Stressing the need to quickly establish a training system for the newly-formed force namely ‘PM’s Corona Relief Tigers’, economists and policy experts said that a national database containing individual level details of volunteers regarding their qualification, skills and location needs to be automated using a management information system.
They were speaking at an online meeting titled “Training of Corona Relief Tigers Force” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Sunday. PM’s Special Assistant on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Dr Moeed Yusuf and Dr Safdar Sohail, Special Secretary of Cabinet Division were also attended the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Moeed Yusuf highlighted the key action points through which think tanks could assist the government in organizing the volunteers and training them for the immediate needs at hand in the light of the current crisis.
SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that think tanks and academic institutions can mobilize their networks for providing training modules and guidelines for the volunteers as well as the trainers, through IT-based modes such as short infographics and documentaries.
SDPI Joint Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed suggested that the government could piggyback on existing efforts by charity organizations, including Edhi, Akhuwat, Saylani trust, etc. to access the vulnerable communities. He further stressed the need for a real-time dashboard which can be used to track engagement with communities. This exercise will be important for rapid learning and will also identify any mistakes being committed, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, experts also suggested creating different hierarchies of the relief force at the community, district and provincial level and mobilizing volunteers based on their specific skills and trainings at different levels.
They highlighted that this is a good opportunity for Pakistan to analyze the shortcomings in its social protection sector, and expand its reach to marginalized communities, who are not covered by existing social protection schemes.
During the meeting, the need for ethical training and ensuring that the volunteers take precautions for their own safety was also highlighted and experts identified that Pakistan’s National Scouts, Janbaz Force, Girl Guides and the networks of religious forces could be mobilized to register as volunteers.
“Registered members of these organizations and BISP’s enumerators’ network in all the districts of Pakistan are already trained to deal with the public and have access to communities and would thus be very important members of the Relief Force.”
The meeting highlighted that Union Council offices and prayer leaders may also be helpful with regard to identification of beneficiaries needing volunteers’ help and needs-assessment.
Other SDPI participants who spoke on the occasion included Dr Sajid Amin, Dr Hina Aslam, Mr Shakeel Ramay, Mr Moazzam Bhatti, and Ms Ayesha Qaisrani.