$241m USAID schemes underway in Sindh, says Murad

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that USAID a $241 million dollar different program such Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP), Municipal Services delivery Program (MSDP), Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences (JIMS) are in progress in Sindh. “These are major interventions in education, health and municipal services sectors.”

This he said while talking to Mr John Hoover deputy chief of Mission US Embassy Islamabad and Ms Grace Shelton, US Consul General in Karachi who called on him here at the CH House Monday. The meeting was attended by Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem and Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput.

He said that he has already declared emergency in education and health sectors while special focus is being given to improve municipal services. “USAID has made some important interventions and I am personally monitoring them so that targeted population of the province can takne benefit from the schemes,” he said.

In the meeting the Chief minister, his and the US visiting diplomats reviewed the progress of the schemes launched with the grant of USAID.

It may be noted that since 2011, USAID in partnership with the provincial government has been implementing the SBEP for $165 million, including $10 million the Sindh government share. Through this partnership the SBEP improves the quality and access to education for children in Sindh by increasing and sustaining student enrollment at the primary, middle, and secondary school levels. The program is being implemented in seven districts of Northern Sindh and five towns of Karachi.

The chief minister said that for the implementation and management of the Programme, a Programme Management and Implementation Unit (PMIU) has been established in School Education department. It comprises on four sections such as construction management, Learning Reforms and Community Mobilization, Back Office Services, and Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation.

He elaborated that major Components of SBEP include building of 106 new schools with1400 classrooms in flood-affected and other areas. Improvement of reading and numeracy skills of 750,000 children over five years, engaging up to 400 communities in the construction, operation and maintenance of schools over five years and establish effective public/private partnerships to manage these schools and ensure enrollment of at least 100,000 girls.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that major targets of the programme are to increase knowledge and professional skills of 25,000 primary school teachers, particularly in Reading and Mathematics. “It also aimed at providing non-formal educational opportunities to 100,000 out-of-school children to enable 50,000 to transit to formal schools,” he said and added there is a target to provide capacity building opportunities to 500 government officials to implement the Sindh Government Education Reforms, increase availability of adequate health care facilities for children and train 500 government district offices/supervisors, teachers, head-teachers in developing, implementing and monitoring of Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Maths Assessment (EGMA).

Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem said that so far, there have been considerable milestones achieved by SBEP that include site assessment of 875 schools completed. This assessment is helping to logically select schools for construction. Till now 33 government schools are under construction at Khairpur, Sukkur and Larkana districts. 37 SBEP targeted schools are notified as campus schools with 76 schools being consolidated and merged under government consolidation policy.

He added that the Private land owners have donated their personal land in Larkana, Sukkur and Khairpur to School Education Department for reconstruction of schools. 238 early grade teachers (Master Trainers) are trained in Reading and Mathematics Teaching Skills to further train 3,000 teachers and a comprehensive study is done by SRP to develop supplementary reading material to create a culture of reading within target schools.

Mr Wsim said that partnership with Rotary International established to equip Science and Computer Labs in hub schools and to provide reading and mathematics materials to 1,100 school libraries.

Municipal Services delivery Programme (MSDP): This programme has been launched with USAID grant of $66 million in which provincial government’s share stands at Rs926.55 million. The programme is aimed at improving and upgrading municipal services/infrastructure in six cities of the Norther Sindh. They are Jacobabad, Qambar, Shahdadkot, KN Shah, Mehar and Johi. Presently, the programme is in progress in Jacobabad and after its successful completion it would be started in other cities.

USAID has invested $10 million in establishing JIMS and expanded access to quality health care services for the residents of Jacobabad- Sindh and Balochistan. JIMS is a 133 beds hospital which offers outpatient treatment, emergency and diagnostic facilities as well as specialized services in mother and childhood center, intensive care unit and surgical facilities.

The meeting was told that the hospital was functioning properly but there are some issues which are being looked after by the chief minister personally. The US diplomats said that they were launch more schemes under the USAID for the people of Sindh.