Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT)

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Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT)

Lower Dir, Pakistan
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Shad Begum formed Anjuman Behbood Khawateen Talash (ABKT) to build a grassroots women’s movement in the isolated tribal areas of Pakistan. Using group activities and micro-credit to empower women, Shad builds their capacity to become politically active.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

women could generate income & gain the confidence & skills needed to become elected officials in the most conservative parts of the country?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Despite national laws requiring all government bodies to reserve one-third of seats for women, tribal councils in Pakistan bar women from voting or running for office. Women have no presence on these illegal, self-appointed councils, which often pass important decisions affecting their lives. Government resources allotted to development projects for women are often stolen or misused by local leaders.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Using group activities and micro-credit to empower women, Anjuman Behbood Khawateen Talash (ABKT) builds their capacity to become politically active and run for office. By providing microfinance loans to women, ABKT helps them start small home-based ventures such as breeding livestock, sewing, and selling clothes and cosmetics. The income provides women with a way to fulfill their needs and contribute to household expenses but more importantly—the power to make independent financial decisions. This program enables women to come together without arousing suspicion among the men. Participating in these groups enables women to organize, govern themselves, and learn to interact confidently with the outside world.
Impact: How does it Work

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

"ABKT has increased the number of women’s groups from 5 in 2000 to 11 in 2005. Additionally, ABKT’s micro-credit portfolio has increased from about US$8,000 to $13,000 in 2007. Over the last 5 years, Shad’s efforts have had a strong impact. Negotiating with the various political parties and effectively communicating the voices of an increasing number of women’s organizations in her network, Shad was able to assist 104 women to become elected to local councils in 2005. Shad’s goal over the next 3 years is to increase the number of women’s groups to 60 and begin spreading to neighboring districts through partnerships with community organizations."

Founding Story

Two generations ago, the tribal chief had banned all forms of education and Shad’s grandfather was punished for informally imparting basic religious education. Despite that, he continued to teach. Shad shares her grandfather’s beliefs and strong determination. At a time when the idea of educating girls was considered heretical, Shad’s father ensured that she received an education at home. Shad decided to build on the legacy of her family and carved out her own space by founding ABKT in 1994. From the beginning, Shad’s aim has been for her organization to spur others to replicate its model; not a solitary campaign.