24 October 2004 Sunday 09 Ramazan 1425
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT, Oct 23: Canada has pledged C$8.2 million to support rural development programming in Northern Areas and Chitral.
The Institutional Development for Poverty Reduction (IDPR) programme will be funded through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Canadian Charge d'Affairs Stuart Hughes, announced this at the project launch ceremony here on Friday.
Also present at the ceremony were Cida country director for Pakistan Doug Williams as well as senior government officials, representatives local governments of Northern Areas and Chitral and members of the community.
Canada, according to Mr. Hughes, takes keen interest in supporting sustainable development in developing countries. As AKRSP has brought tangible improvement in this region, Cida can draw lessons as well as satisfaction from its contribution to this programme and to human development in Northern Areas.
The AKRSP is a valuable investment of the Canadian taxpayers dollars, as it has evolved into an important model for rural development within and outside Pakistan.
Mr. Hughes also emphasized the importance of partnership, hoping that AKRSP would continue its collaboration with the government and communities to bring sustainable improvements to the lives of women and men of the Northern Areas and Chitral.
Cida will be monitoring and supporting AKRSP in this effort.
Doug Williams commented on the long-standing and productive partnership between CIDA and the Aga Khan Foundation in Canada (AKFC), and in Pakistan (AKFP). He also encouraged AKRSP to develop successor institutions in the region as a long-term strategy.
The Institutional Development for Poverty Reduction programme is a five-year initiative funded by CIDA and Aga Khan Foundation Canada and implemented by AKRSP. The Programme aims at building an effective network of local institutions that can promote inclusive human development and reduce poverty in Northern Pakistan.
One of the key priorities of IDPR is to promote women's development through village-based institutions and local organizations.
Munir Merali, CEO, AKFP in his comments, acknowledged the support of the Canadian Government and CIDA to AKRSP and to the Foundation.
Aga Khan Development Network considers its partnership with CIDA as very special and extremely productive in pushing the frontiers of development programming.