Validation Workshop of EELY Project of AKRSP held
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
The workshop was held to bring to forth the results, achievements
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
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
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.