A day long consultative program concluded

Abdur Razzaq

Peshawar: Community Uplift Program (CUP) Pakistan organized a Dissemination Workshop of the Pilot Phase of the Project funded by DFID through Palladium Grouptitled; “Improvement in Quality of Family Planning and ReproductiveHealth Services through Citizen-Led Performance Monitoring using Community Score Card as a Social Accountability Tool” at Pearl Continental Hotel Peshawar.The Chief Guest at the event was Mr. Fazal Nabi Khan, Secretary Population Welfare Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Mr. Masood Younas the Additional Secretary Health represented the Secretary HealthGovernment of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Citing evidence based performance iIftikhar-CEO-CUP.JPGndicators, regarding the success of this phase of the project, the Chief Executive of CUP Pakistan, Iftikhar Ur Rahman, presented the achievements, challenges and the framework for the scale-up of the project in cooperation with the “Independent Monitoring Unit” of the Health Department.The CSC process involved, social mobilization of the communities, identification of community activists/users (male and female) and tracking of facilities in terms of official entitlement and recorded in relation to the actual holdings of staff, equipment & medicines. Based on a set of agreed performance indicators between facility staff/district health managers and community activists, the community activists scored performance from 1-5 with 1 as the lowest level of ranking/satisfaction related to a particular indicator. The service facility staff also conducted its own performance evaluation against the same indicators and scored as they saw it.This was followed by three citizen-facility staff interface meetings for three clusters of facilities which were participated by community, service facility staff and district health and population welfare officials. Nine (9) agreed action plans were formulated related to each facility for addressing key issues that were identified in the interface meetings resulting from the performance scoring. Also Joint Citizen Monitoring Committees (JCMCs) were constituted were agreed membership and terms of reference;

The results analyzed by the JCMCs as of end January 2016, indicate that almost 90% of the nine (9) agreed action plans have been implemented, although the pilot project target was to ensure that at least 50% of the nine (9) agreed action plans are implemented by the end of the pilot phase!

A lively discussion took place between citizens and the provincial and district health staff in which it was evident that time has changed as citizens are more aware of their rights to quality healthcare.

Speaking to the participants, Mr. Masood Younas Fazal Nabi Khan, Secretary Population Welfare Department made a passionate appeal to all stakeholders including citizens to collaborate and enable CUP Pakistan to improve the demand side through application of good governance tools such as the CSC.He fully supported the way forward plans through the scale up phase of the project, which envisages support to the IMU-Health of KPK by providing citizen feedback through the CSC process which is “horizontal monitoring”…….thus closing the loop and integrating the “independent vertical monitoring” by the IMU-Health with citizen feedback through “horizontal monitoring” by the use of CSC process.

Dr. Akhtar said, Project Director IMU-Health mentioned that the contours of the CUP-IMU partnership is based on the desire of the health secretary to improve governance in “Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child Care”   service facilities for “demand creation” which in the longer term will improved performance indicators laid down by the Health Department..

Mr. Fazal Nabi Khan, Secretary Population Welfare was very passionate in his keynote address by saying that he considered the Government of KPK accountable to the citizens for providing them quality healthcare services.I have had a chance of several meetings with the Chief Executive of CUP Pakistan, He stated that he was fully in picture the challenges and successes of this project. “I strongly believed many months ago that this pilot project will strengthen the work of the Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) as well as the Internal Monitoring and Evaluation System of the Population Welfare Departmentsaid the Chief Guest, after all, these public services are for the citizens of KPK and by including them in the feedback on timely and quality service delivery, this pilot project has created a model for citizen inclusive healthcare which is a sustainable, replicable and scalable for joint citizen-service joint action planning & monitoring:.Having seen these evidence based results of the pilot phase, he fully supported the framework for the scale up as presented by the Chief Executive of CUP Pakistan.

Brilliant girl student vows to make career in civil services

Abdur Razzaq

TAKHTBHAI: Rehana Bibi, a brilliant student of the International Relations (IR) Department at the Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, plans to do Central Superior Services (CSS) examination to join civil services after her masters.

Rehana, who clinched second position in her first semester, while talking to Dateline Peshawar said that women were not inferior to men in any field of life. She said that she believed in hard work, dedication and determination for achieving something special in the life.

Rehana Bibi, daughter of Fazal Muhammad and resident of Shergarh in Takhthai, belongs to a poor family, said that she did her graduation with great difficulty as her father was the sole bread earner for the entire family. Her father is running a spare parts shop.

She said she got her nursery education from government primary school Rabnawaz Banda and had secured first position in examinations from grade one to Matric.

She also secured second position in FA examination and was given Rs 15,000 as cash prize and was also awarded scholarship.

“Whenever I pass by my school and looking at the children busy studying there, it recalls me the past days and sweet memories of my childhood,” she recollected.

Rehana said that when she was in grade nine her father sold out the house because he had no money to bear her and her other siblings educational expenditures. “My father sold the house to get us educated,” she added.

She said that now they purchased another house in and her siblings were also studying in Islamabad. In routine Rehana was studying for four hours a day while studying for nine to ten hours during her preparations.

“All human beings are equal, have two eyes, hands and legs but those working hard could achieve what they want. Hard work and firm commitment is the key to success” Rehana argued.

“In our society parents mostly provide religious education to their children, if they provide both religious education and formal education to their children then they will be able to cope with the socio-economical, financial and other societal issues effectively”, she said.

She said that parents could not change the mind-set of adults easily as compared to small children, adding that parents had to take keen interest to give quality education to their children especially to their daughters because they were the future mothers and would guide their children in a systematic way.

She topped Government Girls Degree College Takht-Bhai in the Bachelor of Arts examination (BA) held under the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan.  Now she is doing her master in IR at the Qauid-e-Azam University Islamabad and bagged 2nd position for herself.

She plans to appear in the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination to work for the betterment for her homeland.

Azadi, Inqilab Marchs compounds people miseries

Abdur Razzaq

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Thereek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) “Azadi and revolution marches” caused financial loss to the business community and compounded the miseries of the common people.

It is worth mentioning here that not only the elected member national assembly (MNAs) of the PTI were participating in the pary’s sit-in against the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N)-led federal government while the Chief Minster and most of his cabinet members were in Islamabad to participate in the Azadi march.images

Talking to Dateline Peshawar here Wednesday, Shakeel Farman, 40 resident of Peshawar, said the offices of provincial ministers were reportedly closed owing to their participation in the “Azad March” that had multiplied people hardships.

Shakeel said only ministers belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami were attending their offices and listening and resolving to the problems being faced by the people. “No minister or MPAs was available in Peshawar at the time when torrential rain had lashed various parts of the provincial metropolis, leaving 18 persons dead and score others injured” he stated.

Nadir Khan, resident of Buner, said the prices of daily commodities in various markets in KP in general while in Peshawar in particular has increased, adding the shopkeepers have started selling edibles at self-fixed prices.

Regarding the PTI call for civil disobedience, Nadir said the collection of levy was a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th amendment, adding the move would further complicated the prevailing financial crises and shaky economy.

Responding to a query, he said the business related activities were adversely affected by the “Azadi March” and subsequent blockade of roads. “The traders do not import items of daily use from neighboring India to Pakistan,” he added.

He said even people from KP avoid visits to Islamabad if they have no important work due to the fear and uncertainty in the country, he informed.

President Food Grain Dealer Association Haji Rambil said the long and revolution marches and blockade of roads for indefinite time would lead to flour shortage in KP.

“KP depends on Punjab’s flour and if these sit-ins are extended, a severe flour crisis would emerge in the next few days in the province,” he feared.

He said about 100 trucks loaded with flour sacks transport flour to Peshawar and elsewhere in the province on daily basis.

KP people would suffer the most if the tension arises in the backdrop of the PTI and PAT “long and revolution marches was not defused in Islamabad, Haji added.

World Labour Day – No light at the end of the tunnel for labourers

Abdur Razzaq

PESHAWAR: Almost 45-year-old Hanif Gul, a labourer hailing from Peshawar, is doing odd jobs in various parts of the provincial capital and is unaware of the World Labour Day as he says the day is observed across the country for those who work in well-furnished offices to enjoy holiday on 1st May.images

“It is holiday for government employees every year,” he told the Dateline Peshawar whileexplaining the May Day.

For many like Hanif Gul, the World Labour Day has no significance. When asked, whether he has attended any May Day ceremony, he said: “I have to work every day because I am the sole breadwinner of my family. If I participate in such events on this day, I will lose my wages and will differently borrow money to buy food for my family,” he says as he wipes off his sweat while working at the Rescue 1122 office being constructed in the provincial capital.

He said labourers in the city lacked a true leader, who can solve their problems, adding that the government only increased the salaries of those who were enjoying well furnished offices while condition of those working in the open during hot summers and chilly winters remains the same.

“If I do this work, I will get daily wages otherwise the contractor won’t give me wages for the day, while the government servants enjoy holiday on 1st May and take their wages (salary) as well,” he added.

Zafirullah, resident of Shakarpura, who was busy in construction work on a government building on daily wages, said he had been doing odd jobs for the last 35 years, adding that his daily wage was Rs350 per day.

He said the wage was less and it could not even meet his daily expenses because of price hike. He added that he spent some of his daily earnings in travelling and food as the contractor did not provide them food while he tries to save a little amount of money for his family.

He mentioned that he did not even know what Yaum-e-Mazdoor is, saying that no one tried to raise their voice and fight for their rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt. fails to control deforestation in Swat

Abdur Razzaq

Gul Badsha, a 50-year-old, resident of Miadam area of distract Swat -a region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province- is busy in cutting tree of a forest in mountainous area. He is also collecting dried branches of tress laid on earth. The forest has large number of trees and covered with of various kinds shrubs .2

“Almost in the month of December, snowfall starts on the top of mountains of various parts of Swat valley such as Kalam, Otrol, Madian, Behrain Malam Jaba, and later even in Migora, main city and commercial area of Swat valley covers with snow too. If we do not collect timber before the moth of December, then we will certainly face a lot of difficulties while collecting woods for daily use in rainy days and snowfall in winters” said Gul Badsha.

Before snowfall in the area they have to collect timber from these forests to use it in chilly weather for burning to keep their rooms warm and cook food, because they could not mange it during snowfalls, Badash added.

“We realize that these trees and forests are the sole source of natural beauty of this region and because of these forests and scenic view people from across the country and other parts of the world use to visit the valley as well.  We do not have electricity and gas here in these mountainous areas and that is the reason we have to cut trees for daily use in winter session” he explained.

Hazer Gul, a 40-year-old social activist belongs to Salampor, a village of Swat district is waiting for some guests in his office with office colleagues. After formal discussion he told this scribe, “This is not the sole reason of deforestation in Swat that poor people use timber for burning purpose, furniture, shelters and other basic needs of life. In 2007, when militancy was on peak in Swat, at start, militants relied on ‘donations’ but later they started deforestation in the region to met their financial needs”

According to official record 46 percent area of lower Swat is forest covered area, while the ratio of forests in upper swat is 86 percent of the total area, he mentioned, further said that forests in lower Swat including Najigaram valley, Karakur pass and Elum are less in size as compare to the upper Swat’s forests.

“The officials told us that 25 percent forest has been decimated during militancy in upper Swat. We talked with elected representatives of the previous government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that we (the social activists) want to do rehabilitation of those forests cut by Taliban and timber mafia. Deforestation in Swat still continues because forest department do not take action against those who are involve in this illegal activities. Timber mafia with the help of government officials are cutting trees ruthlessly in Kalam, Behrain, Mata, Sahroo and other areas. The illegally cut timbers are shifted to other parts of the country and interestingly there is no record of such timbers because tax is not paid to the government on it” he claimed.

He said that a tree took 100 years to mature before it can be cut for construction wood, further said that  majority of trees felled by militants have not yet reached their maturity state.

“In prevailing deforestation in the valley, powerful people are involved in these immoral activities. Local people cannot even say a single word against them. Few days back one of our activists told me that some government vehicles have been unloaded in Kalam area by local people”.

In Swat many carpenters one could see in Mingora Bazzar and other commercial areas before Taliban regime, but now they have shutdown their local shops, Gul pointed out.

He further said that illegal cutting of forests in different areas of Swat had attracted carpenters to make furniture for those smugglers, adding that those furniture being shifted to big markets in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi.

It is known that people in past used to buy doors, windows and other furniture from Swat markets but now the furniture business is down in the area because the furniture is available in other areas of the country, he mentioned.

“Due to illegal cutting by Taliban and timber mafia the environmental hazards at peak and local community also deprived from economic lifeline as well” he said.

Gul took a deep breath and continued his narration, said that Marghuzar valley has lucrative and thick forests, adding that every night two to three timbers’ loaded vehicles from those forests travelled to Mingora city  even they  cross several check-posts and Chief Conservator’s office  on this rout.

The 2010 floods in Khyber Pakhtunkahwa (KP) was also because of deforestation in Swat and Shangla districts, Hazel Gul said, adding that heavy scale of land sliding being observed in 56 places of Marghuzar valley due to massive deforestation in the area. Read the rest of this entry »

Children are striking force to use for Development & Peace through sports: Experts

Dateline Peshawar Report

PESHAWAR: Children are the striking force to use for development and peace through sports were the views of the experts during a daylong workshop held with the collaboration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sports Writers Association at a local hotel here on Wednesday.IMG_0643

The aim and objective of the workshop was to train the sports journalists how to use sport as a tool for fostering development, strengthening education, social inclusion, conflict prevention and peace building, said the experts.

Project Director Right to Play Muhammad Hamayun Khan, experts Ali Hayam, Abdul Razaq (Lead Pakistan), Azmat Ullah (Sports Plus), Asim Sheraz (Khyber Sports Stars) and Ijaz Ahmad (APP) , former Minister Sports Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Aqil Shah, President KP Sports Writers Nadir Khawjah, Secretary Asim Sheraz were also present.

Ali Hayam said that Right to Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play – playing sports, playing games – to educate and empower children facing adversity. Right to Play internationally is reaching to one million children in regular weekly activities, and have a direct impact on the development of critical life skills that affect positive and sustainable change. He said in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Play is working in the government schools at Swat, Haripur, Mansehra, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat and Dir by involving the children in 500 different games only to educate and to use them for development and peace.

He said they are doing efforts in lives through play as currently Right to Play is working in 21 different countries of the world. He said the UN recognizes play as the right of every play child, play is a tool for education and health. It can bring entire communities together and inspire every individual. The experts on this occasion opined that Sport can be a powerful handmaiden for peace and reconciliation. It can bring us closer through shared celebration of achievements of universal appeal and attraction, adding that ethnic, religious and economic divisions fall by the wayside, along with prejudice, fear and misunderstanding.

Connection to Sport for Development and Peace day Right to Play have decided to evoke social activists, decision makers and other volunteers about powerful development attributes of Sports and play program and its key aspects as how sport transforms lives through play. They said that sport is an inherently social process bringing together players, teams, coaches, volunteers and spectators.

If the population involved is broadly inclusive, sport’s connecting dimension can help to unify people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, establishing a shared bond that contributes positively to social cohesion, they added. For this reason, sport has long been used as a means to promote national unity and harmony within and across nations.

Earlier, former Sports Minister Aqil Shah gave away certificates among the participants and urged them to work dedicatedly. He also paid tribute to the sports journalist who despite bad law and order situation are contributing their goods and highlighting the soft image of the province in particular and in the country in general in the international community. He also lauded Right to Play for organizing the day long workshop in shaping hidden qualities of the sports journalists. He said sports conference for prominent sports personalities, sports experts and sports journalists would be organized in Kalam (Swat) in May this year.

Training program on ‘Artificial Insemination’ for vet field assistants kick off

Dateline Peshawar Report

PESHAWAR: A month-long training program on Artificial Insemination (AI) for veterinary field assistants of Orakzai Agency, under the Fata Secretariat Special Project (FSSP), started at Animal Husbandry and Services Training Institute (AHSTI) district Peshawar.

Additional PA, Orakzai Agency is addressing inauguration ceremony of Livestock training workshop

Additional PA, Orakzai Agency is addressing inauguration ceremony of Livestock training workshop

The training workshop was formally inaugurated by Additional Political Agent Orakzai Agency, Naeem Anwar, which aimed at  to make vet assistants of livestock department specialized in area of artificial insemination, enable them to provide free of cost services to the community, to improve milk and meat production of the livestock. After getting training, the participants will also be provided with practical knowledge to increase the livestock yield through cross breeding to produce a high yield species. Around 25 veterinary field assistants of livestock department Orakzai Agency will participate in the training program, which will last for 45 days at AHSTI district Peshawar.

Naeem Anwar, while addressing at inaugural session said that the program has been devised on need basis, under the FSSP, to give special training to young veterinary field assistants about artificial insemination. The animals infertility rate very high in the tribal agency, due to lack of appropriate knowledge and experience AI.

The agency Additional Political Agent expressed the hope that the training would helpful  to resolve many issues relating to health and other diseases, after obtaining useful knowledge and practical expertise to veterinary assistants in AI. He furthermore said the training would be supportive to improve production of milk and meat yield of the local farmers in Orakzai ageny.

Khalid Usman Wazir, Deputy Team Leader of FSSP shared that the project has been focusing on Multi-Sectoral and Infrastructure development activities, where one of the component includes development of livestock and dairy sector, which is now being implemented in Orakzai, Kuram and South Waziristan agencies respectively. Mr Khalid added that the training program has been designed to address the identified need after noticing the growing infertility ratio of animals, by livestock department in the Orakzai agency, due to lack of expertise of the deputed veterinary staff, to overcome this challenge.

The official further informed that besides parting training to Veterinary Field Assistants, Tool-Kits would also be distributed among them, to equip and enable them to practically provide the service of artificial insemination to the locals and to let them know about related modern techniques and methods. He said the milk and meat production along with physical structure of animals would be improved in the tribal agency.

Dr Khalid Younis, Assistant Director Livestock department Orakzai agency, stated that the animal infertility issue is very common in the tribal agency. He shared that earlier the local would bring their animals to Veterinary Centre District Kohat, for the procedure of artificial insemination, which was costly for the most of the cattle owners who would pay Rs.2,500/- per animal. He said the veterinary field assistants will benefit from this training and the main objective of the training will also be achieved which is breed improvement and efficient yield of Milk and Meat and as a result to improve the livelihood of the local farmers. Moreover, the animal physical structure improvement would also result. He informed that the Livestock department Orakzai agency, in collaboration with Fata Secretariat vaccinated more than 7,000 cattle to prevent various related diseases.

The AHSTI principal, Syed Bashir Ahmad Shah also spoke on the occasion, stressed upon the participants to fully concentrate on the training and should apply treatment methodology regarding artificial insemination of animals, to prevent the growing infertility ratio in Orakzai agency.