Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


Table of Contents

A woman at the Rahman Clinic in Skardu. © ACDI-CIDA/Nancy Durrell McKenna


Pakistan is the world's sixth most populous country, with 176.7 million inhabitants, 21 percent of whom live on less than US$1.25/day. Although the country's economy has seen relatively strong growth since the late 1990s—close to 6 percent per year—annual average per-capita income remains low at US$770/year. Pakistan continues to struggle with high rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality, as well as with growing insecurity, particularly along the country's porous border with Afghanistan. In the last two years, the country has also suffered severe flooding. The Government of Canada has provided humanitarian assistance through it's response to floods in Pakistan.

Sixty-one percent of Pakistan's population is 24 years old or younger. Without adequate quality public education to support this demographic bulge, Pakistan's youth are vulnerable to both unemployment and poverty.

Pakistan ranks 146 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. With some of the lowest development indicators in South Asia, its national development objectives are in jeopardy. Pervasive gender discrimination prevents women and girls from accessing basic services and from participating fully in society.

The economic crises of recent years—including high international oil and food prices in 2007 and 2008—along with increased domestic instability, have contributed to a growing budget deficit, inflation and a rise in poverty. Because of the specific challenges that women face, they now form a large percentage of the poor.

As well, there is continuing concern that the inadequacy of Pakistan's education system may make radical alternatives seem attractive to the marginalized.

Pakistan's February 2008 election ended eight years of military rule and opened the door to a new era of democracy. It also decreased political support for religious-based parties. Nonetheless, Pakistan remains unable to take full advantage of the current opportunity to promote and build a viable democracy as it lacks effective governing institutions and a strong, secular civil society. Support for these institutions and organizations is seen as being critical to true democracy.

Thematic Focus

In 2009, as part of Canada's new aid effectiveness agenda, Pakistan was selected as a country of focus for international development.

Pakistan's second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II) (PDF, 2 MB, 375 pages) was endorsed by the World Bank's board of executive directors on March 26, 2009. Priorities are: macroeconomic stability, protecting the poor and the vulnerable, agricultural productivity, integrated energy development, industrial competitiveness, human development, infrastructure, finance for development, and governance. The strategy has benefited from extensive consultations to take in the perspectives of the poor. While far-reaching in its conception, the PRSP outlines a credible framework within which donors can align their support for poverty reduction.

Children and youth

Canada focuses on supporting efforts to improve the ability of teachers' colleges to deliver their programs effectively and to build the capacities of district education managers. Primary and middle school teacher training programs will benefit from instruction on improved teaching practices and the physical repair and upgrade of training facilities. Canada is deepening its involvement in teacher training and professional development, especially continuous professional development.

In this way, Canada contributes to improving the quality of basic education and to strengthening the poor's access to education, giving equal attention to the needs of girls and boys.

Key anticipated results

  • Improve quality and delivery of teacher training programs to male and female teachers with new knowledge, skills, and competencies at the primary, middle, and secondary school levels.

Economic growth

Canada focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the foundations for long-term economic growth by providing skills for employment training and enhancing employment conditions for women.

A large component of Canada's support is focused on increasing women's economic empowerment. Beyond providing women with skills for employment, Canada's programs also raise awareness and respect for women's economic rights through public campaigns, social mobilization and training.

More specifically, Canada continues to support the implementation of legislation to improve women's working conditions and to protect workers' rights. National and provincial level data collection and monitoring are being strengthened to track women's contribution to the economy for use in planning how to better integrate women into Pakistan's workforce at all levels.

Key anticipated results

  • Improve labour conditions—policies, legislation, and an enabling environment—for women's formal and informal employment.
  • Improve employment conditions and income-earning opportunities for women.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Pakistan maintains a high level of ownership and control over the formulation of national development policies and over its relations with the donor community. However, rising extremism within and beyond its borders has compromised the rule of law, especially in its border regions with Afghanistan, and the ability of the fledgling civilian government to exercise sovereignty effectively.

Donor harmonization in Pakistan is improving, partly because of successful coordination around emergency assistance requirements as a result of the 2005 South Asia earthquake, the 2008 national elections, and Pakistan's 2009 offensive in the Swat Valley and elsewhere that saw three million people become internally displaced within Pakistan.

Achievements 2011-2012

Children and youth

  • Trained more than 53,000 teachers in modern and innovative teaching techniques, bringing the cumulative total since 2006 to 320,000.
  • Supported the provision of stipends for close to 400,000 girls to keep them in middle school.
  • Delivered 313,851 metric tonnes of iodized salt to protect 78.5 million people, including 2.34 million newborns, from iodine deficiency.
  • Supported efforts to increase treatment of tuberculosis by using mobile phones and financial incentives, to help a network of private clinics serving poor communities in Karachi find twice as many people with tuberculosis in 2011 compared to the previous year.

Economic growth

  • Supported the training of more than 23,000 aspiring women entrepreneurs in basic financial literacy.
  • Reached more than 20,000 women through projects that increased incomes and financial decision-making power in the dairy, embellished fabric, glass bangle, and seedling sectors.

Achievements 2010-2011

Children and youth

  • Provided textbooks to 98 percent of all public school pupils in Punjab and helped provide stipends to more than 90 percent of girls in Grades 6-10 to encourage school attendance.
  • Helped 2,000 girls enrol in new middle school classes taught by 125 newly qualified female teachers in Balochistan province.
  • Helped train more than 120,000 teachers and education professionals and strengthened the planning systems at the District Education Offices in Multan and Lodhran districts.

Economic growth

  • Reached more than 17,000 women through projects that improved value-added chains in the dairy, embellished fabric, glass bangle, and seedling sectors, helping to increase incomes up to 117 percent, depending on the sector.
  • Helped establish the first-ever women's community organizations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Achievements 2009-2010

Children and youth

  • Supported the training of more than 120,000 teachers and education professionals, almost half of whom are women, in subjects such as learner-centred teaching, classroom management, and subject content.
  • Trained staff of the national Curriculum Wing in professional skills such as developing curriculum frameworks and evaluating textbooks.
  • Developed and piloted a system of participatory planning in two districts of Punjab, connecting senior district-level decision-makers and community representatives.
  • Developed and piloted an improved model of teaching in two districts of Punjab.

Economic growth

  • Provided some 5,500 women with skills in entrepreneurship and business management in support of their own financial independence, through the Women's Employment Concerns and Working Conditions Project. More than half of these women use these skills to earn a living.
  • Supported more than 85 different initiatives, including providing technical assistance for 130 industrial training centres for women, through the recently completed Program for Advancement of Gender Equality Fund.

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