EU-RSPN: Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Programme (BRDCEP)

OVERVIEW

The population of Balochistan have suffered disproportionately, relatively to the other regions of the country, not only from failure of public policies, poor governance, peculiar geopolitical situation, presence of Afghan refugees but also from rising militancy, security issues and abject poverty. Though Balochistan is in a state of crisis today but its vast geography, social assortment, rich natural deposit with mineral and energy resources, and untapped potential human resource provides an opportunity to transform the existing situation through supporting strategic public policy reforms and fostering effective partnership between communities and local authorities.

In this context, in 2013, European Union (EU) and Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP) launched Balochistan Community Development Programme (BCDP) in 40 Union Councils (UCs) of four targeted districts in Balochistan including Zhob, Loralai, Khuzdar and Jhal Magsi. Keeping in view the positive results of BCDP through social mobilisation and capacity development for enhanced social cohesion and improved social services in mutual engagement with local government and local authorities and other development actors, European Union has scaled up the programme and with the involvement of RSPN, BRSP, National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Hulla & Human Dynamics (H&H) has launched the Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Programme (BRDCEP) in June 2017 and extended it to additional 249 UCs of eight districts including Jhal Magsi, Kech/Turbat, Khuzdar, Killa Abdullah, Loralai, Pishin, Washuk, and Zhob.

BRDCEP builds on the successfully demonstrated indigenous three-tier social mobilisation approach to Community Driven Development (CDD) of the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) in Pakistan. This approach is built upon the conceptual framework developed by Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan in 1950s and 60s in the world famous Comilla Project, which was refined in the Daudzai Project by Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan in the early 1970s. The framework was further developed and scaled up by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) under Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan’s 12 years of leadership. Mr. Khan continues to inspire and lead the social mobilisation movement in Pakistan, India and several other parts of the developing world.

INTRODUCTION TO BRDCEP

Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Programme (BRDCEP), a five year EU-funded rural development programme, is launched, with three implementing partners of grant component namely: RSPN, NRSP and BRSP in 249 Union Councils of aforementioned eight districts of Balochistan. Programme implementation has commenced from June 2017. The EU has also engaged the services of Hulla & Human Dynamics (H&H), an Austrian company to enable the Government of Balochistan to foster an enabling environment for strengthening the capacities of local authorities to manage and involve communities in the statutory local public sector planning, financing and implementation processes. The Programme also has a Public Finance Management (PFM) component which will work closely with H&H to assist the Government of Balochistan in costing and funding the community-led development policy framework through clearly defined fiscal and regulatory frameworks, budgetary processes and commitments reflected in a multi-annual budgetary framework and defined institutional arrangements.

BRDCEP focuses on to empower citizens and communities and provide them with means enabling them to implement community-driven socioeconomic development interventions, an increased voice and capability to influence public policy decision making through active engagement with local authorities for quality, inclusive, and equitable service delivery, and civic-oversight; to foster an enabling environment for strengthening the capacities of local authorities to manage and involve communities in the statutory processes of the local public sector planning, financing and implementation process.

The overall objective of the programme is to support the Government of Balochistan in reducing the negative impact of economic deprivation, poverty and social inequality, environmental degradation and climate change, and to turn this into opportunities to build and empower resilient communities participating actively in identifying and implementing socioeconomic development activities on a sustainable basis in partnership with local authorities.

Under BRDCEP, 1.9 million Pakistani citizens of 300,000 poor rural households in 249 union councils are to be mobilised and organised into a network of people’s own institutions: 19,129 Community Organisations (COs), 3,103 Village Organisations (VOs), 249 Local Support Organisations (LSOs) and 31 LSO Networks at tehsil level and eight at district level. RSPs will then provide support to improve the organised households’ lives and livelihoods, as well as to foster linkages between the community institutions and local government to improve local basic service delivery.

The agreement between EU and RSPN has been signed and the RPSN-BRDCEP component is operational from June 30, 2017 and will be concluded on June 30, 2022. The RSPN-BRDCEP component has duration of five years and RSPN’s role involves facilitating implementation of the programme through partner RSPs by ensuring quality control, standardisation in procedures, developing a common M&E framework, baseline approaches, documentation and warranting responsiveness of lessons learnt and providing value-added strategic backing where required. RSPN would also aim at wider dissemination of the lessons learnt through undertaking evidence-based advocacy with stakeholders and the media to scale up successful development approaches.

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