Pathways & Pursestrings

Pathways and Pursestrings was a market-led initiative undertaken by ECDI to promote women’s economic empowerment and facilitate their effective integration into profitable, mainstream markets. Implemented by the MEDA, ECDI as the Lead Partner had responsibility of building the capacity of four key partners, namely, the Pak Social Welfare Society, Kaarvan Crafts Foundation, Sarhad Rural Support Program and Haleeb Foods Limited, by working in the Glass Bangles, Embellished Garments, Seedlings and Dairy subsectors respectively. The initiative was undertaken with the financial support of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Pathways and Pursestrings (P&P) emulated the successes of Behind the Veil (BtV), a three-year project jointly implemented by ECDI and MEDA, which created sustainable micro-enterprises for over 6, 000 women through a network of mobile women intermediaries (known as Sales Agents). The P&P project aimed to provide 16,000-20,000 isolated rural women producers with sustainable linkages and support services that will enable them to access markets with products demanded by contemporary consumers in four subsectors, in marginalized and impoverished areas of Sindh, NWFP, Balochistan and Punjab. It hoped to achieve scale by developing the capacity of select Pakistani organizations to understand the principles and theories of value chain development and to apply it to a range of industrial, demographic and geographic contexts across Pakistan.

MEDA in conjunction with the project’s lead partner, ECDI, built the capacity in large scale market development and value chain promotion of the four Key Facilitating Partners (KFPs) as the project underwent the phases of design, development, implementation, and evaluation. This was done via the adoption of a three-pronged strategy, which included classroom-based academic training, field-based mentoring sessions and distance desk-based support to enable KFPs to undertake VCD work in their chosen subsectors.

Kaarvan Crafts Foundation (KCF), was the Key Facilitating Partner responsible for implementing the project in the hand embellishments subsector. They are responsible for the empowerment of 8,000-10,000 homebound women embellishers in different communities across the country.

Pak Social Welfare Society (PSWS), also a non-governmental organization based in Hyderabad, entered into partnership with an aim to enhance income and socio economic conditions of 4,000-5,000 women processors involved in making glass bangles.

Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) is a non profit/non government organization working in NWFP. Its focus within the P&P project was on raising income of 1,500-2,000 Home Bound Women Seedlings Producers in district Haripur and adjacent areas.

While three partners were not for profit organizations, Haleeb Foods Limited, is a private company, working for the implementation of the value chain project in the dairy subsector in two districts of Punjab namely, Bahi Pheru and Rahim Yar Khan.