Participatory Rural Development in Pakistan: Experience of Rural Support Programmes
The stories of nine rural support programs (RSPs) related in this book focus on their partnership--which started in a small way in late 1982--with rural communities in Pakistan through participatory organizations of ordinary men and women. In each case, the emphasis is on change and outcomes. The nine RSPs work in partnership with rural communities in 93 districts in the four provinces of Pakistan, Northern Areas, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. They have helped organise nearly 1.67 million rural households into 100,700 participatory organizations of men and women with 1.90 million members. The RSPs have used these organizations to deliver a variety of inputs and services, build physical infrastructure, enhance skills, transfer technologies, and link them with other service providers, especially governments. Much as these investments and activities are appreciated, and some of their good effects well demonstrated, perhaps a far more important contribution of community organizations has been to enable ordinary people to participate in making decisions that affect their well-being and claim resources and services from outsiders, particularly the public sector agencies. This has been of particular importance to the poor and women who are often the most disadvantaged groups. Getting together, speaking out, participating in making decisions, doing new things, going out, and working with outsiders are demonstrably necessary for confidence and empowerment. The experience of rural support programs has convinced governments and international donor community that community organizations should be part of the mainstream in the effort to reduce poverty.
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