Micro-Enterprise Development in Mountain Areas : A Review of NGO Initiatives in Pakistan (1999)

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This study evaluates the impact of the development Programmes undertaken by three rural support NGOs, i.e., the Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes (AKRSP), Sarhad Rural Support Corporation (SRSC), and Balochistan Rural Support Programmes (BRSP), in the mountain areas of Pakistan. Special focus has been given to the nature and thrust of these Programmes in the context of enterprise development. All three NGOs have a common approach and programme structure. They all emphasise formation of community-based organizations and establishment of a participatory approach. The package offered includes construction of local infrastructure, improved natural resource management leading to better agricultural practices, use of inputs and livestock management, training in various fields for human resource development, provision of credit and promotion of savings, and support for income generating micro-enterprises. Evaluation of the impact of NGOs and these programmes on the economy and society in their respective areas is constrained by lack of adequate baseline data and the absence of development activities other than through these programmes. On the basis of the limited information available (which pertains mostly to AKRSP) one can conclude that the programmes have a positive impact on household income. This outcome is the product of various initiatives undertaken concomitantly on different fronts. While provision of irrigation channels relieved a serious constraint on agricultural activities, the construction of road links has opened up the area, connecting it with major markets. Under the natural resource management (NRM) activities, provision of improved seeds, innovations in agricultural practice and control of livestock diseases have facilitated an increase in the productivity of livestock. Increased access to credit has enabled the people to purchase various inputs and enter into new ventures. Assessment of the impact of NGOs initiatives on enterprise development calls for a precise definition of the micro-enterprise. Taking an elastic definition to include all activities that tended to bring about better returns for subsistence activities, such as purchasing buffaloes and bulls and opening small shops, substantial impacts can be attributed to NGO initiatives. Yet, if one were to classify dynamic enterprises with growth potentials that also have a bearing upon structural relations, then the examples are few. A closer scrutiny of the records of AKRSP, a success story to some extent, suggests that massive research efforts and other support need to be undertaken in order to bring about dynamic development in terms of establishing enterprises.

 

 Record created 2011-02-16, last modified 2014-03-24