Celebrating the work of the British Asian Trust’s UK Aid Match programme in Pakistan

31 January 2024

Since 2022, UK Aid Match grant holder, the British Asian Trust have been delivering a three-year Driving Women’s Economic Empowerment (DWEE) programme in Pakistan. They secured £2million of match funding from the UK government to support women in urban and rural areas of Pakistan, equipping them with knowledge and skills to become financially independent.

On 18 January, supporters gathered at an event in London, hosted by Lord Tariq Ahmad of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO,) to celebrate the mid-way point of the project and look at the successes so far.

For many women in Pakistan, access to financial independence is limited. Literacy and employment rates, particularly in rural areas, are significantly lower for women than for men and this reduces women’s freedoms to make their own choices in life.

The British Asian Trust has been working to change this. Through their UK Aid Match programme, among many others, they have partnered with local disability organisation NOWPDP on a textile training programme, which creates opportunity for vulnerable women to earn their own income.  

Agnes was introduced to NOWPDP through a friend, and after contacting them they invited her to take part in their stitching course. At first, because of her disability, Agnes struggled to learn to stitch, but through training and support her skills improved and she now earns an income of her own.

“I now feel capable and independent. I don’t even ask my family for money anymore. I earn my income independently through my stitching business.”

A women smiling while using a sewing machine.

Photo: Agnes stitching as part of the DWEE programme

Through the DWEE programme, close to 5,000 women like Agnes have participated in vocational, technical and entrepreneurial trainings, building life-changing skills to support increased economic independence. Over 2,800 women have secured jobs and internships in trades including dress making, stitching and graphic design. Because of this training and support, thousands of women now have the confidence and skills they need to be financially independent and support their families.

A group of women sat around a table wearing colour clothing. A woman stood at the front with her arms crossed, smiling.

Photo: Women from the DWEE programme

Watch this impact video to learn more about the programme.