Results around the world – Pakistan
Pakistan is the world’s sixth most populous country and must contend with a range of interrelated economic, political and social challenges, including poverty and inequality; governance and democracy; human rights; regional and national security; violent extremism; and vulnerability to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. A history of alternation between civilian and military rule has eroded democratic institutions and limited the provision of quality social services. However, with the 2018 elections, Pakistan has carried out two successive transitions from one democratically elected government to another.
Significant human rights challenges exist, with women and girls suffering disproportionately. Pakistan ranks 147th out of 187 countries in the UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index, and ranks 143rd out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index.
Canada has a history of over 60 years of development cooperation with Pakistan. Our assistance in Pakistan addresses two of the country’s main challenges: reducing gender inequality through the empowerment of women and girls, and improving the protection and promotion of women and girls’ rights, including sexual and reproductive rights. There are significant ongoing opportunities for Canada to promote women’s rights, to expand their economic opportunities and access to quality education and training, to increase their political participation, and to help strengthen women’s organizations and address the high prevalence of gender-based violence.
In addition, Canada supports health and humanitarian efforts. This includes polio eradication as a key global health priority. Despite a significant drop in the number of polio cases per year, continued transmission in Pakistan highlights the importance of a concerted effort to ensure adequate surveillance, high levels of immunization coverage, and rapid outbreak responses.
With Canada’s support, the Kashf Foundation in Pakistan implemented the Financial Literacy and Business Development Services for Women project. This project trained over 1 million women in basic financial literacy, and about half a million women were trained in business finance. Women who graduated from the business incubation lab reported an average increase in sales, income, savings and decision-making power regarding household budgets. The project’s social media campaign has spread awareness about the detrimental effects of child marriage and child sexual abuse.
Plan International Canada is implementing a project in Southern Punjab, supported by Canada, entitled Increasing Women’s Participation in the Dairy Sector. It works to empower women by increasing their incomes and market access. The project helps women engage in more efficient cooperative-based milk production activities in a network of over 300 farmers’ milk cooperatives. The incomes of female cooperative members increased during 2017-2018, and many women took on leadership positions.
Support through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative continues to yield results: the number of polio cases in Pakistan has dropped from 54 in 2015 to only four cases so far in 2018 and fewer children are being missed in polio eradication campaigns.
Through the work of key humanitarian partners like the UN’s World Food Programme and UNICEF, Canada is helping meet the life-saving food and nutrition needs of the most vulnerable in Pakistan, particularly women and girls.
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