The six-year European Union funded Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment (BRACE) Programme successfully concluded with a final dissemination workshop at the office of Balochistan Rural Support Programme.
BRACE has been the largest EU investment (Euro 45 Million) for community empowerment in Balochistan, directly working with 300,000 families in 10 districts of Balochistan namely Jhal Magsi, Kech, Khuzdar, Killa Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Pishin, Washuk, Duki and Zhob.
The EU-funded programme was implemented by the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) encompassing one-third of Balochistan and employed a mix of transactional and transformational approaches for social mobilisation, capacity building, and civic oversight, creating agency and voice for the vulnerable communities, with a particular emphasis on empowering women.
“Income Generating Grants: PKR 668 million has been disbursed to 13,968 extremely poor participants, 72% of them women.”
The Programme mobilised 300,000 households, half of which were categorised as economically disadvantaged. The initiative established a cohesive network of approximately 26,375 Community Organisations, 5739 Village Organisation and 237 Local Support Organisations across ten districts in Balochistan. The programme was implemented in collaboration with the Local Government and Rural Development Department (LGRDD), Government of Balochistan, (GoB).
The Final Dissemination Workshop was attended by esteemed guests including Sardar Ejaz Jaffer–Interim Minister for Public Health & Population Welfare, Captain (R) Zubair Jamali–Interim Minister for Home & Tribal Affairs, senior government officials and representatives of the civil society attended the event.
“BRACE Programme provided Technical & Vocational Education and Trainings to 3,187 youngsters, 58% of them women. 51% of these skilled graduates have pulled their families out of poverty”. “357 Community Physical Infrastructure schemes are benefitting roughly 42,000 families. Improved sanitation and clean drinking water has reduced household health expenditures by 50%.”
Dr Tahir Rasheed, CEO of BRSP highlighted the remarkable contributions of BRACE programme across 10 districts that improved the socio economic conditions of communities, particularly women made majority of the beneficiaries across all programme interventions. “The most visible legacy of this programme that I am proud of is that we have evidence through third-party that women have a larger role as decision-makers in their own households.”, he added.
In his remark, Mr. Arshad Rashid Chief of Programmes – PPAF lauded the efforts of all the RSPs in successful completion of BRACE Programme which impacted positively in the lives of over a million people.
He urged the need for continued support by Balochistan government in its mission to strengthen its local governance systems as the Balochistan province has promulgated its Community Led Local Governance (CLLG) Policy, paving the way for community’s engagement in planning and implementation of development schemes at the village level.
A community leader from district Pishin also presented his achievements. Abdul Hai, an LSO representative from Pishin shared how the programme motivated him to advocate for girls’ education in his area. Ms Nabeel Baloch, NRSP’s General Manager for Makran Division said that all financial services such as Income Generating Grants and interest-free loans were 100% directed to women.
“Community Investment Fund: Through people’s union council based organisations, PKR 408 million has been provided to 14,714 poor community members, 62% of them women”
The Final Dissemination Workshop concluded over the distribution of shields among the leaders of BRACE Programme and a vote of thanks by Malik Anwar Saleem Kasi, Chairman of BRSP.