It was an opportunity to hear Mr, Shoaib Sultan Khan Champion of rural development in the community gathering in Gojal, Hunza. I found him soft spoken and influential personality; for that reason, he wins millions of grassroots people hearts and emotion; it anticipates millions of people to work for their socioeconomic development and make them self-reliance. His appearance in the public gathering was thrilling for the people as well as for himself; he felt gratified to see his successful program’s impact in the community. The entire community economic and social prosperity is much better than other remote region of Pakistan. Indeed it was holistic development reflective gathering with indigenous social activists; who did their contribution in the project formation and its implementation from 1982 to 2017.
In his speech he did interrogative statement for his selection in Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP); he does not know why His highness prince Karim Aga Khan appointed him a head of AKRSP economic sustainability in the remotest region. He stated that the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRP) main goal was to double grassroots community economic status within ten years. He stated that, it was uneasy goal for the AKRSP board and management to achieve it without community participation and assistance.
For that reason AKRSP adopted three strategies to increase grassroots economic status, they mobilized grassroots communities to formed village organizations (VOs) and women organizations (WOs) at village level to bring them together where they can discuss their collective challenges and opportunities and make plan to overcome the challenges. The second strategy was save capital to initiate for income generation opportunities. The third strategy was to skill-up local people capacities to run those organizations effectively for the holistic development of the communities. He declared two principles for the rural development; which was taught by his mentor and teacher Dr, Akhtar Hameed Khan to him, those principles are honesty and affectionate people finding in the rural communities. He further elaborated that if any development organizations/ agencies find having these principles people then definitely development can come in the community; he said for that reason his development mentor Dr, Hameed Khan had entitled them diamonds. He said that he is fortunate development practitioner, who has found hundreds of diamonds in the Gilgit-Baltistan and brought economic sustainability in the region through participatory approach. He admired local community’s participation in the development activities and succussed him to achieve his goal and make victorious in-front of His highness princes Karim Aga Khan.
When AKRSP launch its programme for economic development and eradicate horrific poverty from the region; that time Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan donated one billion rupees from his generous pocket to execute the development project in the region for ten years; while government of Gilgit-Baltisan spent 25 billion huge budgets for the community development. When the development impact is evaluate and compared with government and AKRSP; then it reflected that AKRSP development activities impact remain more better than the government huge budget because no public participation and top down bureaucratic approaches.
The AKRSP successful development model is liked by donor agencies and offer their welling for development funding; in the passage of time and successful development implementation and agencies extended their support to AKRSP for the holistic community development.
On the base of long term impact in the rural development; the federal government of Pakistan extended their desires to establish “National Rural Support Program (NRSP)” to replicate the same module throughout the country. After it other eight Rural Support Programs (RSPs) have formed at provincial level to replicate AKRSP development model, subsequently an umbrella organization Rural Support Program Network (RSPN) is formed to facilitate RSPs in coordination and implantation.
He added more information that federal government is allocating more than 15 billion rupees for the development in Gilgit-Baltistan; now it is the time for local organizations to work closely with government through public- private approach to implement the development budget effectively at grassroots level, and involve community members the projects execution transparently.
AKRSP has formed Local Support Organizations (LSOs) in regional level to address the regional challenges and issues with the help of village and women organization(s); it is the effective project implementation structure at grassroots level for their socioeconomic development. He extended his wishes that the government development funds will be given to regional and village based institutions for its implementation; while government officers will frequently visit the local institutions and help them to implement the development activities transparently.
He is confidence on the community cooperation and their institutions to success public-private development approach to invest the allocated budget of the community development. He also assured that if the allocated development is invest on the public development, obviously the local people socioeconomic will be improved and Gilgit-Baltistan will again a role model for other regions in public- private partnership development.