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Girl’s colleges, internet demanded

PESHAWAR: Speakers from tribal districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Friday urged the government to improve internet connectivity, establish schools and colleges for girls, start a separate transportation facility for working women and bridge gaps in the health sector.

They made these suggestions during a consultation session about Accelerated Implementation Programme (AIP) Phase II organised across seven tribal districts.

Having had their voices ignored for decades before the merger with K-P, people from the tribal region showed up in hundreds to participate in the second consultation drive organised by the government across the tribal districts.

These community-level sessions are an effort of the provincial government to engage the people in high-level policymaking – something from which they had historically remained absent in the past. The drive was conducted with technical assistance from Merged Areas Governance Project (MAGP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“We have wanted to approach all our solutions for the merged areas with an innovation mindset and purposefully avoided using established but low impact methods,” said K-P Additional Chief Secretary Shahab Ali Shah.

“With our partner MAGP, these district consultations have helped to bring the voices of the people to the highest tiers of policy makers to create context specific solutions. To the people of the merged areas, my message is that we have heard you, and we will continue to serve you.”

The provincial government in a joint effort with MAGP ensured that people of all ages including tribal elders, students, tycoons and labourers with educationally and economically diverse backgrounds participated in the exercise.

A total of 25 consultative sessions took place where people provided feedback on the schemes under AIP-I and suggested the K-P government to solve the aforementioned issues.

Speaking on how this drive will impact the upcoming AIP, the MAGP Senior Coordination and Implementation Specialist Tari Zaman said, “We have, through these district consultations, brought insight to technical experts creating the new AIP directly from the people who know their problems the most.”

“Nobody can describe the need of a common man better than that person (residents of MA),” said Babar Jan, MAGP’s field implementation specialist, who helped in facilitating the session in North Waziristan district. “Democratic dialogues are vital for narrowing the gap between the government and its citizens, and establishing direct communication. The takeaways from this exercise will ensure that the upcoming initiatives are well-rounded and nuanced, suiting the current needs of the people of MA.”

The district consultation drives began on February 24 and concluded on March 8. Around 2,500 people attended the drives. AIP-I, which was also designed in a similar manner with the inclusion of people’s input, will be concluding in June 2022. Subsequently, AIP-II will be launched.

Source: Express Tribune