Opening ceremony of Community Service Center (CSC) and Female Entrepreneurship Center (FEC), established under Social Research Project- Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program 2 was held on 7th November, 2014 at village Hot Khan Leghari near Mirpurkhas. Vice Chancellor Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam Prof. Dr. Mujeeb-u-ddin Memon Sahrai in his speech during opening ceremony said that Agriculture is mainstay of Pakistan’s economy and contributes more than 21% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan and generates productive employment opportunities for 45% of the country’s labour force. But there is still a huge potential in Agriculture sector that can be explored and utilized through good quality academic research and its implementation. He further said that Australian researchers Dr. Sandra Heaney Mustafa, Professor Robert Fitzgerald, and Sindh Agriculture University social scientist Dr. Tehmina Mustafa has done wonderful job to develop a sustainable agriculture and rural development model which can be replicated. He said that Sindh Agriculture University is working on the different programs in the university to create opportunities for excellent agricultural education and research. In this regard five farmers’ advisory desks are established in Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam for the farmers. He invited farmers to utilize that facility and get benefit.
Project leader Dr. Sandra Heaney – Mustafa from University of Canberra, Australia in her speech said that “I am very happy to see the progress which has been made by Social research Project Sindh. She appreciated the work done by Dr. Tehmina Mustafa and Mr. Mustafa Nangraj.
She also appreciated the efforts of community of village for establishing ASLP-2 CSC Fund to ensure the sustainability of the community service center (CSC) in village Hot Khan. She said that “I was very pleased to see you are taking of initiatives for the sustainability of CSC model sustainability in future”.
She added that “plans for the CSC give me great hope that you will continue the work started here by Social Research Project. It also shows how much you have come to trust the teams in mango and dairy as well as our social team and have modeled your own plans on the actions of the teams who have been collaborating here in the village. I am sure you will have great success in the coming months and wish you all a prosperous future. May you also be an example to other villages around the area and help them to also bring change to their livelihoods and villages.”
In the opening ceremony Dr. Tehmina Mustafa, Project Officer and focal person of the program explained Social Research Project model and said that as now a days in urban area people have realized that men and women need to enhance their capacity and work together for improving living standard of their family. Similarly, this is need of the time to develop new and practical models for agriculture and rural development with equal participation of the male and female community.
She said that “Social Research Project (SRP) is conducting research with participatory action research (PRA) methodology. On the basis of the research data we have established Female Entrepreneurship Center (FEC) and community service (CSC) in village Hot khan Leghari. Female entrepreneurship center is new idea of women empowerment for the females who are engaged in to agriculture and dairy. In this center we have formed and trained different female groups to initiate entrepreneurship activities within center to enhance their family income. In this center a female farmers group has cultivated vegetable nursery and mango nursery. Now they are selling it and getting profit from this business. Further she said that another group of females has set an ice cream making unit. They are preparing ice-cream and selling it. Third group of the females has got training of sewing and they are ready to set a point in female entrepreneurship center for sewing of suits on commercial basis. Social research project also have also trained females of the village about kitchen gardening and they are cultivating vegetables at their homes”.
Dr. Tehmina mentioned that for male and youth many trainings are going in the community service center specially for male mango and dairy farmers. Youth male and female groups are also formed and Social project is doing their capacity.
She further added that Social Research Project is also replicating this model in a village in District Thatta for dairy farmers. In the end she said that females are half of the population of our country therefore if we engage skilled female in agriculture it will be highly helpful to alleviate poverty from the country.
Mr. Mustafa Nangraj, Mr. Suhail Ayaz, and Mr. Molabakhsh Laghari also addressed in the event.