European Union-funded Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment (BRACE) Programme aims at stimulating an average 25% income increase of the targeted poor community members, particularly women, by fostering their income generation potentials. To ensure an increase in the income of poor households, one of the key development interventions is to provide technical & vocational education and training (TVET) to community members. The purpose of TVET is to design and implement demand-driven training programs that provide open access to the labour market and enhance income-generating opportunities, as regards self-employment.
During my recent visit to Jhal Magsi, I had a very interesting meeting with Ayaz Ahmed – A 25-year-old belonging to Union Council Khari of District Jhal Magsi, Balochistan. He lives with his family of ten, while he is the sole bread earner. “Poverty is a regular phenomenon of our province but unemployment and unavailability of different sectoral jobs have made the matters worse”, said Ayaz. “Realising the responsibility to feed my younger siblings and taking care of my parents forced me to apply in many departments & organisations. But it was all in vain. Our rural communities are dependent on agriculture and livestock. People of the area are deprived of necessities like health, education and wash facilities, to name a few. In the last few decades, heavy droughts have badly affected the agriculture and livestock of our region. This resulted in many of the families migrating to a place where they could easily survive with the availability of safe drinking water for their children and elderly”.
Ayaz shared that one day the BRACE Programme team visited his village and formed Community Organisations (CO). These COs were then federated into Village Organisations (VO).
The BRACE team then provided Community Management Skills Trainings (CMST) and guided the villagers on monthly meetings, savings and livelihood activities. After a few days, a team of Livelihood comprising District Livelihood Officer visited his village and conducted meetings with the office bearers for the purpose of identification of beneficiaries for Technical & Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Ayaz was nominated as a deserving beneficiary for the TVET training and was sent to the Institute of Rural Management (IRM) for two months of training on Motor Cycle Repairing.
After receiving two months of training from IRM, he was able to start his own business. He borrowed money from his relatives and started his shop. Ayaz proudly shared that now he can support his family and earn daily RS. 1000 – 11,000 from his new venture.
Under European Union funded BRACE Programme, more than 3000 men and women from Balochistan will receive TVET.
The writer is a communications specialist and a social development practitioner based in Islamabad.