Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
Shahida Parveen is one of 7,000 women in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan District involved in the tree nursery project developed by BCI and WWF-Pakistan. Like many women in her community, she works hard on her family’s cotton farm, sowing seeds, weeding the fields and picking cotton amid the searing heat of Punjab. Yet as a woman in rural Pakistan, she doesn’t participate in business decisions in the family due to gender bias and has little say in how the farm’s profits are spent.
With funding from the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund, WWF-Pakistan provides the participating women with seeds, tools and equipment to set up their own businesses, running small tree nurseries on their land. By joining the tree nursery project, Shahida supplemented her personal income by selling hundreds of plants back to WWF at a rate of 10 rupees per plant.
In the future, WWF Pakistan plans to expand the initiative by increasing the number of seeds available to participating women. Shahida and her fellow nursery growers can act as role models showing that running a nursery is a good way to gain economic independence and protect the environment.