Closing Ceremony of One UN Project: ‘Livelihood restoration, protection and sustainable empowerment of vulnerable peasant communities in the Sindh Province (LRP)’

A One UN project implemented by ILO, FAO and UN WOMEN in 120 villages of rural Sindh showcased its achievements through a closeout event in Islamabad on July 1, 2016. Project supported 11800 insecure, unprotected and the most vulnerable families who have endured devastating floods of 2010, rebuild their lives and attained their Human Security.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 01 July 2016
ISLAMABAD (Joint ILO, FAO and UN Women News): Improving the living standard of the common people in Pakistan is core agenda of UN, said Mr Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan. Talking at the closing ceremony of the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) funded project, he said this project is unique in structure and has improved the lives of the people by giving them a choice. Quoting from recent UN statistics, he revealed that multidimensional poverty in Sindh stands at 43 percent and in some districts it touches the fearful figure of 70 percent plus. He proposed enforcing “human security” on the principle of holistically reaching first to the most secluded people. He said that the project improved people’s life and choice and freed them from fears. He described the project as unique in the sense that it gave the people voice, choice and dignity.

Addressing the occasion Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director ILO said that the ILO closely cooperate with other organizations at national, regional and global levels for achieving the decent work objectives, especially focusing the rural economies. The ILO is recognized for promoting decent work in rural economies through creating green jobs, employment and skills development, providing micro-finance and insurance services, developing micro enterprises, and risk reduction methodologies. In this particular project, ILO team closely worked with youth and poorest peasants for making their livelihoods resilient. She also spoke about the 2010 and 2011 floods of Pakistan and their adverse impact on Sindh, particularly Mirpurkhas and Dadu districts, leading to joint recovery operations by FAO, UN Women and ILO. She commended the unity of UN agencies and said she was inspired by the transformation in the life of the beneficiaries of the project.

Mr Patrick T Evans, FAO Representative in Pakistan highlighted the uniqueness of the project that supplemented the FAO’s on farm activities like improved agriculture production, irrigation systems and soil management. ILO and UN Women added value through their off-farm and Women focused activities to strengthen the livelihood resilience of the benefitted communities.

Ms Sangeeta Thapa, Deputy Country Representative UN Women said the project improved women’s role in household and community level decision making and has improved their access to national identity cards. She further said that the land tenancy agreements for landless women farmers are a landmark achievement of the project, she appreciated the Sindh government’s support and urged the government and other partners for scaling up of these initiatives to other parts of the country as well.

Representatives of the ‘employers’ and ‘workers’ organizations also spoke on the occasion. They spotlighted that three times more agriculture production can be achieved by organizing the agriculture workers and employers, as has been practically demonstrated by the LRP.

Champa and Nursing, who had come from Mirpurkhas, represented the beneficiary community. Champa acknowledged the effectiveness of green skills training provided to her by the ILO. She said “ I was able to construct 2,000 smokeless, fuel efficient and environment friendly stoves. I thus earned a profit of 400,000 rupee and also managed to win the Entrepreneurship award from the governor of Sindh”. Nursing declared that he was getting three crops per season from his conservation agriculture plot and his wife was able to setup a grocery shop-thus they were feeling quite secure and resilient.

Commissioner Mirpurkhas Division Mr Shafiq Ahmed Mahesar lauded the project, especially the micro-enterprise development initiatives that had boosted the rural economy of Sindh. He also emphasized the need for scaling up the good practices from the project to other parts of the Sindh so that human security of many more vulnerable populations could be improved and the capacity of the Sindh government could be developed simultaneously.

Talking at the ceremony, Mr Altaf Bijarani, Secretary Planning and Development acknowledged that the project was a real success in bringing human security to 11800 families. He emphasized the need for expanding the good practices from the project to other parts of the Sindh. He pledged that government of Sindh in cooperation with the UN and the donor agencies will soon launch an expansion of the project to other parts of the Sindh. He further committed to call a donors conference immediately after Eid to further take up the expansion of the project.

A booklet based on inspiring stories from this project titled “Rebuilding Flood Affected Farmers’ Communities: Inspirational Human Stories” was also launched. A mime performance highlighting the issues that the community faced, caught the eye of the audience.

Representatives from the government, donor organizations, beneficiaries, civil society and media people were also present on the occasion. This 3 year project steered by the government of Sindh, was jointly implemented by FAO, ILO and UN Women in Dadu and Mirpur Khas Districts. The project was steered by the Planning & Development Department, Government of Sindh. The key achievements of this project include improved livelihoods and economic security of rural communities, enhanced skills and knowledge base of nearly men and women peasant farmers, landless people and empowerment of peasant organizations, women groups and their constituent hari members to enhance their natural resource base.