Peshawar: A one-day exhibition-workshop was organized here in Peshawar by the Pakistan Community Support Project (PCSP) to provide a bigger platform to the budding women entrepreneurs from the project’s implementation areas to exhibit their skills and products and connect them with government departments and private institutions to boost their economic opportunities. A large number of people from different walks of life attended the propitious event.

While speaking at the event, the Director General Sustainable Development Unit of the Planning & Development Department, Sohail Khan, said that 50% of the global workforce comprised women and the work being done by them accumulated almost 66% of the total input. “Its high time that we provide economic and income generation opportunities to the women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in the Merged Areas, so that they can productively engage and participate in the uplift of the rural economy”, he said.

The exhibition was followed by a round of focused group discussions in a workshop setting wherein experts interacted with the community members to collectively share experiences and recommendations on how the women in the project specific areas in Khyber, Peshawar and Nowshera districts could be facilitated to play a more active role in raising their household incomes and contributing to the overall economic development, particularly in the Merged Areas.

The Project Director, Tillat Fahad, in her opening speech highlighted the importance of the event and stated that the key objective of the exhibition was to connect the potential women entrepreneurs from Khyber, Peshawar and Nowshera with the officials and experts who could provide them with access to markets, facilities and resources. “It is highly encouraging to witness such diverse skills and talents on display, and that is what we need to scale up the efforts to turn their potential entrepreneurship into marketable enterprises” she added.

As the key objectives of the exhibition-workshop, the exchanges and discussions focused on securing commitment from the representatives of public and private sector institutions such as the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority and Bank of Khyber to guide, support and facilitate the promising women entrepreneurs from the rural and underdeveloped parts of Khyber, Peshawar and Nowshera. It was also a notable initiative to enable the women from the Merged Areas including district Khyber to showcase their entrepreneurial skills and capacities.

The PCSP is financed under the Multi-Donor Trust Fund and administered by the World Bank in collaboration with the Planning and Development Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project is providing financial and technical support for building community infrastructure by adopting the community-driven development approach. The project target areas in Khyber, Peshawar and Nowshera districts fall within proximity of the CASA-1000 power transmission line.

The project implementation gives special attention to women development as they make 51% of the total population in the project target communities. The project has recently completed a CNIC registration campaign in collaboration with NADRA, under which 1,050 women community members were facilitated at their doorstep. The PCSP team also ensures inclusion of women in various project activities so that their development priorities can be directly addressed.

As part of the Community Development Councils (CDCs) established under the project, inclusion of 20% of women in each CDC ensures that women are given proper representation and their development needs are addressed. It was during the project’s social mobilization activities that women community members highlighted the need for the development of market-based skills and organizing special events to be able to generate income for their livelihoods, become economically self-sustainable and contribute productively to the development of their areas.

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