From Activist To Organiser: The Story of Jumo Agham’s Saniya

  • 16 March, 2017

Compiled by SRSO Team

Ms. Saniya, 24, belongs to village Jumo Agham of district Larkana. Her village is located some 11 km away from Ratodero town. She was the first child in her family. Encouraged by her mother, Saniya took a keen interest in studies. After completing her school education, she continued with her studies. Saniya successfully completed obtained M.A. degree in Sindhi Literature from Shah Abdul Lateef University. Later, she also obtained a B.Ed. degree from the Allama Iqbal Open University, through distant learning. According to Saniya, her first interaction with the Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) team took place when the team visited her village. SRSO team explained the purpose of the visit and set schedule for holding the programme introduction with community members. Saniya agreed to mobilise the whole community to attend the programme introduction meeting.

On the agreed date and time, SRSO team reached the village. Saniya had successfully mobilised the village women and the entire community of village Jumo Agham participated in the programme introduction meeting, held at Saniya’s house. She says that it was an honour for her family to host the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, the village women agreed to partner with SRSO.

Few days later the SRSO team arrived again to form the Community Organisation. The village women agreed to set up the CO, naming it Chamakdar (shining). Saniya was unanimously selected as the first CO Manager. Saniya said that this again was a great honour for her as the village women had placed great trust in her.

After CO formation, Saniya got busy conducting the affairs of CO, particularly visiting individual households to explain the purpose and objectives of CO to members. Saniya says that she got so much involved in matters related to the CO that she could hardly find any time to spend at home.

When SRSO was organising a Community Skills Management Training (CMST) for all local CO leaders, Saniya offered that the training could be held at her house. SRSO agreed. Saniya actively participated in CMST training and showed outstanding potential to support social mobilisation locally. At the conclusion of the three day CMST training, everyone recognised Saniya as the key activist of the community.

Taking on a broader role, Saniya then started visiting other communities to talk about social mobilisation and to answer people’s queries about social mobilisation. She highlighted the importance of community-driven development initiatives to improve people’s own lives. Saniya also supported COs and Village Organisations with their record keeping and savings. She became a key activist to support the roll out of social mobilisation in the entire Union Council and was a continuous source of strength for the SRSO field team.

In December 2016, Saniya joined other leaders of the COs and VOs to participate in a meeting with the members of a team from the European Union Delegation Islamabad at Mohen-Jo-Daro. At this meeting Saniya had an opportunity to present the work of CO Chamakdar. During the presentation, she explained activities and initiatives undertaken by the CO in a short span of time. Saniya also mentioned details of the support she offered to other COs and VOs in the Union Council.

For Saniya, speaking in front of respected visitors, including the EU ambassador, was a source of motivation. She became more determined to work for the welfare and prosperity of their whole area, not just for a single CO or village. Saniya discussed her vision with SRSO’s Social Organiser and also showed a keen interest in becoming a Social Organiser.

Later, when SRSO announced vacant positions for Junior Social Organisers under the SUCCESS Programme, Saniya also applied, following the procedure outlined in the announcement. A few days later, Saniya received a call from the SRSO head office at Sukkur and was asked to appear for an interview. Based on her academic qualifications, understanding of basics of social mobilisation, and being a local resident, Saniya was recruited as a Junior Social Organiser. She is now a highly valuable member of the social mobilisation team of the SUCCESS Programme working out of SRSO’s office at Ratodero.

After joining SRSO, Saniya attended a three-day Orientation Training on Social Mobilisation and SUCCESS Programme. Since then, she is actively engaged in conducting programme introduction meetings, formation of COs and VOs and conducting CMST for female community leaders.

Today, Saniya is an active member of the SUCCESS Programme team, working for empowerment of poor rural women. For other young girls and young women in her area, Saniya has becomes a source of inspiration, a role model. The members of CO Chamakdar are very glad and proud that their former CO Manager is now working as a development change-maker for the entire area.

Saniya says that she had never imagined being part of SRSO and the European Union funded SUCCESS Programme. “I want to remove the dark clouds of extreme poverty lingering the area for long”, says Saniya, when asked about her mission.

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