EVENT REPORT DTCE EVENT ON ‘CITIZENS’ ENGAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR AN EFFECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM’ THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2014 HILL VIEW HOTEL, ISLAMABAD.
A one day workshop on Identification of citizens’ demands for implementation of Article 140-A under 18th Amendment was conducted by Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment (DTCE), which is USAID Citizens’ Voice Project’s Partner Organization under the thematic area of ‘Citizens’ Engagement and Accountability for an Effective Local Government System’ at Hill View Hotel, Islamabad. People from different walks of life participated in the workshop including members of political parties, donor community, civil society and the NGO sector. Key speakers of the workshop included Mr. Ijaz Chaudhary, MNA (PML-N), Mr. Ali Mohammad Khan, MNA (PTI), Syed Mushir Hasan Naqvi, Chief Executive Officer DTCE, Barrister Shahzad Akber, Mr. Kanwar Dilshad (Former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan), Mr. Azhar Bashir Malik, Chief Operating Officer, DTCE and Mr. Shaukat Paracha, Political Expert. In total 76 participants including 13 females participants attended the workshop. Information, Education and Communication material developed by DTCE was also distributed among the participants.
Mr. Azhar Bashir Malik, Chief Operating Officer DTCE, highlighted the citizen demands from Punjab and KP that were raised during the district events in both provinces. He also highlighted the requirement for increased number of women seats on all tiers of Local Governments (LG) and revival of Union Councils in new Local Government Act of KP.
Mr. Ijaz Chaudhary, PML-N MNA, highlighted the importance of LG System in Pakistan. According to him, the LG Elections has been delayed by the provincial governments on one pretext or the other. He also reiterated the fact that direct elections of Chairman’s/Nazims at metropolitan/ district/ tehsil levels should be held. He appreciated the efforts of DTCE for providing advocacy and gathering citizens’ demands in this respect.
Mr. Ali Mohammad Khan, PTI MNA, said that the local development work is not the responsibility of MNA/MPA as their main role is legislation. He said that KP government is working hard to bring transparent systems and structures before the start of major development work in the province. He emphasised the need of biometric voting system for the upcoming LG Elections.
Barrister Shahzad Akber gave historical perspective of LGs and provided information on the proposed Islamabad LG Act 2013. He said that monitoring mechanisms under the proposed legislation are weak and the election rigging penalties are nominal.
Mr. Kanwar Dilshad, Former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, explained in detail the LGAs and informed that for biometric voting system, amendments in the legislation are required. He also said that no LG system will be successful unless we follow the constitution in its true letter and spirit.
Mr. Shaukat Paracha gave a critical analysis of LG Systems and said that there is a thin line between military dictators and civilian dictators. The military dictators want inroads to the public by avoiding National and Provincial level politicians whereas the civilian leadership does not want to devolve powers to the grass roots democratic structures.
Syed Mushir Naqvi, CEO DTCE, provided an insight on LG Systems by stating that grassroots democracy in Pakistan cannot prosper without it. The LGs can provide services according to the local needs and this local tier is closer to the citizens. In the end, the speakers and participants were thanked.
The workshop was a source of information for the participants regarding the new Islamabad LG Act 2013. The open discussion among participants created an opportunity for the citizens to share experiences and give suggestions. Such events are used as advocacy tools for effective policy formulation and implementation.
958 INDIVIDUALS TRAINED BY THE PROJECT TILL MAY 2014
ISLAMABAD – May 31, 2014: The Capacity Building Component of the Citizens’ Voice Project has trained 958 individuals from its 141 partner organizations across Pakistan up until now. Number of females in this figure is 767. A total of 211 persons from 110 partner organizations have participated in Not-for-Profit Organization Management courses held at Institute of Business Management, Karachi and COMSATS IIT, Islamabad, while 192 persons from 111 partner organizations have thus far participated in Performance Management Plan (PMP) workshops.
Apart from that, a total of 282 individuals from 141 organizations have so far participated in program-focused trainings (PFTs), previously programmatic Quick Impact Trainings (QITs) on voice and accountability. Along with that, 273 more persons from 134 partner organizations received training on financial management, procurement and human resource management in operations-focused trainings (OFTs), previously operational QITs, bringing the cumulative figure to 958.
Capacity building is one of the core objectives of the project with a team dedicated for the training activities. The capacity building component is led by The Asia Foundation (TAF), a sub-contractor of the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) for the project. Previously, the operations-focused trainings were being conducted by Anjum Asim Shahid Rehman-Grant Thornton (AASR-GT). However, currently, all trainings are supervised by TAF. The trainings, divided into three tiers, are meant to ensure long-term effect of the efforts being made by the project and the partner organizations. By improving their skills and building their capacities, the USAID’s citizens’ Voice Project is also making sure that future endeavors of the participating Pakistani organizations achieve the maximum, too.
CITIZENS’ VOICE PROJECT IN RADIO PROGRAM ON POWER 99
ISLAMABD – April 30, 2013: The Citizens’ Voice Project participated in “Tea Time with U.S.”, a one-hour English-Urdu radio show on the FM channel Power 99. Aired live from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Ubaid Ullah Chaudhry, Director Capacity Building; Jameel Hussain, Director Finance, Grants and Compliance; and Samar Hasan, Manager Communications and External Relations explained the Project’s goal and objectives, thematic areas, geographical outreach and existing projects across Pakistan in the program.Guest beneficiaries of the Project’s partners in the area of water rights and energy sector reforms were also part of the show. Shah Mohammad, a farmer from Vehari in South Punjab, described how Damaan, one of Citizens’ Voice Prject’s partner organizations, assisted him in understanding his water rights as well as facilitated him in receiving his due share of water. Post Damaan’s assistance, Shah Mohammad is now able to cultivate all 10 acres of his land. The second beneficiary was Saima Naqvi who was trained in Consumer Protection law by The Network for Consumer Protection in the sphere of energy. Post the training, she successfully handled a Consumer Protection case and was able to have an ordinary citizens’ augmented electricity bill rectified.
The show was co-hosted by USAID representatives, Kellee Farmer and Tanveer Hussain.