Harnessing the People’s Potential to Help Themselves                        
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PRSP is a replica of the “Rural Support Programmes” (RSP) which acquired a name in Pakistan through community mobilization, capacity building and socio-economic empowerment operations. “Social Mobilization”, as a concept and a process in the most recent history, was refined in  Northern  Areas  and    other    Districts     of    Pakistan   before   the
Government of the Punjab (GoPb) lit a candle from these experiences and handed it to the PRSP, for the Punjab. “Social Mobilization”   is perhaps  more widely talked about  than  it    is  content understood.  Experience   shows  that  a major disadvantage     that accompanies   poverty  is the poor needing support even for  reflecting on  problems  of   poverty, for considering solutions, for forging linkages, for accessing resources and services. “Social Mobilization” is a   process   that prepares the poor, and creates in them a capacity, for undertaking all these poverty-combating activities.

The orthodox process of “social mobilization” is designed around organization of the poor households through providing skills, credit, creation of local capital and infrastructure – all facilitated by a “support organization”.  The purpose of such organization is the  support to initiate and sustain a process of diversified growth of economic, human and natural resources for the household, for the Group and at the village level.  Given the multi-dimensional disadvantages connected with Poverty, this process can get initiated only with advocacy, counselling, urging on with encouragement and persuasion, creating a new thinking and kindling of a new spirit.  All these, highlight the need for a “support” organization hence the raison d'etre for the Punjab Rural Support Programme.

Alongside, the “core” RSP operations are the other poor-centred interventions e.g. in Health, Education, Agriculture, Livestock sectors.  The impact of these interventions on poverty are universally acknowledged.  “Social Mobilization” continues to be the engine driving these interventions.  It is the life blood of all PRSP operations.  It is the currency in which PRSP conducts all its business.  However, “social mobilization” takes different forms as found relevant to a context.  The number of beneficiaries or stakeholders, for certain interventions, may be very large.  The Group may, therefore, need to provide “representation” to important interests rather than ensuring the “participation” of every beneficiary.  Groups may also have to conform to different operational processes depending on the precise role that the interventions envisage for them.

Admittedly, the first focus in the “broad brush” approach is on the community and not on the household unlike in the “orthodox” RSP strategy.  But the obvious assumption is that the benefits of the “broad brush” strategy do reach the poor households.  Both paths lead to the poor household.  The second path has shown that it can carry the benefits to many more poor households.  It, therefore, seems to deserve a place, at the very least, alongside the first path in the PRSP strategy.  It is relevant to add here that the Endowment from the GoPb is accompanied by special emphasis on precisely such social sector interventions that use the “broad-brush” approach following the second path.

© 2022 PRSP, All rights reserved Last Updated On: Aug 16, 2022