AKRSP prepares youth strategy

CHITRAL, Oct 18: A two-pronged youth strategy for Chitral has been prepared by Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) which will deal with employability and civic leadership issues in the local context. Manager of institutional development of AKRSP, Fazle Malik said they had intensely felt the need to tap the demographic dividend of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. This could be gained, he said, by integrating the youth folk into development activities and decision making process while preparing them for the diverse job market and making the market conducive for them. He said that a project named ‘Enhancing Employability and Leadership in Youth (EELY) are in its last stage of being launched which will focus on the two crucial fields of employment and participation of youth in decision making process. Mr. Malik said that by focusing on these issues, the positive prospects of the youth segment of the society will be enhanced which will ultimately make them a productive and engaged members of the society. Regarding the youth employability component of the project, he said that it was aimed at enhancing the professional and technical skills of youth as well as supporting social enterprise service of youth. He said that rampant unemployment has always led to disruption and imbalance in a society while Chitral was especially susceptible to it due to its peculiar geography and lack of resources. “This end in view, a great stress has been laid on the employability of youth by taking varied number of measures while the underlying notion of guiding the youth of both gender to adapt themselves to the job market as per their potentials. Mr. Malik put the strength of youth at 31 percent of the total population bracketed within the group of 15 to 35 years while the females were found slightly higher in proportion, as surveyed by AKRSP. He said that the project will help the youth folk to develop job market by exploiting the tremendous potentials of natural resources which hitherto have gone useless due to lack of natural resource management on sound footings. He said that the job market will also encourage the much neglected female segment of the youth who have exclusive spheres of venture to be concentrated more. About the leadership management, the manager of AKRSP said that youth were found indifferent to the local affairs which were an alarming situation with regard to the future which rendered it gloomy. “The leadership component of the project will enhance the participation of youth in community and civic life and build the capacity of local institutions to support an enabling environment for youth leadership”, he said. He added that it will also promote their civic participation in decision-makers and promote youth-inclusive policies for development. Mr. Malik said that gender equality will find special focus in the project keeping in view the low rate of participation of young female in the development process which can be gauged from the fact that they were less than 20 percent in the AKRSP-fostered women organizations. He said that the civil society organizations will be engaged in each and every step of the foreign funded project.–Zahiruddin]]>

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