The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) over the weekend announced the launch of a new project to provide and improve livelihood opportunities available to Afghan refugees and other impoverished communities living in Pakistan.
A spokesman of the U.N. agency working to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people told Radio Pakistan that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund in a bid to help the destitute improve their lot in life. Under the proposed project, the most vulnerable households would be provided intensive coaching in several areas, including agriculture and entrepreneurship, as well as the provision of resources such as livestock to support the uplift efforts. The agreement also calls for improving the vulnerable communities’ access to basic financial services.
According to the spokesman, the proposed project, and other similar initiatives, had the potential to yield significant impact in the lives of vulnerable people living in abject poverty. He said the initiative would especially help to improve the lives of Afghan refugees—believed to number around 1.3 million—living in Pakistan. In addition, he added, it would also provide members of the host community with sustainable livelihoods.
In the initial phase of the project, 3,000 households in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces would be helped. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the focus would be on communities living in Mansehra and Peshawar, while in Balochistan it would seek to aid those residing in Chaghi.