Reciprocal Partnership made the difference; Success story of HANDS and KRN
Karachi is a multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual and thickly populated city and is divided in urban and rural. The urban part is highly developed but on the other hand the people of rural are lagging behind in the fundamental needs i.e. education, health, drinking water, sanitation and shelter. Poverty, illiteracy and limited sources of economic generation has compounded the issue. Mostly Sindhi and Baloch communities are living in the rural areas.
The process of social mobilization and activism was started in 1979, when Prof. Dr. A.G Billoo (Chairman, HANDS) started probing the women of the Karachi rural about the health issues they faced when they came in Civil Hospital Karachi. He initiated his social work with the support of his friends and students and started vising the rural areas. During discussions/meetings with communities he analyzed that there is a dire need to offer the health services to these villagers particularly women and children. Consequently, a first health center was established in Memon Goth then another one in Dur Muhammad Goth. At both ends; Prof. A.G Billoo and community leaders were committed to serve with full dedication.
In 1997, SPO intervened in Malir District with a project of capacity building of CBOs and 10 of them were selected.. Fortunately, the most of the workers of HANDS were nominated by CBOs to attend the training program conducted by Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Baloch. Theme of the training was Development, Planning and Management (DPM). After completion of the training it was realized that these trained workers should meet to discuss issues beyond the villages and play their part at an expanded canvas. Thus, collective platform of CBOs was formed with the name of MIU and then DESTAC. However various conflicts come out which were resolved by Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed CE HANDS who played a pivotal role in resolving them and the result was the merger with consensus. A new organization came in to being with the name of Karachi Rural Network (KRN).
Karachi Rural Network started working on various issues of Karachi Rural. Different NGOs/departments supported and left but HANDS constantly continued their assistance to KRN and in 2002 signed an agreement to ensure the institutional support to KRN. HANDS district office Karachi Rural played two parts; ensured financial help and facilitated office bearers technically to run the activities.
Currently, KRN is working with several partners and is also working as a partner with HANDS in its project to improve the public health facilities of Karachi rural. Efforts are being made to shape KRN as a think tank.
Significantly KRN is going to establish a Human Resource Development Center and Secretariat. The center will offer the services to youth in the shape of library, computer lab, digital lab, job preparation and placement and competitive exam preparation.The center will also establish media house and research and development unit. Chairman District Council Karachi has approved Rs. 10 million along with Rs. 2 million annual grant for the purpose. The leadership of KRN is convinced that such center will become the major contributing source for the future of youth and people of Karachi Rural.
The life of the organizations/networks is never smooth. Every organization experiences ups and downs. The major things which save and develop organizations are will to perform, respect, reciprocity, transparency, honesty, dedication and financial stability.