Pesticide Risk Reduction Methodologies for Women Cotton Pickers Through Women Open School Participatory Approach
Rural women cotton pickers of agro-potential district Khairpur Sindh province Pakistan were facilitated to reduce health risks from pesticides through non formal women open school participatory learning approach. The pesticide health hazards and risk reduction activities were implemented through establishing 62 women open schools in four major cotton growing sub-districts of Khairpur during cotton and pesticide spray season (July–November) for a period of five continuous years where 1180 rural farm workers (87.5%) and housewives (12.5%) were trained. The study revealed that majority (80%) of women farm workers were involved in cotton picking, grass cutting (73), weeding (49.5%), cotton sticks removal (25%), sowing, harvesting and hoeing of vegetables etc. (59.5%) and various other activities (2%) including thinning, land cleaning etc. while housewives were involved in handling, storage, disposal of pesticides, preparation of pesticide solutions and occasionally visiting cotton fields for various off farm activities. The training enhanced health awareness among women who regularly monitored themselves regarding acute pesticide poisoning during exposure to sprayed fields and observed mild to severe signs and symptoms of headache (28.6%), skin irritation (14.3%), excessive sweating (7.1%), hand irritation (42.85%), and exhaustion (14.3%) due to organophosphates and pyrethroids. WOS activities brought a promising change in rural women's perception of pesticides and their hazards. Majority of women were convinced about less dependence on pesticides for pest management and were in favor of natural and cultural pest management alternatives and willing to influence their male members regarding pest management decisions.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2013
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