World Bank to provide $12m for uplift of tribal areas | Pakistan Today

World Bank to provide $12m for uplift of tribal areas

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank will provide $12 million under the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to support and assist the militancy-affected families of Pakistan’s tribal areas.

According to details, the fund will be aimed at supporting the early recovery of families affected by the militancy crisis, promote child health, and enhance citizen-centered delivery in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The project will enhance citizen-centered delivery through the establishment of ‘Citizen Facilitation Centers’ in population centres to serve the entire population of the tribal districts and four adjoining districts.

This will be the third financing of the project after the previous financing of $15 million, which was approved in July 2019.

Selected services to be introduced at the facilitation centres include Vital Registration Service (VRS), Civil Registration Management System (CRMS) and NADRA ‘E-Sahulat’, which will further promote access of beneficiaries to a range of public services.

The additional financing of World Bank, to be approved next month, will promote child health through cash transfers linked to attendance of health awareness sessions to incentivize demand side uptake of critical health and nutrition services.

According to the project document, sixteen new facilitation centres will be established while additional services including VRS, CRMS, NADRA E-Sahulat platform and other services would be introduced in four districts namely Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Tank.

VRS will include all services pertaining to issuance or modification Computerized National Identity Cards and CRCs. Introduction of CRMS in collaboration with the local government or commissioner’s offices will enable citizens, particularly women, to receive birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates.

The project is being implemented in all seven tribal districts of the merged areas (erstwhile FATA). Access to basic public services for citizens in the merged areas and adjoining districts remains a constraint as security and accessibility issues persist.

Accomplishment of this agenda still has a long way to go due to the complex process of integration with KP province, weak institutions and continuing security concerns. Limited accessibility and underdeveloped markets hamper livelihood options for local populations and propagate extreme poverty in this region, according to the document.

Survey data revealed that families in crisis-affected areas moved out because of significant damage to infrastructure, lack of social services, and shocks such as loss of livelihood and a reduction in earnings that led to insufficient food consumption and undesirable coping strategies. Tackling malnutrition is a key aspect of the human capital challenge in Pakistan, with socioeconomic determinants playing a key role.

The stunting rate among children under 5 in Pakistan is 38pc and is much higher among the lowest quintile at 57pc. Prevalence of polio, malnutrition, stunting, and wasting in the merged areas had made child health and nutrition a priority area for the government. Only 33.9pc of children between the ages of 12 and 24 months were fully immunized, compared to the national average of 76pc. The proportion of stunted children in the merged areas was reported as 52.3pc against the national average of 37.6pc.