The way forward: Provide short-term jobs to IDPs, govt told

ILO says such a strategy will reduce burden on resources, engage IDPs in productive activities.

Yaqoob Malik July 27, 2014


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) advised the government of Pakistan to provide short-term jobs to internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan on a priority basis to prevent them from being unemployed for long periods of time.

It has said that the strategy will reduce the burden on the government’s resources and subsequently relieve the IDP’s trauma and psychological distress by engaging them in productive activities. The ILO, in a report issued by UN Information Centre in Islamabad on July 24, says that its reconnaissance mission to IDPs camps in Bannu on July 22 noticed that a large number of people were sitting idle most of the day. They were either on the sideline of the distribution hubs or in the city areas due to the non-availability of any productive work for them.

The immediate provision of short-term employment and livelihood opportunities to the crisis-affected people will ensure the preservation of human dignity, the ILO said. Moreover, it will engender self-reliance and prevent the IDPs from being dependent on the state. The ILO added that this strategy will provide adequate and continued income to cater to their basic human needs.

The report added that useful steps should be taken to ensure that the immediate crisis does not increase the prevalence of child labour.  On the contrary, job opportunities should only be provided to adult family members to ensure that child labour does not become rampant.  Owing to the absence of credible labour force statistics on FATA, it is very difficult to assess the magnitude of job losses and accordingly make plans for the workforce, it said.

As a result, ILO, in collaboration with other UN Agencies operating in the area, has designed and funded a gender-sensitive intervention to facilitate short-term employment for the internally displaced families.  This will reduce the burden on government resources and simultaneously improve the living standards of the IDPs in the host communities, it said.

Moreover, ILO will also set up Emergency Employment Information Centre (EEIC) and start registering IDPs for provision of employment under different work modalities, the report said. Some displaced people will be engaged in direct employment through cash-for-work. However, others will be supported through the provision of work tools. They will either be encouraged to look for work on their own or facilitated in obtaining employment with other organizations, the report suggested.

In addition, ILO is in the process of mobilizing resources and developing partnerships for these interventions and will expand the scope of its interventions in future, it said.

A database of skilled workers would be prepared and shared with prospective employers.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.


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