USAID’s Citizens’ Voice Project Strengthens Civic Engagement

CEO of Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability Shahid Fiaz and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director John Groarke joined civil society representatives in recognizing the achievements of the Citizens’ Voice Project. This five-year, $45 million project is funded by the United States government and has been working since 2011 to bridge the gap between the citizens and government of Pakistan.

To date, the project has issued 270 grants worth $13 million to 197 local organizations. Through these grants, organizations have empowered citizens, while also strengthening state-level mechanisms to respond to citizens’ concerns. Project activities have focused on interventions in three key areas: policy advocacy and government oversight; organizational development and targeted training; and public-private linkages between and among state and non-state actors.

“The Citizens’ Voice Project has enabled citizens to become part of the solution. It is now possible to translate citizens’ voices into constructive engagement with public officials,” Mr. Groarke said. “The United States continues to value Pakistan’s vibrant civil society, which plays an important role in supporting Pakistan’s economic growth and stability.”

Fayyaz-ul-Islam, a social worker from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said, “I used the confidence and knowledge imparted by the USAID training sessions to seek information on the availability of public funds in Mardan. I succeeded in securing resources for the reconstruction of a damaged girls’ school.”

Both veteran and newly established civil society organizations participated in today’s event, which facilitated a rich exchange of ideas on how to increase citizens’ ownership of, participation in, and oversight of the public sector.