Women-led Village Organization Scores Much Better
A Case Study of Ahmed Khan Loond-Village Organization of Taluka Chambar, District Tando Allahyar
In this VO, there are 10 Community Organizations whose heads also received ‘Community Management Skills Training’; this system has benefited a number of households
By Nadir Ali Shah
Ahmed Khan Loond-Village Organization (VO) is a women-led organization formed on 13th June 2017 under the EU-SUCCESS program in Union Council (UC) Dad Khan Jarwar, taluka Chambar, district Tando Allahyar. In this VO, there are 10 Community Organizations whose heads also received ‘Community Management Skills Training’ from the National Rural Support Program (NRSP) before joining the Village Organization. Some 202 households are listed in this VO out of which 98 households are identified as poor through the Poverty Scorecard survey. VO president is Bhagul* who also works as a Community Resource Person (CRP) and conducts awareness sessions about health, cleanliness and education with members of COs every month.
According to Bhagul, she had never thought that one day she would be leading the Village Organization as president. “Before joining VO, I was so shy to speak but now I have the confidence to give a presentation about the performance of my VO to the participants of the VO meeting,” she said and added, “We, rural women, keep ourselves engaged in household chores, fodder preparation for livestock and daily wage farm labor but after joining the VO, we have realized that we can also perform community development work to make our society better”.
In this VO, 42 households have received ‘Community Investment Fund’ (CIF) that is a revolving grant under the EU-SUCCESS program and the majority of the households invest the fund to buy livestock, mainly goats for raising to sell at the time of Eid al Adha to receive more monetary benefit. As per the words of Laxmi*, “I have taken CIF two times and bought goats for rearing and caring as it is easy for us to raise them in the village. Now, I have 7 goats that are a huge asset of my household that values around Rs.60000.”
In addition to this, 47 women have received ‘Technical and Vocational Skills Training’ (TVST) in different trades such as tailoring and aplic work from which women beneficiaries are now earning money. According to Zubaida* she went through the training of tailoring two years ago and now she is taking orders for sewing the new dresses and earning PKR 10 to 15 thousand per month. “During the Eid festivals, I receive more work which boosts up my income to a good extent. Now I am able to support the household expenditures as the quality of our life has improved”.
Further in this VO, 10 households have also received ‘Micro Health Insurance (MHI) cards for any medical emergency case (hospitalization) to be covered under this program intervention. In some cases, women beneficiaries have used this facility in delivery cases at hospitals for better treatment. Bashiran* (MHI beneficiary) shared that one year ago, she went through the seizure at the hospital in Tando Allahyar without paying the amount because all the medical expenses around Rs.25,000 were covered under the MHI facility. In this way, her household could save itself from taking the loan by using MHI card.
VO Manager Halema* informed about the self-help initiatives and works done under her Village Organization (VO) that the VO members took giant steps for the formation of 235 CNIC cards of the community members in coordination with NADRA staff as they contacted them from the platform of VO. This VO also formed 55 ‘Nikah Nama’ of the married couples of the community and 300 ‘Child Registration Certificates’ (CRC) also known as B-forms of children to be used for school enrolment. Vaccination of mother and child around 320 was ensured and vaccination of 600 animals in livestock was completed. Moreover, 215 out of school children were enrolled in school and 840 trees were planted in the different areas of the village keeping in view the importance of tree plantation and environmental change.
About the future planning of VO, Bhagul (VO president) shared that VO will identify the remaining poor households in the village to include them in the SUCCESS program so that they can also avail the opportunity of getting more benefits from the program interventions such as revolving grant and vocational training for income-generating activities. Efforts will also be taken to ensure the complete enrolment of out of school children so that no child can be deprived of the basic right of getting an education in the village. Furthermore, concrete steps will be made to ensure that community members must understand the importance of community awareness sessions and seriously act upon them for bringing betterment in their life in terms of behavioral change. In addition, hand-pump water testing for potable water will be done to get rid of the water-borne diseases in the village.
In the end, VO members expressed the desire for close coordination with government line departments like health, education, NADRA and social welfare to ensure the process of progress must not stop and continue to achieve future milestones for the welfare and betterment of rural communities. A famous quotation of Henry David Thoreau is a right-fit here: “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
*Names changed to protect privacy
Nadir Ali Shah is an Anthropologist and working as Field Researcher at Rural Support Programs Network (RSPN). He can be reached at email@example.com.