|UVAS Press Release|
USAID and UVAS Host Seminar:
WEinSPIRE – Investing in Women and the Rural Economy
Lahore, August 29, 2018 – USAID Deputy Mission Director Clay Epperson, Additional Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DDD) Government of Punjab Khalid Mehmood Chaudhry, and Vice Chancellor University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Prof. Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha participated in a seminar held at UVAS today to discuss the accomplishments of the Women Empowerment in South Punjab through Investment in Rural Economy (WEinSPIRE) initiative launched last year by USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP). WEinSPIRE empowers women involved in the livestock sector of South Punjab by facilitating linkages between public and private sector stakeholders.
Partners in this initiative include the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Bahawalpur (WCCIB), the NRSP Microfinance Bank Ltd., three Livestock Breeders Associations, UVAS, Telenor Pakistan, and L&DDD, Government of Punjab.
On the same occasion, USAID PEEP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the First Women Bank Limited to formalize the bank’s partnership with the WEinSPIRE initiative. Also, USAID Deputy Mission Director Clay Epperson, VC UVAS Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, and Additional Secretary L&DDD Government of Punjab Khalid Mehmood Chaudhry unveiled three herd books for Nachi, Beatal and Lohi Livestock Breeders Welfare Societies to promote animal record keeping and traceability necessary for improved international market access.
Speaking at the seminar, USAID Deputy Mission Director Clay Epperson said, “Promoting women's economic empowerment can be challenging. USAID has developed a creative and powerful platform through WEinSPIRE, which involves mobilizing a unique network of partners in reaching out to women livestock farmers to help improve their access to markets, finance, information, and veterinary services – all essential ingredients of a functional rural market system.”
Since WEinSPIRE was launched in 2017, hundreds of rural women farmers have joined partner livestock associations, more than 2,000 women have been trained in improved animal husbandry practices, and over 30,000 have received microloans from banks to initiate or expand their livestock businesses.
Speaking at the event, Additional Secretary L&DDD Khalid Mehmood said, “Women play a pivotal role in Pakistan’s livestock sector; they will be able to see wider socioeconomic benefits of the initiative through enhanced livestock rearing training opportunities at their doorstep offered by the Livestock department, GoPb as part of WEinSPIRE.”
USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project is a five-year, $15 million project to spur investment and improve the business environment in the livestock, dairy and agriculture sectors of Punjab.
UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said, “Empowering women in livestock can help boost Pakistan’s domestic economy. This initiative will build the capacity of female livestock farmers to enhance the meat and milk production potential of indigenous livestock breeds and improve their entrepreneurial capacities and capabilities.”
Other participants were present at the event included Provincial Director USAID/Lahore Lea Swanson, Agriculture Advisor USAID/Lahore Asadullah Khan, Registrar Livestock Breeding Services Authority Asif Suleman Sahi, President First Women Bank Tahira Raza, General Secretary Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Bahawalpur Jaha Ara Abbasi and Chairman Nachi Goat Breeders Welfare Society Malik Hameed.