by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, August 28: The first ever convention of local support organisation (LSOs) titled, “Joining hands today for better tomorrow” concluded, after 3 days of intensive sessions at Karakoram International University, Gilgit and field visits to different model development projects and heritage sites in Hunza and other parts of Gilgit.
The convention was organised by Aga Khan Rural Support Organisation under its “Institutional Development for Poverty Reduction” component, funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The main objective was to provide a platform for public, private and civil society organisations to share experiences, lessons and ideas about strengthening the local support organizations (LSOs), and discuss and develop strategies and actions to institutionalize LSOs as localized democratic institutions of the people, by the people, and for the people. About three hundred delegates from 38 LSOs of Northern Areas and Chitral and other Rural Support Programmes of AJK and other four provinces participated in the convention.
During the second day, a large number of officials of government, civil society and private sector from the Northern Areas also participated the convention proceedings. During the discussions emphasis were made to ensure community participation in formulation of development policies and decision makings regarding indigenous resources and development.
Izhar Ali Hunzai GM AKRSP highlighted the efforts of AKRSP in order to develop and strengthen institutional mechanisms at grass-root levels. He said such organisations are vital to sustain the development.
The Chief Secretary Northern Areas, Babar Yaqub Fateh Muhammad applauded the efforts of AKRSP in the socio-economic development of Northern Areas and stressed the need for effective public private partnership in order to make differences in the lives of targeted communities. He assured his support to include the say of local communities at all level in order to give ownership to the local communities. He said the recommendations received during this convention will be made part of the vision 2030 document of Northern Areas.
During the final day of the conventions, the delegates visited different projects and heritage sites in Hunza and other parts of Gilgit. They applauded the efforts of the local development organisation for developing community-based development models.