A workshop with the Malikyar case study stakeholder forum was held on Sunday 17 November, 2019. The workshop was held in Malikyar at the farm house of Mr Saleem, a farmer who is also a leading member of the stakeholder forum. There were over 40 participants, coming from diverse backgrounds, including farmers, tribal elders, youth, religious clerics, students, NGO and community workers, and officers from the Balochistan Agriculture Extension Department, Agriculture Research Department, On Farm Water Management, Balochistan irrigation Department, and Balochistan Education Department.
At 11:00 am the workshop started with Mr Abdul Rasheed welcoming the participants and thanking the LWR 036 project team for their hard work. Dr Khair then provided a brief introduction to the LWR 036 project, the project team, the purpose of the workshop and the schedule for the workshop. Video messages from Drs Michael Mitchell, Catherine Allan and Jay Punthakey were then broadcast, with translations offered by Dr. Khair. Following that, Dr Hakeem (resource person on water and soil salinity) gave a practical demonstration on the use of EC meters to measure water PH, EC and TDS, which received great interest from the farmers present. Following this, Mr Razzaq Khilji and Mr Farooq presented their perspectives on the project, Mr Abdul Rasheed provided an introduction to the case study research component for the project, and why it was important, and an introduction to the Apna Pani App was provided by Abdul Rashed and Dr Abdul Hakeem using a video created by the project team in Urdu language. Finally, Mr Rasheed and Mr Hakeem introduced the project’s education material, and farmers were given a demonstration on how to measure watertables.
The workshop then broke into three smaller groups to identify groundwater related issues they were facing and to consider potential solutions for further investigation that fell within the domain of the LWR 036 project. Based on the group discussions, an action plan was developed, which secured full support of all present to enact within their capacity. An atmosphere of co-learning and co-investigation was clearly evident and enhanced the collaboration and trust developed between the community and the project team.