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$400,000 pact for economic empowerment of 5,000 Baloch women

A $400,000 pact signed here Monday will see the economic empowerment of 5,000 Baloch women over the next two years by equipping them with entrepreneurship skills to market their embroidery and handicrafts products to supplement their household incomes. Helen Loftin, regional manager of Canadian NGO Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), and Pervez Iqbal, CEO of Pakistan’s Water, Environment and Sanitation Society (WESS), inked the pact here.

MEDA project staff will work with WESS to implement the planned activities in five districts of Balochistan: Quetta, Loralai, Killa Saifullah, Mastung and Zohb, Online news agency reported.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with support from USAID is funding the project as part of a three-year agricultural development project titled Assistance to Agriculture Development in Balochistan Border Areas that is being implemented by WESS since January 2009.

Women in Balochistan have a rich tradition of hand embroidery and handicrafts production that are transferred from generation to generation.

MEDA Pakistan has been working to improve the lives of Pakistani women since 2004. MEDA’s vision is to increase Pakistani home-bound women’s incomes in hard-to-reach rural areas by working in partnership with Pakistani organizations and institutions.

Pakistani partner NGOs and women artisans will benefit from the training and mentoring necessary for women to access viable markets with appropriate products.

MEDA’s project titled From Behind the Veil worked with women embroiderers in Pakistan and became an award-winning initiative during its 2004-07 tenure.

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