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Trócaire’s work in Pakistan supports the livelihoods of vulnerable communities, promotes gender equality, and humanitarian response.

boys help rebuild road in pakistan

A group of friends lend a hand in the rebuilding the main road in their village following severe flooding in 2014. Courtesy of Mojaz Foundation. April 2015

Key Facts

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Trócaire has been working in Pakistan since the charity was set up in 1973. We opened a country office in 2007

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People benefitted from Trócaire's programmes in Pakistan in the last year

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Justice and Human Rights, Food and Resource Rights, Women's Empowerment and Humanitarian Response

Trócaire's Work in Pakistan

Trócaire has worked in Pakistan since 1973. Initially, our work focused on responding to emergency situations and then later transitioned to developing small-scale livelihood projects. We managed this work in Ireland before opening a country office in 2007, enabling us to expand our programme range and reach.

Under the current Country Strategic Plan (2016-2020), Trócaire’s work in Pakistan currently focuses on four core programmes: 

1. Bonded Labour

Pakistan has the third highest prevalence of modern slavery globally, with an estimated 2.1 million people enslaved. A primary form of slavery in Pakistan is forced labour, referred to locally as ‘bonded labour’.
This is a form of slavery, where a person is forced to work to repay a loan. 

Together with partners, we are working to support indebted people who have become bonded labourers to access basic services, be aware of their rights, acquire civil documents, and receive functional literacy training. We are also engaging in advocacy on their behalf to access legal protection and legal assistance. Additionally we are supporting women bonded labourers experiencing gender-based violence. 

We support the development of a civil society network to advocate and monitor national and international commitments related to bonded labour. 

2. Small Farmers Impacted by Climate Change 

Our work at individual and community level strives to ensure that small farmers have the skills, knowledge, access and confidence required to adapt to and mitigate against the impacts of climate change. 

Pakistan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Trócaire’s Water Rights programme is supported by Irish Aid (running from March 2017 up to December 2021) and targets beneficiaries in Mirpurkhas District in Sindh Province. With the aim of reaching nearly 5,000 people directly and 30,000 indirectly, we will support the rehabilitation and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, promote livelihood diversification and an agro-ecological approach to farming, water governance, and emergency preparedness planning at community level.

3. Gender Equality

With funding from the Australian Government (June 2014 – May 2018) we are working with multiple partners across eight districts to deliver a programme to respond to, prevent and advocate on gender-based violence. 

With a direct reach of over 17,000 people and over 230,000 anticipated indirect programme beneficiaries, we are providing women’s shelters, helplines, legal aid, rights awareness, training for police and local representatives, and community-level training using the SASA! methodology to support critical thinking on the power relations which contribute to violence against women, and to ensure the implementation of legislation that safeguards women’s rights. 

This builds on our national media campaign 'PurAzm - Challenge Gender Based Violence', supported by the Australian Government in Pakistan. PurAzm campaign activities included generating extensive media coverage and the placement of hoardings, posters and banners at strategic locations in Islamabad to engage the public around gender and women's issues, in particular gender-based violence. Social media was used to raise awareness of GBV and its consequences.

4. Humanitarian Preparedness and Response 

Trócaire is developing a roster of humanitarian organisations with sufficient technical and geographical coverage to ensure we can support timely, accountable and needs-based humanitarian assistance when it’s needed. We are also building partner capacity on gender, protection and safeguarding to ensure the safety, dignity and fundamental human rights of conflict and disaster affected communities. 

With funding from Irish Aid (March 2017 – December 2019) we are working with our partners Pak Rural Development Programme (PRDP) to reach 4,500 men and women across eight villages impacted by disasters to provide life skills training, psychosocial support and counselling, and targeted livelihoods support including agriculture and enterprise development.

Updates from Pakistan

Our Partners in Pakistan

Trócaire's achievements in Pakistan

Under our previous strategic plans (2008-2012 and 2012-2016), Trócaire implemented a number of projects in the areas of sustainable livelihoods, bonded labour, disaster risk reduction, humanitarian response, and gender equality.

Our achievements in these areas include:

Bonded Labour

Since 2007, Trócaire has been addressing bonded labour in Pakistan. We have organised more than 10,000 bonded labourers into workers’ groups and we have provided bonded labourers with free legal aid, healthcare, legal documents and literacy classes. From 2007-2012, the programme resulted in 8,680 bonded labourers being freed.

In 2012, we integrated our work on bonded labour into our sustainable livelihoods programme. Under our new country strategic plan (2016-2020), a standalone bonded labour programme has been established.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Our initiatives reached 28,000 men and women to increase agricultural production, enterprise development, and preparedness for natural disasters. 

Trócaire’s programme worked with small-scale farmers and daily wage labourers affected by bonded labour to secure alternative sources of income, conserve natural resources and increase access to and control over these resources. Trócaire and partners promoted the adoption of sustainable agriculture and other ecological practices, including water harvesting, rehabilitation of degraded land, improvements in water sources and diversification of livelihoods opportunities in off-farm employment.

The programme was delivered across four districts: Dadu, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Umerkot.

Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction

Trócaire’s humanitarian programme grew significantly due to catastrophic flooding in 2010 and 2011. 

This resulted in an emergency appeal which secured just under €7 million in public and Caritas Internationalis contributions. This allowed us to deliver significant humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable.
Part of Trócaire’s response was to develop a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh to ensure hazard-prone and vulnerable communities are prepared and resilient to future disasters. Over 14,000 people have participated in the programme.

Trócaire’s was also one of the first organisations to respond to the earthquake in October 2015 in the areas of Lower Dir, Swat and Shangla. We provided the most vulnerable families with winter kits, temporary shelter and other non-food items such as mattresses, baby blankets, quilts, tarpaulin sheets and bamboos.

Gender Equality

Supported by the Irish Government (2008-2012) our Challenging Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Programme helped survivors of GBV to access support services without being stigmatised or blamed. An additional aim was to enable men, women, boys and girls to think critically about GBV and take steps to prevent it; and to ensure the implementation of legislation that safeguards women’s rights. 

The programme was delivered across eight districts: Hyderabad, Matyari and Jamshoro in Sindh and Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Swat and Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan: Country Context

Pakistan is located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East. 

It is estimated that one in five people live below the national poverty line (UNDP).

Access to education remains low and the completion rate for primary education is among the lowest in the world.

Violence against women is widespread, with an estimated third of married women having experienced physical and/or emotional violence from their spouse.

Despite Pakistan making a minimal contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is set to have a serious impact on the country's economic, social and environmental development.

Agriculture is vital to Pakistan’s economy, with the sector accounting for 21% of Gross Domestic Product and employing 45% of the total workforce.

However, Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world and one of the most disaster prone.

More than 45 million people in Pakistan have been affected by natural disasters since 2004.