Empowering locals: Community-driven development in the works

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Local communities understand their needs better; development projects should be driven by them to ensure sustainability, said Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan.

The minister was addressing a gathering of government and Malakand administration officials and elders before a workshop on Community Driven Local Development (CDLD) in Swat on Friday. The four-year programme is meant to bring social and structural improvements in six districts of Malakand Divison.

An amount of €64 million will be provided by the European Union (EU) while Rs500 million was released by the K-P government under the 2014-15 budget.

“The participatory programme will cater to the needs of the people of Malakand who have been affected by militancy and floods,” said Khan.

Chief guest finance minister Muzzafar Syed said,“This is now the government’s responsibility to initiate and run the plan transparently.” He added the area needs to be rebuilt and rehabilitated.

Also present at the event, EU Head of Cooperation Bernard Francois said,

“Participation of citizens in the development process, including their empowerment to voice their concerns and organise themselves, is critical to any debate on governance and accountability.”

He added EU is fully aware of the challenges faced by the K-P government and appreciates its efforts in terms of development at the local level.

“It is the only way to bring the government closer to its citizens and to reinforce trust between the two.”

Community mobilisation

The Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) will help the government mobilise communities. SRSP’s Khalid Hussain shared 12,069 community-based organisations will be formed and trained for 211 union councils of six districts. At least 301,725 households would be mobilised.

“A total of 1.59 million people will benefit from the programme which will work to empower communities.”

Secretary Finance Syed Ahmad Shah Bukhari, Malakand Division Commissioner Afsar Khan, EU First Secretary Giacomo Miserocchi, Development Advisor to EU Arshad Rashid, and CDLD Technical Assistance Team Leader Brian Fawcet, among others were present at the occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.