Contact: U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section (051-208-2911, 051-208-1136)
Multan, March 07, 2013 −“USAID is committed to supporting citizens to engage with their government in the development process,” said Mr. Jock Conly, USAID Mission Director, at the conference. He added, “Pakistan has a vibrant civil society and USAID is pleased to provide resources to support advocacy for reform, especially when it comes to the important issue of water.”
Mr. Zia ur Rehman, Chief Executive of Awaz Foundation, expressed gratitude to the people of the United States for providing assistance to address important issues in Pakistan.
The USAID-funded Awaz project continues efforts to improve water rights by creating networks of advocates who support small farmers interests, as well as mediate conflict that arise as a result of water issues. These networks bring together local and national civil society groups, media, lawyers, and private businesses to discuss mutually beneficial solutions to the common challenges they all face.
The Citizens’ Voice Project, implemented by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability, is a $45 million endeavor that aims to improve engagement between citizens and state institutions in order to promote good governance in Pakistan. To date, the project has awarded grants to 58 civil society organizations in Pakistan working in areas as diverse as energy, water rights, education, municipal services, tax sector, legislative governance and local governments. The project has recently announced 100 grants worth $2.5 million to strengthen citizens’ voice for free, fair and peaceful elections.
The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a water rights conference on March 5 to encourage farmers to become advocates for important water policy reform. The USAID Citizen’s Voice Project has provided assistance to Awaz Foundation in Multan to improve citizen oversight of water management. Water issues are serious for Pakistani farmers in particular. These issues require special attention to avoid resource-based conflicts, foster agriculture development through equitable distribution of water resources, and more generally to boost the economy.