Road to prosperity

Rural areas are the major reservoir of poverty in Pakistan. Agriculture is the main activity on which most people depend for their livelihood in far-flung areas. Inflation, unemployment and growth rates have significant effects on rural communities. Poor governance is the key underlying cause for this, resulting in inefficiency within provision of social services. All of this has had serious implications for human development.
The quality of education is poor. Infrastructure investments have improved, but too many rural schools are one-room institutions with several age groups and classes sitting in overcrowded spaces or under the open sky. There is no source of adequate water and sanitation facilities or electricity. Above all, teacher absenteeism, low motivation and competencies mar the school experience of rural children. Education needs to be accessible. The ultimate goal should be the basic learning needs for all children, youth, and adults. The state needs to initiate educational programs in order to provide the people with knowledge, technology, values, and outlook on life so that they can live with self-esteem and continue to learn to improve their lives in order to contribute to the country and mankind. Literacy is the basis for improving the rural population’s standard of living.
The in-depth development of compulsory education is key in transforming future agricultural laborers from physical to intellectual members of society.
“Teach an accelerated curriculum.”
This will be a great initiative in rural areas as it will help children who have never been to school or who dropped out to catch up with the years of schooling they lost, even if they are overage. Moreover, community mobilisation plays an important role in such programs. Convincing parents and creating awareness among the community is equally important so that they encourage their children to learn and be educated.
Women play important roles in the rural economy. They work as farmers, wage earners and entrepreneurs. Progress towards a gender equal and sustainable future starts with taking action today. Over the last few decades, 55% of the improvement in food security in developing countries has been driven by programmes promoting women’s empowerment. If women farmers had equal access to productive resources, their farm yields would increase by 20-30%. This could provide enough food to keep 100 to 150 million people from going hungry, reducing global hunger by 12-17%. Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge.
Women compromise approximately half of the total population of Pakistan and most of them reside in rural areas. The state must initiate policies to support women’s aspiration to transform themselves and their communities. Skills training should align with the work of rural women in agriculture and livestock. It should provide them with the opportunity to embark on an empowerment journey; a journey to gain the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to reach their full potential as agents of sustainable change and to support their entrepreneurial aspirations. When women will own businesses the economy will flourish, it will grow. Because of gender-based discrimination and social norms, most of their work remains unseen, unrecognised and undervalued.
Harassment and violence against women, whether in the home, workplace and in public spaces needs to be addressed beyond passage of laws so that women and their families don’t forego opportunities for social, economic and political participation and growth. Rural women have less access to technologies, public services and little if any social protection and are more likely to experience, gender based violence.
Devastating health and living conditions and no well sanitation facilities are other major issue to be overlooked in rural communities. Having no clean water to drink, and no clean environment to live in are a few of the many causes of health issues. Proper protection, management, and maintenance of the environment is not only the responsibility of an individual, everyone must come together for the safety of the environment.
Organisations, either public, private or governmental, should work together. By raising awareness about health issues and persuading others, we can have a more significant impact. The main health issues are due to lack of awareness, waste management, poor diet, water pollution and hygiene problems. The government must take stronger steps to ensure that rural areas have access to high-quality health care units, medicines and good doctors for the treatment of communicable diseases. Vaccines must be readily available. Above all free health care services must be ensured in all the rural communities in Pakistan.

The writer is the Founder of Made in Alipur, a writer and an entrepreneur. She can be contacted at aminaamin

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