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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.


Gender Analysis of Education Budget and Budgeting Process

Partner: Plan International
Duration: 25 May 2018 to 20 Sep 2018
Team Members: Rabia Manzoor, Rabia Tabassum, Waleed Ikram, Vaqar Ahmed, Junaid Zahid and Saleem Munir
Project Brief/Concept:
This study provides a gender analysis of public sector budgets in education sector. An in-depth analysis of pre-primary to secondary level education budgetary allocations and spending at federal and provincial (Punjab and Sindh) level for the period of 2016-18 has been conducted through a gender lens. We also analyze the budget making processes in Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh provinces with the aim to provide recommendations for gender-responsive allocation and spending. This study broadly analyzes the budget making processes at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, and provincial departments of education in the Punjab and Sindh to see the outcome of gender responsive budgeting and allocation of gender-based funds.
Besides, the study covers the following objectives: 
  • Gender disaggregated analysis of education statistics in federal capital, Punjab and Sindh for gender specific need assessment in education sector
  • Assessment as to whether education budget allocations are adequate for the school level requirements  through Gender disaggregated analysis of education sector budgets at pre-primary and secondary level
  • Gap analysis of budget-making process and education policy in context of gender responsiveness
  • Devise advocacy messages and policy recommendations for further policy outreach and advocacy to gain gender parity in education sector
Key Activities:
  • Desk Review and Data Extraction
  • Data Analysis (data on education indicators and education budget)
  • Key Informant Interviews (KIIs)
  • Stakeholder Consultations

Rapid Assessment Study for Development of Gender Responsive Campaign Strategy and IEC Manual

Partner: WHO

Locale: Dadu, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Kasur and Muzaffarabad

Team Members: Shafqat Munir


SDPI has worked with World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct for them a Rapid Assessment Study for the development of Gender Responsive Campaign Strategy and IEC Manual regarding health impact of agrochemicals being used in agriculture sector of Pakistan. A full rapid assessment research report, a campaign strategy, a brochure, posters and other IEC material in English, Urdu and Sindhi languages were prepared.


According to the Rapid Assessment Study report, the use of agrochemicals in Pakistan has increased drastically during the last 50 years. Pesticides are used in high quantities during the process of growing major crops such as cotton, sugarcane, paddy and vegetables that have put the health of millions of agriculture workers at risk, especially in the cotton growing districts of rural Punjab and Sindh. Women in these districts are particularly vulnerable to pesticides as they are responsible for picking cotton, growing vegetables and helping men in the application of pesticides. The health problems faced by these women often remain unreported and untreated in the absence of proper health facilities available in rural areas, lack of data collection and lack of research facilities.

The report further says despite a number of policy reforms, the health and agriculture sectors in Pakistan remain unresponsive to the health needs of the poor farmers. Women farmers are the major victims of this policy deficit. Stereotypical social and cultural gender perceptions that deny women’s role as an active contributor to the economy of Pakistan is the main stumbling block in underreporting both of women’s contribution as well as health hazards that they get exposed to while working on farms. This phenomenon in turn excludes women farmers from yielding benefits of whatever little programs or policies available on quality pest management program, education and awareness about safe handling of pesticides and health practices, compared to their male counterparts.


Through this rapid assessment, WHO wants to develop a gender sensitive communication strategy to create awareness about the safe handling of agro-chemicals. SDPI teams carried out this assessment in 5 target districts (Muzaffarabad-AJK; Jamshoro, Dadu, Hyderabad-Sindh; and Kasur-Punjab) under the WHO Gender and Health Programme component as part of the One UN Gender Equality Interventions.


The Rapid Assessment report says the government should develop a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for formulating rules and regulations to regulate markets of agrochemicals and to prepare guidelines for safe handling of such hazardous chemicals. Such framework should be developed in consultation with important stakeholders such as relevant government ministries and line departments (especially health, education, population, labour and the food sector); representatives of famers, media, civil society, agrochemical industry etc.

The relevant policy guidelines and protocols for administering the hazardous chemicals, regulating their sale, purchase & storage should be widely disseminated in local languages by using all possible means of communication. Such guidelines should be in non-technical language that may be easy to understand for a layperson.   The policies should be made to enable actors in agrochemical supply chain (manufacturers; distributors; and retail sellers) to design and launch gendered advocacy campaigns on health and safety issues around agrochemical usage.

The Rapid Assessment report provided a base for development of a campaign strategy manual and IEC Material. The campaign strategy manual has been prepared to undertake a gender responsive communications campaign and training programme to create awareness among farming communities at household level in five selected villages in Sindh, Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Dadu, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Kasur and Muzaffarabad). The Manual provides key technical information and strategic guidelines to undertake a successful communications and awareness campaign among farming communities at household level with proper messaging to protect people, men, women and children from toxic risks of agrochemicals. Social mobilizers, community and local religious leaders, communications teams from INGOs, NGOs, government departments (health, education and agriculture) and agrochemical producing companies may use this manual for launch of an outreach campaign through media and other local channels and to conduct training of farming communities and other stakeholders on safe use and handling of agrochemicals.

Benefitting from this comprehensive manual, the campaigners, communications practitioners from government and non government sectors and multinational companies can draw up their talks and presentations to deliver to the relevant communities and stakeholders on the subject while conducting communications and training programmes in gender perspective.

Data Revolution

Partner: Department for International Development (DFID).

Locale: Pakistan
Time Frame: May 2014-September 2016
Project Team: Saadiya Razzaq, Sheheryar Haq, Junaid Zahid, Waqas Imran, Rabia Tabbasum, Irfan Chatha and Hassan Waqas.
For more Information:


One of the themes of Alif Ailaan programme is the data and evidence component. Under this component, SDPI, as an implementing partner, is working preparing ‘Data Depository.’ The data observatory provides a nexus for the development of a national discourse around education data and evidence. Therefore, Alif Ailaan and SDPI aims to turn the online data depository into a clearing house for data, news, and research related to education in Pakistan. 


The objective of the data portal is to create an online portal containing all relevant public data in the country. The idea is also to make these data open source easy to access and use. The data is useful in informing the public about various aspects of social and Economic sectors in Pakistan and influences data regime in the country. The medium-term objective for the Pakistan Data Portal is to become the main source of education data for all relevant stakeholders. The long-term objective is to expand further from education data and incorporate data on other sources. A significant portion of this work, therefore, involves communication with stakeholders and the general public. 

Curriculum for Compassion

Donor: DAI

Project locale: Lahore

Time Duration: 1st July 2016 to 31st Dec, 2016 (Closed)

Project Team: Shafqat Munir, Ahmad Saleem, Dr. Humaria Ishfaq, Sadaf Liaquat, Saleem Khilji, Sana Khetran


The project, a venture between DAI Pakistan and SDPI, started in July 2016. It mainly focused on educational reforms particularly the removal of hate speech/material from the public school textbooks and curriculum from grades VI to XII. Objectives of the project are as follows:

Objective 1 (Output): To conduct an advocacy campaign to remove hate material from public school textbooks

Objective 2 (Outcome): To enhance stakeholders’ support for removal of hate materials from public school textbooks

Objective 3 (Impact): To develop and empower a diverse network of individuals, organizations, and government leaders who can advocate and implement initiatives to counter extremism in the Punjab

To achieve the abovementioned objectives, textbooks have been studied, reviewed and analyzed. Meetings with government officials in the education department were arranged. In addition, seminars were also held.

Some recommendations put forth are to revise the Education Policy 2009 in line with the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter extremisms, which calls for eliminating hate speech and extremist views from the curricula, imparting non-Muslim students education according to their own set of beliefs and religion, removing all prejudiced and biased content against any religion, belief, sect or gender, incorporating contributions of non-Muslims in the creation of Pakistan in the textbooks, removing negative perceptions about any religion or sect from the textbooks.

Lack of Primary School Education (LAPSE)

Partner: HDF

Year: 2010

Locale: Islamabad, Rahim Yark Khan, Lahore, Tando Muhammad Khan, Karachi, Mardan, Zhobe and Muzaffarabad.

Team members: Gulbaz Ali Khan


The high rate of school drop-outs from school has become an increasing concern in Pakistan during the last few years. As such, only a few studies have been conducted to understand the nature and causes of dropout rates and the reason that children were never enrolled. The Human Development Foundation (HDF) conducted a national level survey for collection of background data in three geographical regions; federal capital, provincial capitals & districts and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. For a meaningful comparison a pool of HDF, government and private funded schools were selected. The selection of schools was made on the basis of a strong presence of HDF interventions in these regions. The scope of the survey was extended to eight regions, Islamabad, Rahim Yark Khan, Lahore, Tando Muhammad Khan, Karachi, Mardan, Zhobe and Muzaffarabad.

This study provided an overview of the major underlying causes of high school dropout.  It differs from other studies, in its nature and extent as it has not only addressed causes of school drop outs across public, private and NGO funded schools but also the factors behind out of school or never enrolled children. Specific attention was given to four areas of concern, factors related to the child him/herself, the family, the school and society as a whole. Each of these factors was discussed in the light of quantitative as well as qualitative aspects.

The methodology adopted for this study was based on Desk Reviews, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews and Case studies. The locus of the study was not confined to larger cities or urban regions rather baseline information was gathered from the rural households by utilizing available secondary resources.

School Based Budgeting of Public Education in Pakistan

Partners: Action Aid Pakistan, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Save the Children Fund and Voluntary Services Overseas.

Year: 2008-09


Financing of public education has been a perennial problem in Pakistan. Public expenditure on education has been very low, resulting in non-availability of education to nearly a third of school-age children, and rapidly decreasing quality of education. Schools are not in general financed according to their needs. The concept of school based budgeting makes schools determine the resources it needs rather than the other way around, as is prevalent in Pakistan these days.


SDPI partnered institutions like Action Aid Pakistan to form a consortium to conduct a study on budgeting mechanism for public schools. A survey-based study was conducted in which representative districts from each of the four provinces, the Northern Areas, the federally Administered Tribal Areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir region, were selected. Respondents included school administrators, teachers, students, parents, community members and district education officials.


The analysis of the collected data revealed the extremely poor state of infrastructural facilities in public schools in Pakistan. These included class-rooms, furniture, backboards, which in most cases were far short of the required number.

The report also made a district-wise assessment of salaries of schoolteachers. It concluded that, should all the present public schools be staffed with an adequate number of teachers in appropriate grades, the total expenditure on their salaries would come to nearly Rs. 450 billion. This need ought to be contrasted with the total national public sector expenditure on education at all levels, including universities, which is less that Rs. 300 billion.

SDPI Fellowships in Governance, Security and Justice in South Asia

Partner: IDRC (Canada)

Locale: South Asian countries

Time Frame: March 2012 to May 2017

Project Team:Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Muhammad Adnan


The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has launched Fellowships in Governance, Security and Justice in South Asia. The programme aims to support students in South Asian countries planning to pursue their postgraduate, M. Phil and PhD programmes in the fields of Governance, Security and Justice.

In the first round, five students across South Asia were selected, and in the second round further 10 students were selected. All of them are pursuing their Masters’ and PhD degrees in their respective countries. The programme supports fellows by providing them a monthly stipend and tuition fee.


  • To build capacity in South Asia at the Master’s and PhD levels to produce highly skilled professionals, policy makers, scholars and researchers on non-traditional security issues in the region
  • To support research on a number of governance, security and justice sub-themes that have a multi-disciplinary focus and imply cross-border solutions
  • To build students’ skills in research design, academic writing and research dissemination through workshop training
  • To provide forums for students to network with peers, key professionals and institutions in the region and to receive support in publishing research finding.

Project Status:

SDPI will organize a two-day training workshop on Advance Research Methods for Fellows in December 2013 at its Sustainable Development Conference (SDC

Alif Ailaan District Education Ranking

PartnerDFID (via TEP)

Duration: Annual

Locale: Islamabad

Team Members:

Asif Saed Memon, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Dr Vaqar Ahman, Hira Mirza, Ikram ul Ahad, Rana Junaid Zahid, Khadeeja Saleem, Maheen Shakeel, Muhammad Hamza Abbas, Muhammad Zeeshan, Rabia Tabbasum, Sufyan Kakakhel, Shehryar Haq, Waqas Imran, Muhammad sohaib.


The study aims to design a national district-wise ranking of education levels using national datasets from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Academy for Educational Planning and Management and Idara-e-Taleemo-Aagahi. The study comprises 148 districts in total. FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir districts are also the part of the study.

The rankings include education index and school index. The education index measures quality of education and is based on access to education, attainment levels (surviving till 5th grade), achievement levels (reading and math ability) and gender parity.

The schools index measures the quality of infrastructure available to students, and is based on availability of electricity, water, toilets, boundary walls and building conditions.


  • To use statistics and data to inform stakeholders and the general public about the state of education in Pakistan and to begin a dialogue improve educational standards.


  • Data collation and entry/data cleaning/data analysis
  • Report launch ceremony and advocacy & outreach


  • Overall, the state of education in the country is pretty poor.
  • There is a room for improvement everywhere, but Balochistan, FATA and Sindh lag behind other regions.
  • The Punjab has clearly varied performance on educational indicators based on geographic region with Northern, Central and Southern belts performing well, average and poorly, respectively.
  • While school space is important to absorb increased enrollment, it appears that infrastructure is a must, but not a sufficient condition for improvement in educational standards. (AJK is highest in education quality, but lowest in school infrastructure).


  • A follow-up proposal has been submitted for an online data observatory, and is currently under review by Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP).

Data Sources

Academy of Educational Planning & Management (AEPAM)

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

Pakistan Bureau Statistics (PBS)

Publications: The District Rankings Reports for 2013,2014 and 2015

Download Report 2013    Download Report 2014    Download Report 2015

Download Summary 2013     Download Summary 2014    Download Summary 2015

Summary In Urdu 2013
          Summary In Urdu 2014    Summary In Urdu 2015

Report in Urdu 2013               Report in Urdu 2014             Report in Urdu 2015

Download Data Sets 2013     Download Data Sets 2014    Download Data Sets 2015


Alif Ailaan Website

Enhancement of Religious Understanding and Promotion of Tolerance in Public Education

Partner: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Year: 2008-09


SDPI started this project in context to the project ‘The Subtle Subversion: The State of Textbooks and Curricula in Pakistan’ done by SDPI in 2003 which documented that Pakistani school textbooks and state curricula deliberately promoted intolerance and religious hatred.


The objective of the project was to find the extent to which sources other than textbooks, including extracurricular activities in schools, contributed to religious understanding and promoted tolerance. The study was based on collecting information from sample surveys throughout the country. Two districts, one mainly urban and the other mainly rural, and ten schools from each district, were selected from each province, and information was gathered from students, teachers, parents and community members.


The report concluded that unlike textbooks and curricula, public schools do not use their interior displays and extracurricular activities in any significant way to encourage hatred against religious minorities or other religions. Nor do they promote extremism. On the other hand, they do not promote religious understanding and tolerance in any significant way either. The report concludes that if the government changes curricula and textbooks to make school education a medium for generating tolerance and understanding toward other religions and minorities, it would not face any resistance from teachers, parents and communities.