Pakistan

In Pakistan, we support electoral and governance reform, promote community security and alternative dispute resolution, and encourage women’s empowerment.

Pakistan has come through another period of political turmoil with its fragile democracy intact, but it must continue to strive to achieve effective democratic governance capable of addressing the significant challenges it faces: a deteriorating security situation, weak economy, eroding infrastructure, an energy crisis, high unemployment rates, and a great deal of international pressure connected to its pivotal role in world security. The Asia Foundation has worked continuously in Pakistan since 1954, developing deep ties and expertise on local, regional, and international issues. Through turbulent times, our programs have focused on improving Pakistan’s governance capacity, strengthening democracy and civil society, supporting an independent media, promoting better health care, and empowering women.
RECENT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS

and active connections to their elected representatives for greater government accountability.
WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Women entrepreneurs face a multitude of obstacles in Pakistan. Mobility is restricted, and most have little to no access to capital and supplies. In 2008, the Foundation supported the creation of “production units”— groups of 20 to 30 women who collectively produce and sell goods, such as clothes, handbags, pickled vegetables, and perfumes. More than 1,000 women in three of Pakistan’s four provinces are involved in this ongoing, landmark initiative.
SUPPORTING HUMAN RIGHTS

PAKISTAN
The Asia Foundation has worked continuously in Pakistan since 1954. The Foundation recently launched the Human Rights Fund to engage civil society groups to work to promote human rights.
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Starting in 2006, the Foundation facilitated the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN: http://www.fafen.org/v1.fafen/), a consortium of 30 diverse Pakistani civil society groups created to observe all aspects of Pakistani elections. FAFEN is the first Pakistani election observer group to use a long-term, nationwide, systematic, statistically-driven methodology, which follows international standards and best practices. Today, its website includes unprecedented constituency-based data from the 2008 general elections and reports about FAFEN’s Parliament Watch and Constituency Relations Projects, providing citizens with information about

In November 2008, the Foundation began a new initiative called the Human Rights Fund. The project is designed to engage Pakistani civil society groups, government, and media agencies – both separately and in partnership with one another – to work to improve protection and promotion of human rights. The Fund focuses on five areas: freedom from torture and other rights related to prisoners; freedom of speech and access to information; stemming genderbased violence and discrimination; rights of religious and ethnic minorities; and economic rights. Experts from Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, the North West Frontier Province, and the federal capital provide insight and advice regarding human rights in Pakistan for the Fund.

The Asia Foundation is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is funded by contributions from corporations, foundations, individuals, and governmental organizations in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, and Asia, and an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress. Through its programs, the Foundation builds leadership, improves policies, and strengthens institutions to foster greater openness and shared prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

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