Monday, July 6, 2009


The Karakoram Area Development Organization is a local community based not-for profit NGO registered with the Registrar Joint Stock Companies Gilgit in 1998, based in Aliabad, Hunza. This organization is the outcome of the perennial institutional needs to address the array of the socio economic problems especially to the concerns of women and disadvantaged groups and members of the society. Some enlightened and development oriented people laid the foundation of this organization in 1995 as Karakoram Handicraft Promotion Society (KHPS) to protect and promote handicrafts at one hand and to empower women and people with special need at another. Today this organization is one of the active, well established, renowned and responsible civil society organizations in Northern Areas of Pakistan. There are around 49 annual general members, 11 Board Directors and one Chairman steering the organization where as there are 35 employs, headed by Chief Executive Officer, running the affairs of management. Projects and main Achievements

Some of the past and present projects and major achievements are as follow.

Completed Projects

1. Karakoram Handicrafts Development Programme (KHDP)

The project was started in 1996 with the financial support of Swiss Agency for International Cooperation and Development (SDC) and the technical support of Aga Khan Cultural Services, Pakistan (AKCS-P). When the project was started, there were three local handicraft products and total sale of these crafts in the Karimabad Tourist market was Rs. 25,000. The project started with five products and worked with 6 women at Secondary Production Unit (SPU) level and 200 women at the Primary Production Unit (PPU) level. The project evolved a model of community-based handicraft productions. At 55 PPUs women produced embroidery pieces and at 4 SPUs embroidery pieces were assembled into finished products. The project has created income-earning opportunities for over 3,000 home based women artisans. A production and marketing support systems (Thread Net Hunza) has been developed providing fair trade through 62 private retailers. The project trained 45 women as supervisors, book keepers, quality controllers, marketing and design specialists

After completion of the funding period from SDC a women entrepreneurial groups was formed to run the business independently. SDC will fund the group for another 3 years. The project was running a carpet center in Gulmit and a fabric center in Ganish. Both are now successfully working as independent women entrepreneurs. Different handicraft products are available at different outlets and you can order online

2. Hunza Arts and Cultural Forum (HACF)

Traditional music, arts and festivals were on the decline due to lack of patronage and insensitiveness towards cultural heritage. In order to transform dying traditions into economic opportunities HACF was established to revive traditional music, musical instruments, folk dance and festivals. The project was initially supported by the Aga Khan Cultural Services, Pakistan and later it received funding from the German Embassy in Pakistan for 6 months. The project established a workshop to manufacture musical instruments and training instrumentalists. The project was started in Mominabad, a village of musicians who are economically and socially deprived community in Hunza and remained in the lowest class during Hunza state time. The music was their hereditary profession.

The project professionalized the music and trained people outside the musicians’ family. As a result of the efforts of the project there is a renewed and increasing interest in learning of traditional music. The project has trained 68 local people in traditional music by engaging local master musicians of the community, 11 people in sword dance and 8 people have been trained in musical instruments making skill. UNESCO had funded training of 27 people in traditional music and 11 people in sword dance.

3. Human and Institutional Development (HID)

The project was funded by SDC. KADO acted as a resource base for local development organizations in Hunza. It has fostered a network of 22 grassroots groups in Hunza working in various fields (social development, economic development, environment and culture) covering all three regions of Hunza. The project built the capacity of these CBOs/LDOs’ in different field including governance, management and accounting and established an LDO Resource Centre.

4. Rain and Snow Disaster Relief Project

The unexpected rainfall/snowfall during the month of January/February and April 2005 caused great damages in most part of the country and the Northern Areas were affected the most. SDC funded a disaster relief project to mitigate the sufferings of the affected people. KADO carried out the implementation of the project in Hunza. Through this programme 28 projects including construction of 11 houses/rooms, repairing of 9 houses/rooms, repairing and reconstruction of 3 cattle sheds, 3 community water channels, one micro-hydel and one school project were successfully completed. The local community, volunteers, scouts and local leaders provided their full co-operation in successful completion of these projects.

Ongoing Projects

1. Hunza Environmental Committee (HEC)

Over the last decade Hunza valley has seen rapid commercialization and increase in tourist inflow. As a result, there has been increased garbage production and environmental pollution. Due to lack of any governmental body to address this deteriorating situation KADO established the first community-based solid waste management system Hunza Environmental committee (HEC). Aga Khan Cultural Services, pakistan (AKCS-P) linked the organization with European Union and NORAD to provide small grants. The project is being managed by a small project staff and a civic group. HEC is attempting to sustain itself by charging service fee from the user groups. Presently, the project provides service to households, hospitals, hotels, shops and other commercial groups from Murtazabad to Altit. Annual awareness campaigns are held on world environment day-5th June, in which all community-based English Medium Schools, AKES Schools, Government Schools and notable citizens participate.

KADO is now working with Northern Areas Administration to declare central Hunza as municipality in order to address the growing needs of the town areas.

2. Rehabilitation Centers

There was no any organization at the community and government level to work for the socio-economic development of the People with Disabilities; the highly disadvantaged group of the society.

a. Sharma Rehabilitation Center

KADO established its first rehabilitation centre for the disabled men in 1996, with funding support from SDC, to provide health and hygiene education, vocational skills and income earning opportunities. Initially the project started providing rehabilitation services to 30 disabled people and later 62 disabled persons benefited from this facility. They have been trained in goat hair rug (a traditional local handicraft) making and rug is being marketed locally as well as to tourist market. Since the productivity of the disabled people is very low and cost of production of the rug is very high and therefore the project cannot be run profitably. At the rehabilitation centre KADO offers productive work, as a means of therapy and developing their self-esteem, to the disabled members of the community. The centre is being run in a rented building. The project has also attempted to diversify the skills of the special people by providing them training in traditional music and forming their music band. Now the band is able to earn additional income by providing its services in various cultural shows.

b. Women Rehabilitation Center (WRC)

KADO has established another rehabilitation centre for disabled women in a rented building in December 2001, with one time grant/support for six months, from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Islamabad. Later the Embassy of Finland provided financial support to the centre for six months and again extended its financial support for another one year (from July 2004 to June 2005) The centre provides health and hygiene education, basic health care and training in vocational and income generating skills such as embroidery, woolen thread making, carpet weaving. Currently the centre provides rehabilitation services to 25 women.

The Ministry of Women’s Development, Social Welfare and Special Education has funded the construction of a Rehabilitation Centre for people with special needs and for it equipment worth Rs. 28 million. The community of Hyderabad Hunza has donated 5 kanals of land (worth 3 million) to KADO for construction of the building and the construction is under progress and it will be completed by the end of the year 2006.

3. Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)

The purpose of this project is to experiment and demonstrate the use of ICT in promotion of sustainable livelihoods in the remote areas through action research. The project was started in 2001 with the financial support of International Development Research Center (IDRC). The project established ISP ( in Hunza and thus linked Hunza and Nagar valley with Global village. Presently, the project has provided internet connections to about 150 individuals, organizations and other businesses. In order to test the potential of ICT in promoting quality of education in remote villages the project established two E-schools in two different schools in Hunza valley. Two E-Village Resource Center was established in two different villages to test the potential use of ICT in village planning and development. The business incubation component incubated local businesses in order to use ICT for promoting local businesses. The Mountain Institute for Computer Sciences which was established before this project was later merged with ICT project. The institute is providing computer trainings to educated youth.

4. Women IT Centers Project

During 2006 KADO established partnership with Planning and Development Department, Northern Areas to establish 34 Women IT centers through out Northern Areas. In this regard KADO has trained Master Trainers from all over the focus area who will later train women in computer in their respective centers.

5. Gems Cutting and Polishing center

The Northern Areas of Pakistan are rich in different Gems, precious and semi precious stones. So far only raw materials are sold in down markets so the most chunk of profit goes to agents, traders, cutting and finishing people. To bring more revenue to local Hunza economy and also to attract investment in longer run it was mandatory to establish an institute which develops a cadre of technical experts in Gems sector and also paves the way for further product value addition. In this regard KADO set up a Gems Cutting and Polishing Center in Karimabad, Hunza with the financial support of Mr. Nasruddin Ruppani and technical support of Aga Khan Rural Support (AKRSP). Initially, the center is imparting trainings to about 10 females and 3 males and will expand it later based on the outcome.

6. Karakoram Development Resource Center (KDRC)

The SDC funded project aims to develop KADO as a local Business Development Service in Northern Areas. The Center will offer need-based trainings to Government, civil society and private institutions through out Northern Areas. Beside this the project will test the applicability of two innovative projects in Hunza valley. This includes E-Governance and Business incubation.