Asset 1

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.

M & E.

Impact Evaluation Study of Early Childhood Development Programme (ECDP) in Baluchistan

Donor: Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Pakistan
Duration: May 2015 to July 2015
Locale: Quetta, Qilla Saifullah and Gawader
Team Members:  Dr. Shehryar Khan, Rabia Manzoor, Muhammad Sohaib,Babur Jamal, Huma Dad Khan, Maryam Waqar, Syed Mohsin Ali Kazmi
Background and objective:
This study aims to assess the impact of early childhood services of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Pakistan. The AKF, with the support from Australian Government, launched a three-year “Early Childhood Development Programme (ECDP)” in 2010 that later received a no-cost extension of two years. The programme was implemented in the most neglected and closed ethnic province of Balochistan with a motto “Ensuring the Best Start in Life for Children”. The hypothesis behind the introduction of ECD programme in three districts of Balochistan (Qilla Saifullah, Quetta and Gawadar) was to address barriers to early childhood opportunities such as access, gender equity, participation of local communities and insufficient early learning opportunities, which impact the physical, mental and emotional development of underprivileged children from 4-8 years of age. The programme consisted of two phases. The first one entailed an “inception” of ECDP in the select districts, as conceived by the implementing partners3 in accordance with prevailing social norms, culture, and in line with the provision of primary education services by the district education authorities. The second phase encompassed the “implementation” of ECD services in target districts in both the urban and rural government primary schools.
This impact evaluation particularly focuses on the “implementation” phase therefore, it broadly addresses the following questions:
a. Has the programme achieved its stated objectives?
b. Has the programme demonstrated sufficient evidence of impact viewed in terms of the services received by different stakeholders?
c. What are the gaps and observations in the delivery of ECD services?

Development of Performance Management Plans (USAID PAKISTAN)

Partner: USAID Pakistan

Year: 2009


SDPI was hired as a consultant by one of the contractors of USAID (QED, Empower Pakistan Performance) to provide Monitoring and Evaluation support for its performance program. The purpose of this assignment was to help establish a working monitoring and evaluation mechanism. SDPI deputed a team of four persons at USAID PAKISTAN performance to work as the M&E team and to help establish a running operation within a period of one month and hand it over to the full time staff.

The assignment included working with the 14 partners of USAID programs in Pakistan and finally arriving a mutual understanding on targets and indicators for all these programs. This had to be achieved based on one central document called the Performance Management Plan (PMP) that was also supposed to be worked on. During the period of the assignment, SDPI helped work on 4 drafts of the PMP, held 3 partner discussion sessions and also worked on chalking out a strategy for reliable data sources that were to be used by the program. SDPI was also working on creating a large-scale survey of all the 26 target districts that are part of the programs, identifying key indicators and ways in which to calculate such indicators.

Gender and Environmental Migration in selected Districts of Pakistan

Partner: Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (ICSAP), University of Hamburg

Duration: 2012 to May 2013.

Locale:  Ghizer, Hunza, Badin.

Team Members: Dr. Giovanna Gioli, Talimand Khan


Environment induced migration adversely affects women much more then men. Thus- the Gender and Environmental Migration (GEM) project aims to collect gender disaggregated data on local perceptions of climate change and variability and on adaptation strategies to climate change impact in Karakoram region of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as in the Indus River Delta (Sindh) with special focus on migration as adaptive strategy and its gendered impact.

In this regard the study examines the effects of environmental degradation and climate change on out-migration, desegregating the effects by Gender in these regions with a special focus on migration as an adaptive strategy and its gendered impact.

The project conducted in partnership with University of Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence, “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction” (ICSAP), sponsored by the German Research Foundation.

GEM Phase I

Karakoram Region is prone to slow onset of the hazards of climate change such as glaciers melting, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), landslides, erratic rainfall, flash floods and land degradation. Mountain and coastal communities are increasingly abandoning their traditional source of income, agriculture and livestock, resorting to occupational shift and male outmigration as an adaptation strategy to climate change and environmental pressure.

GEM phase II

Sindh, Indus Delta is prone to rapid onset of hazards such as floods, and affected by sea-level rise, storm surge, coastal erosion, and intrusion of saline water into the aquifers. Here communities have lost their means of livelihood (fishery and agriculture) and are forced to adopt alternative livelihood patterns, featuring very high rates of migration.


  • To collect Gender disaggregated data on local perceptions of climate change and variability.
  • To conduct a gender sensitive vulnerability assessment of affected communities.
  • To explore the Gender dimension of environmentally-induced migration, and propose a framework to analyse it.
  • To assess whether migration can be a positive adaptation strategy to environmental pressure, and whether it could enhance women empowerment?.
  • Liaise and interact with local institutions and groups of interest on adaptation policy agendas, and widely disseminate a “Gender and Migration Policy Tool”.


  • Primary data collection
  • Technical report and two academic publications
  • Dissemination of research findings and policy recommendations

Assessment of Media Centers established by PACT Radio in madrassahs of KPK and Balochistan

Partner: United States Institute of Peace

Duration: September to October, 2009

Locale: Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa


PACT Radio had engaged madrassah students in constructive and conciliatory media-related activities by setting up media training centers in madrassahs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

SDPI was asked to carry out a capacity assessment of the project-implementing agency and to conduct a process review of project interventions. The process review specifically focused on assessing overall progress against the original work plan. The assessment included a review of project documentation and site visits. A series of interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with media center coordinators, senior and mid-level managers and students. The assessment also included primary data collection regarding the students/beneficiaries, post -training activities in the media centers and contents of the media broadcasts.

The assessment team was able to carry out site visits in Peshawar (KPK), and Chaman (Balochistan). The centers in the areas of Buner, Swat and D.I Khan were not functioning at the time of the assessment due to military operations in the region and were consequently not visited for assessment, although secondary information regarding the status of each of these non-functioning centers was compiled into the final assessment document.

The assessment noted that where the media centers are functioning, the project is working fairly well, with a content review revealing that interventions by the media centers are largely compatible with the projects objectives. The report pointed towards various limitations and issues of sustainability as well as achievements accomplished by the project, suggesting a number of recommendations to ensure the program’s continued success in the future.

The assessment specifically focused on identifying the improvements made by the PACT Radio in the light of recommendations of the first monitoring report. The assessment included information regarding the students/beneficiaries and motivation, post-training activities in media centers and contents of its media broadcasts.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI): Verification Visit

Year: 2012

Locale:  Rahim Yar Khan and Sukkar

Team Members: Nazim Ali


Better Cotton Initiative is designed to make cotton production in better environment. It is better for the farmers who grow it. BCI is implementing this initiative in Rahim Yar Khan and Sukkar and is also training farmers as how to avoid unnecessary use of pesticides and conserve nature and water. After that, BCI hires third party to verify whether the farmers have adopted this practice or not.

For this purpose, Fair Labour Association (FLA) India, was hired as third party verifier.  FLA requested SDPI to do some verification for them in Sukkar and Rahim Yar Khan. From SDPI two verifiers (Nazim Ali (Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist) and Maqsood Ahmad (Consultant)) paid visits to RYK and Sukkar to check actual vigor of cotton, status of pest and disease, water management practices, child labor incidence and other health and safety compliances followed be interview with farmers about their production practices. Based on observations and interviews, verifiers submitted two reports, one for RYK and other for Sukkar.

Process Evaluation and Impact Assessment of Sindh Rural Support Organization’s (SRSO) Union Council Based Poverty Reduction Program (UCBPRP)

Year:June 2010

Locale: Shikarpur, Kashmore-Kanhdkot and Jacobabad


The primary focus of the study was to evaluate the overall process and procedures of the programme to assess its design, efficiency and sustainability. In 2010, SDPI carried out impact assessment study and Process Review for the Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO).

Process review:

The process review covers three districts such as Shikarpur, Kashmore-Kanhdkot and Jacobabad. The purpose of the assessment is to find out if the operations of Union Council Based Poverty Reduction Program (UCBPRP) are in line with the SOPs designed by SRSO. SRSO has been very successful in Sindh and under the UCBPRP, SRSO has conducted the ‘Poverty Score Card’ survey in 106 union councils in three districts and has so far surveyed 512,732 households. Out of these, 267,554 households have been organized in to 15,360 Community Organizations (COs), coming together in 5,294 Village Organizations (VOs). At the union council level, these VOs are amalgamated into Local Support Organizations (LSOs) and currently 27 of these exist. 64 members of LSOs have been trained in management so far while 39,226 CO members and 32,443 VO members have also been trained. About 90% of all households covered in the process review have been organized into COs and VOs. Poverty Score Card (PSC) for all households in the coverage area was collected. This result was then compared with the poverty scores provided to the SDPI team by SRSO’s Project Implementation Unit (PIU). Poverty scores available with the PIU were those that had been collected in 2009 when the UCBPRP was launched. According to SRSO officials, these records are updated for each household if and when the SRSO officers realize that there is a need to do so.

In order to ascertain the poverty levels of targeted populations, SRSO has employed the ‘Poverty Score Card’ (PSC). As of December 2011, this score card has been filled for 116 union councils in Shikarpur, Kashmore-Kandhkot and Jacobabad. It must also be mentioned here that due to interruption in operations due to floods last year, the UCBPRP was extended for another year. Poverty Score Card ranks targeted households into four different categories, which are defined as following:

1. ‘Extremely Poor’ are households whose score on the PSC is between 0 and 11.

2. ‘Chronically Poor’ are households whose score on the PSC is between 12 and 18.

3. ‘Transitory Poor’ are households whose score on the PSC is between 19 and 23.

4. ‘Non-Poor’ are households whose score on the PSC is between 24 and 100.

Till December 2011, SRSO had organized 267,554 households into 15,360 Community Organizations (CO), which in turn provide members for 5,924 Village Organizations (VO). These village organizations have so far clustered into 27 Local Support Organizations (LSO) with 64 members in total. These members have been provided with training to enable to conduct management skills training at the village and community level.

SRSO staff provides communities with the know-how and support required to mobilize socially. COs and VOs have been provided with rural support products and these products are designed while keeping in mind the local context of poverty. The use of these products by the beneficiaries is dictated by their PSC i.e. different categories enable a household to receive different sorts of products. These products are as follows:

1. Social mobilization of the target population into Community Organisations (CO) and

   Village   Organisations (VO)

2.  Income Generating Grants (IGG)

3.  Small Loans from the Community Investment Fund (CIF)

4.  Vocational Training Program (VTP)

5.  Unskilled Labor Opportunities through Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI)

6. Micro Health Insurance (MHI)

7. Education, which focuses on rehabilitation of built schools which are


8. Village Rehabilitation Program (VRP)


SDPI randomly selected 5% of these UCs for process review. The Process review covers 3 districts, 10 Tehsils, 16 union councils, and 24 villages. Out of the 16 UCs, 5 are from Shikarpur, 5 from Kashmore-Kandhkot and 6 are from Jacobabad. Total number of COs in the process review is 23 and the total number of VOs is 16. Both the UCs and the villages were randomly selected by the SRSO staff and SDPI had no role in deciding which VOs to include in the process review. It must also be noted that the calculation of the poverty score is undertaken at SRSO’s office and SDPI has no role in calculation of these scores.

The level of success that has been achieved by the UCBPRP since 2009 is remarkable. There is a sense of achievement, ownership and confidence amongst the mobilized HHs. It must also be appreciated that SRSO provides interest free loans to its beneficiaries and that most of the HHs have seen a rise in the poverty score since the initiation of the program. Another positive impact of the program has been integration of different ethnicities and cultures under the COs and VOs. These people have realized the power which lies in collective action and it really is beautiful to observe the change in attitudes of the beneficiaries towards what they can achieve with their will power.

In VO Kamal Bhangwar, SDPI team observed that members of Baloch ethnicity were feeling at home in Sind because of their integration in to the society through the UBPRP. This assimilation and dialogue between HHs at village and community level has led to innovative solutions to the common problems. It has also led to dispute resolution and created trust between SRSO and the locals. The assimilations does not only work for the migrants into Sind but also for the different ‘baradaris’ in the area.

In VO ChannaMaula, district Kashmore-Kandhkot, the children of the village had formed their own organization and had a savings account worth PKR 300. The VO members from this village also told the SDPI team that they planned on starting a primary school for girls but the local ‘vadera’ was against this. VO said that they had talked to SRSO about this; the SRSO staff reassured them that this problem will be taken up with the district administration. Such examples need to be shared with the public and especially with the VOs and COs of other areas in the region so that they can learn from best practices.

An important observation made by the SDPI team is that majority of the target population does not have any access to televisions. The process review team is of the opinion that if the CO and VO members are given distance learning material, they can come up with innovative ideas to uplift their socio-economic conditions. One thing that could be done is to make video presentations on best practices related to RSP products across Sind initially and then showcase these to the CO/VO members. The content can be expanded to include national and global examples. This way they can see what practices have what particular benefits and can create the best solutions for themselves.

It was also observed that the CNICs of local population had wrong date of births because of the unavailability of this sort of data from the district administration records. Some COs/VOs had taken up the task of making lists of births and deaths in their area and were maintaining these records to facilitate the problems faced by locals while applying for identification documents. Practices like this can be encouraged in other COs/VOs and can be linked with NADRA to ensure that NADRA records are accurate.

In areas visited by the process review team in Jacobabad, it was observed that a dearth of midwives was causing a lot of problems for pregnant women. Residents of this area were of the view that if SRSO can help initiate midwives training or establish a mother and child health center in the vicinity it would help save many lives. Similarly, the standard of schools in this region was also very poor although SDPI process review did not include any schools from this district but this observation was made while talking to the local population.

In the VO, Din Muhammad Malik, some beneficiaries of MHI were experiencing delay in the delivery of health insurance cards. Even though most of these beneficiaries had not yet used the card, they were very satisfied with the fact that they had in fact the possession of something that was their very own and was guaranteed to work. This kind of attitude is observable in other cases with other SRSO products as well. While this is a very positive change, SRSO must be cautious to remember that it is their duty to make the beneficiaries and the target populations realize that this just the beginning of what they can achieve through RSPs and the video based distance learning mentioned earlier in this section can go a long way in just doing that.

Also, the quality of training especially trainings based on exposure visits must be improved and these trainings must include more members and ask them to think out of the box solution that will work for them by learning from other examples.

BDOs still have to start working and making themselves useful to the VTP trainees. There is still a need to make the beneficiaries of MHI better understand whether OPD is covered in the insurance or not. The beneficiaries of IGG have all engaged in purchase of livestock, and although given the circumstances, this might be the best investment possible. But SRSO needs to help these beneficiaries figure out how to diversify their investment portfolio. Examples exist where beneficiaries have invested money into organizing a small vegetable garden in their backyard which feeds the entire HHs during months of low HH income.

To sum up, there is a great deal of change that has accompanied UCBPRP, and this change needs to make its way in to the greater literature so that more people also learn from this example. Publications based on the research conducted, on case studies and poverty score trajectories can be very helpful in garnering more financial and moral support for the UCBPRP.

Impact Assessment:

Impact Assessment survey was conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) upon the request of Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO). The exercise covers two districts like Shikarpur and Kashmore-Kanhdkot and its purpose is to determine the hard impact of the UCBPRP in terms of assets.

In order to carry out the exercise, SDPI was provided  with the list of all UCs, villages and the beneficiaries in 85 Union Councils and 7 Tehsils of two districts of Shikarpur and Kahsmore-Kandhkot. The exercise covers the said two districts, all 7 Tehsils and 17 union councils, which makes the total sample to 20 per cent. Out of the 17 UCs, 10 are from Shikarpur and 7 from Kashmore-Kandhkot. In the context of 2010 floods in UCBPRP operational area, 10 non-flood, 6 flood-affected and one partly-affected UC is selected to determine the impacts. Total number of beneficiaries assessed the exercise is 542 of 17 sample UCs.

The key findings of the study suggest that a total of 414 (76.38%) beneficiaries came out of the poverty bands and moved to the higher categories. Only 40 (7.38%) were living under the ‘extremely poor’, category while 88 (16.24%) left in the category of ‘chronically poor’. 116 (21.40%) moved the next category of ‘transitory poor’ and 298 (54.98%) non-poor.

Keeping in view the results of the study, it is strongly recommended to carry out more comprehensive and broad-based impact assessment for targeted and sector-wise interventions in future under UCBPRP. There is also need to determine the internal and external factors behind: 55% came out of poverty bands and moved to the non-poor category and 45% remained extremely poor and transitory poor. It is further recommended that UCBPRP may be continued further to protect all three poverty bands.


  • A more comprehensive and broad-based impact assessment is required for targeted and sector-wise interventions in future under UCBPRP
  • There is a need to determine internal and external factors behind: 55% came out of poverty bands and moved to the non-poor category and 45% remained poor and transitory poor.
  • Keeping in view the positive impacts of both non-flood and disaster-related interventions, UCBPRP may be continued further to protect all three poverty bands.
  • The beneficiary who has shifted to the non-poor category may also need to be taken care in future SRSO interventions or may be excluded through phase-out strategy. Different nature of programs may also be designed to target non-poor category.
  • Since social mobilisation is a major factor besides financial assistance to alleviate poverty and empower women, it needs more focus investments.
  • Comprehensive Study need to be conducted to determine soft impacts of the program.
  • There is a need to conduct communication audit of the programme in order to devise comprehensive communication strategy to reach out beneficiaries in an effective manner.
  • Also, need to record success stories, where beneficiaries have benefitted from the UCBPRP interventions in particular and the whole community in general.

An empirical study also needs to be conducted to determine the role of external factors in overall increase in the poverty score. These programmes can be like Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and other government sector flood and non-flood related interventions.

Environmental Analysis of Brick Production Units in Pakistan

(January, 2009)

Also funded by SKAT, the overall objectives of the research were to provide an environmental assessment of kiln workers. This study aimed at undertaking the assessment of emissions from Bull Trench Kilns (BTKs) in relation to Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards, tabulation of emissions from various types of kilns to draw down a regional comparison, to evaluate the effects of kiln emissions on urban health and tabulate the mitigation measures adopted by the concerned agencies.

Assessing the Economic Impacts of NRSP’s Micro credit Program in Bahawalpur, D.G Khan and Rawalpindi

Year: May to June, 2009

Locale: Bahawalpur, D.G Khan and Rawalpindi


Microfinance is now an increasingly important tool for poverty alleviation in the world. The global outreach of microfinance schemes has increased significantly in the recent past. The World Bank estimated that the total number of microfinance institutions worldwide approximated 7000, with a total outreach of about 16 million borrowers, and lending of about $2.5 billion. Currently, Pakistan’s total microfinance outreach is around 1.3 million active borrowers. The single largest provider is the NRSP, with close to 0.46 million borrowers. Khushhali Bank, which was established through a public-private partnership as a result of the Microfinance Bank Ordinance, 2001, caters to approximately 0.35 million active borrowers with an average loan size of Rs.10,500. The hypothesis/research question that we addressed in the study had a two-fold but related dimension, namely:

  • Micro credit generates household income and asset growth
  • Social mobilization enhances these in-come and asset benefits

The literature on the subject, refers to this linkage as micro credit plus. In other words, we reviewed the empirical evidence in favor of and against the proposition that sustain-able microfinance needs to be viewed as a development, as opposed to a commercial activity. The presumption implicit in our hypothesis, was that micro credit in and of itself generated income and asset benefits as did social mobilization. However, the combination of social mobilization and micro credit leveraged the best income and asset out-comes. The intent was to demonstrate that, in fact, the combination generated a synergy rather than a mere additionality.

The overall objective was to assess the economic impact of the program in terms of income generation, increase in income and assets of its borrowers / clients. The study was a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Our study indicated that micro credit has, in-deed, produced the anticipated benefits. They did not, however, bear out the second part of the hypothesis. In other words, the micro credit plus presumption was not sup-ported. The finding had interesting organizational implications. The key implication was that development and microfinance were two structurally disparate activities which needed to be addressed separately. This finding was very different to an earlier study we con-ducted on micro credit impacts on women (Khan et al, 2008). We concluded in that study that social mobilization empowered women socially and culturally, enabling them to utilize micro credit more effectively. However, these two findings are not necessarily incompatible. Women were both poor and socially and culturally marginalized. The RSPs instilled in them a self-awareness and confidence that was key to their undertaking economically productive activities in an inherently repressed environment. This over-rode considerations of organizational incompatibility. Also, at the end of the day, commercial and development functions could not be separated in a RSP controlled environment. The presumption was that the highest management tier would not allow commercial considerations to depreciate their original social and development mandate. In fact, the NRSP had preempted our survey findings and had already established its first microfinance bank.

Safe Drinking Water

(Feb, 2010)

The main objectives of the study were to know aboutpoverty situation, availability of water and people’s accessibility to safe drinking water, water borne diseasesand treatment of drinking water in Khanewal district. Thirty water samples were collected from different locations/localities during stakeholders’ consultation. The Pakistan Center of Research on Water Resources(PCRWR) examined all the samples. Despitethe laboratory analysis tocheck the water quality, people’s views regarding the quality of drinking water and its sources were ascertained through Focus Group Discussions and interviews.