Pakistan | ActionAid UK


We’ve been in Pakistan since 1992. We support the most marginalised people to claim their rights, help children go to school and improve communities’ resilience to natural disasters.

Why we work in Pakistan

Pakistan has the world’s sixth biggest population, but a fifth of the people are still living in poverty.

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 do in Pakistan

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

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

To help eradicate forced child marriage we educate young girls and communities on its risks, and encourage women to participate in meetings to ensure girls remain in school. We also lobby 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 change lives for good in Pakistan

Read stories of women we”ve helped.

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