For many women in developing countries, rights such as education, employment and social mobility are easily accessible and widely accepted as a part of life. But for many women in Pakistan, especially in the rural areas of the country, many of these basic rights are denied completely due to deep-rooted cultural and institutional constraints.
To empower rural women by enhancing their self-reliance and business skills, CARE international in Pakistan implemented the “Community Infrastructure Improvement Project” (CIIP). This project was a replica of the CIDA-funded Rural Maintenance Program (RMP), which was successfully implemented for over 20 years in Bangladesh and, is a proven model for poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of rural disadvantaged women. CIIP aimed to make a solid contribution to alleviating poverty, empowering disadvantaged rural women, and strengthening local government institutions for sustainable development in Pakistan.
The project model was based on a rotating two-year cycle in which women were made a part of road maintenance team (RMT) and required to maintain earthen roads. The participants were paid a fortnightly salary of PKR 2,500 and a mandatory saving of PKR 1,100. This enabled women to gain confidence to work outside the home, earn an income, generate start-up capital, and initiate entrepreneurial activities. Every two years, a new group of women entered the project cycle. Trainings on life skills, health and hygiene and business management were imparted. The participants went away from the project with sufficient skills and training for continued self-employment. Apart from the women who participated, the project benefited 100 union councils (administrative subdivisions within districts) by connecting them via roadways with other settlements and larger transportation routes.
Time frame: May 2010 to Dec 2015
Location: Sindh: Tando Allahyar, MirpurKhas, Ghotki, Qamber Shahdadkot, Thatta and Punjab: Multan, Vehari, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh
Budget: CAD 13,536,541
Cost: CAD 13,526,382
Implementing Partner: Takhleeq Foundation, AWAZ CDS, Tameer Microfinance Bank, Telenor Pak Limited, Shell Pakistan, Engro Foods, TPL Direct Insurance
Beneficiaries: 3750 marganlized (rural destitute women) and 26250 dependents