By: Shahid Aslam
LAHORE: The World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) is successfully furthering a task of improving livelihood of all those people, including women living at the banks of the mighty Indus River from Guddu to Sukkur Barrages by making them economically independent through different means.
The multi-million three-year project “Livelihood Improvement of Fishermen—- Central Indus” initiated by WWF-P in 2012 and would be completed in June 2015. The project aimed at establishing Community Base Organisation (CBO) for addressing poverty/environment-related issues of the people living in the areas between Guddu and Sukkur Barrages, particularly women. The project also aimed at developing a livelihood development plan in consultation with CBOs and other stakeholders.
In the first phase, four CBOs were established, two each at Guddu and Sukkur Barrages areas. Each CBO comprises of around 20 members, having equal representation of both men and women. Recently, WWF-P arranged a visit of some selected journalists to one CBO located at Sher Dil Mehar Ghot in Ghotki District to show what they have achieved so far.
A few members of the CBO, including its General Secretary Pehlwan Mir, Manzoor Hussain Mirani, etc along with WWF-P official Liaqat Ali Khokhar provided a detail briefing about different measures being taken by the CBO so far.
Besides helping WWF-P in conservation of wildlife of the Indus River, the CBO aimed at providing vocational training to women, arranging solar panels for community, orchard plantation, arranging fuel stoves, establishing bio-gas plants and to provide livestock, etc to them. Besides this, a family got two cows, two goats and six poultry animals under the livestock head. Liaqat said 45 units of bio-gas, 160 solar panels and 800 fuel-efficient stoves had been provided to the community in all the four CBOs working between the areas of Sukkur Barrage to Guddu Barrage.
Liaqat Ali Khokhar said six-month training was being provided to rural women to make them financially empowered. He added that in the next stage of the project, micro enterprises training would be provided to all women so that they could sell their hand-made embroidery, stitching, etc easily.
All the CBOs are registered with Social Welfare Department of Sindh, claimed Ali Mahar, Site Manager WWF-P Sukkur. ‘Every CBO has been given a grant of Rs1 million each by WWF-P. Around Rs200,000 had also been collected by all the community members,’ Mahar added.
M Ali Mirani told the media that the WWF had been helping them to check illegal trade. The WWF representatives told the journalists that under the programme, Global Poverty Elevation Fund, WWF UK was also playing a role in the livelihood improvement of Indus fishermen community.