I visited Beer on Thursday 1st Sep 2016 to monitor three activities of three RSPs. There was Kitchen gardening training by Mian Khan Abbasi, An awareness raising session by Ms. Nargis Bibi and a theater performance by Syed Amir Shah on Kitchen gardening. All the three activities were conducted at three different places.
Kitchen Gardening Training:
Kitchen gardening training by Mian khan Abbasi in village Nelour UC Beer. There were 10 males and 15 women participants in the training. The training was facilitated by Mr. Riaz Khan who was the lead trainer. As practical work was done jointly by both the genders but theoretical work was done separately by Ms. Nasreen a female trainer. In Pakistan it is difficult to bring both male and female genders at the same place for any activity, so keeping in view the cultural sensitivity separate sessions were held. Both the sessions were conducted at the same place but in different rooms.
The male farmers were a combination of young and old men. All of them were of the opinion that the information which they got from the training was very useful and informative. They said that they were just sowing wheat and maize in their fields and they never thought of using their resources to create kitechen gardens. They did not have the knowledge how to use pesticides which ultimately harm their produce. They seemed thankful to the RSP that he oriented them on a very important and inexpensive methods of having nutritious food.
Women participants were sitting in the same house but their trainer was female and there were almost 15-18 women who were present at that time. This was the second day of their training and they responded many questions which showed that they got enough knowledge on the subject. It also indicated their interest in the training. There elderly and young women as well as some young students were also part of the training. They told that women do also farming if the livelihood is agriculture of that particular family. But most of the women did not know about the importance of taking vegetables in the daily diet as well as they never thought of growing vegetables in their back yards. Now they seemed motivated to grow vegetables.
Awareness raising session on Nutrition:
The awareness raising session on importance of nutrition for community women was conducted by Nurgis Bibi in village Hill. There were almost 20 women who attended the session. The moderator explained the importance of nutrition particularly for women and children. She started the session by giving them information on personal health, its importance and then its relevance with the family health. After that she oriented them how to keep themselves healthy by taking nutritious food. She also aware the women about health and hygiene in the context of religion. Women listened to her very keenly and by the end of the session asked so many queries regarding their health. Many women were of the opinion that as there is no clean water in the village so how can they be healthy and keep their families healthy. They have to fetch water from a distant place. The moderator asked them to make a committee at village level and then she would create their linkages with line departments as well as with those NGOs which are working on provision of water.
Theater Performance on Kitchen Gardening:
As all the RSPs are involved in creating awareness among poor communities on health hygiene, nutrition, sustainable agriculture through awareness raising sessions, training etc. But the most interactive and innovative idea was to perform a theater play in the community to make them aware on the subject. This idea was initiated by Syed Aamir Shah on kitchen gardening. The performance was carried out by professional performers of a local organization. The theater performance was seen by almost 40 community women of village Beer UC Beer. They got awareness on the importance of kitechen gardening and less use of external inputs. The drama was almost 30 minutes long which was in local language and easy to understand. Women took great interest in the play and they well received the message. After the performance they were of the opinion that many people are already involved in kitchen gardening or they grow vegetables but they use too much external inputs which is dangerous for their health. They also promised that now after this performance they would avoid using external inputs like chemical fertilizers, pesticides etc and they will rely on traditional agriculture more often.
Observations & Comments:
- The good thing which is kept in the contract of the trainer is that he will do monthly follow visits of these trained farmers when they grow vegetables.
- One of the farmers shared his experience about the training that he learned how to make and use local pesticide for his home gardening, his vegetables often got effected by the diseases and pests but now he can make his local pesticide with very nominal cost which will be beneficial for his garden as well as will be less costly.
- Some farmers were so old that they could hardly apply the learning in the field. Instead of having them in the training more focus should be given to the young lot.
- There is a difference between a session and a training. During the training selected number of participants should be invited and trained. This will help the RSP to follow up.
- Women committee of village Hill should be established and efforts should be made to make its linkages with the concerned department.
- Special follow up is needed of those people who are interested to bring change in their lives.