Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE)

A project based on community based skills training launched in Mardan, Malakand and Attock in NWFP and Punjab.

The TREE approach, in identifying economic and income generating opportunities, providing demand-oriented training and post-training support services, is a practical and innovative employment and income generation methodology that creates more than 90 per cent employment and income possibilities for economically disadvantaged groups.

Thoughtful and methodical application of the TREE methodology increased employment and incomes of beneficiaries, enhanced their access to information and financial resources, and improved their work skills, literacy, and numeracy.

Mainstreaming of women into the local economy was a major project achievement. The cumulative percentage of women able to get wage or self employment following training and literacy courses reached 91 per cent, an impressive figure for Pakistan generally but all the more so for a conservative, very poor province like the NWFP. Results for male trainees have also been very impressive: 76 per cent got wage or self employment after training whereas another 12 per cent got jobs initially as apprentices. These figures conjointly suggest that the project was highly effective in developing beneficiaries’ capacities and increasing employment.

The experience of the project is being widely shared with various organizations, such as the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), that have mainstreamed the TREE methodology into its repertoire and is using its internal resources to offer short-term skills development in 45 districts where it operates across the country. Institute of Rural Management (IRM), an affiliate of NRSP, has already replicated the TREE approach in vocational training it implemented for the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program in parts of the NWFP and Jammu/Kashmir. IRM has also replicated the methodology in the province of Sindh while implementing a government funded skills development programme.

Based on the success of TREE, the Government of Pakistan, under the Prime Minister’s Programme on Skills Development, adopted and piloted the TREE methodology for developing skills and creating employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged groups across the country; including development of standards, capacity assessment of Public training institutes and developing the skills of teachers in imparting demand driven training based according to the standards. The pilot phase achieved development of curricula and manuals in 53 trades, training of over 60 instructional staff, management personnel and administrators of Technical & Vocational Education Institutes across the country. The curricula are now utilized by Technical Education and Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs) in four provinces.

TREE methodology has been internalized within the ILO as a best practice, and has been adopted by a number of technical cooperation projects including Community Based Livelihoods Recovery Programme in the earthquake affected areas, Women Employment Concerns in Pakistan and Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment.