Posted February 1999
Afghanistan | Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia | Costa Rica | Gambia | Honduras | Indonesia | Nepal | Namibia | Niger (1) | Niger (2) | Pakistan | Sikkim (India)
Culturally in Pakistan, men and women are segregated and thus, separate project field teams had to be established to implement the project. When the initial project strategy for implementation was formulated, taking into account the results of the first participatory rural appraisal (PRA), the full participation of women was considered vital to the project's success.
A participatory methodology that focused on promoting the empowerment of rural women through the formation of village level associations, was developed. Women's associations became forums through which women had access to information and training. They provided support to women, allowing them to develop self-confidence in expressing opinions and in contributing to decision making. Access to credit and income, from income generating activities, also gave women recognition and confidence. Side by side with the formation of women's associations, a programme was integrated to increase women's involvement with, and awareness of, environmental issues, by paying attention to the needs expressed by rural women in the PRAs. The project introduced Gender Awareness (GA) training at three levels: at the community level, the mid-level of extensionists and field workers and at the top management or director level. Another project will have to be designed to introduce the importance of integrating gender concerns in the planning of participatory watershed management programs of government Forestry or Soil and Water Conservation departments.
Due to the fact that women's participation was being mainstreamed as part of the project strategy for implementation, striking results were obtained in natural resources conservation (NRC). Even though PRA tools - like the Daily Time Profile, which are designed to collect gender disaggregated data - indicate clearly that women are responsible for agricultural field work, for the collection of fuel and fodder, for carrying water and feeding and caring for animals, technically there is still no place for gender-related information to be integrated directly into project planning The project illustrated how rural women can be involved in NRC.
To promote and consolidate people's participation in the conservation and development of upland catchments, in accordance with government policies and priorities. The adaptation and implementation of participatory methods and the promotion of an integrated approach to watershed management are the central elements of this multi-component project. The "gender perspective", as one of the elements necessary for the participation of rural women in natural resource conservation, became a major component of the project.
A participatory and integrated approach to watershed management and natural resources use and conservation, was promoted by the project both within the Forest and Wildlife Department, as well as through much needed coordination with the Agriculture and Livestock Departments. The project was designed so that a strategy could be evolved based on the results of the PRAs. A strategy was developed based on the assessment of local physical and socio-economic realities, problems and potentials, and from the identification of priority activities to support the implementation of selected activities by the population. To implement the strategy the following actions were taken:
Besides the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department, FAO staff and consultants, local populations, relevant government agencies, the private sector and NGOs were involved. In 1993 and 1994, the project had contracted an NGO, the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), to assist in training group promoters and Forestry staff in communication skills, group management, record keeping and rural finance.
In June 1997, the project staff facilitated a community evaluation team to evaluate the women's programme. The team was composed of ten women from five women's associations. Activities to be evaluated were proposed by all the associations and narrowed to the following:
The "community evaluation team" selected indicators for the activities to be evaluated and they even interviewed 20 non-project participants for the evaluation. The results are published in A Rural Women's Evaluation of an Environmental Project, FAO, Quetta, August 1997.
Direct collaboration exchange has also been established with various other FAO, UNDP, UNICEF and bilateral development projects.
Based on the very positive results obtained, replication/expansion of the project is under consideration. A potential partnership, which would ensure continuation of the project, is with the UNDP "Balochistan area development programme" expected to start in 1999. (CIDA additional funds have already been pledged for the present project area).