Gilgit - Baltistan

USAID Director visits GB, pledges more development support

A board giving details about one of the projects at Gulmit

Islamabad: United States Agency for International Development Deputy Director Karen Freeman visited different parts of Gilgit – Baltistan and met community leaders, discussing on-going development projects and potentials for future development support.

According to a press release, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested approximately $1.2 million over the last two years in local civil society organizations and community groups in the GB region through the U.S. government’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programs.  The projects support existing community initiatives to restore flood damaged schools, build new dormitories to improve student’s access to secondary education, improve the community library, stimulate jobs, and improve agricultural production through irrigation.

During her visit, Freeman also visited two education projects, one in Gulmit and another in Gilgit Village Singal.  In Gulmit, Freeman visited with students, parents, and teachers who are benefitting from the construction of a hostel for female students in a disaster-hit area of Hunza.  At least 40 female students will stay in the hostel every year.   Freeman toured the school and met with students, where she emphasized that the United States government  is committed to not only helping communities rebuild after disasters like the 2010 floods, but also to improving access to quality education and teachers.

Freeman met women bee keepers of GB who are beneficiaries of a joint USAID-Hashoo Foundation project called “Plan Bee.” The project provides training and materials to women bee-keepers, and helps them find lucrative markets for their products.  “The American people believe in entrepreneurship.  This project not only improves incomes for 450 women, but it also has a ripple effect as women invest their income in their families, particularly the children’s education, which helps the wider community and the future of Pakistan.  We are proud to partner with the Hashoo Foundation, which plays such a vital role in giving back to the community and serves as a model for others in philanthropy,” said Freeman.

 “Through USAID’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programs we work together to identify projects that will not only directly benefit the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, but will also be developed, led, and implanted by the communities.  We see these funds as a way to recognize and empower local heroes.  We are proud to stand with you as you lead the way to a brighter future for Pakistan,” said Freeman.  The United State Government’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program in Pakistan supports civil society organizations by providing grants for social and economic development at the grass roots level. The Ambassador’s Fund and Small Grants programs will provide $45 million over a period of five years all across Pakistan.

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