It is time that all parties set their priorities straight to help solve the crisis in Thar.
In past 30 years, almost each and every donor like United Nations Development Programme, Save the Children, European Union, World Bank, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and many more have injected their money on Thar, but results are almost zero! Where did the billions of billions of rupees go? Donors are running a parallel government by supporting local level Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), but alas, results are nothing. They have all equally supported different programs like nutrition, mother and child health services, education and micro credit but the condition of Thar is deteriorating day by day. NGOs in Thar have millions of donor money in their kitty for food security, nutrition and other services. One prominent NGO in Thar was keeping around 140 million rupees for food security and other related issues, and when the money increased, they converted it into endowment funding. As a result, they got billions, yet Tharis got nothing and are now dying of food related issues. All these NGOs are claiming that they have organised communities in all 45 union councils of Thar, but the situation has not been changed. So the failure of Thar is not only the government’s failure, but the failure of all donors and the civil society, who are working in Thar. So where does the solution lie? The first and foremost issue is the importance to realise that it is not only the government but all actors, like donors and the civil society that has failed! With that in mind, it is time that they set their priorities. The government, donors, and NGOs are lacking proper monitoring and evaluation systems, or even if it is existing, it is resting in their books and reports only. Donors tend to rely on third party evaluation, which is again based on compromises. The situation in Thar calls for all donors, the government and NGO’s to sit down and distribute the responsibilities first, and then chalk out fresh strategies to resolve the Thar crisis.
By Aijaz Ali Khuwaja
Published: 13:40 January 3, 2015
The reader is a Pakistani development consultant based in Karachi, Pakistan
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