Strategy for Chitral youth uplift ready

CHITRAL, Oct 19: Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) has developed a youth development strategy for Chitral to address issues related to employability and civic leadership. AKRSP manager (institutional development) Fazle Malik told Dawn that his organisation felt the need to tap demographic dividend of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. “This could be done by integrating youths into development activities and decision-making process while preparing them for the diverse job market and making the market conducive for them,” he said. The AKRSP manager said a project, ‘Enhancing Employability and Leadership in Youth (EELY), was in the final stage of being launched and that it would focus on employment and participation of youth in the decision-making process. He said by focusing on the two issues, the positive prospects of the youth segment of the society would be increased and that would ultimately make them productive members of the society. Regarding the youth employability component of the project, Mr Malik said it was aimed at enhancing the professional and technical skills of youth as well as supporting social enterprise service of youth. He said rampant unemployment had always led to disruption and imbalance in a society, while Chitral was susceptible to it due to its peculiar geography and lack of resources. “Keeping this in view, a great stress has been laid on 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,” he said. The AKRSP manager put the strength of youth at 31 per cent of the total population bracketed within the group of 15 to 35 years, while women were found slightly higher in proportion as surveyed by the programme. He said the project would help youths develop job market by exploiting the tremendous potentials of natural resources, which hitherto had gone useless due to lack of natural resource management on sound footings. Mr Malik said job market would also encourage the much-neglected female segment of youths. About the leadership management, he said youths were found indifferent to local affairs and that was an alarming situation with regard to the future. “The leadership component of the project will enhance participation of youths in community and civic life and build the capacity of local institutions to support an enabling environment for youth leadership,” he said. The AKRSP manager said the project would also promote the youths’ participation in decision-making process and promote youth-inclusive policies for development. He said gender equality would find special focus in the project keeping in view the low rate of participation of young women in the development process, which could be gauged from the fact that they were less than 20 per cent in the AKRSP-fostered women organisations. He said civil society organisations would be engaged in each and every step of the foreign funded project.–Dawn]]>

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