Women's Economic Empowerment: Balochistan

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with support from USAID is funding the women’s economic empowerment in Balochistan (WEE: B) an integrated part of an ongoing three-year agricultural development project, initiated in August 2009 with the goal to assist homebound deprived women of Balochistan to raise their household income.

MEDA’s project staff is working with local partner, Water, Environment and Sanitation Society (WESS) to implement the project directly benefiting 5,000 home-bound women in five districts; Quetta, Loralai, Killa Saifullah, Mastung and Zohb of Balochistan.

One of the objectives of this project is to develop market led enterprise activities that can economically empower the women in Balochistan. Due to local cultural norms where women are homebound, engaging them in enterprise and product development is challenging.

However, women in this region are traditionally rich in hand embroidery and handicraft production, a skill that has been passed on from generation to generation as part of their domestic production system, but never allowed them a viable access to the market. This activity is outside FAO’s traditional mandate; therefore, USAID and FAO have partnered with MEDA Pakistan to implement the WEE Project. Through this endeavor, MEDA Pakistan is assisting these homebound women for their entrepreneurship development in embroidery and handicrafts sub-sectors, which would ultimately supplement to their inherited natural resource/ agricultural household income.

MEDA focuses its efforts on strengthening the capabilities of Women Entrepreneurs (WE), Women Entrepreneur Groups (WEG), Sales Agents (SA) and Key Facilitating Partners (KFP) in critical areas of:

 Market Linkages: Between WE/WEG and the commercial sector, through SA and KFP;

 Support Services: Input supply; commercial contract arrangements; industry training (technical, organizational and business management); microfinance, etc;

Product Development: Design, branding, quality control and packaging are of the few areas we focus on.

Project Goal

To increase incomes and economically empower women producers in northern districts of Balochistan by facilitating their access to viable markets with appropriate products.

Project Objectives

  • To apply the value chain development approach to facilitate appropriate linkages for rural women so that they can sustainably integrate into market systems.
  • To partner with a local organization to build capacity to apply market-driven solutions, and to facilitate the project’s access to these highly conservative communities.
  • Market Access for Women Producers – Baluchistan

Key Facilitating Partners

MEDA Pakistan is working in collaboration with local partner, Water, Environment and Sanitation Society (WESS) to implement the project directly benefiting 5,000 homebound women within five districts of Balochistan. Women of these areas are being sustainably linked to markets in a culturally appropriate manner.