Thatta, January 18: Members of civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and political leaders have pressed on need to take all-out efforts to launch livelihood development programmes to alleviate poverty in Sindh.
They also noted that rising food prices, poor health facilities, rise in water-borne diseases caused by contaminated drinking water and bad sanitation, slowed economic activities, bad lad and order situation, among other factors, have aggravated the state of poverty in the resource-rich Sindh.
Inadequate access to health and education facilities, safe drinking water and sanitation and consequent rise in water-borne diseases have contributed to deepen poverty and living standards of the people in different parts of the province, the speakers highlighted.
Such views were expressed at the “Enhance Livlihood, Rduce Poverty” programme launched here today in poverty-hit Thatta district’s Mehar union council of the Ghorabari taluka by the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE).
Riaz Hussain Sherazi, noted political leader and son of Sindh Assembly member Ijaz hussain Sherazi, has lauded SCOPE for launching livelihood development programmes in Sindh’s poverty-hit districts.
“Livelihood enhaning initiatives at all levels are need of the hour to helppoor people of the province improve their socio-economic conditions. Poverty is major cause of bad health and education facilities in most of the province and; thus, improvement in livelihood will be of great help for the poor people means improvement in health and education profile of the people,” he said.
Riaz Hussain Sherazi remarked that government welcomes initiatives of local NGOS as being taken by the SCOPE for fighting poverty and livelihood enhancement.
The SCOPE also organized a public mella (festival) in collaboration with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).
“The activity was the first largest meeting of its kind in the southern coastal belt of Pakistan and it delivered assets to most deprived families of the area to help them enhance their livelihood opportunities and alleviate poverty at their end, said Mahjabeen Khan, programme cooardinator of SCOPE.
The event was attended, among otheers, by local political leaders, counselors, donors and support organizations, representatives of the government departments and media.
The PPAF representative, Mr. Basharat Khan, told the participants that PPF’s Livelihood Enhancement and Protection (LEP) Programme has the total outlay of Rs6.4 billion, with outreach in 31 districts of Pakistan and South Waziristan Agency.
PPAF has 26 partners in LEP and so far 11,815 individuals have benefitted from this interventionm he said.
Basharat also said that cumulative disbursements of PPAF (both lending and grant based), since April 2000, stand at over US $1,000 million of which financing for microfinance had the largest share (US $600 million). It has partnered with 106 organizations working in over 89,300 villages/settlements with more than 302,000 communities and self-help groups at grassroots level in 129 districts.
He also shared that PPAF’s cumulative operational activities entailed over 4.8 million microcredit loans impacting directly or indirectly 33.7 million (with 100 per cent recovery rate), over 25,800 educational, health, water and infrastructure projects impacting 17.1 million and over 467,500 trained individuals (POs staff and communities).
While addressing the public gathering in Mehar UC, Chief Executive Officer of Scope and renowned environmentalists ,Tanveer Arif, said that poverty is a great misfortune and it could be managed through tangible civil society livelihood programmes.
“Most people of coastal areas of Sindh are unfortunate as they suffer abjectpoverty due to degradation of natural resources, destruction of infrastructure and onslaught of climate change caused natural disasters,” he pointed out.
Tanveer Arif said further that the SCOPE’s project on the ‘Livelihood Enhancement’ in Thatta is one of its poverty alleviation initiatives, which is being supported by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Foundation (PPAF).
SCOPE, under LEP project, has planned to distribute assets among poor to enable them to earn livelihood, he said and addedm: “An extensive survey has been carried out with the help of a Local Support Organization (LSO), and recipients of assets have been identified through poverty score card and identified ultra poor and vulnerable.”
An open market was inaugurated, in which vendors offered their commodities (goats and sheep) and the selected recipients from the community procured the animals by themselves , which was led by the procurement committee.
A cultural show was also organized by LSO to highligt characteristics of rich local culture and traditions.