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June 3, 2020

Donors-funded projects to complete in time under SOPs

National

June 3, 2020

PESHAWAR: After the spread of Covid-19 both donors and local organisations have adjusted policies to deal with a highly complex and uncertain situation developing because of pandemic, said Asad Qadir, the leader of humanitarian work of the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) on Tuesday.

Through a statement, he said many of the programmes like those in WASH sector funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the tribal districts were community-driven. These depended on engagement and ownership among the communities.

In the changed circumstances, he said, because of the need for social distancing and no-harm policies, it was essential that the design of the programmes should be modified. The SRSP official said these changes were misunderstood at times and an impression created as if the donors had withdrawn from these areas. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed, DFID recently announced additional support for Pakistan by providing extra aid to Pakistan for handling the fallouts of the pandemic,” he added. Asad Qadir said the recent decision to close down the projects in the tribal districts was carried out after intense discussions between the SRSP and Unicef lasting two months, adding it was not done abruptly.

A major component of the shut projects was community which was not possible in the present circumstances without posing serious risks to the communities and the staff engaged in the projects, he explained. He said that the water supply schemes, which were being implemented through Public Health Engineering Department, had not been affected by this decision. Asad Qader said the schemes would be completed on time in June under the revised Standard Operating Procedures for the projects which are implemented with contractors. He said the year 2000 marked the seventh year of partnership between the SRSP and UNICEF to respond to needs in the WASH sector and a major objective of the partnership was to end open defecation in the province particularly the tribal districts.

The partnership has grown over the years and has reached over 900,000 individuals, including Temporarily Displaced Persons, returnees and host communities, he said, adding, multiple WASH projects have been implemented starting from Tank, Kurram, Buner, Bannu, North and South Waziristan and Swabi districts.

The partnership, he said, had also helped improve government capacities in the sector and help improve services.