Updated on 2003-08-30 11:32:04

AKF To Strengthen Civil Society Role In Development

BHURBAN, Pakistan: Aug 30 (PNS) - The Aga Khan Foundation and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) have joined forces under the Pakistan-Canada Social Institutions Development Programme (SIDP) to support initiatives and efforts for strengthening the role of civil society in country's development.

This was noted at a two-day workshop on "Understanding Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Development in Pakistan" organised by Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan) [(AKFP)] here. Chief Executive Officer, AKF(P), Munir M. Merali said that this workshop was aimed at enhancing human resource capacities of civil society and its knowledge base, and also to create an enabling policy environment for NGO activities in the country, says a press release.

During the workshop a number of speakers presented case studies on applicable practices of public-private partnership in Pakistan, highlighting approaches, challenges, solutions and results. Dr. Asif Ali Zaidi of IUCN spoke on the Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and said public-private partnerships are possible but they need innovation, patience and sensitive handling.

Chief Executive, Taraqee Foundation (TF), Amjad Rashid said that TF is advocating positive change in the society by promoting linkages with other stakeholders within civil society. Its mission is to alleviate poverty in Balochistan through gender sensitive, people-centred approaches by providing a set of social and economic services, he added.

Khawar Mumtaz, Executive Director at the NGO Shirkat Gah, advocated information sharing at all levels between government and NGOs for transparent and well-informed processes to take place; while Peter Hatcher, CEO, Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan highlighted the agency's role in providing technical assistance to the government in health service provision as a successful model of public-private partnership.

Jameel Yusuf, Director, Razaqek Razno Trading Pvt. Ltd. in a presentation made clear the strength of Pakistan and its civil society and stressed the need for visionary leadership, credibility and accountability to strengthen government-NGO relations.

Rolando Bahamondes, Counsellor Development, Canadian High Commission, wrapped up the workshop and emphasised the need for NGOs to be empowered. He expressed optimism on AKFP's role in taking this initiative forward by facilitating dialogues at all levels of government and civil society on a regular basis.