Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE)
The Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) was supported by European Union (EU) and implemented by Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) in 100 selected union councils of seven districts of Malakand Division including Buner, Chitral, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Malakand, Shangla and Swat. With a financial outlay of €40 million PEACE programme commenced in October, 2012. It had five major components- a) Community mobilization, b) Rural electrification c) Improvement of CPIs and basic social services, d) Self-confidence of women, and e) Growth of economic activities-to benefit 1.95 million populations directly or indirectly with a focus on conflict and flood affected population. Originally EU-PEACE was designed to be implemented for a period of four years (October 2012-September 2016). The pace of delivery of services in tough geographic terrain of Malakand division and unavoidable delays resulted in a no cost-extension phase of 18 months (October 2012-March 2018).
Strategically, the overall intervention logic of the PEACE Programme was derived from the strategic pillars of the ‘Post Crisis needs Assessment for KP and FATA’ (2010), Malakand Comprehensive Stabilization and Socio-Economic Development Strategy (2009-14) and other strategic objectives of the Government’s road maps for socio-economic development and stabilization in the region. These strategies were developed in aftermath of security crisis and natural disasters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. EU-PEACE programme concluded on March 31st, 2018 with notable achievements.
During its life, the programme was able to foster 12,154 community based institutions against overall target of 12,000 with a total membership of over 263,000 members (100% coverage in selected/targeted union councils). These community institutions also comprised 3,820 women CBOs with over 80,300 women members. Formation of women CBOs created viable spaces1 for women to interact eloquently for social, economic and political development of participating members/respective areas. The programme as per its objectives demanded sustainability of these community institutions. Internal assessments, conducted at regular intervals, reflected a healthy percentage (72%) of community institutions to be institutionally independent or in other words capable of sustaining themselves. A considerable proportion of mentioned institutions were federated into higher level Institutions-Village and Local Support Organizations. Specifically, 5,023 community based organizations were federated into 1,092 (751 men and 341 women) village organizations. These village organizations provided a sound base to form 52 apex (union council) level Local Support Organizations. For undertaking their roles and responsibilities efficiently and effectively, it was imperative for the programme to design, develop, and deliver need based capacity building events with an aim to enhance leadership qualities. As a result, capacities of over 54,000 men and women activists were refined in managerial and leadership skills to assume multitude of roles comprising an active support in organizational and human development-perceived to be in amongst key drivers of development. Utilizing robust methods2, data from field reflected that 50% members of community based institutions were either from extreme, chronic or poor categories-which is an indication of programme sensitization towards inclusiveness.
Reflecting critically, these community institutions and trained cadre of men and women activists created a facilitative environment for participatory development at local level, thus local communities raised their voices, identified their pressing needs, interacted with key stakeholders and mobilized resources through programme and on self-help basis for respective areas development. Formation of mentioned three tier institutions also created effective spaces for local communities to come together and interact with each other bolstering social cohesion and an environment for flourishing social and economic activities in these war trodden areas.
Under the second component of PEACE, which was related to establishment of 165 community managed micro hydro projects producing 21.7 megawatt of electricity and electrification of over 83,000 rural households, EU-PEACE was successful in initiating and completing targeted 165 MHPs in six districts of Malakand Division producing 21.2 megawatt electricity. Through these MHPs over 80,000 off grid households (624,000 population) were provided with renewable, clean and sustainable energy contributing to their improved living condition and situation. For 90% population living in isolated/geographically spread challenging terrain, these micro hydro projects provided first ever access electricity. The areas have now seen transition from dim, dirty kerosene lamps and pine-torches to bright electric light, which has transformed lives of many. The social, economic and environmental benefits of these micro hydro projects were appreciated and acknowledged both nationally and internationally. In June 2015, SRSP/EU-PEACE programme was awarded with Ashden Award, UK for enhancing access of poor and marginalized communities to renewable and sustainable energy, especially, women and children. Similarly, international organizations e.g. UNIDO, UNFCC, UNEP had published case studies on these MHPs for benefiting wider audience and prospective partners. The journey continued and these efforts were also recognized at two of the worlds’ most prestigious forums including Energy Globe 2017 and Energy Initiative, UK 2017. An improved technical and technological package of EU-PEACE MHPs had greatly influenced the policy makers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Asian Development Bank and FATA Secretariat to promote and support production of cheap, clean and renewable hydro-electricity in KP and FATA. At the end of the programme period, power and operation and maintenance committees have been developed with clear roles and responsibilities discharging their duties to provide services at local level. It is important to mention here that larger hydro units may still require long term capacity investment to run them as viable social enterprises.
Under the third component of PEACE, which corresponded to developing and rehabilitation of community managed infrastructure (schemes) and basic social sector services of government was the third component of the programme, the programme initiated and completed 658 against the targeted 659 small scale infrastructure schemes with public institutions and communities. These infrastructure schemes have enhanced access of 184,000 members to basic social services including clean potable water, sanitation facilities, link roads, irrigation channels RCC/suspension bridges, health/education & agriculture facilities and protection works/others. The cost of these mentioned schemes was PKR 898 million or € 8/beneficiary, which is a good indicator for assessing cost effectiveness and value for money of these small ventures. The programme focused on socio-economic growth, which remained one of the key drivers for initiating over 75% productive schemes i.e. irrigation channels, link roads, bridges and drinking water.
Addressing women needs and their empowerment process, the programme engaged over 20,000 women, which is an achievement in itself, through different social and economic interventions.
EU-PEACE developed 507 women master trainers to facilitate formation of community based organizations and undertake women interventions. With these new women work force, the component was expanded across the programme areas. During the course of programme implementation, a total of 6,036 women were provided with basic literacy and numeracy skills through establishment of 240 Adult Literacy Centers (ALCs). To engage women in economic development and become an earning hand, the programme constituted 41 Business Interest Groups (BIGs) covering over 400 women entrepreneurs’ along-with identification of potential trades. In addition, women staff also identified 8,000 potential/existing entrepreneurs within women community institutions. A total of 7,830 out of the identified 8,000 potential/existing entrepreneurs were trained by EU-PEACE programme. On one hand basic enterprise development skills were imparted, while on other side skills of existing/potential entrepreneurs were refined. This resulted in establishing new women led businesses in Malakand division providing decent earning opportunities to women. Upon successful completion of skill development trainings, 6,001 trainees were provided with livelihood resources or tool kits to establish economically feasible and financially viable small scale businesses.
To refine women leadership skills, over 2,000 members were developed on technical aspects related to management of community and village based organizations-one of the many strategic steps to hand over roles and responsibilities to these women members to take charge of development in their areas. EU-PEACE took proactive steps to create opportunities for enhancing self-confidence of trained cadre of women through supporting their participation in national level exhibitions and conferences. This was followed by developing linkages with government and non-government institutions e.g. Benazir Income Support Programme.
Under the fifth component (growth of economic activities), EU-PEACE supported over 4,000 farmers and producers in selected value chains in selected areas. Despite of the limited portion of budget allocated for the component, value chains, enterprises, and entrepreneurs supported through the programme have shown promising results reflected in an improved wellbeing of local population.). A total of 4,014 men and women farmers were provided with numerous trainings in value chain development. Depending on nature of value chains or businesses, at least 4,266 men and women were exposed to major provincial and national markets besides developing their linkages with Business Development Service Providers3 (BDSPs), which has improved and refined products as per national and international standards. District specific value chains4 based on agro climatic suitability and comparative advantages of respective areas have been identified and supported under the programme. Impact assessment of selected value chains supported by EU-PEACE showed promising results;
– In district Swat and Dir Upper, 531 BIG members of Red Persimmon Value Chain have scaled up their annual production to 25,000 kgs. The average increase in income per household has reached to 95,000/- PKR in a cropping season. Furthermore, as spillover effect, over 3,000
have adopted the fruit drying technology and marketing practices enjoying sizeable income. Women members of Business Interest Group (fresh fruits) through utilization of hydro-electricity for drying fruits were able to increase their income by 156%.
– In district Swat, 1,016 producers of Black Persimmon organized in 65 Business Interest Groups recorded an income of 30 million PKR (over 100% increase).
– Using certified rice seed by 350 rice farmers organized in 17 Business Interest Groups in 2017, at least 81% increase in yield (172 tons) was recorded, which also increased the income by 156% as compared to previous year. Similarly, use of 172 tons by rice growers have gained an increase in production of 5,848 tons of rice which supported the growers to generate PKR 584 million as an extra income.
– As a result of capacity building and exposure visits to NARC, PCSIR and whole sale markets in Islamabad/Peshawar, 617 local producers and traders organized in 38 BIGs of lemon grass value chain earned PKR 435 million on an annual basis.
– In district Lower Dir, 600 olive farmers (from 37 Business Interest Groups) were trained in post-harvest management, olive extraction and preservation through ARI, Peshawar. These BIGs generated an extra premium of PKR 25 million from Olive value chain.
– Taking actual baseline of vegetables and potato production, cost benefit analysis was undertaken and compared, off season gladiolus introduced by EU-PEACE showed an encouraging four-fold increase in comparison to traditional vegetables/crops. According to field records, 299 members (organized in 30 BIGs in Swat and Chitral) have generated substantial extra revenue of PKR 11.3 million through sale of 867,926 bulbs in the market.
– Under the Walnut Value chain, 380 walnut producers and small local traders organized in 34 BIGs have increased their income from by 17.4 million PKR in 4 years.
– In Chitral, 320 Shoghori (local variety of pear) producers organized in 18 BIGs have enjoyed a handsome extra income of PKR. 40 million from sale of their product in major national level markets in the country.
– 282 honey producers organized in 11 BIGs played a prominent role in developing honey value chain in Chitral through consistent supply of the product to local and national markets. Due to EU-PEACE contribution, the BIG members were able to generate an extra revenue of 5.12 million PKR by March 2018.
– 391 farmers organized in 44 Business Interest Groups were able to produce 15,000 kg of onion seed generating PKR 30 million to benefit local farmers.