One Day workshop on National Review & Planning on rangelds.
CHITRAL: A one-day workshop held here on National Review and Planning on rangelands. The workshop was organized to review the progress of Regional Rangeland Program jointly initiated by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) Chitral and International Center for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Nepal with an aim to help reduce and alleviate poverty among Rangeland dependant mountain people and to improve the productivity of rangeland ecosystem in the Hindu Kush – Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau region. Participants including community members both men and women, elected representative, AKRSP, KADO, wildlife and forest officials attended the workshop. District Naib Nazim Sultan Shah chaired the session.
The meeting started with the recitation from Holy Quran followed by welcome address of Sardar Ayub Regional Program Manager (RPM) Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) Chitral. He appreciated the active role and support of district Naib Nazim that he is providing to bridge the gap between civil society and government. He was also optimistic that this support will continue in future. After the welcome address he explained the background of the partnership between AKRSP and ICIMOD and reasons for selection of Momi village for initiating Rangeland Management Program. He emphasized the communities to come forward and manage their natural resources so that these resources could be utilized by coming generations. Shahid Nadeem Manager M&E gave a detailed presentation on the activities carried out under the Regional Rangeland Project. Explaining the activities he informed that to improve the livelihoods of the local communities especially women training programs on identification and use of Medicinal Herbs has been initiated which benefited more than 20 men and women. Moreover, to improve the marketability of the local fabric (Shu) 18 women and 3 men were trained in Shu production techniques and have been linked with the market. He also informed that in addition to improving the skills of local men and women in fodder, silage making and vegetable production, improved varieties of fodder and vegetable seeds have also been distributed among the communities. He further added that to reduce the pressure on rangeland resources fuel efficient stoves and solar energy lamps have been introduced among the communities on trail basis. Formation of Rangeland Management Committees, establishment of forest nurseries, mass level plantation of forest plants, construction of irrigation channels and development of GIS map are some other activities that have been initiated under the project.
Expressing their views the community members appreciated the efforts of AKRSP and ICIMOD for the livelihoods improvement and rangeland ecosystem. They also assured their full support and cooperation in implantation of the program as per the objectives. Talking about the rangelands they revealed that before the AKRSP/ICIMOD intervention they were unaware of the importance of the rangelands and have never cared about the utilization of resources. Now they are very much aware and are taking concrete steps for efficient and sustainable utilization of these resources. Talking about the Shu production trainings, the women participants informed that though the villages is located in the area, which is known of high quality shu fabric, but the produce of Momi village has never got good prices in the market. However, after going through the capacity building process of Shu production they have been able to identify the problems and faults in their product and are now able to product quality product according to the market needs. In addition to this they also thanked AKRSP and ICOMOD for providing them with Bruch Carders that has lessened the workload and improved the efficiency of production process and quality of product.
G.H. Farooqi PO Box No. 5 GPO Chitral.