Gender mainstreaming in CRP dryland system Chakwal-Pakistan: Socio economic assessment and feedback
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Considering the importance of the value addition at local lever for improving gender participation in income generation activities and improve household food security, training programs on the subject were included in the CRP (1.1) Dry-Land system work plan to be implemented at the project sites. This was the third activity since 2013 and was targeted on up scaling through training master trainers and developing further linkages with the local NGOs and community women organizations active in the villages. The training was organized by Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Chakwal in collaboration with ICARDA and local NGOs. The social sciences team collected data and documented feedback from the participants, both at pre and post stages of the training. Data for the present study was collected through structured questionnaires and participant observation. The purpose of the study was to give awareness of females about the importance of value addition of fruits and vegetables because a large amount of fruits and vegetables could be wasted and used it as animals feed except this to preserve them for their own use. Another reason for the training was to empower the participants to embrace new methods of value addition on household level, prepare quality products at home, preserved them for a long time and starts their own business at family level. The other target of training was to train the participants as a master trainer for providing training to other females of their communities in the villages. Two days value addition training was conducted in which participants were trained and equipped with easy methods of preservation of different seasonal fruits and vegetables at household level by utilizing local level and own farm production along with market purchase during the flux of supply. In addition to the commercial focus, household level food preservation to avoid high prices during shortages was another aspect that participants were considering as their future planning through utilizing the skills learned during the training. Participants were also provided with recipe book and CDs. The participants were practically involved in whole training through different practical sessions in a step by step fashions starting from lectures, on methods of preservations, sharing recipes and practical preparation of the individual products. At the end of the practical session they themselves tasted all the products which they made and asked to compare the products they used to consume by preparing at home or purchased from market. The results of the assessment exercise exemplified the impact of value addition training in instilling positive orientation in terms of the magnitude of perceived knowledge, acquisition of skills and adoption levels. Moreover, the findings of the study conclude: (i) high intention to doe value addition especially for household level food security but with less commercial activity in the start, (iii) the master trainers were intended to extend their services for capacity building of rural women especially youth on value addition with their community organizations (iv) clear difference in knowledge and skills were found between pre and post training assessment v) the process and method of training was found satisfactory by participants as per evaluation criteria established in terms of contents, involvement, training material, resource persons knowledge and practicality of the training. Overall training was ranked as highly satisfactory yet further room exists for improving the space and arrangements for group activity during practical sessions and more engagement of the participants through encouraging for questions during the lecture and sharing practical experiences of the participants. Further follow up and backup is recommended for technical and marketing aspects to achieve the objectives.