Pakistan | ActionAid UK


ActionAid is not currently working in Pakistan. In compliance with a directive issued by the Government of Pakistan dated 2 October 2018, we have wound up our country-wide operations effective 30 November 2018.

ActionAid had worked in Pakistan since 1992. In the last decade alone, our dedicated team has supported more than 1.4 million people.

We’re deeply disappointed that our operations have shut down, and, should there be a change in the government’s decision regarding International NGOs’ work in Pakistan, we would be honoured to return.

Our work in Pakistan

Pakistan has the world’s sixth biggest population, but a fifth of the people are still living in poverty. We have supported the most marginalised people to claim their rights, help children go to school and improve communities’ resilience to natural disasters.

Women face massive challenges in Pakistani society. Although they make up around 60% of the agricultural workforce, men own most of the land. Despite the law, many underage girls are forced to get married and their families have to pay hefty dowries.

  • 21
    21% of girls are married by their 18th birthday.
  • 45
    45% of adults can’t read and write.
  • 90
    The likelihood of water scarcity driven by climate change alone is as high as >90% in Pakistan.

There are more than five million children out of school in Pakistan – the second highest of any country – and only 63% of young women are able to read and write, compared with 78% of young men. 

Recurring natural disasters are also a big problem. The 2010 floods affected more than 20 million people, and climate change is increasing the severity of extreme weather such as droughts and tropical cyclones.

What we did in Pakistan before November 2018

We helped vulnerable groups including women, street children and people with disabilities by working with local governments to secure access to healthcare and clean water.

We campaigned for women to be able to inherit and control land so they can have economic independence, and we encouraged women to join our REFLECT circles, where they could learn to read and write. Members were also offered small loans, allowing them to start their own business ventures. 

To help eradicate forced child marriage we educated young girls and communities on its risks, and encouraged women to participate in meetings to ensure girls remain in school. We also lobbied government agencies to improve facilities in primary schools and campaign for school curriculums to include teaching on gender equality to both boys and girls.

How we changed lives for good in Pakistan

Read stories of women and girls we’ve helped.


Photos: Gideon Mendel/Corbis/ActionAid, Asraj Begum/Pak Rural Development Program/ActionAid