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Maybe it’s time to go backwards for the SDGs

03:44 PM | 29 Apr, 2018
Maybe it’s time to go backwards for the SDGs
It’s time to realize and acknowledge that effective solutions to poverty are best designed at the local level.  Only the natives are aware of the real issues faced by the community as they either suffer the same problems or observe their fellows suffering every day.

Corrupt and self-centric politicians deliberately keep the local bodies deprived of the power. The local government system isn’t new for subcontinent as Lord Ripon granted Local Self Government Act of 1882. The devolution of power is either unnoticeable or biased in our country where development means making streets and roads just before the elections to win the votes to govern the next term. Ironically, every national and provincial leader has a firm belief in the delegation of power.

Team formation

Developing a team of elected local members, businessmen, and representatives of poverty-stricken people will put the community on the path to prosperity and progress. The dedicated members of this team would point out the prevalent issues faced by the community to strive systematically to achieve the SDGs.

The diversity of team is of utmost significance for it minimizes the unfairness. In developing countries, political affiliation, values higher than principles, morals and devotion in local governments as the ruling parties don’t want to share the control. This lust for control and practice of one-sided agenda fails the process of all-round progress, whereas diversity in team working at local level brightens the chances of success.

Finances

Finances hold key to the success of community development and indubitably, it’s one of the most challenging tasks. Three main sources of funding that can help lift the local community development team are annual budget allocation, taxes, fundraising.

Every year government allocates budget to be spent by the local governments but political bias and corrupt leadership devour a major proportion of it. If the local bodies’ members don’t belong to the provincial ruling party, they are most likely to be deprived of the funds allocated to their town or ward, and even if the elected council is of governing party, the greater share of funds is taken by the corrupt lot. Ensuring that governments’ allocated budget is provided to the locals without any favoritism opens new horizons.

Expending taxes on the people who pay it not only brings improvement at the community level but also function as a source of encouragement and satisfaction for the taxpayers know that money will be spent on them. Council tax system will help the community development team succeed, in which the major share should be spent on social care of the locals and some of its parts should be handed over to the national and provincial governments.

International and national funding organizations’ input is often wasted by the corrupt elite. Similar to any other developing country, people in power just don’t let the aid reach the poor. For instance, most of the blankets sent as an aid to help earthquake victims were bagged by the people responsible for distribution. In the light of these terrible experiences, there is a dire need to directly connect the local development teams with Funding organizations. It’ll narrow the chances of corrupt practices and fulfill the needs of the poor in a far better manner. There are certain procedures which must be followed and monitored by independent authorities to keep the process smooth.

Team’s Functioning

Target-oriented actions of the team will thoroughly depend on the yearly community need assessment. An annual community needs assessment is not impossible, as it would assess a relatively smaller area and population. Team members’ roots from different social classes and professions will authenticate the results of need assessment. The results will first determine the needs and then issues demanding urgent attention. All the funds of local government should be utilized on recommendations of the team to minimize the chances of misplaced priorities, corruption, and bias.

The first phase after needs assessment will be helping the needful survive the poverty by providing food, shelter and emergency healthcare. In the second phase, impoverish people will be made resourceful and skillful. Simultaneously, education, financing small businesses and infrastructure building will also be looked after.

Volunteers’ role

The strength of any community lies in the inter-connectivity of the members and the most effective way of connecting is volunteering. It makes people take care of the community they live and be a proud and active part of it. Volunteers are just the same as every other human being is but the only missing link is motivation and awareness of self-value. Most of the people underestimate themselves and don’t realize that they can bring change.

Community development team will find and encourage people to dedicate their time and effort for their own community without expecting any monitory benefit in return. These volunteers can be either permanent ones or even those who want to participate just once for a few hours.

These volunteers divided into teams of educators, fundraisers, doctors, electricians, plumbers, etc. will help the poor and needy without any charges. Teachers will teach the underprivileged kids, women, and men in the evening or at their free time and accomplish the goal of educating the public. It’ll take the education emergency to an unprecedented higher level.

Volunteering doctors will provide free medical camps at different places in the municipal and even visit the homes of the people who can’t afford health care. They will be provided with medicine by the community development team to be utilized on the needy people. Likewise, these volunteers will also help the community by collecting necessities from their relatives, clients, students, businessmen and companies as most of them will be in a profession. On the other hand, young volunteers will launch a campaign collecting toiletries, food, clothes inside and outside the community.

The achievement of global goals within the given time is only possible by getting together and taking collective action to generate solutions to common prevalent problems. Building resilient communities to improve the living standard and educating the poor is inevitable. A democratic, inclusive and non-authoritarian community development team working independently can help build a strong and advanced nation.

Naeem Ahmed Qazi is committed to helping achieve SDGs through efficient practices for human development. As an educationist by training and social influencer by passion, he has a keen eye for current societal transformation. He serves as a development consultant for national and foreign institutions.

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PKR exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 21 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.

Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 21 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.6 282.4
Euro EUR 300 303
UK Pound Sterling GBP 350.5 354
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.15 76.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.35 75.1
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.32 751.32
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.89 39.29
Danish Krone DKK 40.38 40.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.74 36.09
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 902.41 911.41
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 171.68 173.68
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 725.96 733.96
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 26.53 26.83
Swiss Franc CHF 316.9 319.4
Thai Bhat THB 7.93 8.08

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