Water Use Efficiency in Action

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Water Use Efficiency in Action

Multi-stakeholder Perspectives on the Water and Productivity Project in Pakistan
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Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 9:05am

CAMPAIGN: Global Engagement Forum:Online

CONTENT: Article

By Jens Soth, Luc Beerens, Arjumand Nizami, and Gisela Keller

Bracing for the scorching July heat in Pakistan, thirty-five-year-old Tehmina stands barefoot for eight to twelve hours a day transplanting rice seedlings in the paddies of Punjab Province. Her two daughters, ages fourteen and twelve, work at her side in the humid conditions while her three younger children, ages five, seven, and ten, linger on the field’s periphery under the supervision of her mother-in-law.

Some of the other mothers who do not have childcare assistance are forced to bring their babies into the field, exposing them to the extreme heat. With no safety measures to protect field workers, women frequently suffer from sunstrokes, leech bites, dehydration, and other illnesses brought on by the punishing work environment.

For 45 days each year, approximately 15,000 women like Tehmina transplant rice over hundreds of thousands of acres in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. While extremely demanding and hazardous, transplanting pays better than other temporary jobs such as strawberry picking, vegetable production, and brick kiln operation. Transplanting represents a critical source of household income.

CATEGORY: Environment