ISLAMABAD: The Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) commemorated 35 years of empowering communities since 35 years through the Odyssey of Synergies, a development expo and panel discussion at the Serena Hotel.
The expo included a photography exhibition highlighting the achievements AKRSP within each of the major components of work, including social organisations, natural resource management, community infrastructure development, credit and savings, enterprise promotion and women’s development.
More than twenty-five stalls showcased the produce and products of the northern valleys, where AKRSP has been harnessing community potential for 35 years. Community members brought herbal products, organic honey and unusual herbs, mushrooms and dried fruits to sell to an enthusiastic audience in Islamabad.
Purveyors of gemstones and jewellery, woodcraft, rugs and carpets, sweaters, handicrafts and accessories travelled to Islamabad with the support of AKRSP.
AKRSP Chairman Aziz Boolani welcomed the guests to the panel discussion and said, “AKRSP supports the institutional and economic development of local communities as well as strengthening the collaboration and linkages between local communities and government departments, elected bodies and other development and environmental agencies.” He added that AKRSP has been supporting micro-level development in the mountainous rural areas of Pakistan, using participatory approaches.
“AKRSP currently focuses on fostering inclusive and competent local institutions that contribute effectively and sustainably to local development and increasing income and employment opportunities for local communities, particularly poor and vulnerable, including youth and women,” he said.
The keynote speaker for the evening, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz, said, “I congratulate the AKRSP on having created a model of community and rural development that has been replicated in various other places. I have been familiar with AKRSP since 1983 when I visited the program with Shoaib Sultan while visiting Pakistan.” He added, “I subsequently returned to help create NRSP. The journey to the next 5, 10 years will be much faster than the past 35 years. I wish you much greater success in the future.”
Coutesy: Pakistan Today