NGOs, Micro-finance and Poverty Alleviation: Experience of the Rural Poor in Pakistan

Khalid Mustafa Ahmad, Zulfiqar Ahmad Gill, Toseef Azid


Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) continue to be the
global ‘flavour of the month’ in international development. They are
regarded as “outside” actors perceived to work in the interests of the
poor, and in the absence of the state, many NGOs have taken on vital
role in the provision of basic services to the poor. The institutional
and political environment is attuned to privatisation in whatever form
it takes. NGOs are another expression of this trend, but in the case of
NGOs no real disillusionment phase has yet set in. But still NGOs remain
the favoured vehicle for grass-roots involvement and community
development in many countries. The present paper seeks to delineate the
role of NGOs in micro finance and study their aggregate impact on
poverty reduction in rural Pakistan as a result of micro finance
efforts. The paper is organised in four sections. Section I commences
with the concepts, promises and limitations of NGOs as a vehicle of
micro finance. Section II summarises the record of performance of NGOs
in Pakistan. In particular, the role, achievements and set-backs of two
noted NGOs in Pakistan, Agha Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and
National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). Which are studied by examining
aggregate impact of these NGOs on poverty reduction as result of their
micro finance efforts. Section III examines the poverty profile and
presents summary of the role of NGOs in the context of poverty lending
and, finally Section IV concludes the analysis and proposes some policy

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