KARACHI: A recent delegation comprising of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (ACIS) Director Dr Santa Mole, World Bank officials and senior officials from Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) visited Swat to review the progress and ascertain impact of the Programme for Poverty Reduction, a five-year, 40 million euros programme financed by the Italian government through the AICS. It was said that under Programme for Poverty Reduction, more than 4,000 community institutions (43% women representation) have been formed and strengthened; 5,049 individuals (48% women) have received productive assets; while more than 11,000 individuals (42% women) have undertaken livelihood trainings. As many as 753 infrastructure schemes consisting of clean drinking water, link roads, flood protection works, irrigation and renewable energy projects have also been completed. Under the health component, around 865 community resource persons (60% women) in health, lady health workers and community midwives have been trained around disease prevention and health seeking behaviour, nutrition and maternal and child health. In education, the programme provides selected communities with an improved access to education and increased literacy level. Community resource persons and teachers have received trainings in educational related themes including development of school development plans, awareness on right to education, innovative teaching approaches and running schools as a social enterprise. The delegation met with members of local support organisations, asset recipients under the livelihood component and communities benefitting from education and health facilities and infrastructure projects being implemented in Landai Kabal village and Maloch village of Swat. Dr Mole said, “The objective of Programme for Poverty Reduction is to reduce the poverty of the marginalised communities in Pakistan. We aim to do this by supporting creation of sustainable conditions of social and economic development, including income and production capacity increase in programme areas. We greatly appreciate PPAF’s efforts in implementing infrastructure projects and schemes in remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” During her visit, Dr Mole inaugurated a 1,100 feet concrete link road that now connects the Dhero Khaimdara village of Bar Abakhel in Swat with main road Dhero. Benefitting more than 100 households, the link road will improve their access to the market, and facilities like education and health. PPAF, implementing partner for AICS collaborated with LASOONA, a PPAF partner organisation in Swat to build the link road. The link road was built at a total cost of Rs 746,686 with 85% of this cost funded by the programme and the remaining amount contributed by the community partly in cash and mostly in kind as skilled and unskilled labour. Apart from improving access, the road will enable residents of the village to save time and labour incurred on the transportation of goods and services; and will also facilitate women and girls to access health and education facilities easily and safely thus bringing a positive transformation in their lives. PPAF is implementing Programme for Poverty Reduction in 14 districts (38 union councils) of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA through 17 local implementation partner organisations. The 40 million euros ensures creation of sustainable conditions of social and economic development in programme areas. In Balochistan the districts are: Zhob, Killa Saifullah, Killa Abdullah, Pishin, Gwadar, Lasbela, Awaran, Panjgur and Kech. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts include: Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Chitral and Swat, and the Bajaur Agency in FATA. Published in Daily Times, November 16th 2017.