|“There is a strong commitment among the immigrant community to the fight against poverty,” Solheim says.|
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The so-called Pilot Project Pakistan has been developed in collaboration with Norwegian-Pakistani organisations, various NGOs and Norad (the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation).
The immigrant organisations have been invited to apply for government support for development projects in Pakistan via Norad. The Government has allocated NOK 1 million for the project in 2008 and NOK 5 million for 2009.
“First and second generation immigrants have valuable knowledge, for example with regard to culture and language, that is highly relevant for Norwegian development cooperation,” pointed out Bjarne Haakon Hanssen, Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion.
“We therefore want to strengthen cooperation with immigrant groups in Norway. Pilot Project Pakistan will give us useful experience of how this can best be done,” he said.
Members of the immigrant community already send large sums of money to families in their own or their parents’ country of origin. Worldwide, the transfers made by immigrants equal three times the amount the world spends on international development assistance.
“Another reason for working more closely with immigrant groups is to encourage the transfer of funds not just to individual families but to whole communities, and to promote development,” added Development Minister Solheim.