What’s Association for the Development of Pakistan (ADP)?

I first heard about the Association for the Development of Pakistan (ADP) back in graduate school during a conversation that most Pakistanis have when living abroad. I was talking about the sense of despair and helplessness I faced every time I read about Pakistan’s numerous development challenges. My friend, Natasha suggested I look up, Association for the Development of Pakistan, a volunteer-driven philanthropy that evaluates and funds innovative development projects run by local NGOs in Pakistan. She had been volunteering with ADP for about a year and found it a great way of channeling Pakistani expat restlessness into concrete results. As part of her ADP assignment, Natasha had (at the time) recently finished evaluating a proposal to establish a computer lab in Ghotki, Sindh.

Launched in 2003 by a group of students and young professionals in Boston, ADP aims to bridge the gap between concerned donors and various small development organizations operating below the radar screen in Pakistan. To date, ADP’s volunteers have identified, evaluated and funded seventeen projects across ten Pakistanis cities, disbursing over one hundred thousand dollars.

What makes ADP unique in Pakistan is the fact that (a) it’s primarily volunteer-run, and (b) it goes beyond traditional charity by performing extensive due diligence to identify and fund projects “where the impact is crucial and measurable”.  ADP also emphasizes its support of social entrepreneurship and innovative models of development:

We prefer to fund innovative projects that may not receive funding from other sources. Encouraging passionate social pioneers and volunteerism can give a boost to development and improve the prospects for significant, lasting impact.

ADP’s utilizes its highly educated volunteer base to apply their time and skills towards objective evaluation and monitoring of projects. The ADP board has pledged to cover operating costs so the donor money is then used entirely for project grants.

ADP’s potential was unveiled following the 2005 earthquake when within a few months, it was able to disburse more than half a million dollars as part of disaster relief efforts. In addition to channelizing funds, ADP also oversaw the reconstructions of hospitals, homes and schools as part of its earthquake rehabilitation program.  During the 2010 floods, ADP once again rose to the occasion by working with UNHCR to set up temporary shelters and collaborating with NEEDS to provide clean drinking water. ADP’s focus however, remains on sustainable development at the grassroots level. As a result, even its current flood relief projects are partnerships with organizations that are working towards providing long term sustainable solutions to affected areas.

Case Study: Microfinance for Poultry Farming

What further drove me to feature ADP on TC-P this week was an update on their most recent project, Microfinance for Poultry Farming. Although finance + poultry do not make for a glamorous combination, through in-kind micro loans to low-income women in Charsadda, ADP’s latest project is impacting the community in two critical respects: (1) creating income-generating opportunities in a flood affected area and (2) bringing micro finance to women who previously did not have access to it.

Going into the details of the initiative, ADP is working with the Network for Education and Economic Development Services (NEEDS), a small nonprofit organization based in the Charsadda district to provide low-income women with the opportunity to establish small poultry and livestock businesses in the area through microfinance. In-kind loans (yes, by this they mean chickens and roosters) are made to women headed households earning up to Rs. 5,000 to allow women run home-based poultry businesses, breeding chickens for sale. The loan will be recovered from beneficiaries through small installments, and this funding will be revolved back into the project, thus providing the same opportunity to many other women.

NEEDS assistance to the female entrepreneurs however, doesn’t end here. The organization will be providing critical training to the women on how to work with poultry, the business aspects of running the business and how to manage profits and expansion.

The NEEDS project is a perfect illustration of how ADP incorporates innovative, sustainable projects into its larger rehabilitation approach. Charsadda has been severely impacted by the floods.  People here need  income-generating opportunities to rebuild their homes and the community. An added bonus to the project is that currently eggs, hen and meat are imported from Peshawar and sold at marked up prices. The project will help bring down the price of poultry in the immediate area.

It is estimated that it will take about one year for the project to become sustainable. ADP plans that at least 20% profit will come to the organization, to be reinvested in the pool of investment capital. If the total revolving fund (worth Rs. 500,000) is disbursed then the estimated annual profit will be Rs.100,000.

NEEDS is also instituting several mechanisms to minimize the default rate. For instance, by providing in-kind support to clients, it is helping ensure business establishment. It is also working with their clients to encourage savings and establish market linkages (Read our related post on Bringing Good to Markets).

As the project progresses into its second phase, we at TC-P are excited about learning about the initiative’s results and what we can further learn from ADP’s innovative and comprehensive approach.

To learn more about ADP’s Microfinance for Poultry comprehensive assessment and project plan, visit their project page. If you’re interested in supporting ADP, you can donate here.