A meeting of village organisation underway in Chitral’s Karimabad valley.- Dawn
The flash flood of 2012 had washed away the water supply scheme and 1.5 kilometres link road of the remote Kiyar village of Karimabad valley, but the services were restored the very next week by the local community itself and they did not waste a moment to wait for the government departments.
The community had a pretty sum of money in savings and it just passed a resolution authorising the office-bearers to withdraw the required amount from the bank account of the organisation to restore the facilities. The government released special funds for restoration of the flood-affected infrastructures two years later in 2014.
This was the dividend of the phenomenon of social organisations which took roots in Chitral in 1980s when Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) made debut in the district and worked on the basis of community mobilisation.
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Rural Development in Pakistan — Aga Khan Development Network
Before the Karakorum Highway was built in the late 1970s, the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral were isolated from the rest of Pakistan. Most people lived from subsistence agriculture. When AKDN first came to the area, it made community mobilization, experimentation and innovation hallmarks of the early programme. Later, when solutions were found for development challenges, these programmes scaled up with the help of national and international partners.
Often described as a process of “learning by doing”, the AKRSP approach of working in partnership with communities has made remarkable changes in the lives of the 1.3 million villagers.Often described as a process of “learning by doing”, the AKRSP approach of working in partnership with communities has made remarkable changes in the lives of the 1.3 million villagers who live in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan region – among some of the highest mountain ranges of the world, including the Karakorum, Himalayas, Hindukush and Pamirs.
Most of these beneficiaries are widely dispersed across a region covering almost 90,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Ireland. Among many notable achievements have been a significant increase in incomes, the construction of hundreds of bridges, irrigation channels and other small infrastructure projects, the planting of over 30 million trees and reclamation of over 90,000 hectares of degraded land, the mobilization of over 4,500 community organizations and the creation of savings groups which manage over US$8 million.
Perhaps the most impressive achievement has been its pioneering community-based, participatory approach to development. For over 25 years, AKRSP has successfully demonstrated participatory approaches to planning and implementation of micro-level development in rural areas, including the mobilization of rural savings and provision of micro-credit; the application of cost-effective methods for building rural infrastructure; natural resource development; institution and capacity building; and successful partnership models for public-private sector initiatives.
The development model adopted by AKRSP has itself been widely replicated both within AKDN and outside it. A network of Rural Support Programmes now exists all over the country with the mandate to design and implement strategies for alleviation of rural poverty. In South Asia and other parts of the world programmes based on this model have been set up to promote grassroots development through involvement of local communities.
Read more on http://www.akdn.org/rural_development/pakistan.asp