LAHORE: The Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG) Forman Christian College Lahore held a consultation dialogue for a draft social welfare policy here on Monday.

The draft policy was developed by CPPG at the behest of the Department of Social Welfare and Baitul Maal (SWD). The policy is part of a larger project titled “Social Welfare Department: The Provincial Face of Regulation and Interaction with NGOs” being conducted by CPPG with the support of the USAID Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programme (SGAFP).

This policy was developed with the aim to provide a comprehensive roadmap to the SWD regarding the scope of their work, as well as strategic direction in the years to come. The lack of an overarching social policy is one of the key constraints hampering the improvement of social indicators of Punjab. The absence of a coherent social policy has especially been problematic for the SWD. This consultative session was held to invite opinions and views of all major stakeholders on the draft policy document. The feedback and comments will be incorporated into the final version of the policy.

The event was divided into two sessions. In the first session, the draft policy was presented to the participants by Maheen Saleem Khosa, Research Fellow CPPG; after which there was general discussion and feedback on the document. The second session focused more specifically on elaborating a few key issues highlighted in the first session.

The event was very well attended, with participants including SWD officers from all tiers; officers of other government departments civil society representatives and members of the academia. Government departments included the Department of Industries, the Home Department, Punjab Commission for the Status of Women and the Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department. Prominent civil society organisations included South Asia Partnership (SAP PK), Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), Milestone, Women in the Struggle for Empowerment (WISE), among others.

The event was also attended by the Director General of the SWD, Waheed Ansari, who lauded the efforts of the CPPG project team in the work that they had done during the project, and specifically on the policy. “This policy is a much-needed document for the SWD, and I am very grateful to each one of you for taking out the time to give your feedback on this,” he said.

Dr Saeed Shafqat, Professor and Director CPPG, also thanked the participants for attending the event and briefly talked about the impetus behind the development of this policy. He greatly appreciated the initiative taken by the SWD in highlighting the need for the development of such a policy.

“We have been working on this policy for nearly seven months, and have done our best to ensure that all critical issues and voices are represented in it,” he said. “From our end we feel that it is ready, and we hope that going forward this policy will continue to have full ownership and support of the department,” he added.