Pakistan is indeed deeply rooted for volunteering spirit but the stature of volunteering institutionalisation is lagging behind, as there is still no policy/legal framework of volunteerism which is critically important for strengthening volunteering activities.
This was stated during the day-long consultation - organised by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Pakistan on Monday at a local hotel - on the volunteerism and development, needs of strengthening volunteer network and provincial volunteer policy in Punjab.
Besides Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Khalil Tahir Sindhu and Punjab’s Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education Mehwish Sultana, UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan Michael Jones, were among the main speakers of the consultation.
Addressing the participants, the minister assured that the government would provide all support in adopting the policy on volunteerism. He endorsed the vision of the UN volunteers and called the volunteerism the best investment which bears never ending interests.
UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan Michael Jones suggested that the operational procedures or standby arrangements could be developed in advance of recurrent natural calamities to ensure the rapid mobilisation, organisation and targeting of the volunteer resources for a faster and more efficient response to the emergencies. He pointed out that these pre-conceived action plans could reduce delays and associated costs and save human lives. He said these proposed volunteer policies and legal framework had considerably legal precedent, as more than 70 governments had adopted new laws or policies worldwide to support and better utilise volunteer resources.
This is the first consultation on volunteerism policy took place in Pakistan and the main objective of the consultation was to set up a sustainable volunteer network within development forces and build a strong working group, persuading a provincial volunteer policy for strengthening volunteering activities to support peace and development process in a sustainable manner.
The minister, UN resident coordinator, secretaries, MPAs and other participants endorsed the need of the volunteer policy in Punjab and forming Volunteer Network in Punjab.
Michael Jones stressed that the policy support from the government mechanism was crucial and importantly determinant for strengthening volunteering activities in Pakistan.
Besides lawmakers and senior government officials, civil society, NGOs/CSOs, academia, corporate sectors, media and youth organisations and UN agencies took part in the consultation which formed the Punjab Volunteer Working Group who would be responsible for drafting a policy on volunteerism and volunteer network.
The UN resident coordinator said the policy support paved to create overall conducive environment for engaging all potentials stakeholders in boosting volunteerism efforts as well as for volunteers. He said legal support could come across from different forms either developing a policy, a framework law, or in amendments to laws and policies that generate broader perspectives for intensifying the volunteering initiatives and protect constrains/challenges towards volunteering. He said that the policy support provides substantive guidance and protection which leads to advance volunteering works to contribute peace and development process in the country. It also protects the volunteers, who serve greatly in different critical situations like disasters and emergencies along with other difficult engagement.
books: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided colourful books to the students enrolled in the evening schooling project of Punjab Education Foundation (PEF).
The books distribution ceremony was held at PEF head office on Monday with Managing Director Dr Aneela Salman in the chair. Project Coordinator JICA Abid Gill, besides PEF-DMD Salman Anwar Malik, Programme Directors Aisha Nauman and Samina Nawaz was also present.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Aneela Salman said evening schooling project was a pilot programme for child labourers, housemaids and other out-of school-children who could not study in the morning due to their peculiar circumstances.
In order to meet their educational needs, 104 partner schools have been set up in collaboration with the private partners in Lahore and Multan in the first phase where 5,000 children are enrolled.
Abid Gill paid rich tributes to the beneficial role of the PEF in the field of school education and disclosed that PEF sponsored Public Private Partnership models were studied and replicated in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces to meet their respective educational needs. He hoped that evening schooling project would emerge as a prime example of success while the students would become part of mainstream through education.