Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in north-western Pakistan

Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in north-western Pakistan

NGOs have failed to understand the perspective of north-western Pakistani people in their conflict-affected situation

Poverty, livelihoods, food insecurity, access to basic services, social protection and aid and governance in conflict-affected areas of Pakistan are issues that need to be closely addressed. This paper focuses on the poor livelihood security in north-western Pakistan, pointing that policies and programmes have missed out on “relating in full” to the perspective of people in their conflict-affected situation.

On the NGOs side, the document illustrates that international aid agencies have reported many constraints, including security threats and hindrances related to government formalities while working in conflict- and flood-affected areas. Consequently, service delivery continues to be hampered by the destruction of infrastructure.

Conclusions contain:

  • although there has been a relatively rapid response from NGOs and the Pakistan state to the crises, the amount of aid that actually reaches the most vulnerable and the effectiveness of programmes are questioned
  • in addition, the current functioning of different institutions is inadequate in terms of contextual assessment, priority setting and implementation

Recommendations are that:
  • donors need to give greater attention to both local livelihood factors and broader linkages with market and enabling factors in such conflict and disaster situations
  • a greater understanding of local dynamics can guide donors in terms of strengthening the private sector and targeting investments
  • donors and government agencies need to attend to the rebuilding of physical infrastructure and success factors in supply chains
  • practically, initiatives such as restocking of livestock, short-term cash transfers to reduce debt and maintain household consumption and provision of agricultural tools and seeds may be necessary
  • areas for future research include the role of informal institutions in supporting people’s livelihoods, people’s own coping strategies and impacts of aid- or government-funded social safety nets