Working in Pakistan means acknowledging the challenges of the precarious geopolitical realities that influence so much of day-to-day life.
The external view of Pakistan as volatile and unstable has some weight. It is a country rich in cultural and geographical diversity that unfortunately continues to be plagued by the threat of insecurity, both from inside and outside its borders.
Pakistan is also extremely prone to disaster, including conflict, earthquakes, droughts, cyclones and floods. The most devastating flooding of the Indus has affected tens of millions over the last few years.
These factors have a dramatic impact on ordinary Pakistanis and make life very difficult for the millions who live in abject poverty in the country.
Poverty levels are among the highest in south Asia, with 36 million Pakistanis living below the national poverty line and as many as one in three living on 30p a day or less.
Pakistan is ranked 146 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index for 2014 – below Nepal and just ahead of Kenya.
We believe that by working with and supporting our partners in Pakistan, we can empower communities and community-based organisations to make decisions about their future.
They will be able to build resilience to future shocks and risks, develop healthier lives, create and maintain resilient livelihoods and work together to find practical solutions to root out poverty and vulnerability.
Power and marginalisation of people
Among the most marginalised groups in Pakistan are women, who are often perceived as having a lower status in society. Responding to women’s basic human needs has been a core part of our programme.
Women from some of the most marginalised groups (particularly those living in feudal communities) are often considered commodities by landowners and they face an uphill struggle to better their lives and those of their families.
The average literacy rate for women is 45% - far less in the more remote regions - and 41% of women do not even complete primary school. We are addressing this by trying to provide projects for women to further their education and employment opportunities.
We also work with displaced people, who have often been forced from their homes as a result of the continuing violent conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the north-west of Pakistan.
Humanitarian work and improving lives
Responding to humanitarian emergencies has been the keystone of Christian Aid’s work in Pakistan.
Our ultimate aim is to improve the standards of living for some of the poorest and most marginalised communities and to work with them to help prepare and respond to emergencies.
Internal displacement of thousands of people in the north-west of the country is a serious issue, which our partners have been addressing.
There are still around 2 million refugees from Afghanistan living in Pakistan as a result of the 1990 Soviet invasion. Currently over 750,000 people have been displaced due to continued fighting in the FATA tribal areas.
Find out more about our work in Pakistan.