EU Ambassador H.E. Androulla Kaminara recently visited and met with many of the women beneficiaries of the project who told her they are delighted with the enhanced role they are now playing in their communities and families.
Three years into the six-year programme, SUCCESS has organised some 575,000 women into 30,000 community organisations. The women elect their own leaders whose leadership skills are then developed by the programme.
Each community member develops their own micro investment plans. The organisations have initiated savings schemes and provided 68,00 loans from a revolving fund to those with income generating ideas. For the very poorest, they have allocated 23,000 grants to purchase critical assets such as a goat or chickens to improve their family diet and income. A further 15,000 have learned skills to enable them to work in a range of sectors. 400 villages have even implemented small infrastructure projects through the projects, such as irrigation schemes, or wells.
Since households can be wiped out due to costs incurred in case of illness or death, almost 880,000 have received health insurance that will cover up to 25,000 per person in hear.
The ambassador was also happy to learn that through the community organisations the women are learning important life skills, such as flood protection strategies, the importance of immunisation, hygiene, and sanitation, of getting identification documents, so they can vote claim insurance, and access government benefits.
Crucially, the institutions are also learning to work in partnership with government departments on priority issues through Joint Development Committees being formed under SUCCESS. This is part of the Government of Sindh’s policy to have Community Driven Local Development (CDLD).
Under the SUCCESS programme the EU has supported the Government of Sindh in the development of a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and a Community Driven Local Development (CDLD) policy, which the GoS has now approved. It is the first such strategic framework for poverty reduction to be developed in Pakistan.