Home' Partners : Partners: Pakistan – embracing change and transformation Contents 24
ISSUE TWO 2016 PARTNERS
n Focal villages have been established in Pakistan
where farmers work with social researchers
to maximise impacts from commodity-based
agricultural research projects.
n The model further bene tted from establishing
Community Service Centres (CSCs) as meeting
places for training and other development activities.
n The model has proven so e ective it has been
adopted by other aid providers.
How do you improve livelihoods for
the rural poor in Pakistan? From
our perspective, you first need to
understand the circumstances
surrounding their marginalisation, especially of
women. Second, work with them in their context
to design strategies for sustainable value-chain
development. Thirdly, explore opportunities
for collaboration across the commodity-based
projects working in the horticulture and dairy
sectors, so that both the poor and non-poor can
have 'win-win' outcomes that are empowering and
lead to improved livelihoods.
The Social Research Project (SRP) was initiated
in the second phase of the Australia--Pakistan
Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP2) to
facilitate a collaborative approach to improving
the livelihood systems for the rural poor in
Pakistan. That includes collaboration with local
stakeholders in Pakistan as well as the various
ASLP2 value-chain projects.
The SRP team was led by the University
of Canberra and was composed of the authors as
chief investigators alongside Rob Fitzgerald and
Research-for-development projects may seek economic
impacts to the lives of subsistence farmers, but the
implementation and adoption of research outcomes
are fundamentally social phenomena
BY ADJUNCT PROFESSOR JOHN
SPRIGGS AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR
University of Canberra, Australia
Sandra Heaney-Mustafa (from the University of
Canberra), Dr M. Azeem Khan, Sajida Taj,
and Nadeem Akmal (National Agricultural
Research Centre), Dr Tehmina Mangan (Sindh
Agricultural University), and Dr Izhar Ahmad Khan
(University of Agriculture Faisalabad).
Together we cooperated with the researchers
from the commodity-based teams working in
mango, dairy and citrus sectors, and community
leaders in rural villages.
THE RIGHT METHOD
For Pakistan we applied a participatory action
research method developed by the authors
in 2011. It began with an extensive stage of
information gathering involving a baseline
survey of 750 low-income households, a capacity
inventory, focus groups and case study.
Included were initial meetings with all the
ASLP2 commodity-based projects to learn of
their activities and to build relationships. This was
followed by a collaborative planning workshop in
Canberra in April 2012 that involved Australian and
Pakistani members across all the projects of ASLP2.
The most important idea to emerge was the
need to develop sites for integrated research
and development that involve all the various
commodity-based projects. This resulted in the
establishment of focal villages and village clusters
that maximise opportunities for collaboration
across projects and also enable engagement with
the target beneficiary groups.
The SRP team then worked with the four
commodity-based projects in 2012-13 to identify
six focal villages. Included were two villages in
the districts where the dairy, mango and citrus
projects were operating.
The villages were instrumental in providing
information, including capacity audits, in staging
village-level planning workshops to determine
R&D priorities, and developing strategies for
implementing changes in consultation with
the commodity-based teams. Additionally, the
villages were assisted to develop ICT capabilities.
To assess the value of the SRP, results from an end-
of-project survey of 90 households from the first
three focal villages (where activities have been
ongoing for sufficient time to assess impacts) were
compared with results from the same households
in the baseline survey. What we found suggests
impacts have been extensive and positive.
The participatory action research model was
found to be strongly demand-responsive. It met
the needs of male heads of households well
(achieving a score of 2.66 on a scale of three) but
also of females (2.74). Being demand-responsive
is the best way to ensure program innovations are
sustainable beyond the end of the program.
The approach also worked to bring together
the commodity-based projects at the focal
villages, making it possible for research across
sectors to integrate their findings. There was also
agreement on the development of Community
Service Centres (CSCs) as meeting places for
As part of a youth camp aimed at exposing
young people in Pakistan to a variety of
agricultural techniques, women visit a
bio-remediation plant at NARC, Islamabad.
PHOTO: RICHARD BRETELL
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