GILGIT: The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) has started its survey for the Benazir Income Support Program in parts of Gilgit, sources said on Tuesday.
They said that Nadar-1 is the first place where survey teams have started collecting data as per the requirements of the data forms.
“The survey will be launched in the rest of Gilgit-Balitistan (G-B) shortly,” an official of the foundation added.
Earlier this month the government had sublet the task of conducting the survey in G-B to AKRSP because of its credibility in the field of community development and their role in poverty reduction.
The other reason for assigning the task to AKRSP, a government official said, was because of the organisation’s reach in the area. The organisation had been working in this part of the world since the early 80s.
“Even though this is a huge task, we will complete it within two months,” an official of the AKRSP said.
“We have prepared teams to do the task accurately and within the stipulated time,” he added.
AKRSP distributed Agricultural Units among Flood Affected
by G. H. Farooqui November 13, 2010
Agriculture inputs distributed under Emergency Assistance to support Flood Affected Vulnerable Farmers of Chitral.
CHITRAL: Agriculture inputs were distributed free of cost among the flood affected farmers of the entire district. These items containing on DAP, Urea (fertilization), certified seed of Wheat and vegetable seed were provided free of cost to flood affected farmers by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) UN. Some 3161 items in 2841 bags were distributed among the flood affected people at Chitral, Ayun, Karimabad and Mulkoh (upper Chitral). A simple but prompt function was held at the office of Local Support Organization of Mulkho area where Chairman of Mulkoh LSO Qadir Shah along with AKRP staff distributed these items among the flood affected farmers. Talking to this scribe former UC Nazim and Chairman of LSO Maulana Qadir Shah said that the area were badly affected by recent flood as a result standing crops of the people as well as seed were also totally damaged and the people of the area were plunged in a very tough time and were facing numerous problems. But we thankful to AKRSP who distributed these agriculture inputs consisting on fertile and certified seed of wheat and these people would be able to stand on their own feet after sowing these wheat and vegetable seed. He thanked high ups of AKRSP as well as USAID for supporting these vulnerable people who have nothing to earn livelihood except of farming and their cultivable land as well as standing crops were totally ruined by recent devastated flood.
A flood affected farmer Haji Zardana Khan of the area said that we have lost our land and crops and having nothing for sowing in our land but now we thankful to AKRSP for providing us these items free of cost and will definitely bring positive changes in our lives. A spokesman of AKRSP Muhammad Younus said that we providing these items to flood affected farmers with the support of USAID. He said that AKRSP distributing these items very transparently among the affected people and try of its best to support these people for earning their livelihood with a honor way. A large number of people were present on th occasion they were providing these items with the help of LSO volunteers group who provide these things according to the prevailing criteria. Besides it AKRSP also rendering meritorious service for uplifting life of common people at the area.
2 Micro Hydro Power houses completed by AKRSP
by G. H. Farooqui December 04, 2010
2 Micro hydro power stations completed by AKRSP inaugurated at Garamchishma.
CHITRAL: Poverty can only be eradicated by continue struggle, commitment with your jobs, participating in volunteer activities and rendering free services to the community. As well as we can success in poverty alleviation only by adopting positive steps and combined struggle for uplifting. These views were expressed by Kamal Hayat Chief Executive/Managing Director of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) on the occasion of inauguration ceremony of two micro hydro power houses of 100 KV each at Garamchishma completed by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) with financial support of PPAF in collaboration with local community. Kamal Hayat was chief guest on the occasion. He said that people of Chitral are so committed and having rich spirit of volunteerism that we wan to kick more and more developmental schemes in the area. He stressed upon that local community to participate in developmental schemes overwhelmingly and to play positive role in development of the country and uplifting of your locality. He said that PPAF will always support local community through civil society’s organization to uplift life standard of these people and to bring positive changes in the area. He was addressing to a crowed gathering of men and women folk on the occasion of inauguration ceremony of two hydro power stations at Garamchishma where there was no electricity by government as well as private sector.
The first micro hydro power house of 100 KV capacity of Jother was completed with a cost of 4.329 million by AKRSP where 20% share was put by the local community. It will benefit some 280 house holds in the area that were totally deprived from electricity supply while the second power house also existing of 100 KV power generating of Waht Power house which was completed with a cost of 5.6 million and total beneficiaries of the power house are 130 house holds. Some 1.2 million was extra spent by local community for Jothar power house from their maintenance fund. Elites of the area presented traditional gifts to distinguished guests on their arrival as well as they also presented traditional music and folk dance in their honor. General Manger of AKRSP Izhar Ali Hunzai, Chief Technical Officer of PPAF Zafar Sabri, Regional Program Manger of AKRSP Engineer Sardar Ayub, Munazir Elahi General Manager of media & Communication of PPAF and other were present on the occasion. Bahawuddin, Muhammad Wali and other spoke on the occasion they thanked to high ups of PPAF and AKRSP for their financial support for these two projects and optimistically said that they will continue their patronizing and support in development of this backward and remote area. Mr. Kamal Hayat Chief Executive of PPAF in an exclusive interview with this scribe disclosed that we supporting some 50 projects in this region and also planning for launching of mega projects to utilize plentiful resources of water for improving of hydro power generating and to eradicate poverty by this ways from the area. A large number of women and men participated in the inauguration ceremony of these two hydro power houses.
ROAD REPAIRED: A 15-kilometer-long road leading to the isolated valley of Golen near Chitral city has been repaired and opened to traffic after it was damaged by floods in July. Dawn
The villagers told on Monday it was not the government but the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), which rehabilitated the damaged infrastructure in the area.
The chairman of Koh Integrated Development Programme (KIDP) Abdul Ghaffar said that after being disappointed by the government, the locals approached the AKRSP for the restoration of the flood-hit infrastructure.
ISLAMABAD: The government of Japan has decided to grant financial support of $203,671 (Rs17 million) to the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP) for two projects in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan.
The agreements for the projects were signed on Thursday by Chihiro Atsumi, the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Akbarali Pesnani, Chairman of the AKCSP, at Atsumi’s residence.
The Environmental Sanitation Project is meant for the improvement of community-based environmental sanitation in Altit, Hunza. Around 237 households (1,820 individuals) including IDPs, who migrated after Attaabad landslide disaster, will benefit from this project.
Local labour will be trained and employed during the execution of the project which will help them to get new jobs in future to support their families.
The Water Supply Project is aimed at the improvement of water supply scheme in Karimabad, Hunza. The grant will be utilised for the repair of pipelines and water tanks, which were previously funded by Japan in 2004 and were damaged due to landslides in the following years.
ISLAMABAD: The Japanese government has pledged $203,671 (approx. Rs17 million) grant for the environmental sanitation and water supply projects in Hunza-Nagar District of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Agreements for the two projects were signed by Japanese Ambassador Chihiro Atsumi and Chairperson of the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan Akbarali Pesnani at the envoy’s residence in Islamabad on Thursday, said a press release issued by the Japanese embassy.
Under the environmental sanitation project, the community-based environmental sanitation system will be improved in Altit, Hunza.
Around 237 households (1,820 individuals) including displaced persons affected by Attabad landslide last year, will benefit from the project.
Local labour will be trained and employed during the execution of the project which, helping them get new jobs and support their families.
Under the water supply project, water supply scheme will be repaired in Karimabad. The grant will be used for the renovation of pipelines and water tanks, which were previously funded by Japan in 2004 and damaged due to landslides.
It would help preserve the existing facility and benefit 450 households (around 3,600 individuals) in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2011.
Feb 18, 2011 - 12:38PM
We the Huzokutz (Inhabitants of Hunza) acknowledge and are really grateful to the Japan Government for always support to uplift the life standard of Huzokutz.
In past Japan Movement’s has funded several projects in Hunza; like Karimabad Sanitation System, Hasegawa Memorial Public School etc.
CHITRAL: To overcome energy crises at Chitral and to save forest from mercilessly (ruthless) cutting solar water heaters(SWH) were introduced first time in Chitral. German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) started dissemination of solar water heating systems in Chitral Region. Firstly entrepreneurs were developed and then they have been given on job installation trainings of the systems. To attract the locals, GIZ provided the 30% subsidy on the SWHs cost for the first five solar water heater pilot projects. Solar water heating systems were installed for the domestic use as well as commercial installations were also the part of dissemination of the SWHs in different hotels of Chitral. The dissemination events been conducted at the local hotels where people from every walk of life were present. Technical personal Muhammad Saeed of GIZ briefed the people about the technology and solar water heater users shared their experience with the audience. Secondly an event for the hotel industry conducted where the consultant responded different questions of participants. Shahzada Mudasirul Mulk chief executive of Creative Approaches for Development (CAD) also highlighted benefits of solar energy system in Chitral. He said that by adopting solar appliances our forest can be saved from ruthless cutting. Responding to a question he said that during winter season when snowfall cover the area this solar water heater will provide hot water through electric backup. He said that this device is very cheap and by adopting of equipments running by solar energy we can overcome on energy crises in the country. He said that we are also introducing alternate energy equipments like bio briquette moulds and bio briquette machines for briquette manufacturing which will be alternate of fuel wood as well as CAD will introduce bio gas plants for local gas production for household
Warm blessings for Chitralis
By Shahbaz Rana
Published: April 21, 2011
Drudgery to make both ends meet reduced one chilly morning for Khanza Begum, 31, mother of four, as she found hot water to wash clothes at zero degrees centigrade and electricity in the evening for knitting and sewing.
The hardships of villagers in Wahat, District Chitral, started lessening when a micro hydel generation plant became operational in December last year. It generates cheap electricity besides providing hot water.
When the demand for energy drops, water is shifted to a large barrel through an electronic load-control device. “Before December 2010, I used to collect wood from the jungle, make a fire and boil water to wash clothes,” said Khanza Begum.
The clean energy generation is also earning dollars for the area, as against each unit produced, the project wins $1.3 dollar under the Clean Development Mechanism initiative to reduce carbon omissions.
The villagers are planning to convert the washing barrel into a Small and Medium Enterprise aimed at sustaining progress that has made life easier for poor women.
“The time saved from collecting wood is now being used for other productive activities like knitting and sewing, which has improved our lifestyle”, said Bibi Zar.
The project is funded by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, but is being maintained by the villagers. The Wahat micro power plant is one of 63 micro hydel projects that have been installed on the banks of the Chitral River, enabling at least 24,000 households in the district to have access to electricity, said Fazl-e-Rabi, Manager Renewable Energy of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme – the organisation executing the project. This figure is double the number of households linked with the national grid. The hydel electricity costs Rs2 per unit to domestic consumers against the Water and Power Development Authority’s Rs8 per unit.
These small achievements may make the communities proud, but a lot more needs to be done. The area is gifted with hot springs. An official from the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme said a local prince, who owns the mountain from where the water flows, does not let water be used for commercial purposes. He said the prince has rejected a proposal to use the water for a central heating system that will promote tourism in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2011.
LSO is an alliance or federation of village and women organizations (V/WOs) and other civil society organizations at valley or union council level, formed by dedicated volunteers, both men and women and run by a slim professional management. Fostered by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), the LSOs are non-profit organizations registered under the companies Ordinance 1984 in Pakistan, limited by guarantee and not having a share capital.
Forgotten heroes of Pakistan
by Siddique Humayun on November 28th, 2011 | Comments (9)
Forgotten heroes of Pakistan
The power of community participation in development was highlighted by Akhtar Hameed Khan through his famous Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi in the 1980s. Due to the fact that Orangi was a squatter settlement, it did not qualify for government aid. As a result, Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan organised and mobilised the local squatter community to identify their need, collect funds and through the technical expertise of Dr. Khan and his team, solve their own sanitation problems. Similarly, in the same period another social development project was being initiated on the lines of community participation in what is now Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme was started by Shoaib Sultan Khan in the early 1980s and instead of making the choices for the villagers of these remote and harsh terrains, the programme focused on a “partnership with communities” and learning-by-doing. It was the villagers who were to decide what they need, how they will go about it, and how will they manage and utilise the funding provided by the Aga Khan Foundation. This participatory approach to development has since then led to countless achievements in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.
From the construction of countless bridges to significant increases in the income of the residents, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme spearheaded development in these remote regions of Pakistan. Over 90,000 hectares of land was reclaimed while more than 30 million trees have been planted. Irrigation channels have been made the programme has mobilised over 4000 community organisations on a small to medium scale, along with groups that manage over 8 million US dollars of savings.
While these are the tangible achievements of this initiative, the intangible change in lives and attitude that the people of these remote areas have gone through is perhaps worth much more. Micro projects of hydro-electricity now supply electricity to over 50 per cent of Chitral, and what makes these projects successful is that all are thought out, implemented, managed and maintained by the communities that benefit from them.
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme changed the lives of over 1.3 million villagers in the northern parts of Pakistan and it did not end there. The network spread its wings to villages all over the country; Shoaib Sultan Khan’s pioneering model was replicated in at least 11 countries and has over the course of time, changed the lives of millions of poor for the better. Although such heroes are content with just that single smile of a hardworking villager in the face of poverty, we must honour them.
There are countless such men in this country that are giving of themselves towards the betterment of the lives of people they do not know and perhaps will never see again. These are the real heroes of Pakistan, and if we must erect monuments of public figures, it should be of such stars of our country rather politicians buried in corruption.
It is said, and I quote “the true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit”. There may be very few men and women who come to the spotlight such as Akhtar Hameed Khan and Shoaib Sultan Khan, but we must not forget them, for they not only serve Pakistan, but also humanity. It is people like them that prove Pakistan has hope and that it takes courage to change lives. Not everything that happens in this country is wrong, even though it is difficult to sometimes acknowledge that glimmer of hope shining through all the chaos that surrounds us, but there has always been and there will always be… hope.
Dushkal Ne Pele Paar Dushkal Ne Pele Paar is a documentary on how a few villages in Kutch have made collective effort to establish fodder banks and rainwater harvesting system in their villages to address the issue of food and water scarcity during a drought. This has reduced their vulnerability during natural disasters. The film, made with support of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, Bhuj, was used to take the message from these villages to different corners of the district. The trilingual film made in Kutchi, Gujarati and Hindi was funded by the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme used this film to motivate the youth in villages to form a mandala (group) to keep an eye on the expenses being made on the social occasions. All the section of people joined this movement to stop unnecessary expenses.
An authoritative report, prepared by the Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell, a joint initiative of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, Ambuja Cement Foundation, Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Gujarat government, has estimated that Gujarat accounts for 1.2 million hectares (ha) of saline soil, which is about 15 per cent of the country as a whole. Pointing out that the “soil salinity and sodicity is an important factor affecting the soil health and crop productivity”, the report says, “The total salt affected soils in India is approximately 8.1 million ha out of which 3.2 m ha is coastal saline soil and 2.8 m ha is sodic soil, and the rest 2.2 m ha is inland saline soil.
AKRSP conducts a study on the trafficking of poor Chitrali girls
Study reveals trafficking of poor Chitrali girlsZahiruddin | Peshawar | From the Newspaper
24th March, 2012 CHITRAL: Trafficking of Chitrali girls in the garb of marriage goes on unchecked for last many years by professional human traffickers who take advantage of the poverty, ignorance and weaker social fabric of the area.
A study recently conducted by Regional Women Empowerment Project of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) reveals that 74 per cent of marriages of Chitrali girls with people from other districts, specially in Punjab, turn out to be fake.
It says that the trafficking of girls is done for exploitative domestic servitude, while there has been ample evidence of using such girls in the abhorrent prostitution trade. The study reveals the regrettable fact that if a woman becomes victim of trafficking, she compromises with the situation due to the fact that her family would not accept her back due to the stigma.
About grooms from other districts, it says that majority of them are above age 50 and already married, and introduce themselves as high government officers or land and business owners.
Unveiling the trafficking mechanism, the study puts the local ‘middlemen’ in centre of the dirty business, who introduce the groom to the girl’s family and provide accommodation and transportation to him till the marriage is solemnised. The middlemen mostly target the households with poor financial condition and lure the parents by presenting a bright future for their daughters.
“The poor victims have no exposure and hold a wrong perception that all the people in central districts of the country are affluent and noble,” the study goes and adds that these gullible people have no source of information to verify the claims of the prospective grooms.
About payment made to the parents or guardians, the report says that it ranges from Rs50,000 to Rs500,000 depending on the age and complexion of a girl, but over 50 per cent of the amount goes to the middleman.
About the factors responsible for unchecked women trafficking, the field study pointed out poverty, attraction of city life, negative customs and traditions, and lack of verification mechanism of the grooms and legal framework etc.
According to the study, the unfortunate victims are rejected both by their own families and the society in case of divorce, making them more vulnerable to the abuse on their return to native areas.
The study suggests that a proper mechanism should urgently be devised to check the information claimed by the prospective grooms and in case of any fraud they should be duly punished along with the middlemen, which is essential to saving future of Chitrali women.
Economic empowerment of womenfolk must be ensured by the government and non-government agencies so that they could not be a burden on others and contribute to the prosperity of their families, recommends the study.
AKRSP activities cited as an example of an effective US aid channel
So while USAID is very good at quickly mobilizing assistance to disaster-afflicted communities, it carries a lot of political baggage -- so much so in places like Pakistan that the U.S might be better off in the long run by downsizing USAID's direct activities there and working through alternative programs.
One good model might be the Rural Support Programmes Network. A sprawling collection of local NGOs, the RSPN was founded by the Agha Khan Network in 1982, and has since become its own, separate program. While the stats about its reach are impressive -- reaching millions of the poorest homes across a vast swath of Pakistan -- what's especially fascinating about RSPN are its methods.
On February 28, Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) welcomed Apoorva Oza, CEO of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in India. In this exclusive interview marking World Water Day on March 22, Mr. Oza shared AKRSP’s approach to water sustainability in India.
The following interview has been edited and condensed.
Q: What is the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme?
Apoorva Oza: The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in India is a non-denominational, non-governmental organization which was established in the year 1984. It works in the area of rural development, partnering with rural communities to improve the quality of their lives.
Q: March 22nd is the UN’s World Water Day and the theme this year is “water and food security”. How do water scarcity issues affect India?
AO: India houses a substantial part of the world’s poor population and therefore food insecurity is a major issue. There are many millions of children who do not get enough to eat on a daily basis. AKRSP works in many regions which have water scarcity. In these regions, because there is water scarcity there is not enough irrigation. Because of lack of irrigation, food production is much less, and because of lack of food production people end up eating less because farmers usually depend on food they grow for their consumption.
Q: How is AKRSP addressing water issues in India?
AO: AKRSP believes that the core to agricultural development is what we call “irrigation supply.” With climate change you can’t predict how much rainfall is going to come and when it’s going to come. This is affecting agriculture productivity substantially. In different contexts – whether it’s a coastal saline area, or a semi-arid area, or a flood-prone area – these are all areas where the management of the water for irrigation is critical to food productivity. One of the key interventions that AKRSP focuses on is increasing the irrigation options for farmers. AKRSP helps farmers [build] water-harvesting structures, helps them repair existing canal irrigation systems which have become defunct, and helps them recharge groundwater systems.
Q: What is the idea behind measuring “drops per crop”?
AO: To enhance the efficiency of use of water, we promote micro-irrigation devices. These devices are largely drip irrigation systems or sprinkler irrigation systems. We monitor how many drops [of water] are required per crop. If you reduce the “drops per crop” what you do is improve the water productivity of agriculture. There has been a substantial emphasis on land productivity, but the constraining resource is now not only land, the constraining resource is actually water. So you need to start measuring tonnes [of crops produced] per litre of water. By focusing on this we have improved the water productivity of many crops substantially, and that has helped address the food crisis in many of these areas. Once you enhance water productivity, then you help small farmers – who have limited land and limited water – to meet their food demands.
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