Financing of development pilot projects is one of AARDO’s core activities undertaken in its member countries. The Organization lays emphasis on such projects which significantly contribute in their rural economy through alleviation of poverty, provision of good living conditions, creation of opportunities for income and employment generation, etc. Therefore, the efforts are made to ensure that the projects should be need-based and aimed at improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries with their own active participation. It is envisaged that the implementation of the project would create awareness among the rural people and induce them to utilize their indigenous knowledge, available natural resources and capabilities to replicate them for larger benefits. The rural women’s participation has been an important ingredient of AARDO’s policy with regard to development projects. Therefore, the Organization makes every effort, while providing assistance for implementation of a project, to ensure that it eventually becomes self-sustaining. The maximum limit of AARDO’s financial assistance is US dollars fifty thousands (US$50,000). As per modus operandi, AARDO’s projects are implemented on cost sharing basis with the concerned host government/institutions as well as the beneficiaries.

Status of AARDO Assisted On-going Projects:

i) Setting-up of Vocational Training Centre at AHK NCRD, Islamabad, Pakistan

An amount of US$40,000 was approved by AARDO in December 2012. Accordingly, based on the implementation plan received from the Ministry of Education and Trainings, Government of Pakistan, the first installment of the approved grant of US $25,000 was released during April 2013 for the establishment of a vocational training centre at AHK National Centre for Rural Development (AHKNCRD). The objective of the project was to conduct training courses and impart skills in three trades, namely, (1) Mobile Repairing; (2) Motor Cycle Repairing; and (3) Designing, Cutting and Sewing to the unemployed youth from rural areas. But due to some administrative and procedural delays, the implementation of the project could not be initiated. However, the matter regarding utilization of the first installment of the approved grant has been persistently followed up with the AHKNCRD.

During the period under review, the AHKNCRD, Islamabad has submitted a fresh project proposal for the “Establishment of E-Learning Centre” and requested for considering replacement of the previously approved project on “Setting-up of Vocational Training Centre”.

The proposed project on “Establishment of E-Learning Centre” is designed with the aim to serve as a ‘national level hub’ with state of the art multimedia environment for dissemination of knowledge to create opportunity for hundreds of people spread all over the country by getting high quality education and trained through e-learning system. The E-learning Centre would provide ‘Live Video’ connectivity to different training centers across Pakistan via broadband using the IP publishing nodes. The trainees at each location would be able to watch the live training sessions and interact with instructors online. With this facility, the trainees would get control of contents and transmission through interaction and features like recording, rewinding and re-running/replaying.

Objectives of the Project:

At National Level
  • to create interactive facility of quality training through video conferencing at AHKNCRD in areas which are normally un-accessible and for those who do not feel comfortable to travel to AHKNCRD;
  • to provide E-Learning Archives to the trainees on AHKNCRD training portal;
  • to produce interactive based on vocational trade for the skills development of un-employed youth; and
  • to utilize services of eminent resource persons available in any part of the country for the benefit of trainees.
At International Level
  • to invite international resource persons from AARDO member countries to deliver lectures for AHKNCRD’s trainees through video conferencing facility; and
  • to provide facilities for the trainees of AARDO member countries to attend the training being organized at AHKNCRD.
As envisaged, the E-Learning Centre at AHKNCRD will attract more trainees in different progarmmes at AHKNCRD by using innovative techniques in distance learning. A combination of Computer-Assisted Instruction and Video Technology being an important development in instructional media will change the delivery of technical training. The E-Learning can be applied in a variety of ways for research and will be integrated to agriculture, environment, health, education, disaster, etc.

It is indicated that the establishment work of the E-Learning Centre will be completed in two phases. During the first phase, the equipment (hardware and Software) will be installed in the existing computer Lab at NCRD in order to make the E-Learning Centre functional within two months. During the second phase, a big hall sized 153X30 square feet will be renovated/ modified as per design of the E-learning Centre. However, the E-learning Centre will be shifted later to the big hall as per objective and potential of the project.

The above proposal of the project is under review and consideration of the Technical Committee of the AARDO Secretariat.

ii) Empowering Vulnerable Communities with Opportunities to Undertake Income Generating Ventures Intended to Mitigate Poverty and Food Insecurity, Zambia

The project is aimed at empowering women and youth groups through formation of clubs with start-up capital to undertake income-generating ventures in order to help alleviating poverty and enhance food security. The main objectives of the project are:
  • To empower women and youth groups with start-up capital to undertake income generating enterprises;
  • To enhance entrepreneurship skills amongst the registered women and youth groups; and
  • To promote the food security at household levels.
To implement the project, an amount of US $40,000 was approved by AARDO. But due to some administrative procedures and change in location, implementation of the project had been delayed. On June 04, 2014, a formal request was received from the nodal Ministry to consider the change in location for implementation of the project from Kapoche Constituency, Petuak District to Mkushi District. Considering the request and implementation plan submitted by the Ministry, first installment of US $20,000 was released on 20 June 2014 so that the implementation of the project could be initiated.

During October 2015, the Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa had submitted the progress report of the project. According to the report, a field visit was conducted by the AARDO Desk Officer together with Planner and Acting Provincial Youth Development Officer for Central Province in June, 2014 as one of the planned activities of the project. During their visit, a meeting was held with the management team that included Ms. Ngandu Nchimunya, Centre Coordinator, Mr. Vincent Musonda, OVC Focal Point Person, Ms. Anastasias Kabulansondo, OVC Counselor and Ms. Esther Ngulube, OVC Counselor. It was resolved in the meeting that project would be initiated with a poultry micro-credit scheme under the first installment of the grant.

It was further indicated in the report that the Ministry had developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the implementation of the project. The Ministry in collaboration with the Mkushi Catholic Centre has agreed to implement the project with a Poultry Micro-Credit Scheme. Hence, the materials had been mobilized to start implementation of the project in November 2015.

Thus, the field visit to Mkushi Catholic Orphans and Vulnerable Training Center was successful and the meeting with concerned officials and youth was fruitful. Most of the intended preliminary works for the implementation of the project have been completed and terms and conditions for the micro credit scheme agreed upon with the identified beneficiaries. The youth were happy having the AARDO project to be finally kicked start as it would help uplifting them and alleviate their poverty. Though the fund is yet to be disbursed by the Ministry for the project, K21, 611.00 has been utilized for the field assessment and meeting of management committees for the project.