Then, in 2014, the village was visited by a team implementing an EU-funded Rural Development project. They helped revive the CO, and this time encouraged women to participate too.
Due to cultural barriers, the villagers had previously resisted involving women. But the project team helped the villagers overcome their prejudices. The participation of the women proved to make a big difference.
Both men and women were encouraged to use the centre, the space for which was provided by one of the villagers, Ghulam Mohammad.
By late 2013, the CO had 22 female members, all trained in community management skills such as record keeping, basic accounting for the Community Organisation, developing linkages, effective communications and disaster management.
The CO decided its first priority would be to increase incomes by honing existing skills and setting up a vocational sewing center on a self-support basis.
Meanwhile, training was provided by two of the women. One of the women, Moomal, was already familiar with the standards required for the villagers to expand their markets. This was because she had earlier been trained in an institute in the nearby town of MirpurKhas.
Thus far, 30 women and 6 men have been trained. The men are now working as tailors in a nearby town. Whereas the women are discovering that sewing need not be confined to the home – and that it can be profitable!
EUR 1.3 million
January 2013 – December 2015
Mercy Corps and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP)
Member of CO, Sikendar Laghari