Growing stronger with the UNDP & ALC in the Hushe Valley…

In November 2021, we updated you on our work as part of the team supporting the United Nations Development Programme’s Social Innovation Platform (SIP) in the Hushe Valley, Pakistan. Since then, one of the key parts of the SIP’s planned work has been trialled and has begun, quite literally, to bear fruit.

In 2021, the Hushe Valley SIP successfully identified a number of key issues for the valley’s rural communities. As we have discussed previously, a process of listening and prototyping with local stakeholders took place last year, to identify and then generate potential solutions to these issues. We supported this process through our work for ALC, who are partners with the Hushe Valley SIP.

Apricots grown in the Hushe Valley, Pakistan.

One of these outcomes was a prototype for tunnel farming – using small, insulated polythene tunnels to allow communities to grow crops for their own consumption all year round, and particularly during the winter. Having produced a theoretical prototype for this process, the SIP then worked on the ground with stakeholders to set up a number of active trials during the winter of 2021-22.

As you can see below, the winter conditions in the Hushe Valley are hardly conducive to conventional agriculture. However, so far the tunnel farming trials have had promising results and appear to be a low cost, easy to maintain method for communities to increase their food security in a sustainable manner.

December 2021 in the Hushe Valley

It is worth highlighting that, as well as the trialing for physical agricultural infrastructure and approaches, the SIP’s work has also seen continued support for stakeholders in business development, financial planning and marketing in relation to the various cash crops grown by communities in the Hushe Valley. These are primarily apricots, grown for the production of apricot oil, and various herbal teas.

The Hushe Valley SIP working with local stakeholders.

Looking ahead to 2022, the Hushe Valley SIP is exploring a number of potential next steps, including:

  • Opening a shop to sell apricot oil directly to customers.
  • Mapping opportunities to showcase & sell products from the Hushe Valley in regions. markets, food festivals and other events.
  • Continuing the tunnel farming programme and assess success of the spring 2022 harvest.
  • Conducting further listening exercises with stakeholders around motivations for their involvement, the potential future direction of the SIP’s work and how best to spread the word of the positive outcomes from the project so far.

In short, lots to do and lots to think about! We’re excited to see this project enter another year and can’t wait to continue our involvement through our work for ALC. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

If you’re interested in our work at the Zano Collective or want to chat about how we can help you in developing social innovation ideas and co-design, follow us on our LinkedIn page, through our website (Get In Touch) or via our main email: