3rd Women Farmer Conference organized by Caritas Pakistan August 16-18, 2016 in Lahore

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Caritas Pakistan organized 3rd Women Farmer Conference from August 16-18, 2016under the theme “Empowering Women: Empowering Pakistan” in Lahore. Final Conference day concluded with plenary sessions and exhibition was held on August 18, 2016 at Children Library Complex. The event aimed at bringing together women farmers and beneficiaries of Women Empowerment as well as entrepreneurship Program across the country and providing a platform to voice their issues and gather relevant learning from one another.
Over 125 women farmers and entrepreneurs from different areas participated in the conference. To appreciate and acknowledge the products and practices of farmers and beneficiaries of entrepreneurship training an exhibition was also organized for promoting their products. Different sustainable agriculture models were displayed in the exhibition as well.
The proceedings of the conference started with a national anthem followed by folk song, documentary and inaugural address by Mr. Amjad Gulzar, Executive Director Caritas Pakistan. Special cultural performance to acknowledge the role of rural women and welcome the guests was also performed by women group.
Mr. Amjad Gulzar Executive Director Caritas Pakistan warmly welcomed the participants and urged them to learn as much as you can. This event is a tribute to contribution of women in different sectors and Caritas Pakistan will make sure that women conference is held every year, he further added. He also expressed the feelings of His Grace Archbishop Joseph Coutts and His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Shaw for women development and encouragement for this conference as well as different programs of Caritas Pakistan.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr. Amjad Gulzar, joined by the Mr. Robert a representative from US Consulate Lahore; Ms. Mary Gill (MPA – Punjab Assembly), Ms. Saadia Sohail (MPA Punjab Assembly ), Ms. Fouzia Waqar (Chairperson Commission on status of women, Government of Punjab); Major Asia from “The Salvation Army” and Ms. Summera Saleem from Aurat Foundation.
The main speakers of the Conference included Ms. Mary Gill (MPA – Punjab Assembly), Ms. Saadia Sohail (MPA Punjab Assembly ), Ms. Fouzia Waqar (Chairperson Commission on status of women, Government of Punjab); Major Asia from “The Salvation Army” and Ms. Summera Saleem from Aurat Foundation.
The panelists of first panel discussion on women empowerment highlighted role of Commission on status of women; punishment on child marriages; working women hostels; opportunities for skill development; monitoring by Commission, legal rights of women; right to land; demand for equal wage; women access to market; dissemination of information about markets; and economic development of illiterate and unskilled women.
The panelists of second plenary session included women farmers, an entrepreneur, female parliamentarians and representative of Caritas Pakistan. The speakers shared their experiences of benefitting from bio-gas plant; fuel efficient stove; and organic agriculture practices. While female parliamentarians talked about opportunities available for women empowerment and effect of climate change on the social and economic life of women. Caritas Pakistan’s contribution in empowering women since its inception was also revealed by Caritas representative.
Lastly, a resolution was also read by one of the farmers, which highlighted their learning; commitment and action plan for replicating the learning. Some of the key action points included mobilizing women for response to climate change; training other women; gaining and disseminating information to other women; promotion of sustainable agriculture and home grown vegetables for minimizing malnutrition and food insecurity.