Pakistan’s Minister of State Visits ICIMOD Projects

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Marvi Memon (right) is welcomed at the village.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Minister of State, Pakistan and Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Marvi Memon paid a visit to women farmers in Kavrepalanchok district in early March along with a small delegation from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Centre for Environment and Agriculture Policy Research, Ex-tension and Development (CEAPRED). A guest speaker at the International Women’s Day celebrations held at ICIMOD headquarters, the minister indicated an interest in visiting the climate smart villages (CSVs) implemented by ICIMOD and CEAPRED.  As Chairperson of the BISP – the largest single social safety net programme in Pakistan’s history – the minister wanted to learn more about best practices and technologies for empowering women.

Marvi Memon (centre) awards the Gender Innovation Award 2016 to staff at ICIMOD.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Ms Memon was welcomed by the women’s collective in Kalche besi, one of eight villages in Kavrepalanchok, Nepal where CSVs are being piloted under the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP). Initiated in 2014 across four villages – two in the lower hills and two in the upper hills in Kavrepalanchok - the pilot was extended to include four more villages in 2015. Altogether, the pilot has 1,089 participating farmers, 82% of those are women farmers. 

Ms Memon with women farmers and CEAPRED staff.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD

Over the day, the minister observed the simple, affordable, replicable and climate friendly practices adopted by farmers in the village and was introduced to the CSV concept that introduces six different smart interventions: nutrient smart, water smart, crop smart, energy smart, ICT smart, and future smart. The CSV approach draws from Food and Agriculture Organization’s climate smart agriculture, and is localised in a mountain context. The minister was  interested in understanding the novel and simple concept of equipping communities with tools to improve resilience to climate change and other changes, particularly in agriculture. 

A day earlier, the minister also toured the 30 hectare ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari to learn about bio-briquettes as a source of fuel, and other high value products like trout farming, kiwis and shitake mushrooms. She said those simple technologies and practices, would be very useful in BISP to support women's income and was keen on implementing the technology from Knowledge Park and the pilot CSV site, in her native province in Pakistan, so that direct women beneficiaries in BISP, could benefit from the novel concept.