PESHAWAR (PR): The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa announced the launch of a 2.7 million GBP District Delivery Challenge Fund (DDCF), inviting applications to encourage innovation in public service delivery. The Fund supported by the UK government’s Department for International Development, is an open competition run by the Sub-National Governance (SNG) programme to inspire ideas for better public services through limited grants. The first public service being targeted through the DDCF is primary school education in the districts of Karak, Lakki-Marwat, D.I. Khan, Haripur, Nowshera and Buner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Subsequent rounds will focus on other public services, such as health. The DDCF is being administered as part of the four year Sub-National Governance (SNG) programme (2014-17) which is supporting the provincial and district government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to improve public services that meet the needs of the citizens, especially the poor and women. The Fund is being launched with the intention to identify breakthrough and practical solutions that work towards making public services more responsive to local people’s needs. For the first round, the organisations that show the most potential for encouraging innovative ways to increase children’s access to schools or to improve the quality of primary school education will be selected through a transparent and competitive process to produce innovative pilot projects, using grants of as much as GBP 50,000 (Rs. 8.5 million) to GBP 300,000 (Rs 50 million) each.

Ideas that are eligible for funding and judged to have potential will be piloted for up to one year by the winning organisations. The successful DDCF pilots offering potential for scale up are expected to serve for emulation as powerful catalysts of change in the planning and budgeting cycle of the provincial government. The DDCF is hailed as an effective initiative to ensure long-term impact and sustainability in improving public service delivery for the local citizens.