Training systems needed for Covid-19 ‘Relief Tigers’ force

Training systems needed for Covid-19 ‘Relief Tigers’ force

ISLAMABAD: Stressing the need to quickly establish a training system for the newly-formed ‘PM’s Corona Relief Tigers’, economists and policy experts on Sunday suggested developing a national database containing details of each volunteer which can be fed to a management information system. They were speaking at an online meeting on “Training of Corona Relief Tigers Force,” organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Sunday. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Dr Moeed Yusuf highlighted the key action points through which think tanks can assist the government in organizing volunteers and training them to meet the immediate needs in the light of the current crisis. SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri suggested that think tanks and academic institutions can help out by mobilizing their networks for providing training modules and guidelines for the volunteers as well as the trainers, through information technology-based modes such as short infographics and documentaries. Dr Vaqar Ahmed, the joint executive director of SDPI, suggested that the government can piggyback on existing efforts of charity organizations, including those from Edhi, Akhuwat, Saylani Welfare 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. The experts further suggested creating different hierarchies of the relief force at the community, district and provincial level and mobilizing volunteers based on their specific skills and training 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 volunteers take precautions for their own safety was also highlighted. Experts identified that networks such as the Scouts, Janbaz Force, Girl Guides and networks of religious forces can 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 will thus be very important members of the Relief Force,” they said.