports her siblings as a sister.

Another resident, Goveri, expressed,

Every human being deserves to live a happy life. Women should not be overlooked, but they should be respected as equally as men. This event has enhanced our knowledge in women’s rights. We now know that women deserve equal rights as men do in our village.

The views and statements contributed in the event by the local women indicated towards the compassion, will and resilience of these women.

I was not aware of this special day for women and its international importance. I am glad to know about it as we will work hard and raise our voice to press for progress in the societies we live in,

positively added Bhoori, a mother and farmer living in Buxo Lund.

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.