Participatory Rural Appraisal: A New Experience

Mrs. Nasreen Gulzar, a member of SHFC – 37 DB – District Khushab is associated with Caritas Pakistan since the inception of SAFBIN Program in this village. In the beginning her family was not much supportive but gradually when Caritas work gained momentum and Village Resource Persons (VRPs) cultivated relationships; they were also motivated to be a part of different SAFBIN activities. Last year with the commencement of SAFBIN Program, SHFCs (smallholder farmer collectives) were formed in the village and she was one of those who were selected as SHFC member by virtue of her good knowhow about Caritas. She actively took part in PRA exercise (Participatory Rural Appraisal), which was totally a new experience for her. With her fellow farmers and villagers, she practically experienced and learnt about social mapping, resource mapping, agro-ecology practices, and farm connections.

She says, “The SAFBIN project is like a life changing element in our lives because it completely changed our thinking towards knowing problems, identifying resources and discussing agriculture practices and indigenous knowledge for collective benefit. It was first time that together as community we practiced PRA tools in our village”.

She is of the view that community leaders, if properly facilitated, could gather data, define problems, rank solutions and devise an integrated village plan for natural resources management with substantial community participation. The beauty of this project is farmer’s involvement right from the beginning where we feel that our opinion matters a lot for Caritas Pakistan and this will definitely empower small farmers. “I also feel very honoured when Caritas provided us an opportunity to participate in meetings where we discussed women issues regarding their health and nutrition”, added Nasreen Gulzar. Now, she can see her village from a different angle and replicate her PRA learning with other members.