Pakistan News

$36.45m IFAD loan for Azad Jammu and Kashmir

$36.45m IFAD loan for Azad Jammu and Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: The Interna­tional Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will launch next year the second phase of community development programme in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with a financing of $36.45 million, official sources said here on Saturday.

The six-year programme is aimed at improving the livelihoods and incomes of 250,000 rural, poor households with the institutionalisation of community-driven development within the government development framework.

The project has been submitted for approval to the IFAD Executive Board which is meeting in Rome on Dec 11.

The project will be executed by the AJK planning and development department in collaboration with IFAD.

IFAD loan will be highly concessional which also includes grant in the amount of $2.91m.

The government will contribute $62.40m while beneficiary contributions will amount to $3.60m and AJK’s own Rural Support Programme’s (AJKRSP) $2.49m.

The entry point for the second phase of the programme is to leverage the government’s commitment to fully institutionalise a decentralised and bottom-up local development process in AJK.

This is based on the successful IFAD-funded AJK Community Development Programme pilot, which introduced the concept of community-driven development (CDD), resulting in the establishment of over 4,000 community, village and local support organisations, and in AJKRSP.

Building on earlier achievements and lessons, AJK Community Development Programme-II is the next-phased intervention towards institutionalisation of the effective CDD model, embedding it within the overall structure of the local government.

CDD will evolve from being a largely project-centred initiative to an approach that is mainstreamed into rural development planning and regular government budgets, with community organisations accessing provincial or local development funds.

The programme will cover all 10 districts of AJK, with an estimated total population of 4.4m. Within 1,771 revenue villages, approximately 4,200 community organisations have been established under various programmes; 800 villages have yet to be covered under the CDD approach with the establishment of new community organisations.

AJK has an estimated population of 4.4m; approximately 50pc fall within the poverty score card band of 0-34 (326,904 ultra-poor to poor households).

Moreover, 88pc of the AJK households are rural, with very small average arable landholdings (0.9ha per household).

These small landholdings and limited irrigation facilities have limited local agricultural production.

IFAD’s target group will comprise those households falling within the national poverty scorecard band of, which there are approximately 326,904 households in AJK.

Poverty graduation and asset-building activities will be specifically targeted to households in poverty band 0-11; households in band 12-34 will benefit from programme interventions, including skills, vocational and entrepreneurial development training, rural infrastructure, social mobilisation and social welfare interventions under the CDD approach and local institutional entities.

The programme will develop and employ a well-defined gender and youth strategy, ensuring equitable access to available opportunities under various components, and with specific women-centered and youth-centred activities for income generation and employment creation.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017

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