In Pakistan's tribal areas, far from the centre of economic and political clout, there are limited opportunities for young people. Helvetas is contributing to the government's efforts in creating new prospects for them with a project to provide market access and create jobs.
This project, as its name suggests, is about taking on one of the greatest challenges of our time: to contribute to stability and peace through functional markets and job opportunities. Where young people see economic prospects for themselves and their families, they are willing and able to make a constructive contribution to improving their society.
These prospects exist in much of modern Pakistan, but less in the agrarian tribal areas in the northwestern region. The average income here is half the national average, the literacy rate one third of the national rate, maternal mortality 35 times higher. Young people can’t find a place to invest their abilities and manpower here. The situation is particularly challenging for young women, who are mainly restricted to household chores and have little economic and educational opportunities due to cultural barriers.
In KP Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Helvetas’ project on market and employment is improving earning opportunities for youth, especially young women. In the agricultural sector, they learn to think along entrepreneurial lines and, in addition to food self-sufficiency, to raise cash crops: tomatoes, onions, dairy products and meat. Other youngsters can opt for short-term training programs to acquire skills that will help them find employment. As in Nepal, Mozambique and Ethiopia, the training establishments are not paid in full unless and until their trainees find steady jobs or succeed in starting up a business of their own.
In addition to these concrete interventions, the project also promotes development of the economic environment and linking skills training centers with job markets and building their capacities to impart market demanded skills. Business owners, officials and merchants learn to network and work together to develop functional markets and channels of funding. Improved legal frameworks, opportunities for dialogue and cooperation, and mutual trust should help create a society and a climate in which everyone can defend their interests. Conflict affected teenagers and women are included in this development as well. 120,000 families benefit directly or indirectly from this extensive project.
This project to develop markets and employment is a mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands carried out by Helvetas together with the NGOs ACTED and Plan international.