World Bank engages university students for research

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The World Bank on Monday launched the three-year Pakistan Youth Initiative Programme at the University of Peshawar. A team of the bank shortlisted 25 UoP students for the programme after interviews in the day and their hiring will be done after approval by University of Peshawar and the bank. According to WB Country Director Rachid Benmessaoud, under the programme, the selected students will work as the bank’s advisers on various ongoing development projects in the country besides designing new projects based on need analysis for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

The launching ceremony took place at the auditorium of the UoP Pashto Cultural and Heritage Museum. The programme has been launched for the first time in the country and is part of the South Asian Youth Initiative Scheme, said a news release issued by the UoP. The programme was launched by Mr Benmessaoud, while UoP Vice Chancellor Professor Qibla Ayaz was also present on the occasion.

The WB director said resilience of Pakistani youths was heartening for him. “This is what makes me believe that how the country has faced major disasters over the last seven years,” he said. Mr Benmessaoud said 11 donor countries had established a Multi Donor Trust Fund valuing $159 million for the rehabilitation and development of disaster-hit areas in Pakistan in August 2010. He said the fund was aimed at enabling the revival of the country’s economy by enhancing GDP growth to around six to seven per cent.

The WB director said the programme was intended to enhance youth-to-youth interaction and highlighted issues affecting them. “The selected youths’ ideas will be part of the projects the bank is going to start. These students will be given stipend along with all material support required for research,” he said.

Earlier, representative of MDTF Mehreen Saeed said his organisation was planning to generate 80,000 jobs by setting up small and medium enterprises in Pakistan by 2015. She said currently, there were four mega developmental projects underway in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while three each were in the process of completion in Fata and Balochistan.

UoP Vice Chancellor Professor Qibla Ayaz thanked the WB for choosing the UoP for the programme. He said the programme was going to test the leadership abilities of the students, but they were certainly up for it. He added that the UoP was working on the spirit of working together with international organisations to provide maximum exposure and opportunities to its students.