Simi Kamal, the senior group head of grants operation, and Mohammed Ashraf, the programme management specialist for the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) paid a two-day visit to BRAC in Pakistan’s programme for poverty reduction (PPR) office at Hub Chowki, Lasbela.
PPR is specially designed to meet the needs of people in vulnerable and marginalised communities, who are deprived of social and economic opportunities. An integrated model is used to provide a holistic environment conducive to the socio-economic uplift of people living in extreme poverty. The objective is poverty reduction through the creation of sustainable conditions of social and economic development, including increased income and production capacity and social support. As of December 2017, 221 community organisations have been established, 321 clients received asset transfers, and 564 community members received vocational and technical training. 28 community schools have been established and 37 government schools received rehabilitation support. Two health centres were established and 106 women-friendly latrines have been constructed. 39 clean drinking water schemes and 33 solar lighting schemes have been completed.
The visit was an extensive attempt to monitor gender parity and women’s participation in the programme. On the first day, Kamal and Ashraf were briefed about PPR operations and the progress of the programme by the programme manager, Changiz Baloch, communications coordinator, Zilay Huma, and programme lead, Kashif Ashraf.
The visitors were taken on a field visit the next day. The first stop was BRAC’s community school in Ibrahim Sasoli Goth in Union Council Sakran, Lasbela. Kamal discussed academic matters with the head teacher, and had a chit chat with the students. She met with members of the school management committee and the students’ parents. She checked all the facilities supplied by BRAC in Pakistan to the community school, such as washrooms, fans, lights and teaching material.
The next stop was a community health centre at Hashim Wahora Goth. The visitors met with the staff and discussed in length the operations and medical procedures.
Next was the Local Support Organization (LSO) Band Murad office at Mubarak Goth. The president of the LSO, Rehmat Ullah, and vice president, Saliha Bibi, welcomed the PPAF team. LSO members gave a detailed presentation about their community work and their linkages with government institutions. The PPAF team was introduced to all the committee and subcommittee members of the LSO. Kamal interacted with the procurement, education, health and audit committees of the LSO. She was very concerned about women’s representation and participation in the community development work and was delighted to see Saliha Bibi and other extraordinary women speaking for themselves and breaking the glass ceiling. She even drove around in an autorickshaw to encourage women to work outside their homes. She visited different community infrastructure schemes in Mubarak and Ibrahim Sasooli Goth and met clients.
The visit came to an end with a dinner and an informal meeting where Kamal shared her views about BRAC Pakistan’s community development work. She was surprised and contented to see vibrant and meaningful women’s participation in the community. She appreciated BRAC Pakistan staff at Lasbela for their outstanding performance in community mobilisation. She wished BRAC in Pakistan well in its future endeavours.