Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Inayatullah Khan formally launched the communication strategy for the Community-Driven Local Development (CDLD) programme at an official ceremony on Monday. As per its official website, the K-P government, through the CDLD programme, has embarked on a policy to involve ordinary citizens and improve public service delivery. Authorities aim to achieve sustainable development through a “ground-up” approach.
“Community-Driven Local Development is not just a policy. It is the aspiration of the citizens in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to improve their lives and livelihoods,” the website states. “CDLD gives control of development related decisions and resources to local communities. That is how they receive funds, decide on their use of plans, execute their chosen local projects and monitor the provision of services.”
In his opening remarks, Inayatullah said strategic communication management for CDLD was one of the government’s main priorities as it focused on implementation and development. He added the availability of communication material, launching the CDLD website and other activities to engage citizens were some of the major steps taken by the authorities.
Media and public awareness
Called Empowering Communities from the Ground-Up through Collective Action, the communication strategy has been spread over a three-year time period to cover the broad spectrum of media communication and public awareness. It aims to “enlighten, educate and engage target communities” at the grass-roots level. The CDLD programme was rolled out in 2014 by the K-P government with financial assistance of 64 million Euros from the European Union. The policy was initially piloted in select districts of Malakand Division such as Chitral, Lower Dir, Malakand, Shangla, Swat and Upper Dir.
In addition to the strategy document, public outreach and community awareness material has already been developed as part of the CDLD communication strategy. The relevant material was shared during the launch ceremony. The official website, www.cdldta.pk, was also launched during the event by the senior minister.
A real time demonstration of its main features was given to the participants. “Our government is focused on bridging the gap between the state and citizens. Today’s launch of a communication strategy lays down a strong foundation for implementation of the strategic communication action plan,” Inayatullah said.
Five steps to communication
CDLD programme team leader Brian Fawcett briefed participants about the overall policy framework and implementation progress. The participants were told the policy was formulated stepwise to integrate the five key components of strategic communication. These include communication framework, analysing communication stakeholders, formulating the core communication messages, specifying the communication tools and outlining the three-year communication action plan.
The website will be used to strengthen public relations of the CDLD Policy Implementation Unit through open and easy sharing of news updates, progress reports, case studies and audiovisual material.
In addition to giving out information about the ongoing measures and community projects, the website enables users to download key policy documents. These include the CDLD policy, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, Strategic Development Partnership Framework and K-P Right to Information Act.
The well-attended ceremony brought together senior officers of the government, representatives of development partners and the media to experience the strategic communication initiatives on a first-hand basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2016.
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