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My dream to become a teacher was left in vain. My family could not afford to send me to school and I was married off at a young page. I do not want the same for my children though. I want them to study and to live their dreams, shared Meena, a kitchen gardener from the Prem Nagar village in Badin.

Meena was selected as a participant for a series of Kitchen Gardening trainings in 2016 under the three-year, Promoting Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture projectⁱ. One of the key components of the ongoing project focuses on promoting kitchen gardening among local women in Badin through conducting skill-building trainings on produce gardening, providing informative sessions on family and individual nutrition, arranging exposure visits to relevant institution and running awareness campaigns with the local communities. All of these activities are done to ensure the growth of kitchen gardening practices among households in Badin to reduce food insecurity and to improve the health and livelihoods of local agrarian communities.

As one of the participants of this component of the project, fifty-five-year-old Meena learnt effective and new techniques of plowing, preparing and watering her land and fertilizing the seeds that her family was provided under the project. After building on her gardening skills, Meena primed a patch of land outside her house in accordance to the new practices she learnt in the training and planted the seeds she received meticulously. Meena’s garden has been one of the most flourishing ones, with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables produced regularly. Her lush green garden produces cluster beans, apple gourds, ladyfingers, ridge gourds, spinach, carrots, radish and tomatoes.

Living with her husband and three married sons, Meena shared that her garden yields have made a huge impact on the health and nutrition of all their family members.

The quantity and quality of food cooked at home has improved immensely. My family loves the meals we cook at home now. My kitchen garden has allowed us to save the money that we previously spent on purchasing vegetables and fruits from the local market. In addition to fully providing for the nutritional needs of my family, selling of the surplus produce of my garden has helped me in generating a revenue of PKR 32,270 (Approx. USD 262).

Meena and her family were provided with additional fruit saplings of guava, sapota, mango, black plum, lemon, jujube, neem, moringa, phalsa and conocapus under the project in August this year.

Badin district is situated at the tail end of the canal irrigation system. With limited rainfall and no stored water, the area faces severe water scarcity. Each year the produce of large acreages of agriculture land is further reduced.

The undersized production of my kitchen garden forced me to explore ideas for water storage. My husband and I decided to invest the money I earnt through selling the vegetables in constructing a small water pit, which will help us store water. So, we have now constructed a water pit with a water pump beside it to pump the water out of it. The savings have helped us take quick decisions such as this to help us sustain our garden and our household.


ⁱPromoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to improve Food security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers project in Badin is supported by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through Presbyterian World Service & Development.

650 targeted farming families were provided plant samplings for the tree plantation campaign.

An aeroculture[1] campaign was launched with the farming communities of Khairpur Gambo and Pangrio cities of the Badin district in Sindh earlier this August under the Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture project[2]. This was part of an annual activity planned to promote and enhance biodiversity and to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. As a sustainable outcome,  this campaign aimed at providing an alternative livelihood source to the water-deprived farming communities of the area. These activities will also enhance the provision of fodder for the communities’ livestock, which is currently in high scarcity.

A variety of fruit and plant saplings such as Sapota, Lemon, Azarirachta indica (neem), Moringa, Falsa, Jujube and Guava, were distributed among 650 targeted agrarian families of Khairpur Gambo and Pangrio city. As many as 10,400 samplings were given out during the campaign that chanted the slogan “Let’s make a promise to grow more trees”.

Each family were given two saplings each of, lemon, neem, moringa and jujube and three of falsa and guava.  A week earlier to the distribution, the families were demonstrated  on how to plant the samples in the soil. They were also oriented on all the possible measures adopted to ensure the healthy growth of the plants. The categories and species of the plants and fruits were selected with consent and suggestion from the communities and upon recommendations given by the Forest Department in Badin and the ARID zone agriculture institute. These particular types of plants and fruit were selected as they could grow well without a lot of water and could tolerate a certain level of water salinity, which was present in the water available here.  The trees planted under this campaign will bear fruits between two to four years, allowing the farmers to benefit from the sustenance it will provide, as well as reviving greenery in the area, cleansing their environment and building the community’s resilience to climate change impacts.

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

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

Treating malnutrition among infants and children in Ranta, Sindh

Soni is a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten who lives with her children and husband, Sadla, in the Sadla Surjho[1] village of Sujawal district in Sindh. Her husband and eldest son together earn a total income of PKR 8000 (Approx. 65 USD) through local farming.

Meeting the needs of all of her children and running the house with just PKR 8000 a month was always a challenge for Soni. She was always struggling to complete the month with the finances she was handed; there was never enough food and health expenses were often sidelined. Traveling to Daro city, to avail even the most minor health assistance would cost money which made it nearly impossible for Soni or any of her family members to consider.

Very little or no money was saved for healthcare in our house. My youngest son who is two-years-old now was very weak since infancy. He could hardly walk. He did not eat well and was thus very thin. I then decided to take him to a clinic in Daro city to consult a doctor about his decreasing weight and health. The hour’s travel to Daro city alone  cost us PKR 1500 each time. Yet, for a year we kept taking him to the doctor in Daro regularly, but his health did not improve, nor did he start working. This kept me extremely worried, shared Soni.

Early this year some women from Lakhano Surjho, a nearby village, told Soni about the MNCHⁱ centre operating in Ranta village, which is a half an hour walk from Soni’s home village. They shared their good experiences with the health staff at the centre and assured Soni that the medical support provided there has been effective and consistent.

The MNCH is only near my home. I first visited the health centre in June, 2018.  The medical officer at the centre diagnosed my son with anemia. His weight was only 4kgs when he first visited the MCNH, narrated Soni.

The doctor at the MNCH prescribed iron tablets to my son and in addition provided a diet chart to me supported with a health awareness session on how to improve food intake and maintain a clean environment at home.

 Soni was quite satisfied with the treatment provided at the MNCH and she observed a significant improvement in her son’s health. Within fifteen days of the treatment, he had started walking.  Soni had visited the MNCH six times in a month to ensure consistent treatment of her son through routine check-ups as advised by the medical officer.

Soni told her neighbours and other women at Sadla Surjho about the MNCH and her experiences. Since then, a number of women from Sadla Surjho have visited the centre to seek treatment for viral illness treatment and antenatal and postnatal care. Some women have also taken ultrasound tests at the centre too.

My son is healthy and is walking well. I strictly follow the diet as advised by the doctor for all my children to ensure their good health. I want to request the health team to establish a health center in Kot Alam union councilⁱⁱ as well so that we can have access to economical, primary healthcare services only a few minutes away from our doorsteps, concluded Soni. 

Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Centre Project implemented in District Thatta with the support of Church of Scotland (CoS).

ⁱⁱ Sadla Surjho is located in the Kot Alam union council of Sujawal district

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

Program participants

A Women Farmers Festival was organized by Community World Service Asia at Darbar Hall in Jhuddo under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture project, supported by PWS&D and CFGB, in Badin, Pakistan. More than three hundred women farmers attended the festival that took place on July 5th this year. Eight guest speakers (all women),  representing various local and international organizations, and bringing with them a wide array of expertise and skill, shared their experiences, learnings and advice with the women farmers  attending  the event.

The Festival aimed at:

  • Providing an experience sharing and peer learning platform to local women farmers on Nutrition and Kitchen Gardening interventions
  • Developing collaborative relations and linkages among communities,  CSOs and NGOs, government departments  and community based organizations working in the area
  • Building awareness on climate change impacts and global food security and nutrition challenge among local communities

Shama, Agriculture Extension Officer, Community World Service Asia,  introduced the organization and shared the plan and outcomes of the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture project to ensure food security in Badin.

A little bit of Fun

An interactive theater play was performed by the Parbhat[1] theater group at the festival. The theme of the performance was food security, nutrition, kitchen gardening and tree plantation. The performers not only highlighted the importance of a balanced diet, the need for special mother and child health care and ways of sustaining kitchen garden at times of water shortages, but also strongly emphasized on the perils of climate change and the role of progressive agricultural practices in mitigating its impacts.

Local primary schools’ students entertained the audience with original poetry and humour story recitations, singing folk songs, and traditional dance performances. School-going children of Prem Nagar village  performed a tableau focusing on the importance of food security, nutrition, tree plantation, environment, education and home gardening. To give a breather to the audience from the main theme in focus, students of the Ram Public School charaded an exclusive play highlighting the Sindhi culture and its social bindings prevalent in the province.

Attendees of the festival participated in various entertainment activities such as  musical chairs, eating competitions and more. The winners were also awarded gifts.

Exhibit Corner

Models of Low Cost Drip and Pitcher Irrigation for sustainable kitchen gardening were displayed by the CWSA team. At the same stall, IEC material on nutrition, kitchen gardening, nutritional value of Moringa and other project interventions were also displayed.

Local women artisans also displayed their vibrant handicrafts for sale  at the festival.

Other non-profit organizations working in the region were also given an opportunity to set up stalls, displaying local handicrafts and pictorial presentations reflecting their own project activities, at the festival.

Award Ceremony

Distinguish guest speakers were presented with Traditional Chunri (Local scarf). All the children who performed at the various activities at the festival were awarded with appreciatory gifts. The festival was seen as a bridge that addressed the existing gaps between community members, local farmers and government officials and a big leap towards enhancing agricultural development in Sindh.

[1] A local theater group in Badin.

Women were mostly busy with home chores, grass cutting and field work during harvest seasons and men were commonly engaged in agricultural activities and small local businesses,

shared Yar Mohammad, a forty-one-year-old resident and General Secretary of the steering Committee in Dibh village, Umerkot. Yar Muhammad is a teacher at a local school located in his village. He has been teaching since over a decade now and firmly believes in education being an important indicator for progressive change in communities and societies.

I strongly promote education in my house. My eldest son is completing his Masters’ degree from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and my daughter, whose younger than him, is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Arts, privately,

proudly narrated Yar Muhammad, “

Girls here continue their higher education but they do so privately; living in a conservative society, we do not send our daughters to far away cities alone. There are no colleges or universities anywhere near in the area that we live. However, seven of my children, including my four sons and three daughters have attended and continue to attend academic institutes, except for my youngest one, as he is very young yet.

In April of 2017, Community World Service Asia expanded their livelihoods project, supported by YCare and UKAID, to Dibh village in its third year of implementation. In a meeting with the elders of the village, the livelihoods team briefed the attendants on the project’s goals of enhancing the artisan skills of women and linking them with buyers and markets, increasing gender-based awareness and empowering women with decision-making capacities.

Being part of the initial meeting, and understanding what the project aimed to achieve, I thought of it as a very dynamic initiative for women as they rarely get opportunities of capacity building and exposure here. They naturally have a talent of stitching clothes and if this skill is further developed, they will be able to earn good money as well,

 expressed Yar Muhammad,

There were some men who did not agree initially as they believed it was against our cultural norms to allow women to work openly and travel to other cities for exposure. However, as an elder of the village, the people trusted my decision to invite this project in the village. Most importantly, men in the village collectively thought that this initiative will improve the standard of living of the people here.

A Steering Committee consisting of fifteen members was initially formed as the first step towards implementing this project in Dibh. The committee members included eight men and seven women Mandar, Yar Muhammad’s brother, was elected as President and Nasreen, a residual of Dibh, as vice president of the committee.

In our first joint meetings, we learnt about the basic rights of women which we were unaware of before. Inadvertently, we discriminated against women and overlooked the countless contributions they make in our households. All the members actively agreed to promote women rights and to involve them in decision-making processes of the village. These meetings are often conducted once a month but if there is an important issue to be resolved then we come together after 15 days as well.

A vocational center was successfully established in a room in one of the houses in Dibh village. This room was voluntarily contributed to be used as a vocational centre by one of Dibh’s residents.

Some men opposed the idea of skill building classes and discouraged establishing the vocational center. The steering committee held meetings to change the minds of these men and to persuade them towards supporting this development and positive change for the village people. As a result of the steering committee’s relentless efforts towards raising awareness on the rights of women and the benefits of the project, twenty-eight artisans successfully enrolled for classes at the vocational center and are enthusiastically working and learning there currently,

 added Yar.

Moreover, we also invited other community members from neighboring villages to join the center and informed them about the skill building component in the livelihoods project. We held a meeting with the residents of Bheel, a Hindu community, to encourage them to send their women at the center for skill building as well. Today, four artisans from Bheel attend the center as well.

Nazia, Vice President of Steering Committee, happily shared,

I am an artisan in the vocational center as well. We have been earning a good income from the orders we receive. Seeing our confidence and vocal skills in the decision-making processes, men have started to trust us more. Many of us run the budget of our households as the men give the monthly budget in our hands and trust us to manage the expenditures accordingly. The women have become so responsible and are able to save most of their earnings. They are also able to purchase gold jewelry and clothing for themselves and for their daughter’s dowry. For the healthcare of women, most of the men pay for the medical expenses. The women prefer to keep their savings for times of emergencies.

Kiran, an Enterprise Development Officer at Community World Service Asia informed us, saying,

Dibh village has had the highest earning through orders in this year of the livelihoods project. They have earned approximately PKR 400,000 (Approx. 3500 U$D) since the establishment of the center which was in May 2017. The artisans in this village are very hard working and fast in their stitching skills.

The village of Dibh faced severe water scarcity and supply issues as there was no direct water to the area. 

Women had to walk half a kilometer to fetch water from a well. All villagers saved money to construct a water pipeline, which enabled a direct water supply to the village. Now, the women do not have to travel long distances to fetch and carry the heavy containers back home. The members of the committee also work together in resolving other similar matters of residual families; but only when the concerned family requires the support of the steering committee,

 shared Yar Mohammad.

Living in a Muslim community, it is not easy to raise voices regarding social issues, especially, concerning women as we were told by Yar Mohammad.

With the support of the elders of the village however, we were able to organize gender awareness sessions and theater performances. The performances have brought about great change in the rigid mind-sets of the villagers. Awareness was raised regarding the importance of education, especially for girls, and discouraged the tradition of early and childhood marriages. There were many families in Dibh who did not send their children to schools. As a result of the theater performances, I am happy to add that all the young girls in my village attend school regularly now.

Earlier, most young girls were married at the age of fifteen years or whenever earlier a suitable proposal came for them. Parents rarely considered the age difference or the young age of the girls.

The burden of responsibility put on the young lives weakened their health and energy level. The continuous gender sessions helped build awareness and discouraged early marriages. Many people today still live with a very rigid mind-set and do not agree for women to work side by side with men. I think women should be able to work but within certain limits. I do not agree with the empowering of women concept as it is in the west, but they should not be kept locked in houses either. They must practice their right to be educated, to grow as a person and to develop their skills and knowledge,

confessed Yar.

In Dibh, decision-making processes were run by men. Women were less vocal and were dependent on the men to make the final decision in any matter, event or conflict. Meetings with steering committee members have built the confidence of women to speak up and share their opinions with the group.

Women need a platform and a source of encouragement to come forward. Today, gladly, men and women hold joint meeting to resolve the matters of the village. Moreover, women are now more confident and motivated towards life. They take the matters of their health more seriously as compared to before. Before this initiative, the women often adopted traditional remedies to cure health issues. But this has changed. They attend the nearby health facility to avail professional advice by the lady doctor and get proper treatment,

narrated Yar Muhammad.

We did not speak much before. Most of our days were spent in home errands and taking care of children. During the harvest season, women were engaged in field work for as long as eleven hours a day. It was a tough job and we hardly earnt a maximum income of PKR 200 a day (Approx. 4 U$D) and really not worth the hours spent in the harsh conditions in the fields,

said Nazia.

Sariyat, an eighteen-year-old girl’s parents did not agree to send her to the vocational center. As an unmarried young girl, her mother thought it was better for her to be engaged in home chores,

Nazia further narrated. The women members of the committee, including Nazia, met with the family to convince her parents. The family agreed. Sariyat joined the center as a member of the Women Enterprise Group (WEG) and is now working hard on the orders she receives at the center.

We are currently saving money as a committee to purchase a water machine for our village. This will benefit the village immensely as it will provide water to the village frequently. I have great hope for the development in our village. The skill development training has given our women a platform to further continue their work and support their families in future,

shared Yar Mohammad.

The artisans from Dibh have worked on many orders they got from buyers in Umerkot city, local markets and on Nida Azwer’s, a famous urban fashion designer, order. This WEG has received really good feedback from buyers as the work pace and quality of work has been market competitive,

shared Kiran on a positive note,

I gave them an order which was a month’s work of embroidery and stitching. The artisans collectively worked so fast that they completed the order in seven days. I was surprised to see the end product as the artisans never compromised on the quality of the handicrafts. The artisans aim at completing their orders soon so that they can receive other orders. They are truly ambitious and progressive.

The 2016-17 annual schools census report for the province of Sindh, launched by the provincial education department, encompasses an array of parameters that assess academic standards, enrollments and other services of schools in Sindh. One of the many interesting features of the report is the statistics it shows on the number of government schools in the province, which indicate a yawning variance in the number of primary and  higher secondary level schools. According to the census, 89.9%, of the total 42,383 schools in Sindh provide only primary education.

Schools that provide education beyond primary level only amount to 6%, i.e., 2,241 schools in the entire province. More specifically, there are 1,719 secondary schools and 291 higher secondary educational institutions in Sindh. The Umerkot district only hosts 141 middle to higher secondary schools, while there are 1,887 primary schools in the district; providing education services to 92,416 students in the district. In comparison, the students from class six to college level total about 25,000, which is less than 30% of the strength at the primary level.

Education in Umerkot:

The Sindh government has recognized over 42,000 schools in Sindh. It is difficult to manage and supervise all the schools and to ensure that they all provide quality education with their limited resources. However, the education department is involved in various reforms to upgrade the education system in Sindh,

shared Muhammad Luqman Noori, District Coordinator, Local Support Unit, Education Department. Luqman Noori has been working in the education department since 2013. He confirmed that the Sindh government had initiated an Education Management Surveillance System. In this system, the data of all the school registered in the district is collected and saved online. The system is updated annually and most of its data is currently available online.

Moreover, a model school concept has also been introduced to ensure the effective manageability of over 40,000 schools in the province. According to this model, the education department has identified 4,560 schools; those that have a reasonable enrollment, more than two teachers and at least two to three rooms in a building. The education department is working actively on further improving the infrastructure and education quality of these selected schools to gradually improve the education status in Sindh. Out of the 4,560 schools, 151 schools are established in Umerkot.

To promote girls education, a stipend system is introduced for girls studying between grades 6th to 10th. All girl students are entitled to a stipend of PKR 3500 per annum, upon enrollment in any local village school. This activity has encouraged girls to continue their studies through middle and high school. Despite these reforms and other initiatives undertaken by the education department, there is still a long way to go to meet international standards of education in the province.

The ratio of school going girls in the city is higher as compared to that in interior villages of Umerkot. The main reason for the low number is cultural and social barriers. There is a lack of awareness and the rigid mind-sets of rural villagers do not allow girls to be independent and bold which they think they will get with being highly educated,

expressed Dwarko Mal, District Education Officer, Primary School Umerkot.

Dwarko further explained the common practice of early age and child marriages prevalent in many of the villages in the district and other areas of the province. With such customs still predominant, young girls are burdened with countless household and family responsibilities, leaving no time or priority to education and other ambitions.

Majority of the girls here only study till 5th Grade also because there are hardly any  elementary and high schools in many of the villages here. Parents are very reluctant to send their daughters to travel long distances to attend middle or high school due to security and cultural issues. Some parents believe that the sole purpose of a young girl’s life is to be married and to take care of her husband and children. There is a dire need for awareness building for parents to overcome such thinking and allow girls to avail higher education.

 Dwarko also pointed the overall shortage of girl schools, especially in the rural areas of Umerkot, as a major contributing factor to low girls enrollment in the area. Additionally, the over numbered vacant teacher positions have lead to a high shortage of teachers in the existing primary and high schools.

When teachers are retired, their vacancies are rarely filled. For this reason, some schools do not have appointed teachers.

The Girls’ Education Project:

The Girls Education projectⁱ (GEP) was initiated in Thatta and Umerkot districts of Sindh, Pakistan, in 2016, with an aim to improve access to and quality of education for girls.

The GEP team was in close coordination with the Sindh Education Department since the initial stage of the project. We have been involved in all stages of the project; selection of teachers, selection of schools, participation in training events and summer camps. One of the most productive activities were the teachers’ trainings conducted under the project. Not only did they train the teachers on new teaching methods, they monitored the performance of the teachers and the schools to effectively evaluate the impact of the new learning and how it is benefitting students and schools. The teaching material provided in the trainings to the teachers also motivated them to continue applying the new initiatives that they had learnt. The learning kit included colored chart papers, stationary, a dictionary and a globe. Most schools in rural areas lack resources, hence these learning kits encourages teachers and students towards being more motivated and creative,

 narrated Luqman.

Dwarko Mal and Luqman Noori were invited to some of the closing ceremonies of the teachers’ trainings. At these events they observed the increased confidence and innovation of  teachers during group presentations and practical activities.

The training provided a professional and comfortable environment to both men and women participants. Teachers delivered presentations with confidence and the response of other participants was very encouraging. The new teaching techniques adopted by teachers have created student-friendly classrooms where students participants openly without any hesitation,

 said Dwarko Mal,

The new methods of teaching through practical activities will inspire students towards learning as children learn fast when they enjoy studying.

We now support and welcome initiatives focused on child-centered education. The learning outcomes of this method are great  and we have witnessed the growth in teachers and students after the camps and trainings. Enrollment has increased in targeted schools and students are more regular. Teachers have become more observant and friendly towards the students. The traditional role and mind-sets have changed and new teaching techniques have resulted in positive outcomes. The behavior and attitudes of teachers have become child-friendly which has encouraged students to perform better in classrooms. Teachers are now playing a supportive role rather than an authoritative,

added Luqman positively.

This project does not focus on girls’ schools; but it focuses on girls as individuals and productive minds.

The most beneficial aspect of the project was that it included both girls’ and boys’ schools,

 added Luqman excitedly,

I encourage initiatives as these that support communities by providing resources, services and opportunities instead of just giving cash assistance. The money is mostly taken by the parents and not utilized as planned. The resources, skills and opportunities provided through this project directly affect the students which results in increased learning, increased enrollments and healthy student development.

Steps Ahead

The new management appointed in the education department is in the process of hiring Early Childhood Teachers (ECTs). Only women are encouraged to apply for the position. Advertisements have been published with the intention to hire professionally qualified ECTs. This is a positive change and a step forward to implement the early childhood education law in Pakistan,

proudly added Dwarko Mal.

According to Luqman, the teacher trainings have to be a continuous process.

Time and teaching methods are changing frequently on national and international levels. With time, more innovative and unique teaching methods and tools are being introduced. For this reason, the trainings of teachers become mandatory to sustain the quality of education.

 Through the project we have seen that extra curriculum activities motivate students to attend schools and retain an interest in education. Local academic competitions and events such as camps, art or debate competitions, allow students to groom their personalities and exhibit their talents.  However such opportunities are rare in rural villages of Umerkot.

Extra-curriculum activities will encourage students to come to schools and will make parents proud to see their children involved in local or even national academic competitions. All of this requires resources though, which many of these local schools lack. The procedure of accessing resources and support from government funds is very lengthy and time-consuming. Therefore, i will request for organizations to support schools with our coordination and collaboration. If the government and humanitarian organizations work together, change will come fast with fruitful outcomes.

ⁱ Improving Access and Quality of Education for Girls in Thatta and Umerkot project is implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by Act for Peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Participants’ Voices:

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

Asad Chachar, Jagarta Social Welfare Organization (JSWO)

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

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

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

Beenish Mahak, Nishat Welfare Organization

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

Fozia Kashif, Participatory Village Development Programme

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmers’ Learnings:

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


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

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


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


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