QUETTA: The $52.4 million Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Programme (BRDCEP) was launched on Saturday.

The five-year programme of the Local Government and Rural Development Department (LG&RDD) has been funded by the European Union. The provincial government, Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) will help the LG&RDD in completion of the programme.

The main focus of the programme is to support the Balochistan government in reducing the negative impact of economic deprivation, poverty and social inequality and empower resilient communities to actively participate in identifying and implementing socio-economic development activities on sustainable basis in partnership with local authorities.

The programme, benefiting 1.9 million people, will be implemented in eight districts of the province: Jhal Magsi, Kech, Khuzdar, Qilla Abdullah, Loralai, Pishin, Washuk and Zhob.

Federal Minister for Postal Service Maulana Ameer Zaman, Provincial Minister for Planning and Development Dr Hamid Achakzai, Minister for LG&RDD Sardar Mustafa Tareen, Senator Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi, former chief minister of Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Adviser to Chief Minister on Forest, Wildlife and Livestock Obaidullah Babat, MPA Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Mr Sanaullah Baloch, former federal minister for social welfare, special education and women development Zubaida Jalal and P&D Secretary Asfandyar Kakar spoke on the occasion and shared their views on the programme.

All speakers lauded the EU’s support and Rural Support Programmes Network’s work in the province.

They appreciated efforts of BRSP, NRSP and RSPN for their contribution in reducing poverty in the province.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the programme, EU Ambassador Jean-François Cautain said that core components of the BRDCEP included bottom-up approach and formulation of development policy framework which the Balochistan government and other stakeholders would use to contribute to reducing poverty in the province.

He further said that the ownership of the programme by the Balochistan government and politicians of the province was extremely encouraging.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2017