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Capacity Building of Rural Women through Women Open School (WOS)




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    Women_Open_School_WOS_2The rural women of Pakistan contribute in about 43% of on-farm agriculture related activities including mixing and preparation of pesticide solutions etc., which result in sickness of about 84 % of the workers. Due to social fabrics and traditions it was not possible to impart trainings to the rural women along with men in the Farmer Field School (FFS). Therefore, based on FFS concept, the National IPM Programme developed a novel mechanism “WOS” for experiential learning and skill development of rural women. It started with training in “Pesticide Risk Reduction” and later other areas like kitchen gardening, small enterprise development (goat and chicken farming, vegetable seed production) etc.

     

    Introduction

    Women_Open_School_WOS_2The rural women of Pakistan contribute in about 43% of on-farm agriculture related activities including mixing and preparation of pesticide solutions etc., which result in sickness of about 84 % of the workers. Due to social fabrics and traditions it was not possible to impart trainings to the rural women along with men in the Farmer Field School (FFS). Therefore, based on FFS concept, the National IPM Programme developed a novel mechanism “WOS” for experiential learning and skill development of rural women. It started with training in “Pesticide Risk Reduction” and later other areas like kitchen gardening, small enterprise development (goat and chicken farming, vegetable seed production) etc.

    Technology, development, Demonstration and Recommendation

    The programme was initiated with the training of a small team of Women Facilitators based on FFS approach. For two days in each week, the WFT (Women Facilitators Training) participants were trained in pesticide risk reduction through different pre-designed experiential learning activities/exercises. The main emphasis was on self-monitoring for possible signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning on human body. For the whole week the participants collect data in this regard, elaborate the signs and symptoms of pesticides on human body by drawing humanWomen_Open_School_WOS sketches on chart, present results and discuss. For next two days the WFT participants break into pairs, each pair to run 2 WOS (20 women per WOS) to impart practical t raining regarding pesticide risk reduction.  In order to achieve better results, women activists from the villages and NGO workers of the area were involved to facilitate the change process and dialogue on environmental conservation and health issues, kitchen gardening, small enterprise development (goat and chicken farming, vegetable seed production). The major outcome of training was development of women facilitators organization; i) Women Agricultural Development Organization (WADO) in Khairpur, ii) Al-Noor Rural Development Organization, Khairpur, iii) women wing of Kissan Welfare Association (KWA), Bahawalpur. The project has resulted in development of a team of 37 expert women facilitators, establishment of 53 WOS and training of over 993 rural women.

    Key Reference

    FAO-EU/AGFUND/Nat-IPM, NARC (2003). Technical Report on Pesticide Risk Reduction for Women in Pakistan (GCP/PAK/091/AGF. 105 pp.

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