Study Tour for Bartang Women

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Окт 15 2018

Unforgettable impressions, lots of new ideas and interesting new contacts - a four-day study tour was organized in the Pamir for a group of female activists from Savnob jamoat who participated in the project "Clean Energy and Women on the Roof of the World". The tour of Lower Bartang-Khorog-Ishkashim was arranged on 24-27 September 2018 by the Environmental Organization 'The Little Earth' with support from the US Forestry Service.

Within a four-day period, ten members of the fair sex from the villages of Nisur, Ruhch, Savnob, Roshorv and Bopasor visited a number of various organizations, demonstration plots and facilities, including handicraft stores, sewing workshops, wool processing works, a tourist guest house (run by a woman), the recently opened University of Central Asia as well as the renowned Pamiri healing springs. Apart from the city of Khorog (administrative center of GBAO - Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region), the tour participants visited six different villages in the lower reaches of the Bartang valley and Ishkashim.

The main objective of the tour was for the women to become familiar with interesting and successful projects and practices implemented by different organizations in GBAO that promote involvement of women in natural resource management, development of handicraft trades and tourism, provide vocational training and small business support. The tour has helped the participants to gain new knowledge and experience, establish useful contacts and prompted discussion of new ideas for the development of their communities.

During day one of the tour, the participants visited the village of Bardaru in the Lower Bartang, where a wool processing workshop was set up with the support from MSDSP (Mountain Societies Development Support Program - a branch of the Aga Khan Development Network). The project has provided employment for 15 local women and 1 craftsman.

Later on, the group reached Ravmed village, which has been the home to the Tajik Women Concervation project for several years now. Under the project, foreign experts train female game-keepers in the specifics of working with tourists and hunters. At present, twelve young women are involved in the project. It is implemented by the organization "Wild Life Tajikistan".

The entire day two of the tour was devoted to visiting different organizations in Khorog. The women were particularly excited about their visit to the non-governmental organization "Madina" because the NGO staff not only described activities of their organization but also provided a brief overview of such topics as "Leadership and Personal Growth" and "Financial Literacy". Under the leadership of a successful woman, Nabot Dodkhudoeva, the NGO has implemented over 50 different projects to date.

Afterward, the group of women was welcomed at the educational organization "Khayot". Bibinoz Mirzoeva, the head of the organization, personally gave the participants a tour of the workshop specializing in needlework and handicraft offering all interested women a chance to learn how to cut, sew, knit, craft articles of seed beads and stones. Khayot graduates receive full-fledged professions (respective diplomas are issued by the local Employment Center) that enable them to earn a living.

While in Khorog, the study tour participants paid special attention to the new handicraft shop where they exchanged contacts with a view to setting up regular supplies of their products in the future. Then, the participants met with staff of the female group "Zarin" who provide free training for young women in knitting and assist them in selling of their products.

The women also visited the Pamiri Eco-Tourism Association (PECTA) which specializes in promotion of tourism and preservation of traditional handicrafts and cultural and historic heritage of the Pamir. The head of the association, Asadsho Zoolshoev, shared with the participants his longstanding experience and then gave them a tour of the showroom where different items produced by local artisans and craftsman are exhibited. The tour participants were explained which items enjoy the highest demand among tourists.

Day three of the tour was devoted to the trip to the Ishkashim valley where the participants met Jahonamo Abdurahimova - a woman living in Andarob village who runs a workshop specializing in yarn-spinning and weaving of cashmere products. A few years ago, with support from MSDSP and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wool processing machines were procured and training delivered for local women. The equipment is powered by solar energy. Items produced by the workshop are often exhibited in handicraft fairs and exhibitions.

In Ishkashim itself, the group visited the guesthouse Anis, which is managed by Zulfia Saidrasulova. Foreign tourists coming to the Pamir often put up at this guesthouse. At present, the guesthouse provides work for 10 persons. The day ended with a pleasant and useful visit to the healing springs in Garm Chashma. Here, the participants restored their strength and took a hot bath.

On the last day of the tour, the participants returned to Khorog where they had meetings scheduled at the University of Central Asia. The University opening ceremony was held in September this year. The cozy modern campuses have become a home to students and foreign teachers with their families. The women participants were taken on a tour around the university and learned about its activities and plans.

The last feature on the tour program was the office of the Public Foundation "CAMP Tabiat" where the participants received information about two projects on joint forest management and ecosystemic approach to climate change adaptation. The women were given a chance to ask any questions and discuss results of the two presented projects.

"I liked the study tour very much. It was the first time that I visited Khorog and Ishkashim where I got acquainted with many successful women and their work. I have learned about different projects and ideas that they put into practice. I think all of us have discovered lots of new opportunities and adopted new ideas that can make a difference for our communities" - shares her impressions Sohibjamol Shikorieva, the tour participant from Ruhch village.

Natalya Idrisova, Environmental Organization 'The Little Earth'