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Community Development and Field Surveys

Rural and urban low-income communities in Pakistan live in poorly serviced settlements where lack of basic infrastructure services and poor environmental conditions result in serious impacts on health, education, security and productivity. Where public sector service delivery has failed, the rich are often able to access services privately, while the poor suffer. Over the years there have been few institutional reforms in the state's service delivery machinery. The vast magnitude of this problem severely impedes the state's efforts to alleviate poverty. NPO has taken a unique initiative of encouraging and facilitating resource based income generating training projects for low income people especially women in some selected villages in all the four provinces of Pakistan including Azad Jammu & Kashmir. In the first phase, NPO has selected several villages as a pilot project during 2004-05. Based on the success of this pilot project we plan to extend this facilitation to more villages every year to give greater coverage to as many villages as possible. This will not only alleviate poverty but would also help contain rural-urban migration besides economic uplift of the villages.

I. Productivity Village

The concept of Productivity Village is based on enhancing labor productivity and skill development. The idea is based on similar successful scheme implemented in other developing Asian countries. It encompasses involving the people of the community to work for their own betterment through mutual cooperation and a collaborative approach. The concept is graved towards the achievement of a number of specific and measurable outputs in the following areas:

1) Primary and Secondary School Education;
2) Technical and Vocational Education;
3) Professional and Skill Development in Agricultural farm and non-farm activities;
4) Community health and hygiene; and
5) Establishment of Women Skill Development Center (WSDC).

Unlike most of the development institutions NPO aims at achieving its objectives through facilitating networks, rather than promising a regular stream of cash inflows to undertake specific activities. Such empowerment of human resources has a sustainable effect, even after the intervention discontinues, as the people are than less dependent on external funds and are more capable to innovate and devise ways to improve their earning capacities. Thus the concept of Productivity Village aims to improve literacy rate in the rural areas; imparting technical and vocational skills, in order to enable the people earn better wages and hence improve the standard of living.

II: Model village – Kuri

In order to implement the concept of Productivity Village, NPO identified “Kuri” as its model village. It has been determined that there will be only one model village and the interventions would be replicated in other villages. Kuri is located at a distance of 20km from Islamabad. This is an urban linked village and was identified with the assistance of PARC. The Federal Minister launched the model village Kuri for Industries and Production on April 04, 2003. Based on the Rapid Rural Appraisal Report, NPO has taken following steps for the empowerment of the people:

1) Technical and vocational institute was revived;
2) Computer Training Center was established;
3) Women Training Institute was established;
4) Teacher Information Exchange Dialogue was initiated between Kuri schools and Hamdard University;
5) Headmistress of the Girls Secondary School was sent on an APO program; later on, the same program was replicated at Kuri;
6) The PIMS Nursing School made health and hygiene tours;
7) Women products were placed in major exhibitions in the city to provide market access to the women entrepreneurs; and
8) Village Committee was formed for promoting self-help and resolving problems of the villagers.

III: Jamal Din Wali (District Rahim Yar Khan)

Rural Communities depict a blend of diverse features based on the geographical location, culture, demographics, language, climate, infrastructure facilities, and proximity to urban centers. Thus NPO's activities for productivity enhancement in rural communities are reframed according to the needs of the community. The Jamal Din Wali village was visited in October 2004 and a proposal has been drawn on the information obtained during the visit.

NPO has decided to arrange training of youth as well as render consultancy services for the development of women entrepreneurs to improve their products i.e. designing, coloring, etc through skill development, proper marketability of their products, easy provision of financial facility and their enterprise development. Similarly Up-gradation of village schools to incorporate productivity culture was focused. Furthermore, in order to make all programs sustainable in the future, it is important to develop the community as a whole to instill the concept of Self-help amongst the people.

IV: Workshop in Village Ghulam Hyder Bhutto, Taluka Sakrand, Dist.Nawabshah, Sindh

As part of NPO's initiatives regarding Integrated Rural Development, One Day Workshop on “Improving Agricultural Productivity” was organized on June 16, 2005 in collaboration with Shah Latif Welfare Association, Village Ghulam Hyder Bhutto, Taluka Sakrand, Dist. Nawab Shah. The farmers took keen interest in the proceedings and discussions were also held and presentations along with their recommendations were also made. The representatives of the farmers appreciated the role of NPO in organizing this workshop and requested for the continuation of such activities in future on regular basis.