ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is focused on developing and strengthening sustainable, self-functioning, transparent and inclusive institutions of the poor and keep communities in the driving seat for their own development.

This was remarked by Chief Executive PPAF Qazi Azmat Isa while addressing a roundtable captioned “Working in Conflict Areas through Building Local Partnership” with community members from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkwa, which was jointly organised by PPAF and its partner organisation Sungi Development Organisation in Islamabad Thursday here.

Purpose of the roundtable was to mainstream capacities of the institutions of the poor - village development organisations and union council-based organisations - by developing their linkages with government departments and markets to ensure their development. The roundtable adopted first of its kind innovative approach which used role play on best practices by communities themselves rather than structured lecture.

Qazi Azmat Isa reinforced the organisation’s commitment to community-led initiatives in the wake of insecurity and conflict in various parts of the country. He stressed that motivated and mobilised communities are the present and future of development and PPAF has a major role to play in making them sustainable and building their capacities.

He congratulated PPAF’s partner organisations for braving the odds in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ensuring community participation and empowering women to take active part in the development process.

Senior Institutional Development Specialist, the World Bank, Imtiaz Alvi said that PPAF and the World Bank are committed to empowering communities through establishment of institutions of the poor so that they can take control of their own development.

Imtiaz Alvi, also the Task Team Leader-PPAF at the World Bank, said that participatory development can be ensured by strengthening state-citizen relationships through coordinated efforts.

“Over the years PPAF has not only established a strong network of community organizations but also given voice to the poor in the nook and corner of the country,” Imtiaz Alvi said, adding that the exceptional partnership between PPAF and the World Bank has led to creation of institutions of the poor. He said that Pakistan is faced with numerous challenges i.e. natural catastrophes, energy crisis, etc. but our communities have shown resilience in the face of adversities and this is the silver lining which gives hope of a turnaround.

PPAF Senior Group Head Ahmad Jamal said that communities are the real strength of PPAF and torch-bearer of national development in Pakistan. He said that there is a need to capacitate communities to hold accountable not only PPAF partners but also the government line departments for their own development. He said that Pakistan’s problems are serious and complicated but we have to show the resolve to overcome the same. He suggested that communities should also access private sector for their own development.

Zaffar Pervez Sabri, Senior Group Head, PPAF, said that communities have shown the resolve to combat challenges. He said that we have scarce resources but we have to find solution to our problems with the available resources.

In his welcome address, Dr. Manzoor Awan of Sungi Development Organization expressed organization’s commitment to participatory development by focusing on women and marginalized segments of society. He said that communities’ interaction is a must to learn from each other’s experience and adopt best practices.