By A Correspondent
GILGIT, Aug 27: A convention of community activists and development practitioners from the Northern Areas and Chitral concluded here on Wednesday with the resolve that steps would be taken to increase participation of local communities in development policy and decision making process.
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme organised the two-day convention titled `Joining hands today for a better tomorrow’ at the Karakoram International University (KIU).
Besides representatives from the government, civil society and private sector, the convention brought together more than three hundred people belonging to thirty-eight local support organisations from Baltistan, Gilgit and Chitral.
Speaking on the occasion, chief secretary Northern Areas Babar Yaqub said the government was making all efforts to work with the masses by forging partnership at every level.
He applauded the efforts of AKRSP for socio-economic development of the area and said the government was willing to carry forward the processes by creating more windows of opportunities for community participation.
He said the government would seriously consider recommendations from this convention to include them in the forthcoming `Vision 2030′ plan for the region.
Izhar Ali Hunzai, general manager AKRSP, said sustainable development required an integrated institutional framework at the local level where public and the private sectors and the civil society worked hand in hand to achieve common goals and objectives of poverty reduction, economic growth and social transformation.
He recalled the social and human capital created in the form of village and women organisations as the building blocks for developing transparent, accountable and professionally managed LSOs.
Sartaj Ahmed Khan, the tehsil nazim of Chitral, said people should take charge of development projects in their areas.
Syed Sardar Hussain, chairman LSO Chitral, said women organisations in the northern areas had surpassed other bodies in terms of cash savings.
He stressed the need for more public funds for LSOs to sustain the initiatives that they had taken in the benefit of the people.
Agha Yahya, a local social activist, emphasised the need for bringing women in leadership positions through representative bodies.
By A Correspondent