October 28, 2021

Call for economic empowerment of rural women

Farmer women, water activists and people from academia have lauded the role of village women, who are at forefront to face effects of natural calamities, like rain floods, coronavirus pandemic, locust attacks and others.They were speaking on the occasion of International Day of Rural Women 2020 celebration under the theme: “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19” at a local hotel on Thursday.The programme was organized by Management and Development Foundation (MDF), focusing on “Women, Peace and Water Governance.”A large number of rural women hailing from different villages of Hyderabad and Tando Muhammad Khan districts to participate and share their experiences.Ayaz Latif Palijo, President Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) said there are laws regarding women to live equally at home. They have equal rights to education and performing jobs. Similarly, they may possess pieces of lands and have livestock and entrepreneurship to earn little amount to ease their families.He appreciated the rural women for poultry farming and other livelihood works, besides educating their daughters. There is no harm to educating girls, he emphasized the need.He said women should take initiative for their own empowerment. They should have courage to resist for their rights and self- development. He said there are traditional hindrance in Sindh’s tribal and some rural areas. But they should come forward to work and fight for their rights.Prof Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, director University Enhancement at Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam, said rural women have tasks, ranging from working in agriculture fields, livestock and water management to food security.He said whenever natural disasters, like flood, rains and sea storms hit the areas, these women remain on frontline to face direct effects of it. Now there is cry of coronavirus in which women are restricted to join mainstream livelihood activities. They must be encouraged at the time when they are stitching masks to earn little income. Because the coronavirus have shrunk livelihood activities in rural areas.He said now the entire Sindh is facing rain flood and wide area has been under water despite passing two month long period. Hundreds of displaced families are staying at roadsides, railway tracks and canal embankments without food.Mustafa Rajpar, Chief Executive Officer MDF said they have been working with rural women of three districts, Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad for three years on water management and peace. He said they have achieved task to motivate parliamentarians to discuss the water ordinance (amendment), which yet to be promulgated by Sindh Assembly. He said through this ordinance around 90,000 women will be benefitted, which has been produced at Sindh Assembly for further process.He said they have strengthened village women to deal with revenue, NADRA and other department officials. They have dare to deal with these officials for the cause.  He claims to have got registered eight watercourses, whose farmers were facing problems of water scarcity. Now these farmers, including women seem happy to have access to water through watercourses after legalization.Zulfiqar Halepoto, a water activist and author of many books, said rural women are capable to manage livestock and agriculture. It is need to save their lives after post Covid-19 situation through different livelihood initiatives. In this situation there is need of building resilience for these village women to stay healthy and safe. There are challenges rural women are facing after corona virus pandemic and accessibility to food sources to feed their families.He said in many countries women work as community volunteers to stitch masks to avoid the effects of global virus, besides their routine work at home and in fields. The same work we can see how some skilled women are performing to earn little income to benefit the village people to avoid threats looming over due to the food security.He said the recent rain flood has destroyed food crops, including vegetables, which now are available in markets at high cost. Majority of people cannot afford to buy these essential food products.Mai Nasreen, a peasant women, hailing from Tando Muhammad Khan said women deal with water at domestic level as well as for irrigation to cultivate pieces of lands. They know how to take care to utilize available water sustainably. She portrayed the status of water resources, which are shrinking fast. Mostly women take water from watercourses crossing from their villages, which sometimes go dry for many months and put the communities vulnerable to face water scarcity.In the starting, Kiran Daudpoto, leading project in her welcome remarks, said now women have become part of water bodies, like watercourse associations, area water board and farmer organizations.  She said they have provided 1500 kits with vegetable seeds, fertilizer and equipment for vertical farming for vegetable production at village level in three districts, including Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad.

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