DANIDA IN PAKISTAN. By M Akram Khan Faridi

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Poverty, terrorism, corruption, religious conflicts, foreign pressure and inflation are the common problems faced by the entire world. Financial crises are affecting the whole world but in poor and underdeveloped countries, rate of crime has been doubled due to unemployment. It is essential to provide employment, security and political and social stability to every citizen of a country in order to fight against poverty, starvation and food crises." Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)" is looking forward to provide stable and healthy social environment to the citizens of poor and underdeveloped countries of the world. DANIDA is working for 25 countries in order to provide better facilities to its people and moreover after analyzing the political instability, terrorism and natural calamities in Pakistan, DANIDA has started their mission in Pakistan. This organization has started a project of 28 million dollar in Pakistan just to give a way to Progress, Democracy, Human rights and Training of journalists. Ms Esther Lonstrup, an accountable officer will take care of this project. The USD 28 million Danish development program frameworks consist of three major components. The first component involve stabilization and early Recovery border areas with Afghanistan, which is a multilateral channel that will support Government of Pakistan in restoring infrastructure, services and livelihoods in the country’s conflict-affected border areas. Under this component, DANIDA has granted UNICEF Pakistan USD 11 Million to UNICEF’s efforts to provide education for children affected by the crisis in KPK and FATA. The assistance will contribute to rebuild the 473 schools that have been entirely or partially destroyed during the conflict. The expected four outputs of the component will include: (i) Rehabilitation/repair of existing schools, (ii) “Back to School” campaigns, (iii) teacher’s development, and (iv) special education and re-integration of 14-18 year old children. To further support the development and democratic process in conflict areas, the Government of Denmark has pledged USD 7 million to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), which will be working towards the restoration of damaged Infrastructure and disrupted services in KPK, Balochistan and FATA. Denmark was one of the first nations to pledge to the MDTF – a World Bank administered fund. This Fund will be utilized to improve local service delivery through strengthened local governance and financing and through community driven development (CDD) interventions in respect of public infrastructure as well as supporting livelihoods through community credit and microfinance schemes, skills development interventions, and transitional workfare programs. The second component of the framework program, USD 7 million is for support to the Civil Society, where DANIDA in joint collaboration with local partners will support initiatives that work towards developing good governance, human rights and gender equality. Identifying media as one of the most important tools in educating on the subjects of democracy and human rights, almost 50% of the civil society programs focus on media development initiatives, which in particular focus on conflict solution through media and mainstreaming of women in media industry. The third component – the Global Stabilization Fund – carries overall focus on security and justice sector reform. Under this component, Denmark has committed USD 2.2 Million to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The Danish contribution will be utilized with the aim to improve border control and the criminal justice system in Pakistan. An honorable and splendid function was held by Denmark's Embassy in one of the local hotel of Islamabad, in order to introduce this program by DANIDA. Media, Ambassadors, members of civil society and United Nations were also invited. I and my friend Dr Shahid Mehmod arrived before time where Ms Esther Lonstrup and Mrs. Hina Akhtar welcomed us in a great manner. After sometime guests and host of the ceremony Mr. Ufee Wolffhechel arrived. Ms Hina Akhter, an admirable officer of Denmark's Embassy had started the event with a recitation of Holy Quran. After the recitation of Holy Quran, she introduced the Program and its steps and later on the event also included presentations by some of the DANIDA program partners. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT presented an overview of the state of democracy in Pakistan, Ms Tasneem Ahmar presented on the importance of mainstreaming women in media to achieve gender equality and women development in Pakistan, while Ali Saleem, Country Director of Search For Common Ground (SFCG) presented on the role of media in conflict solution. During the presentation the Danish Ambassador, Wolffhechel highlighted that the aim of the Danish development program was to contribute to development and stability in Pakistan and support peace building in the region. ”The past few years have been extraordinarily challenging for Pakistan. There have been challenges on security, political and economic fronts. The challenges have crucial implications for the country’s security as well as its economic development”, Wolffhechel also said that it was surely very difficult to achieve tangible development results without a progressive economy. He said that”To achieve a progressive economy, Pakistan needs to meet a lot of the current challenges – including achieving peace, justice and security for its 180 Million people. Pakistan is no doubt facing a lot of challenges, which is why the Government of Denmark has extended its support to work together with Pakistan in curbing these challenges through the support of development initiatives aimed at creating better opportunities and a more secure environment”.
Ms Esther Lonstrup, the development counselor and DANIDA representative for the Pakistan Program shared a detailed overview of the DANIDA Pakistan program and its program partners. She stated that DANIDA had been working worldwide on development initiatives and was currently working in more than 25 countries. She was pleased to see DANIDA being launched in Pakistan and play its part in supporting the socio-democratic development in Pakistan. Later on Dr Shahid Mehmood Chief organizer of Columnist Club of Pakistan applauded this Nobel cause. I personally admire Mr. Ufee Wolffhechel for His services to the Denmark's Government and also Ms Esther Lonstrup for her motivation and services and we all should be thankful to her for helping needy and poor's in Pakistan. Ms Esther Lonstrup should get an award for her services and its my appeal to the Govt. of Pakistan as well as of Denmark to do this honour. Ms Hina Akhter who is performing her duty in Denmark's Embassy as a Communication Consultant is responsible for the better communication between both the countries. At the end I would like to conclude by giving a message to our people that we should make our country peaceful and forget all the differences in order to give a way to progress and prosperity.

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