FAISALABAD: USAID Deputy Mission Director Miles Toder has said that women empowerment and agricultural development are essential to alleviate poverty from Pakistan.
Chairing a function organised by the UAF Department of Rural Sociology and Institute of Agri Extension in collaboration with Aurat Foundation and USAID here on Monday, he said that the US government was assisting Pakistan for the cause of women education and uplift of agriculture sector.
He called for empowering women in all areas of life as they constituted more than 50 per cent of the population. He said that education was a key of progress and the women must be blessed with knowledge. Different initiatives for women empowerment were being taken on the part of government, media and civil society, he said, adding that the women were facing discrimination which demanded stepped-up efforts.
He said that issues like climate changes and water scarcity were posing the serious threat and affecting the agriculture sector. Speaking on the occasion, UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan that women empowerment was prerequisite to achieve sustainable development and prosperity. He said: “We cannot make development without involving the women in socio-economic activities and bringing them into mainstream.”
He said that the UAF was promoting the women cycling at the campus to facilitate them and to minimise their dependency. He said that the USAID-funded Centre for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security had been established that would address the issue of food insecurity.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agri University Vice-Chancellor Dr Asif Ali said that the rural women were playing a pivotal role in the development of agriculture but their role remained unrecognised.
US Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies Chief of Party Dr Bashir Ahmad, Aurat Foundation representative Hasna Hameed, Dr Naveed Farah, Dr Farah Riaz and Dr Beenish also spoke on the occasion. Later, 25 students were awarded scholarships, including five for PhDs and 20 for MPhil programmes. The PhD students would be given Rs 10,000 per month whereas the MPhil students would get Rs 6,000 per month.