by: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, Nov 11: Three high officials of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) including Christoph Graph; Head of Asia Pacific, Pius Rohner; Country Director and Kanwal Bokharey; Programme Officer SDC visited different projects of Karakoram Area Development Organisation (KADO) in Hunza and Baltistan Cultural Forum (BCF) in Baltistan.
The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the impact and outcomes of SDC investments in Northern Areas. The Hunza projects included information and communication technology for development (ICT4D), gems cutting and polishing Center, women-owned handicraft companies and rehabilitation centres working under the umbrella of KADO.
The officials also held meetings with women artisans in order to find out ways to sustain and increase the impact and scope of the women owned handicraft companies.
The officials expressed their satisfaction over the investments of the agency in different development projects in Gilgit and Baltistan. They regarded the evolution of KADO from a small handicraft promotional society to a regional development organisation, as a best model of indigenous organisational development, which gives great satisfaction to the SDC and Swiss tax payers.
It is important to mention here that majority of the donor agencies are moving from Northern Areas whereas majority of the population still live below poverty level and are deprived of basic human needs and rights.
There is a need that Government takes a lead in providing an enabling and conducive environment for the donors and investors in Gigit-Baltistan to retain their interest in the region. Furthermore, the media needs to not create confusion between the Northern Areas referred for Gilgit-Baltistan and the war-hit areas of NWFP.