Immediately, Day 3 upon arrival within Islamabad, I had my first field interview. I was very happy that, similar to my first field interview in Pakistan Last December when I first arrived in Islamabad, it was with a woman CEO of a rural development organization. That is quite remarkable from my purview, not only for breaking down barriers, but also for debunking misconceptions and assumptions about women in Pakistan.
Today, I had a fantastic meeting and interview with the CEO of the National Rural Support Program Network (NRSP), a key organization to help provide their insight on what “successful” locally-owned, sustainable programs look like, adopting social capital generation through social mobilization as a key strategy. Connecting with NRSP will be key to facilitate and “snowball” further contacts and also help encourage any field site visits in the villages if possible. I will be returning to the NRSP for a longer meeting with the CEO on Friday.
It was interesting to hear from her about the many differences in conducting rural development programs between Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly, with reference to the RSP (rural support programs) which first began in Pakistan in the 1980s, and that of the NSP (National Solidarity Program) in Afghanistan which began around 2003.
As informed, this story has not been told and I have dedicated an entire chapter in my dissertation for this comparison and why development programs implemented by CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) that involve community-driven mechanisms may be more effective in long-term sustainable development.
I ran into some other individuals upon leaving the NRSP office that ended up being great people to connect with.
I have already set up some other meetings with direct stakeholders and facilitators for the remainder of the week, including an individual on one of my primary case study projects.
The weather in Islamabad has been beautiful and to witness the mornings and the sunsets is a gift. Upon leaving my residence I always see the mountains in the distant surroundings. The Chand (moon) in it’s magnificent Crescent form in the evenings has been present. Once I feel more comfortable, I will take some evening or morning walks around the area where I live. I am informed it is a very safe area. I am trying to take in the environment around me as much as possible each day when I get a chance to step away from the computer and engage with my surroundings. I think it was smart to take a step back from all social media, be truly present, and really take in this experience….