ISLAMABAD: Empowering communities and professionals through employable skills training programmes is the only viable option to induce an impactful change in the lives of most marginalised people across Pakistan, rural development expert Shoaib Sultan Khan said on Tuesday.
“I always wished to have an independent training institute for rural support programmes and community organisation,” Khan said while speaking at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Rural Management (IRM).
“I had a sort of conviction that effective capacity-building programmes are essential if we want to bring real change in the lives of people,” Khan added.
“I am happy that my dream has come true. This was not an easy task as it took us almost 25 years to be what we are today. Now IRM is one of the largest non-governmental training institutes in Pakistan rendering its services to people hailing from all parts of the country,” he stated.
The event was marked with presentations and testimonies from experts in the field. The most characteristic part was a tableau presented by street children enrolled in IRM Smart Schools.
IRM Chairman Humayun Khan claimed that “IRM is bound to register many more successes in the field of training and community development.”
Nausheen Zahra, a training participant from Muzaffargarh said, “since I attended an IRM training programme for dress designing, it has changed my life altogether. Now on average, I earn Rs15,000 per month. I spend this on the education of my younger siblings. I am thankful to IRM for holding such trainings in the poverty-stricken areas of Pakistan.”
IRM CEO Roomi S Hayat informed the participants that the ‘time capsule burial’ ceremony was an innovative concept of merging the past with the future.
“In the time capsule, we have buried a letter to the future, a few videos and other IRM products. The capsule will be opened on March 6, 2043 on the eve of IRM’s Golden Jubilee.”
IRM has also introduced technical standards in all training programmes and also laid a foundation for a short-cycled, credit-hour based competency tenure culture, Roomi said.
“The primary advantage of these initiatives is that we are able to transfer standardised skills to youth from across Pakistan. This has enabled IRM to offer the same content and quality of training within two to three months which otherwise would have been achieved in a year or so,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2018.