Even though Baanhn Beli is formally registered under the Provincial law for social welfare bodies, the ethos and the operations of the organization focus on:
Promoting fulfillment of human potential , rather than encouraging dependence on hand-outs and charity
While benefits delivered by Baanhn Beli certainly help improve the welfare of poor and disadvantaged persons, the stress in our work is on increasing self-reliance and enhancement of capacity and skills for better livelihoods.
We are deeply committed to the principles of democracy, accountability and transparency. However, in our practice of democracy, we use the elements of consultation, consensus-building and co-operation rather than the divisive aspects of partisanship, pursuit of personal power or office-positions, etc.
The foundation of our organization is the General Body of Members who serve on a voluntary, honorary basis. These comprise residents of villages, towns and cities in the areas of Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad and Karachi, with the last of these locations being the least in number. The majority of Members are representatives of community-based organizations and thus represent, in turn, several dozen or hundreds of individuals who identify with Baanhn Beli’s mission.
Every two years, as per the Rules, elections are held for an Executive Committee. The General Body appoints a 2-member or 3-member Election Committee to conduct the elections. Nomination papers of candidates are submitted after prior consultation within each taluka/district/division to ensure consensus and unanimity, balance in representation of each area, gender balance to the extent possible, rural-urban balance to the extent advisable, consideration of activism and volunteer work rendered by the candidate in the past or present for Baanhn Beli’s work, reputation for qualities of character, integrity, consistency, etc. Past Presidents of the organization are ex-officio Members of each Executive Committee. An Advisory Council is also nominated/ elected, using the same criteria as above. The Chairman of the Advisory Council is also an ex-officio Member of the Executive Committee.
Maintaining an over-all view of the work, the Executive Committee does not involve itself in micro-managing the staff or in interfering with professional duties. However, Committee Members provide advice and guidance to the staff and frequently facilitate the staff’s contacts with other entities. The Committee elects office-bearers who also serve for a 2-year term and provide the leadership to the organization and the staff.
At every annual General Body meeting which has been held without a single omission since the formal registration of the body in 1988 , comprehensive Reports of activities of the past year and statements of income and expenditure, along with the Auditors’ report and comments, are presented/read out for the benefit of Members. Any observations or comments by them are duly noted and where appropriate, acted upon.
Teams from major Partner organizations that provide funding support to Baanhn Beli regularly visit the sites of our work and conduct their own evaluations which are studied with care and in the context of our own internal monitoring processes. Periodically, independent evaluations are also conducted.
We, the residents of Nagarparkar and of the Thar region, and development specialists in different disciplines based in various cities of Pakistan along with citizens resident in other parts of Pakistan, constituting the first-ever such group of people to meet together in Nagarparkar on this the third day of August, 1987 do hereby affirm that on the basis of existing research and data and on the basis of our own survey of parts of the region
3rd August 1987: The Nagarparkar Declaration!
A statement by the people on the development of the Thar region, Sind, Pakistan:
We, the residents of Nagarparkar and of the Thar region, and development specialists in different disciplines based in various cities of Pakistan along with citizens resident in other parts of Pakistan, constituting the first-ever such group of people to meet together in Nagarparkar on this the third day of August, 1987 do hereby affirm that on the basis of existing research and data and on the basis of our own survey of parts of the region, the Thar is potentially a productive region whose resources in people, agriculture, livestock and minerals, if properly developed, with people’s participation, can establish an enduring basis for a self-supporting economy which is not entirely dependent on rainfall and which enables optimum employment and high productivity contributing to the economic progress of Sind and of Pakistan.
At a time when both Sind province and Pakistan have many priorities competing for limited resources, the Thar region nevertheless deserves special attention because:
In comparison to other parts of Sind, the Thar region suffers severe disparities.
Whereas 30 per cent of Sind’s population has convenient and quick access to drinking water, only 6 per cent of the Thar population has similar access.
Whereas about 35 per cent of Sind’s population falls below the poverty line, over 80 percent of the Thar population is below the poverty line.
Whereas a dispensary is available in the rest of Sind for every 7,000 persons, in Thar there is one dispensary for every 13,000 persons.
Whereas literacy in Sind is 31 per cent, in the Thar region it is only 13 per cent.
Whereas the length of metaled roads in the rest of Sind is 0.05 km., for every 10 sq.km, in the Thar it is less than 0.02 km.
The Thar already makes a significant contribution to the Sind economy by providing about one-third of its livestock and yet the Thar receives, in return, a proportionately low investment in basic services.
Given even modest infrastructural support, the Thar region can increase the variety and volume of its contribution to the economic progress of the province and the country.
Presently, the Thar region is suffering one of the worst periods of its history. Sustained drought over the past 4 years has further highlighted the absence of infrastructural facilities and the difficulties of access to all parts of the Thar.
A potent threat to the ecology of the area has also emerged.
There is widespread human malnutrition and under-nutrition.
6. The livestock of Thar is experiencing starvation the people are next in line.a. The people themselves, rural-based and urban based
b. All specialist government line departments
c. Sind Arid Zone Development Authority
d. Local Bodies
e. Official administrative system.
f. International aid agencies
g. National and local institutions
h. Concerned citizens
i. Development specialists
7. The children of Thar, who have an equal right to the basic protection from disease and infection already available to children in other regions of Pakistan, personify the deep agony of the Thar.
8. The cause of the Thar region is a supreme national concern that transcends all political divisions and personal differences all who care can cooperate in relevant, practical action to provide immediate relief, medium-term support and long term development planning.
9. While immediate action is required to render desperately needed aid there is also needed, with equal urgency, a comprehensive review of medium term and long-term development programmes in order that they reflect accurately up-dated, on-the ground reality and in order that they meet the genuine needs of the people.
10. The situation demands the mobilization and active participation of the people in the process of development. The solution lies in an unprecedented degree of constructive cooperation between institutions and individuals, at the grass-roots level in the Thar region and at all other levels in the district, division, province and country.
11. To do justice to the demands of the situation, there is required a new people’s development alliance, a framework within which one and all are able to work together:
The coordination required between so many different sectors is a complex challenge but it is one that has to be attempted because it is only through such cooperation that the people will be able to attain a decent standard of living. We therefore hereby establish the Thar chapter of a people’s development alliance.
12. On the basis of our observation, investigation and discussions, we recommend that specified measures be implemented to help the Thar region and the Thar people to take their rightful place in national progress.
13. On behalf of the residents of the Thar:
Nur Mohammad Shah
Wali Mohammad Balouch
Soonar A. Kumar
and Lal Khan
On behalf of the urban-based specialists: Dr. A. Ghaffar Billoo, Dr. Hussain Buksh Kolachi, Dr. Farida Yasmin, Dr. Qurrat-ul-Ain Bakhteari, Professor G. Mastoi, Dr. Laique
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