Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Launching "We Ecopreneurs"- Linking environment with income generation for poor women

Yes! we can do it and that's why we are on the way to do it.

Today, I feel happy that we are launching another bold initiative "WE ECOPRENEURS" for women in our campaign Climate Project Connectors in Pakistan. "WE ECOPRENEURS" will pilot a model that will work towards eliminating barriers which obstruct women to access resources and opportunities for sustaining their livelihoods.

Three most vulnerable and economically less empowered women will get comprehensive training, mentoring, inputs and financial assistance to become ecopreneurs. We are piloting this innovative programme in Balakot sub division where these women will initially be able to establish organic kitchen gardening and able to market their produce to earn livelihoods.

Pakistan, being one of the agricultural countries, will be more exposed to food crisis in coming years due to changing weather pattern and climate impacts. Women, particularly those with less economic opportunities together with social barriers, will be even more vulnerable to sustain their livelihoods with dignity. "WE ECOPRENEURS" will contribute in increasing resilience of poor women to adapt to climate change and improve their livelihoods with dignity.

Our objective of this pilot programme is to create women ecopreneurs at local level through integrating environmental conservation with income generation opportunities for poor women.

To give our idea wings, we have selected three potential women from Balakot with the involvement of a local women CBO. Families of these beneficiary women are willing to allow them to participate in a training cum competition based opportunity in their own village.

One of our female connector, expert in organic kitchen gardening, will train these women voluntarily in 1) climate change and food security 2) organic kitchen gardening and compost making and 3) marketing and linkage development. These women ecopreneurs, after the training, will receive required financial assistance to prepare a small piece of land (about 10 marla) and purchase of seeds to start organic kitchen gardening in their fields.

To boost interest among beneficiary women, they will enter into a market competition, where the one being on the top in earned profit will get 1st cash prize. Similarly, the rest of two will also receive 2nd and 3rd cash prize as per the profit they earn from their produce. These women ecopreneurs will use the cash prizes to improve their work and profit at local level. The ecopreneurs will also get regular mentorship from our female Connector to improve production and sale as well as to establish linkages with an organization to support their green business in future.

TCP presenter in Pakistan together with one of the female connectors will initially support these three women to pilot the programme in terms of providing trainings, financial assistance and linkage development. Once successful, the programme will look for more opportunities to scale up and replicate this model in other areas.

Today "We Ecopreneurs", tomorrow we empower.

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