KARACHI: The population in any country is a liability if they are not being turned into personnel, said Sindh’s planning and development department chief economist Syed Mansoor Abbas Rizvi. He is of the opinion that if the population is turned into personnel, you have transformed a curse into an asset.
He was addressing the Sindh Union-Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support (Success) Programme Inception Workshop on Thursday. The rural communities of Sindh suffer from critical socio-economic conditions, which result in high prevalence of extreme and chronic poverty rates. In 2008, the Sindh government launched the Union Council Based Poverty Reduction Programme (UCBPRP) in four districts of Sindh through the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs).
In order upgrade the programme, the European Union launched Success in 2015. Rizvi believes this programme will be successful in changing the lives of the people of Sindh. “Every part of Pakistan is full of resources and we are digging out the resources inside the earth but neglecting the resources on the earth,” he said.
He said that the Sindh government is fully committed to Success and will soon extend that to six additional districts of Sindh. For this purpose the government has allocated Rs5 billion in its current budget, he added.
RSP Success programme manager Fazal Ali Saadi explained that their target was to move out 30% of targeted low-income households in eight districts out of that income bracket. Whereas, he said that 70% of the targeted poor households would report better access to and use of public services, like water, education and health. The objective, according to him, is to stimulate community-driven local development initiatives through the RSP approach.
At the end of the programme, he said that they would asses and compile its results. Saadi said that 770,000 rural households in eight districts will be mobilised through community-based organisations, of which at least 70% would continue to function effectively at the end of the project.
Community members, especially women, would be capacitated on critical social sector issues, such as health and education, he explained.
Joint development committees for both local authorities and community representatives will also be institutionalised at a district taluka level, he said. Speaking about another expected result, he said, “An average sustainable increase of poor household incomes will be by 30 per cent and 108,000 households, especially women, will be provided technical and vocational training”.
According to Saadi, farmers and livestock owners will be trained to adopt new technologies and will be provided input to improve their food security and nutrition. The RSPs would identify and support innovative economic activities and access to efficient markets through income generating grants, he added. Around 25% of the poorest community members will benefit from micro-health insurance, he explained, adding that. 2,800 community identified basic infrastructures would be built and maintained by the communities.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016
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