FAO in Pakistan

Gouri, 37, lives with her husband and four young children in a remote village of Phangarion in District Tharparkar of Sindh Province.

With earnings as low as PKR 400-500 per day and with an enormous burden of responsibilities on their shoulders, Gouri and her husband Sajjan often struggled to provide for their family. At times they were forced to sell their goats for a small profit so that they could put food on the table for their children.

Our household income from my husband’s earnings was insufficient for us to meet our family’s everyday needs – especially on days when he was unable to find any work at all. There were times when there was no food available for our children to eat. This caused me severe distress. If our situation had persisted, I had fully prepared myself to work with my husband as a daily wage labourer,” said Gouri.

Together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) and Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and with support from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations introduced homestead gardening to women and men farmers in Phangorian village of District Tharparkar to give them an opportunity to engage in economic activities and help them improve food security and nutrition for their families. Additionally, crop seeds and animal compound feed were also provided to empower vulnerable communities. The initiative aimed to build resilience of the local populations to withstand natural disasters such as the recurring droughts which have severely affected livelihoods of these communities.

Gouri’s interests, however, lay in farming and growing different varieties of vegetables. She had always wanted to plant and grow her own vegetables. An opportunity knocked on her door when she was invited for a community meeting. She was identified as one of the women farmers who were trained in skills and knowledge to grow new varieties of vegetables that are more resilient to local conditions. The training empowered her to establish her own kitchen garden, giving her an opportunity to support her family. 

All these years I wanted to do something for myself and my family – something that would help us get back up on our feet. With my own kitchen garden my children eat fresh vegetables every day. I pick these vegetables out myself,” said Gouri excitedly. “I will work hard to maintain this garden and want to spread the knowledge which has benefitted me to other women farmers in the village as well.”

The hand barrow Gouri received for her kitchen garden helps her husband with his labour as well, and enables them to carry drinking water cans from as far as 8 km away. To support their recovery from the drought, their family was also provided compound feed and vaccinations for their animals.

The compound feed has helped our goats become healthier and produce more milk. Now that they have been vaccinated, we are not as worried about our animals being affected by disease. My life has completely changed – we are much happier now! I am now actively contributing to my household income and meeting the food needs of my family,” says Gouri.