The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (ITT) inaugurated the first smart village project in the capital of Pakistan. It marks the first step towards providing digital facilities regarding health and education in the outskirts of Islamabad’s village of Gokina. Some of the project partners are Huawei Pakistan, TeleTaleem, Universal Service Fund, International Telecom Union, Sehat Kahani and many more. It is anticipated that similar projects will be inaugurated soon in the other four provinces of Pakistan. The concept of a smart village is to provide solutions and improve the quality of life in underdeveloped or rural areas. The aim is to digitally transform rural communities and remote areas per the UN SDGs and Government’s Digital Pakistan vision.
By introducing the first Smart village in the Asia-Pacific region, the local residents will be empowered with access to different digital services, improving the quality of their lives. Moreover, it will help overcome challenges the rural population faces, such as limited access to medical care, and education, lack of digital services, few income generation opportunities and inequality. Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, and Gokina is a valley settlement located 21 km away from the capital. However, it was found that no qualified teachers are available, particularly in girls’ schools, and to bridge this gap, ‘Tele-taleem’ has been introduced. Another big hurdle for residents of Gokina was commuting all the way to Islamabad for health services, as there are no hospital facilities and doctors available, along with the absence of a pharmacy. An e-health provider named‘Sehat Kahani’ has been identified to bridge this gap. There is also a demand for digital skills and entrepreneurship. Through Smart Village, people can use digital and non-digital tools in areas such as stitching, fashion, handicrafts, agricultural skills, cooking, and many other businesses.
The services by Smart Village will promote economic growth in the area. If it is established in all four provinces, many rural areas will be digitised, resulting in better living standards and earning opportunities for the population of Pakistan. With its success, more services can be introduced and will create an example for other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In order to move to prosper in this era of the digital world, improving connectivity in rural areas must be a priority. In many countries, daily affairs like education, health and agriculture are digital, which bridges the urban-rural gap and empowers individuals through technology and resources. Digitalisation is essential and increases the ability to play a more significant role in the international world. Hence, Smart Village is highly beneficial for the population of Pakistan, and such projects must be further encouraged.