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  March 26, 2017



Validation Workshop of EELY Project of AKRSP held

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The Aga Khan Rural Support Program’s youth development initiative named as ‘Enhancing Employability and Leadership for Youth’ (EELY) was termed by the speakers of the Validation workshop as catalyst to inculcate in the youth the dual traits of entrepreneurship as well as leadership and make them productive and responsive members of the society during the past six years.

The workshop was held to bring to forth the results, achievements and lessons learned and the implications for future programming at the expiry of the project launched in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC) six years ago funded by Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and Aga Khan Foundation of Canada.

Sharing the outcomes and achievements of the project, the regional program manager of AKRSP, Engineer Sardar Ayub said that 63 thousand youth of box sexes benefited from it directly while 126 thousands were indirect beneficiaries making the sum as 189 thousands in Chitral.

He said that the project was launched in recognition of the stark fact that youth had a critical role to play in determining the future of the GBC which was achieved by enhancing the professional skills development and enterprise support service while youth participation was enhanced in community and civic activities.

Mr. Ayub said that the project also worked to build the capacity of local institutions to support an enabling environment for achieving the basic objectives of the project and increase its degree of sustainability.

A number of the beneficiaries of the project shared their feedbacks on how they were prepared for community engagements by changing their very outlooks about social life and their role in its strengthening while many others told how they prepared for labour market and the labour market was redesigned for them.

In the group findings presentations, the beneficiaries shared their key findings on different thematic areas of employability and leadership and also reflected their recommendations for improvement as well as the shortcomings which hindered its success.

The thematic areas included that of enterprise development training, value chain of local products, youth micro challenge awards (YCMAs), basic life skills, youth in sports and matters related with engagement of youth in the community.

The YCMAs were termed as the most beneficial one for engaging the  youth in enhancing his employability skills as well as promoting leadership skills in them under which an amount of money was earmarked for carrying out different youth related activities and it was won by an individual or group of youth through open competition.

The group work pinpointed the limitations of the program as lack of communication means to reach the target, the insufficient time span for different capacity building trainings, less amount of allocations for different activities including YMCAs coupled with less amount of attention on dealing with the natural hazards to mitigate the intensity of sufferings.

Speaking on the occasion as chief guest, the district nazim Maghfirat Shah said that AKRSP had been working with the village organizations for the last three decades and the launching of EELY project was a new feather in its cap which was youth specific and it was a stark reality that youth was the most sensitive segment of the society hitherto neglected in the society.

He said that post-Lowari Tunnel scenario in Chitral and its access to the Central Asian states and China will bring about an environment of cut throat competition in different fields of life which will put the locals to struggle for their very survival if they were not prepared for it.

Mr. Shah appreciated AKRSP for launching the EELY project keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue and expressed the hope that the youth folk will be far awakened by its activities and keep march with the rapidly changing time.

On this occasion, the president of Chitral Chamber of Commerce, Sartaj Ahmed Khan, assistant commissioner Mastuj Muhammad Hayat Shah, manager of institutional development section of AKRSP, Fazle Malik, chairman of Chitral Community Development Network, Muhammad Wazir Khan also highlighted the importance of the project.



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