Pakistan is a large country with an estimated population of 180.7 million (as of July 2012) making it the sixth most populous country in the world. Balochistan is covering 44% of the total land of Pakistan and having 8 million population scattered across the province. Balochistan suffers from poor health status as compared to other provinces with IMR at 97/1000 live births, MMR 996/100,000 live births, and under five mortality 111/1000 live births. Balochistan suffered several natural disasters following the massive earthquake of Ziarat district in 2008, while militancy in north and south of Balochistan is also causing a lot of disabilities.
In Pakistan, disability rate has been increased up to 2.65% in 2012 as compared to 2.54 % in 1998. According to a study conducted in 2012 by Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), Persons With Disabilities (PWD) are more than 5 million in Pakistan. There are some other scattered and partial surveys available on disability that shows the disability rates are higher up to 10.0% or more in Pakistan.
There is a wide variation regarding definition of disability. Internationally, disability is understood following the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) of WHO (2001). “Disability is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.” For the purpose of population census, Pakistan has adopted the following definition: “A person who on account of injury, disease or deformity is handicapped for undertaking any gainful profession or employment, in order to earn his livelihood and includes a person who is blind, deaf, physically handicapped or mentally retarded”.
HHRD conducted a study based on population census, 1998. We may not rely on these figures as population has remarkably increased in the last 16 years. The prevalence of disability from this study could be a starting point for BRSP to address disabilities in holistic terms. Following, bar charts will show a comparative status of disabilities in Pakistan and districts of Balochistan:
Having a disability or chronic health condition retains the person with more than just the physical complaint. One has to struggle with the social meaning of that disorder as well. Often society is not very receptive to illness and disability and the person affected becomes stigmatized as a result. Stigma is a common problem among the disabled community. It is more pronounced in the remotest areas of Pakistan and Balochistan where communities are poor and uneducated. Disability doesn’t only affect the person, but may extend to include his or her whole family as well. The person is shunned, social opportunities are denied, and self-esteem is suffered.
Looking at the diverse and vast scattered population of Balochistan, addressing disability is a gigantic task. Though, Social Welfare Department is mandated to provide services at district, Tehsil, Union Council, village and household levels, but poor delivery of services result in neglect of this marginalized segment of society. To start with, it is mandatory to have accurate information but dilemma is not having automated data on PWDs in Balochistan. Subsequently this acute deficiency of accurate and detailed information hinders decision makers and planners to make needs based projects and programs.
BRSP is an autonomous not-for-profit organisation working in the rural areas of Balochistan. BRSP’s history goes back to the project “Pak-German Self-help Initiative” that was initiated in 1983 as result of collaboration between Federal Republic of Germany and Government of Pakistan. In 1991, BRSP was registered under the Companies Ordinance as a non-profit organisation dedicated to rural development in the province. BRSP envisions, "a prosperous Balochistan where people especially the poor and women are provided with equal livelihood opportunities and are not socially and economically excluded". The core strength of the organisation is social mobilisation and engaging communities in long term development for a positive change in the society and generates demand for services by the communities to raise their voice for their basic rights.
BRSP has strong presence and experience for implementing various multi-sector development programmes in rural areas of 24 out of 32 districts of Balochistan namely: Jhal Magsi, Jaffarabad, Kharan, Khuzdar, Washuk, Noshki, Chaghi, Killa Abdullah, Mastung, Kalat, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, Barkan, Musa Khail, Harnai, Bolan, Zhob, Sherani, Kohlu, Pishin, Sibi, Naseerabad, Quetta and Dera Bugti. In addition to regular programmes, BRSP has also played a key role in responding to the disasters in addressing their basic needs such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Shelter, Non-Food Items (NFIs), Food, Health, Internally Displaced Population (IDPs) Camps Coordination & Management, Protection, Livelihood Support and Early Recovery.
BRSP is a leading organisation in Balochistan, based on several indicators; such as the positive changes it has spotlighted through its extended outreach, beneficiaries, stakeholders, portfolio, projects and staff. BRSP has functional district and field offices in 21 districts of the province that are equipped with logistics, equipments; and experienced human resource. Another factor that contributes in making the organisation diverse is its largest network of community institutions (13,942 Community Organisations, 1,600 Village Organisations and 55 Local Support Organizations) at grassroots level that are enabled to articulate their aspirations; to effectively marshal the resources they need to meet their identified needs and ensure sustainability of interventions in their jurisdiction.
Delivery capacity of BRSP is recognised by Government of Pakistan, Government of Balochistan, all national and international donors. BRSP’s joint ventures with major funding agencies KFW- Development Bank (Federal Republic of Germany), European Union, DFID, PPAF, GIZ, PATRIP Foundation, Save the Children, NRSP, RSPN and UN agencies is evidence of their trust in BRSP’s capacity, systems and structure. In addition, to ensure coordinated efforts for common cause, BRSP pioneers in demonstrating successful models of public-private partnership as well.
In recognition of its services for development of rural areas BRSP has been conferred with Award by African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO). Moreover, BRSP was evaluated by Pakistan Centre of Philanthropy (PCP) and awarded with “CSO Certification Award” as an acknowledgement for meeting certification standards in the areas of Internal Governance, Financial Management and Programme Delivery.
Another area that distinguishes BRSP from other organisations is; it has in placed well-developed policies and procedures, and reckoning with an emerging evolution of Information Technology (IT), BRSP is leading the way in using ICT as a tool to supplement its efforts and is applying different web-based applications, MIS-GIS and online Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System for Logistics, Inventory, Administration, Finance and Human Resource and Project Management-M&E which are interlinked with each other for smoothening information flow, proper data management and generating accurate and in-time reports as per need of donors and stakeholders.