Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
As part of Shirkat Gah's ongoing initiatives under WELDD to connect women from the grassroots to government officials, creating contacts and facilitating meetings with key government departments is a regular feature in their work. Over 200 women farmers in Pakistan, for example, regularly engage with government officials from the Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Department.
This engagement has resulted in numerous successful initiatives that benefit the local community. Expertise and resources provided by these government departments are utilized in order to increase total productivity of crops and vegetables. The Agriculture Department in District Okara of Punjab province, for instance, reduced cost of seeds packets of seasonal crops from Rupees 250 to 50. This helped women farmers obtain seeds at subsidized rates and enjoy higher profits. Similarly, a seed filtraton machine was also provided to women farmers of two villages free of charge.
One the one hand, this engagement has resulted in increased accountability of government officials which ultimately helps local communities to gain access to services provided by the state. But what is more, women farmers' agriculture successes has had knock-on effect on their independence and decision-making power in their families and communities.
A young woman farmer in Pakistan. Image via A Celebration Of Women