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HYDERABAD: Sindh Minister for Public Health Engineering and Rural Development Fayaz Ali Butt has said that the community-driven development approach of rural support programmes should be extended to all districts.

He was speaking to participants in lesson-learning and experience-sharing workshop organised by the Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP) held under the Sindh Union Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support (SUCCESS) programme — funded by the European Union — in a local hotel on Tuesday.

The SUCCESS programme is being implemented in eight districts of Sindh by the TRDP, National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) and Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN).

The minister reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the programme saying that he would extend his full support to it. Mr Butt said that he was impressed by women community leaders, who were transforming their villages and improving quality of life in their respective rural areas.

Renowned economist Kaiser Bengali highlighted the role of social mobilisation in changing societies.

He underlined the importance of political struggle in getting rights.

RSPN chairman Shoaib Sultan Khan discussed the history of RSPs and the impact t

heir development approach had made not only in Pakistan but also in India and other Asian countries.

He said that empowered institutions of local communities that formed “social pillar” of the state could complement the administrative and political structure triggering a sustainable process of change and development.

He said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was willing to extend the poverty reduction programme at UC level to six more districts.

Hyderabad Commissioner Sajid Jamal Abro paid tribute to women community leaders, observing that women’s confidence and clarity of mind was phenomenal.

He said that RSPs’ approach to development and poverty reduction cast a positive and lasting impact on societies.

Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Munawwar Ali Mahesar said that he was highly impressed by the change triggered by social mobilisation in the rural communities.

He said that women had rebelled against ‘rotten’ disempowering traditions and decided to lead the process of change from their villages.

Representatives of various civil society organisations and women community leaders, besides an EU official, also spoke.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2017