EU to help Pakistan alleviate Covid-19 impact

Published March 18, 2021
An elderly resident sits in a waiting area after having her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File
An elderly resident sits in a waiting area after having her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The European Union will support three projects to be undertaken by civil society organisations with assistance worth 7.23 million euros to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the communities and increase the voice of the youth in society.

Ambassador of the European Union Androulla Kaminari signed three contracts in Islamabad on Wednesday with the representatives of the main implementing partners: Aga Khan Foundation, Norwegian Church Aid and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe. The projects were selected through a call for proposals launched in April last year and focused on Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan, an EU press release said.

In Pakistan, the virus is posing a threat to people’s lives, straining communities, overwhelming health systems and endangering livelihoods. Young people in particular, who make up a majority of Pakistan’s population, have been severely affected by the pandemic in terms of unemployment, increased gender inequalities, social exclusion and a diminished voice in the decision-making processes.

Three projects to be executed in Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan

The projects aim to build capacity of civil society organisations to mobilise and engage youths, enhance involvement in decision-making, and improve access to economic opportunities for marginalised groups.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Kaminara said that as the world continued to battle the coronavirus pandemic, it was important to focus their efforts on supporting the most vulnerable. “Civil society organisations are important partners for the EU wherever we work, and have been crucial in Pakistan’s efforts to respond to the current crisis.”

The initiative leading to the successful proposals was one of the first concrete actions taken by the EU last year to alleviate the effects of the pandemic in the short and long term in Pakistan. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on young people — which is reflected in the areas prioritised by these projects, including youth engagement and economic empowerment.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2021

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