President, PM Approve NCHD Plan

Islamabad: President Gen. Pervez Musharaf has approved a six-year expansion plan for the National Commission for Human Development to reach all districts of Pakistan.The Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz also attended this meeting, held at the President’s office on July 29, 2005.
NCHD was set up in 2002 as a fast track initiative by the Government of Pakistan as a public private partnership to help Pakistan achieve Millennium Development Goals such as Universal Education, Lowering of Infant and Maternal Mortality and Population Growth Rate as well as Community Development.
Chairman National Commission for Human Development and Minister of State Dr. Nasim Ashraf gave a detailed presentation highlighting the achievements of NCHD from 2002-2005. He reported the Committee that 1.5 million children previously out of school had been enrolled as a result of the Universal Primary Education Program launched by NCHD in 17 districts. Nearly 9000 new community-based Primary Schools were opened in the remote areas and the dropout rate has been reduced from 50% to 17%. Over 19,000 government primary teachers have also been trained.


President Musharraf presides over the meeting that accorded approval to the NCHD Plan

The Prime Minister stated that Pakistan was committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and increasing literacy rates over the next five years. In this regard he appreciated the role of NCHD which has opened 8,800 Adult Literacy Centers in 53 districts in which 85% of the learners are female. It is planned that over the next five years nearly 2, 50,000 Adult Literacy Centers will be opened in all districts of Pakistan by NCHD.
The President said that clean safe drinking water would be made available to every citizen of Pakistan over the next two years as well as electricity provided to every village in Pakistan. He said Federal and Provincial Governments have drawn up a comprehensive package under the Khush Hal Pakistan Program to provide these basic services to the people. The President said the NCHD has a key role to play in delivering a comprehensive Human Development package at the grassroots to include Education, Health Care and Capacity Development.
Dr. Nasim Ashraf furnished the results achieved in the Health area said that nearly two million mothers have been trained in preparing Oral Rehydrations Solution (ORS) at home which is a very low cost way of reducing child mortality. Immunization rates have doubled both for women and children in the 17 districts.
NCHD is a support organization which helps to fill implementation gaps at the grass roots level in support of the government departments.
The Chairman also said that nearly 1 billion rupees (US$ 16.5 million) have been raised by NCHD/PHDF over the last 3 years from individual philanthropist, corporate donors and international agencies in support of this initiative in which the government has contributed Rs. 2 billion to NCHD. The fund is managed by an independent board of directors with no government control. Each founding director has personally contributed US$ 100,000 to this fund. UNDP is the other partner in this fund and all donations in the United States are routed through UNDP and are tax deductible.
Nearly 40,000 volunteers have been mobilized in 30,000 villages to help in enrollment, reduce drop out and provide support to teachers.
The new expansion plan would require the NCHD to add 33 more districts this year and the remaining districts to be covered by 2007. Nearly 17 million children will be enrolled over the next 5 years and combined with the Adult Literacy Program, the literacy rate for the country is targeted to increase from the current 54% to 85% by 2010-11. Similarly, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates are targeted to be reduced by 50% and the population growth rate stabilized at 1.7% from the current 1.9%.
Both the President and the Prime Minister appealed to Pakistanis all over the world to come forward and join in this national effort by contributing their financial and intellectual resources. They committed that for every dollar donated by Pakistanis to PHDF/NCHD, the Government of Pakistan would match with 2 dollars. They assured the donors that the control will continue with the private sector board with full transparency and accountability. Audited accounts and expenditures are posted on the website of NCHD on a quarterly basis. UNDP monitors the field activities as well as expenditures.
The President said it was a matter of great pride that this initiative has been recognized by UNDP as an international best practice and that several countries including China are studying this model for replication in their countries.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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