The US agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Government have started training the newly elected councilors from merged areas on local government (LG) systems.
The training, supported under the USAID-funded and UNDP-implemented Merged Areas Governance Project (MAGP) took place in Peshawar with a total of 262 tehsil councilors, including 49 women councilors, as well as councilors representing religious minorities from districts Bajaur and Mohmand.
The training was arranged especially for the LG representatives from merged districts because the Local Government (LG) system has been introduced for the first time there in the history of Pakistan, said a press release issued here.
“This is a learning curve for the newly elected councilors, and we support them to understand the devolution of power, the structure and composition of local governments, and the authority and responsibilities of the elected representatives,” said Raluca Eddon, UNDP’s Programme Manager for the Merged Areas Governance Project.
The Secretary for KP Local Government, Elections and Rural Development Syed Zaheer-ul-Islam Shah appreciated the participants’ passion towards learning andsaid that the provincial government had allocated Rs37 billion development budget for the local bodies to improve service delivery.
Azra Gul, a general councilor belonging to Lower Mohmand subdivision said that the training helped her understand the local government system and that she would now serve the women in her community effectively.
The Merged Area Governance Programme is, $15.7 million USAID-funded activity, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme to facilitate the integration of the merged districts by supporting the KP Government in reforms implementation, strengthening government’s capacity, and strengthening local governance systems.