The highest incidence of poverty is in the zones of Southern Punjab that rely most on crop incomes. Southern Punjab is characterized by poor socio-economic status, low literacy and school enrollment rates and higher malnutrition and under 5 mortality rates. A careful analysis shows the high level of poverty in project area. Analysis of poverty trends in Pakistan reveals that poverty reduction is a direct function of agricultural growth in excess of labour force growth. The rural non-farm sector is dependent on agriculture as the driving force for its demand. It is the rise in farm income that drives demand for the large, employment-intensive, non-tradable, rural non-farm sector.
The Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project (SPPAP) is designed to target the poorest district of Southern Punjab in the cotton-wheat zone and low intensity production areas. It is targeted at both the agriculture sector and the rural non-farm sector. The focus on the agriculture sector is expected to lead to an increase in agriculture incomes which will fuel the demand for goods and services produced by the employment intensive rural non-farm sector. At the same time the skill enhancement activities will assist in the employment potential of the rural labour force. The SPPAP is also designed to directly impact poverty through a programme of social mobilization, social protection and asset and skill creation for poor households. The combined impact of these is expected to be an increase in rural employment and incomes and a reduction in rural poverty.
Women are expected to be the major beneficiary of the Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project. Special measures are being undertaken to ensure the inclusion of women in the Project. The first of these measures is to ensure that a majority of the members of the community organizations which are formed are women. Even in villages where men are included in project activities the main interaction of SPPAP is through women’s organizations. It is a fcat that going through Women’s Organizations is a very empowering opportunity for women who then assume a leadership role in conducting the discussion and in decision-making. Where the CO is mixed or includes only men, women seldom get an opportunity to participate while the men invariably participate and sit on the fringes in a gathering of Women’s Community Organization.
The second measure taken by SPPAP to ensure the participation of women is to fix sex based targets for each of the main activities under the different project components which is as follow;
Women are specifically targeted in each of the project activities through special quotas and targets for them as follows:
- 100% of the livestock and land plots under the asset creation sub-component fixed for women.
- 50% of vocational training will be provided to women.
- 50% of entrepreneurship development training will be provided to women.
- 80% of the business incubation service will be provided to women.
- 50% of the equipment, tools and kits after vocational and entrepreneurship training will be provided to women.
- 50% of the participants of the Farmer Field Schools will be women.
- 100% of the para vets and Female Veterinary Assistants trained will be women.
- 20% of the community service providers trained will be women.
- Open quota for women under PEI component
- Open quota for women in CPI