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LAHORE: In order to achieve its targets in economic growth and poverty alleviation, the Punjab government has expedited United Nations (UN) funded development scheme ‘The Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project (SPPAP)’ in four districts of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Muzafargarh and Rajanpur.

The total rural population of these districts is estimated to be 8.6 million or just over 1.2 million. It is pertinent to mention here that the basic objective of the project is to increase the income of the target population by enhancing their employment potential and boosting agricultural productivity and production.

The SPPAP is providing relief to landless casual labourers, smallholder farmers and woman-headed households. It is expected that about 80,000 poor rural households from four districts will benefit directly from the project. The project will also assist the government of Punjab in achieving its economic growth and poverty alleviation objectives. One of the innovations of the SPPAP is the use of poverty scorecard as an effective targeting instrument.

In order to know about the results regarding ongoing project, the Resident Coordinator, United Nations (UN) in Pakistan, visited the SPPAP in Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur and applauded the project performance, targeting approach and project interventions designed for the ultra-poor households with special focus on women and youth.

He later wrote an acknowledgment letter to the Chairman Planning and Development Board Abdullah Khan Sumbal for the work of his team for the marginalized communities under SPPAP.

According to a letter available with Business Recorder, he appreciated the way local communities have been organized through community mobilization and have transformed their behaviours towards development at the field level.

At field level, community meetings were arranged in both districts wherein the UN Resident Coordinator was briefed about the SPPAP. Presentations were delivered by the community organizations followed by the interaction with project beneficiaries and visit of project interventions included low-cost houses, small ruminants, vocational enterprise training, Community Physical

Infrastructure schemes (CPIs), food banks etc.

It is pertinent to mention that Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project (SPPAP)-IFAD is a joint initiative of the government of the Punjab, P&D Board and UN donor Agency IFAD.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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