Muhammad Khan from Badin, Sindh identifies as a “Mallah”. “Mallah’s” are aboriginal boat-people from fisherman tribes in Pakistan and eastern parts of India. The district he hails from experiences frequent floods and drought-like conditions due to water scarcity, changing rainfall patterns and land degradation caused by sea intrusion, which are reducing agricultural productivity.
Poverty stricken farmers like Khan also lack confidence and are unable to stand up to the feudal lords who control the water supply because their lands are situated at the head of the canals giving them dominance over the water flow.
Lack of water forced Khan to abandon his barren lands and turn to share cropping and working on other people’s land as well as cutting wood for extra money.
He then implemented the system in his fields in the hopes that this would be the way his circumstances would finally change.
Khan knew he needed to do something to change things for himself. He attended a three-day training that was being offered by Oxfam/AWARE and learnt about more efficient farming methods, what crops to plant and how a solar-powered drip irrigation system works.
Khan installed both a solar panel and a drip irrigation system on his lands.
With his newly gained knowledge he will finally be able to work on his own land, grow his own produce and not have to buy rice and grain from the market.
“Along with learning about what crops would be ideal for our lands and new farming techniques, we received trainings on how to speak up for ourselves and advocate for our cause,” says Khan.

There have been a lot of conflicts over the years. When they closed the water access recently, I went to start a dialogue with them. I explained that I also had the right to access the water and that it should be an equal distribution. I said that if we start fighting the police and authorities will get involved and in the end no one would have access to water!
Khan was surprised when his earnest appeal worked. His village (and others near his) were finally able to access the water.
Khan was able to plant vegetables like zucchini, tomato, chili, cucumber, okra and rice. He put his heart and soul into planting a variety of them.
He hopes his children will have a better future now that he is able to farm on his own lands.
“Water is the source of life for everything,” says Khan, “we simply cannot survive without it.”