Roshan Bano Hunzai
Hunza has been so often highlighted by international media for its community development activities in addition to its cultural uniqueness, and natural beauty. This article will focus only development of Hunza and its coverage by media.
Hunza has been recognized and frequently referred as a successful example of community development and progress by international development entities, academia, and media for so long. Ironically our national development entities, academia and media came to know about this phenomenon only recently and just started to discuss, debate and appreciate on different platforms .As a result masses of own country Pakistan also come to know about developmetal aspect of Hunza in addition to its natural beauty. Nowadays development in Hunza is gaining popularity and frequent coverage through national media with ever increasing communication and information technology and proliferation of different forms of social media. The development is applauded by outsiders and boosted by Hunzokuch (dwellers of Hunza).
But there are problems with the way media is doing coverage regarding development of Hunza. It is not portrayed the way it should be – based on facts and figures and evidence based.
First problem is coverage is superficial, partial and ill-analysed and sometimes false without any authentic research and investigation. Such coverage spread either half-truth or misinformation and misleads public. Consequently creating misconceptions and myths among masses. As in Pakistan majority of masses rarely challenge what is showed on media. Its responsibility of media to show true picture.
Second problem is that it shows only explicit and visually visible and observable positive results of development in Hunza. Hence giving an impression that development is all about economic progress and higher literacy rate. Undoubtedly these two indicators are important but there are several others indicators – mostly attitudinal and behavioural in nature .They are totally neglected just because those are not easily measurable and observable. Such portrayal of development leads to misinterpretation and distortion of development as concept. Consequently educating masses that development is all about economics and literacy rate.
Third problem is that media shows development of Hunza as an inspirational story but does not share how this inspirational development has been achieved. Consequently the purpose of my article is to highlight those efforts and ingredients that led to the commendable and exemplary development of Hunza.
AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) through its well organized, designed and tailored to meet local needs launched following initiatives. Although the below list is not conclusive but these are some of the most important and crucial measures devised by AKDN that resulted in current development of Hunza.
Simultaneous and proportionate investment in all components of development –education, health, income generation, socio cultural area etc.
Community mobilization on all levels among women, men, youth both girls and boys for awareness and pursuit of their rights.
Provision of high standard education for both girls and boys not only in easily accessible areas but in far flung areas as well. Education that encouraged conceptual learning and critical thinking not rote learning and cramming.
Considering the voice and opinion of local population in decision making- in process of identifying and solving the issues hence giving them sense of ownership, participation and involvement instead of rather than imposing opinions from outside.
Investment in marketable and locally applicable capacities and skills of local population which lead to income generation and economic improvement of local population.
Inclusion of dispossessed socially segregated and marginalized segments of society in development process.
Efforts for gender equality by educating both men and women. Educating community regarding the socio cultural gender inequalities ignorantly taken as religiously ordained.
Developing solutions for the needs and issues of that are compatible with local climatic and geographic conditions. That led to sustainability and resource effectiveness.
Exploring, and harnessing local resources and opportunities for betterment of population.
Polishing and training human capital in administration, leadership, technical fields etc. for their future roles instead of recruiting locals just as labourers. This strategy led to development of skilled and educated indigenous human resources.
Yes the picture is not all perfect; there are flaws and defects but in totality the development is commendable and inspirational.