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Economic empowerment of women: A review of the Aga Khan rural support programme's intervention strategies in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral

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Title: Economic empowerment of women: A review of the Aga Khan rural support programme's intervention strategies in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral
Author: Khan, Samar
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Advisor: Yap, Nonita T.
Abstract: Although the economic empowerment of rural women in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral was a dominant theme of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme for over three decades, their focus on improving women's lives and promoting women's economic empowerment intensified at the turn of the 21st century. It was during this time that AKRSP adopted an enterprise-based approach to development, focusing on the enhancement of women's vocational and entrepreneurial skills. This approach was expected to create awareness and interest in entrepreneurial ventures as an alternative, and more effective, source of income for rural GBC women. Through a review of the available literature and documentation, this paper aims to look at some of the main intervention strategies that AKRSP carried out in the past 15 years, in support of this enterprise and entrepreneurship vision, to economically empower women in GBC. These included small projects like the Shubinak Project and the Self-employment Project for Women (SEPW), Women-only markets, and Women Agro-Entrepreneurs. The initial findings indicate that AKRSP has in fact managed to contribute to the empowerment of women in GBC, especially as producers of a special type of wool called shu, as well as shop-keepers and agro-entrepreneurs. However, further analysis indicates that despite AKRSP's success in women's economic empowerment, there appears to be the problem of maintaining business assurance and longevity and economic sustainability. Thus, this study seeks to discover the social and political dynamics around enterprise development and women entrepreneurship, the overall situation in which it operates, and the factors that affect its success.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16188
Date: 2015
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