SAARC Development Fund (SDF) held it's Board Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka from August 23 to 24.
During the 31st Board Meeting, SDF approved two projects, 'Consortium' for scaling up climate-smart agriculture in South Asia, and the second phase of 'Inter-professional Master’s Programme in Rehabilitation Science'.
The Consortium project with International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and through SDF’s funding is set to promote sustainable and resilient agricultural intensification in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, through enhanced Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) capacity and technologies.
The project will be implemented by National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) and SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC).
According to the CEO of SDF, Dr Sunil Motiwal, this project is worth USD 3.32 million and will directly benefit over 7,500 smallholder farmers as well as researchers, extension workers.
“Impacts of climate change are felt across South Asia and we believe that there is a need to enhance adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers."
The smallholder farmers will take part in the validation of CSA technologies. The training, exposure visits and knowledge will indirectly benefit over 100,000 smallholders. This is in addition to the IFAD's approved regional grant to support the launch of C-SUCSeS in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
The second project approved is the USD 1.5 million second phase of the Inter-professional Master's Programme in Rehabilitation Science.
This will develop highly qualified professionals in Rehabilitation Science and allow the provision of quality rehabilitation policies and services to people with disabilities in all the eight SAARC Member States.
The programme will be offered at the Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), and Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).
Under this project, there will be 150 Direct Beneficiaries, 660 graduate and undergraduate students as secondary beneficiaries annually, and 234,432 patients or the disabled or people with chronic health conditions per year as ultimate beneficiaries.
The SAARC Development Fund is mandated to build regional integration and economic cooperation through project funding in member states. Since inception in April 2010, the SDF is headed by eight member states. The Secretariat is based in Thimphu Bhutan.
SDF has an authorized capital of USD 1.5 billion and total capital base of USD 511.52 million. Currently, SDF is implementing 80 projects under its Social Window funding scheme.
“Further, more than 10 bankable projects including projects in Sri Lanka are also under active consideration of SDF to co-finance in SAARC Member States,” said Dr Sunil Motiwal.