Folder Pakistan

From Behind the Veil

From Behind the Veil

Note from the Field, USAID (July 2005)

The majority of women in rural Pakistan are marginalized by poverty, home confinement, and geographic isolation. Although talented em­broiderers, they face significant logistical and societal constraints to reaching high-value urban markets. MEDA and its Pakistani partner, the Entrepreneurship and Career Development Institute (ECDI), are assisting these women to improve their economic and social situa­tions through sustainable assistance that targets all parts of the em­broidered garments value chain.

From Behind the Veil: Industry-Level Methodologies and the Implications for Disadvantaged Communities, the Case of Sequestered Women in Pakistan

From Behind the Veil: Industry-Level Methodologies and the Implications for Disadvantaged Communities, the Case of Sequestered Women in Pakistan

Mary Morgan, Marco Aldana, Dianna Darsney, Celina Lee, Zukiswa Mandile, Alexandra Snelgrove, Sarah Ward. (October 2006). No. 16. The Seep Network.

‘Enterprise development’ has evolved from the upgrading of individual businesses to the advancement of entire industries. New approaches – value chain development, making markets work for the poor, and industry competitiveness – are based on holistic views of economic structures and systems. This change has resulted in an increased focus on macro-level issues such as enabling environments, trade agreements, and national associations. As a result, some contributors to the development field are questioning the relevance of programmes that target microenterprises. Although the impact goals of development initiatives remain focussed on the world’s poor, some argue that engagement at a higher level increases the potential for wealth creation for all. This paper presents the case of rural homebound women in Pakistan to illustrate that, although systemic analysis is essential to good programme design, projects that specifically target marginalized communities can produce significant results that would not be achievable through industry-level interventions alone.

Middlemen as Agents of Change: MEDA and ECDI in Pakistan

Middlemen as Agents of Change: MEDA and ECDI in Pakistan

Linda Jones, MEDA, and Perveen Shaikh, ECDI. Learning Paper, (June 2005) PLP Learning Paper, The SEEP Network.

Middlemen are not often seen as agents of change. After all, middlemen have come to be regarded as an exploitative force in the lives of poor producers, controlling production, paying unfair prices for labor or goods, and participating in fraudulent practices to maximize their own gains. This learning paper describes an alternative perspective that The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and the Enterprise and Career Development Institute (ECDI) in Pakistan have developed based on their work with poor women microentrepreneurs. The paper posits that that middlemen provide an essential service and have the potential to become active contributors to the development of more equitable value chains; MEDA and ECDI’s work has led them to see middlemen as often an essential component of a dynamic value chain who provide the critical link to markets and market information that can lift disadvantaged rural producers out of poverty.

Performance Evaluation / Impact Assessment of USAID Entrepreneurs

Performance Evaluation / Impact Assessment of USAID Entrepreneurs

From January – February 2014, an impact assessment of the MEDA Pakistan “Entrepreneurs” project was conducted by Innovative Development Strategies (IDS), an independent Pakistani consulting firm with the support of Management Systems International (MSI), USAID Pakistan’s program evaluation partner.

The impact assessment indicates that the project performed well against the Mission Strategic Framework and exceeded project targets. The impact assessment highlights the following key results:

  • The Project was able to increase the net sales of its 75,000 beneficiaries (of which over 75% were women) by 147%, thus much exceeding its target of increasing net sales by 50%.  Ninety-five percent of project beneficiaries were from rural areas in Pakistan.

  • As a direct result of project activities, beneficiaries were able to access wider markets for their products and benefitted from higher profits of their products; 60% of beneficiaries were introduced to new markets; 75% were linked with group leads; and 26% were linked with large-scale domestic producers. In terms of access to finance, very few beneficiaries were linked to formal financial institutions mainly because of the scarcity of such institutions in rural areas.

  • Part of the success of the project can be attributed to the fact that the project focused its resources in developing and improving the skills of the beneficiaries, which allowed them to manage their enterprises more effectively. The impact assessment found that 26% of beneficiaries had improved marketing skills; 31% had improvement in preservation of outputs; and 26% had improvement in quality control.

  • The program had a strong emphasis on female empowerment. Focus group responses indicated a positive change in the way female employment and entrepreneurship was viewed. This indicates a positive effect of the project on the perception of beneficiaries (male and female both) towards women empowerment.

  • The USAID Entrepreneur’s Project has had substantial positive impact on the lives of its beneficiaries and their families. They have been able to spend the additional income on their children’s education and on the purchase of durable goods.  It also played a part in giving confidence to female beneficiaries as many of them are now performing tasks which previously only male members of their family could do.

NOTE: The full Impact Assessment report is included along with a short two page report that MEDA Pakistan team developed.