Islamabad: "Provision of community based income generation opportunities amongst the affected populace in the earthquake region is an important developmental tool for Building Back Better, "said General Nadeem, Deputy Chairman Earthquake Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) on a recent visit to Muzaffarabad. The agencies working in collaboration with ERRA in the livelihoods sector are providing support in the form of cash for work/training; food for work/training; agricultural/livestock assistance; repair of rural infrastructure; vocational training; tree plantation; and establishment of community centres. Save the Children US, International Rescue Committee (IRC), ACTED, Mercy Corps and Oxfam are involved in credit based assistance such as cash for work, income generation cash grants and have so far trained approximately 45,846 beneficiaries. Besides, WFP and Save the Children US provided support via food for work trainings along with distribution of food baskets to approximately 210,067 individuals. The economy of the earthquake affected areas is mainly agriculture based. Concern, an INGO, supported rural business rehabilitation assistance to 357 business's. Agricultural inputs in the form of seeds and fertilizers, agricultural tool kits, restocking of livestock, livestock feed, assistance in livestock shelter construction, animal lifesaving interventions through veterinary centres, backyard poultry farms for widows, livestock extension training, farmer field days and plantation of fruit trees was carried out by a number of organizations such as FAO, Concern, Oxfam, World Vision, Care, ACTED, Save the Children Sweden, WFP, IFAD, Dosti Development Foundation (DDF), National Support Programme (NRSP), Premiere Urgence and the IRC. Approximately 500,000 individuals benefited from these interventions. Livelihoods strategy has taken a holistic approach involving a range of cross-cutting interventions to address problems of the poorest and people living in the remote inaccessible areas. Agencies like ACTED, IRC, DDF, ILO and Concern provided training courses (402) covering skills like sewing and embroidery, masonry, construction, literacy, reproductive health and primary health care to earthquake affected families. In support of these training courses, small assets like sewing machines were also distributed to 45,213 trainees by Save the Children US, and Oxfam. Besides Concern provided 2217 families with one goat each and Save Sweden's financial assistance to widows for starting home based poultry projects continue this quarter Spatial interventions such as repair of 14 feeder roads/trails, 6 irrigation channels, 12 water schemes rehabilitation, latrine construction, clearing of debris, construction of protection walls and field terracing were undertaken by Concern, IFAD, ACTED and WFP and 28,750 individuals benefited. Furthermore, Concern, UNDP, IRC, Acted, Oxfam, Save the Children Sweden and Care established 13 community centres and 154 community based organizations (CBO's). In addition to this, Concern conducted training in Disaster Preparedness and created disaster plans. To encourage local people to preserve their surrounding environment that is prone to landslides due to soil erosion caused by the earthquake, IRC and Care carried out tree plantation drive planting 352,480 trees while Concern planted trees covering an area of 280 acres of land. United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jan Vandemoortele commenting on the livelihood interventions said, "It has been a major challenge for the development practitioners and policy makers to find ways to assist the earthquake affected people to have a meaningful livelihood which sustains them and ensures they can live with dignity and hope for the future. The livelihoods strategy has successfully commenced as many individuals have gained practical experience of entrepreneurship."
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