Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We Ecopreneurs- empowering local village women for sustainable income generation

Recently our campaign Climate Project Connectors started a new voluntary initiative “We Ecopreneurs” to empower local village women in the sub division Balakot (Pakistan) by exploiting opportunities for income generation through organic farming. There are reasons that we started this initiative.

The first thing is the conservative rural society that always obstructs women to access income generation opportunities as compared to men. This makes them dependent and excluded from decision making. Women usually work in fields to help their male members but their work is often unrewarded. Another reason is that inorganic methods of farming and other interrelated factors have negative impact on local environment and natural resources.

The solution we opted in this regard was to laugh a competition among three selected village women. One of our female volunteer (we call them connector in our campaign) Ms. Rashda, selected three potential village women through a women organization (WO). The connector voluntarily trained these women in preparation of plot, selection of indigenous vegetable seeds, use of organic fertilizer and organic pest management. In the next step the selected women also received orientation on sale and marketing of produce to earn income as well as to make them aware of food insecurity due to the impacts of climate change. Introducing these village women as ecopreneurs through regular mentorship is also one of the objectives of this initiative.
Rashda is one of our active Connectors from Pakistan. She is working with Sarhad Rural Support Programme, under the ICMC funded project in Tehsil Balakot, where she is working with the extremely vulnerable individuals and mainstream them into development process at hamlet, village and union council level. Rashda selected these three women with the help of village organization that they have formed under the pilot project. She aims to make the local women aware and help them to promote and access their rights in the society.

This is a pilot initiative of the Climate Project Connectors to link environment and income generation in sustainable manner. The competition in this initiative is also an innovation for local women. The woman who will get more profit from the sale of produce will get the first cash prize and so the 2nd and 3rd position as well. This will be an encouragement for these ecopreneurs to increase the culture of organic kitchen gardening in future and be self sustained. There is a noteworthy observation that due to the heavy monsoon rains and massive flooding in Pakistan, the families of those three women also shifted to surrounding areas and Mansehra city along with other affected households, however after the flood water went down and families returned to their village in Balakot, the plots fortunately remained safe from the landslide and the seed of turnips have also started germination.

Our voluntary campaign is very optimistic for the success of this pilot initiative of organic competition that will start giving results in the coming three to four weeks. We look forward to engage more women to seek environment friendly income generation opportunities for their livelihoods by promoting the “We Ecopreneurs” idea.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Asif
    It was a good initiative and women took keen interest in this project. They have also taken session in balakot regarding kitchen gardening and food preservation in 5 other villages of Tehsil balakot.

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  2. That's really great Rashda, i look forward for the successful accomplishment of these efforts...

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