Building on its efforts to empower Pakistani youth, the Royal Norwegian Embassy/Government of Norway and Telenor Pakistan have jointly inaugurated the second community centre in Dera Ismail Khan.
Part of the comprehensive United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Youth and Social Cohesion project, the joint inauguration was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between UNDP and Telenor Pakistan, which sets the framework for both partners to cooperatively pursue convergent development goals in Pakistan.
The development was a first-stage constituent of a three-stage initiative starting in 2015, wherein Telenor Pakistan provided material and technical assistance to UNDP in the construction of three community centres in UC Musazai of DI Khan. Telenor Pakistan will be extending similar support for the second and third stages of the project that comprise interventions and expansion of services and resources respectively.
With Pakistan currently experiencing a dramatic growth in its youth population, the youth bulge can both be seen as force for good – with great potential for generating economic growth; and potential disaster – should large segments become unemployed, disillusioned and violent. The three-year initiative aims at leveraging Pakistan’s immensely rich youth potential towards triggering positive, long-term development.
“We are pleased to be progressing in a partnership that brings us closer to achieving our goal of empowering the Pakistani society. Although we still have a long way to go, we are already making headway and the second community centre is ready to engage the youth of KPK in constructive pursuits,” said Telenor Pakistan CEO Michael Foley while inaugurating the centre. “We aim to provide the unemployed and disillusioned youth in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with opportunities to interact and engage in social/communal spaces, free from pernicious narratives and discourses, so they are less likely to be drawn towards anti-state elements, and more towards alternative pathways of positive development.”