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ISLAMABAD: The former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are undergoing a major transition and the provincial government needs the support of all major organisations, especially the ones working at the grassroots level, to ensure locals have at least the basic amenities.

This was stated by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 10th National Convention of Local Support Organisations, Mr Hussain urged the Rural Support Programme Network (RSPN) to focus more on the tribal areas.

He said local support organisations should be used to work on local issues and development.

He lauded the madressah reforms conducted by the Balochistan Rural Support Programme and said seminary students should have the same opportunities as other children.

The event was held to showcase the achievements of 1,693 local support organisations working for the socio-economic development of rural communities in the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Local support organisations are union council-level institutions fostered by rural support programmes and led by elected locals to develop links with government departments and civil society organisations.

They undertake development initiatives aligned with local needs. RSPN and rural support programmes have fostered these local support organisations ensuring the inclusion of women through the formation of 543 women-only local support organisations.

RSPN had invited local support organisation representatives from across Pakistan to share their success stories and the challenges they face.

They shared their achievements of working in a range of community development projects including, education, health, sanitation, climate change, women empowerment and poverty reduction.

RSPN is a network of 11 rural support programmes working in poverty alleviation in 145 districts across Pakistan with an outreach to over 45 million people. It was established in the year 2000.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2018