Gilgit - Baltistan

KADO celebrates 10 years of existence

by Zulfiqar Ali Khan

HUNZA, July 15: Karakoram Area Development Organisation has completed its ten years of operation with developing successful models in women enterprise development, solid waste management, art and culture, IT, Gems cutting and polishing and rehabilitation of special people in Hunza and other parts of Northern Areas.

A mega event was organized in Karimabad Hunza to commemorate the ten years success of KADO in development sector. A large number of community notables and heads of Government and other civil society organization participated the event. Shields were distributed among the founding members, musicians and best artisans of the handicraft and carpet projects. Izhar Hunzai, Member AGM, KADO delivered a detailed presentation about the philosophy and main  achievements of the organization. He said that the success of KADO lies in its indigenous institutional arrangements that constantly fosters enterprising work of local people, encourages volunteerism for development and also finds appropriate and quality solutions to local problems and needs. He said that the main focus of the organisation is women, special
people and other disadvantaged segments of the society.

The organization was established by some visionary educated community members during 1993 as Karakoram Handicraft Promotion Society (KHPS) to revive and promote local handicraft. Later on, it was formally registered during 1998 as KADO.  KADO over the years developed a close partnership with Swiss Agency for Development (SDC), International Development Research Center (IDRC), Aga Khan Culture Service (AKCSP), Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), Government of Pakistan, Rupani Foundation and Hashoo Foundation. The organisation has become a leading regional development organization and has enjoyed the buoyancy of local rural communities across Northern Areas.

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  1. First of all I want to extend my heartiest congratulation to the AGM members, board members and management of KADO for completing ten years with success.

    Today am feeling proud that I was part of this great Organization; I started my career with KADO, and whatever I am today is because of this institution, working with KADO was golden period of my life. The work environment in KADO is unique which I am missing everywhere,

    People’s expectation from KADO is more then its capacity, I will request people of Hunza that trust and support this organization and put your efforts and ideas to strengthen it; this is the only organization which is working for our community without any political & religious objective, there may be some flows or failures but I know their objective is clear and the visionary leadership is always trying to improve the livelihood of this region

    I will expect from the BOD and Management of KADO that you will continue your efforts for the betterment of community and will equally consider all areas of our region.

    All my prayers and support with you for your success.

    Javed Aly

    Dushanbe, Tajikistan

  2. First of all I would like to extend my heartfelt admirations and congratulations to the Board member of the KADO, its management, artisan, and the progressive communities of Hunza on this honorable completion of a decade.

    I had the privilege to be one of the management members of KADO in its initial phases of development. I had joined KADO, because its mission and objectives of socio-economic and cultural development of the disadvantaged groups of Hunza has impressed my desire to contribute and be part of the progressive growth of Hunza. KADO, being one of the pioneers among the indigenous organization with its operation across three main valleys of Hunza and having gathered some of the best available minds which served on its board of directors had a lot of potential to tackle many issues faced by the Hunza, such as poverty and lack of visionary leadership.
    Many of the people of Hunza will be proud to see the contributions of KADO to reduce the curse of poverty and economic disempowerment of hundreds of people across Hunza. Women owned enterprises will be the most valued success of the KADO, because Hunza is facing a huge challenge of employment seeking educated women, who currently have very limited fields to work and very limited number of jobs in those fields beside restricted freedom of physical movement. If it would not be made possible to get an honorable employment and business opportunity for these young, dynamic and educated women of Hunza, it will cause a highly disappointing situation.

    In the development of Hunza, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has played a very important role in the areas of education, health, culture, social and economic development. However, decision making and leadership roles have always remained an issue because of dominant southern leadership of all AKDN organization. Although in Hunza there is always a crisis of leadership in political and civil society organization despite that there is a tremendous potential. In this situation KADO has provided a unique opportunity for the people of Hunza where they could lead their own destinies by their very own people, who could have a more in-depth understand of the problem and know better their resolutions allied with more sympathies and empathy.

    The sustainability and progress of KADO and its successful intervention in many diverse areas although it has faced many cruches, prove that the people of the area possesses skills and knowledge to establish, govern, develop and manage organizations and institution by their own.

    Having counted many many success stories of KADO, it is highly important to accept that KADO has a lot of opportunities and potential to do more than what has already done by now. In order to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of this esteemed organization and materialize a lot of untapped opportunities the rule of meritocracy in all spheres of governance and management is essential.

    Abbas Ali
    ISMC-AKU, London

  3. Nothing but a big Cheeeeerss KADO. A big cheers to its driving forces-BOG and GB. Many many congratulations to its founding minds. After having seen various organizations and having worked with them I must say KADO you are matchless. I started my career with KADO and it was KADO which make me learn the ups and downs of development. KADO inspired me to take step forward and enabled me to do so. I dedicate my professional successes to KADO.

    Aejaz Karim
    International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
    Washington, DC

  4. Sorry to disagree with Javed Posh on some points like: “This is the only organization that is working for our community without any political or relagious objective” have you forgotten the different agencies of AKDN working there? are they working with political or relagious objective? secondly the working environment is unique at KADO, how? could you explain? and lastly completion of ten years of success, it would be really good if some success stories of KADO are shared with the readers through this forum.


  5. I would like to congratulate the entire KADO family for this landmark achievement and I must say that this organization has proved the power of strenght of community work and volunteerism.

    I feel proud for an organization which has now turned ten and it was a baby when I had joined this wonderful organization. Though the journey had begun from KHPS as mentioned by Zulfiqar however it was registered as company in 1998. In 1999, I joined KADO as consultant and then in 2000 as regular employee. I worked with KADO till January 2004 and have remained part of many great strides made by KADO over those four years. This was a launching pad for me which paved my way for a journey to my career.
    I share the feelings of Javed and would proudly say that whatever I am today is because of KADO. As a fresh Masters degree holder, I was really in great shocks when many institutions rejected me becuase I didnt have any experience. It was KADO which gave me a chance to prove my worth.
    The contributions of KADO have been many and it is an organization which has always been for innovations and progress. It has proved to be an icon of excellence and a symbol for many other organizations in the entire area. The case study of Hunza environmental committee (HEC) was published in a book which had success stories of 15 such organizations from accross Pakistan.
    I have a lot to share about the successes of KADO but time limitation is a constraint.

    I think one of the best achievements of KADO is its contribution in human resource development and you can see that how far its associates have gone. I hope to see many more posts from different beneficiaries of KADO.

    I would like to commend the hard work and dedication of the general body of KADO and the BOD. Moreover, there have been some key individuals who have given it a direction. I congratulate all of them for such an achievement and pray that this organization may prosper day in and day out (aamin).

    When I left KADO in 2004, I wrote a poetry for KADO. Here are a few lines:

    Sada-e- Bey Zuban hey misle dur afshan hey KADO
    Ke shajr-e- ba samar hey hum pey ik ehsan hey KADO

    Bahot hi mukhtasar arsay mey isne khdu ko manwaya
    ki sanjida diloon ka jazba aur arman hey KADO

    Ye qissa mukhtasar kar loon karoon jazbat par qaboo
    bahot soon key ilawa muhsin-e- sultan key KADO



  6. Thank you aziz for your comments and questions.

    Dear I was talking in the context of Hunza and I have not forgotten any work of AKDN, but as far as KADO is concern the objective of KADO is Hunza specific and AKDN has brooder visions and multidimensional objectives they are not only working in Hunza but all around the world, so don’t compare AKDN with KADO, but in future we can hope that KADO will be compared with such organizations and it is also the objective of AKDN to strengthen the local community based organizations.
    For your 2nd question I will answer as a professional that the work environment is unique because in KADO one can get many exposures, there is friendly and democratic environment, Mgt & BOD encourages each staff to bring and impart there new ideas and they focus on staff’s personal capacity building, the GOJAL.NET is an example for you, and with kado your job is not specific to your TOR, you get chance to work with other projects and Programs as well; which enhance your managerial skills. also each staff gets chance of national and international trainings.

    3rd……….. for details of these success please visit there web portal

    Javed Aly

    Dushanbe TJK

  7. Dear Javed,

    I respect your comments but not necessarily agree wtih you. If you were not comparing KADO with AKDN agencies, then with which organization you have compared KADO in our region and you found that KADO is the only one working without any political or relagious objectives. Could you please name any of those organizations?? keeping in mind OUR REGION.


  8. Although KADO did alot of work in Hunza, spcialy in central Hunza and few projects are started in upper Hunza, is this Karimabad Area Development Organisation or really Karakoram Area Development Organisation, if this so than why not the projects in other parts of NAs, now they extend thier projects in different valleys, but befor it was limited to Karimabad and sournding areas. As in evry valleys and villages have skilled women in hadicrafts sector but ignored the upper Hunza. I also not agree with Javed that we can not compare KADO with AKDN.

  9. I can see many of the KADO Alumni contributing here.

    Note of caution: we are not a self-congratulating lot; we believed in self-criticizm and were taught to ‘act-reflect and act’ in a dialectical process.

    while KADO did many wonders in the local context during the last decade, it failed on many scores. But the good thing was it acknowledged its failures, learned from it, and continous to move ahead. Creating job and income opportunities for the poor and those in need, developing value added sectors and sub-sectors beyond handicrafts, making KADO relevant for the youth and women and creating ownership throughout Hunza; central, upper and lower, and linking up to the grassroots institutions, are still big challenges KADO has to work hard achieving its mission and objectives.

    As a local development organization, the comparisons are NDO in Nagar, TMS’ in central Hunza, BCF in Baltistan, and may be recently the SRDP Trust in Sost. We can see the difference.

    Transparency, accountability, plurality of views, consenus, self-reliance, innvotion, concern for the disadvantaged groups, networking and partnership building, these were of the principles and values KADO continuous to promote, definitely with no 100% success, but the quest for a a democratic society providing equal opportunity to all, continues.

    In the last AGM on the 10th August, KADO carved new strategy for the future: scaling up its strategic focus in the coming 5 years by creating new subsidiaries able to create joint ventures with international partners for economic growth, social entrepreneurship and creating more opportunities for the educated youth using ICTs in the knowledge society.

    It was also agreed in principle to revamp the membership base and a board committee was formed to look for broadening the membership base making the organization and its services more inclusive and open to new interests.

    Amin Beg
    ex-staff of KADO and currently AGM member

  10. KADO has blackmailed many International Agencies on the name of innocent people of Karakoram Area. As the name reveals it says its the only representative organization of Karakoram Area. The karakoram Area is not limited to only Karimabad and Aliabad . Now the agencies have learned its tactics thats why noone is contributing / financing KADO any more. The last project with local Govt. was a big mistake by local Govt. Therefore now KADO is looking for source of finance to survive. Looking at Projects by KADO in the past , currently on one project has sustained. KHDP was closed. HEC does not realy esists. ICT is taking final breaths.HACF is long gone…!!! What else GEMS business is a short term finance by an individual . ACtualy AKCSP made the mistake to make grounds for KADO to establish. There are two individuals who are playing the strings. There are no real projects on ground but only demostrations on paper and presentations. KADO is good in celebrating tamashas and fuctions.
    It looks like its going to disapear from the scene because of poor management and no support from community.

  11. Since Amin Bhai has contibuted to this thread in his professional and intellectual style, I cant wait to say a few words about this giant who has been one of the backbones of KADO. At the time of my affiliation with KADO, I was fortunate enough to work with Aming Beg (the then GM). I never realized working under a BOSS rather a good teacher and a human being who inspires. I have learnt a lot from him that is why I have great respect for him. Another person who inspired me by his selfless dedication was Dr. Khawaja Khan (The then Chairman). I think that both of them have done an exmaplary work. Besides these visionary leaders, I must say that the BOD and AGM has been so supportive and cooperative all the time. I still remember the heated debates and discussions intended for the development of the area.

    Said that, as mentioned by Amin Bhai, this organization has a lot to achieve in the years ahead. The good thing is that all decision makers are local and that makes a difference when it comes to governance. By the way, KADO is the organization which has not only acquired capacities in good governance but has also imparted training to other organizations in Baltistan, Diamer, Astore, Gilgit and Ghizer. This can be taken as on success story.

    So at this juncture in history, I would say that KADO has a promising and challenging future and I am confident that it will work day in and day out to realize the new strategies and vision in a pragmatic manner.


  12. Agree that KADO has contributed a lot towards the development of the entire Hunza and it must celeberate its decades….. But it is also important to public the specific achievements, failures and future plans. Celeberating decade is something taking a new horrizon or shift.. if it is only celeberation and praising than i would think it is useless…
    The sad point of this debate is that only the ex employees or those who have benefited are defending and are aknowledging the success…what about the common people of Hunza are they happy with it…..
    Dear KADO ex-staff members instead of counting its success lets take it an opportunity and try to get more new things KADO should do in Hunza in the next ten years….

    Aziz was somehow right and is right that in the context of Hunza we can not compare it with others …. there might be some little organizations gained alot

  13. I do agree with Amin Beg, one some points, who served KADO for a long time in a highly effective professional capacity and currently serving in voluntary position. I hope his role as an AGM member is as effective as it was as a professional.

    I could see a vivid sense of ownership among all those who have contributed their views honestly and sincerely (most of them ex-staff member of KADO) regarding performance of KADO over a period of a decade.

    It is undeniable true to say that KADO has made a significant difference in the lives of people to with whom it has worked directly; those could be found in all the three regions of Hunza valley. Of course with its limited resources as that of any other organization KADO could not have been able to reach to all the deserving communities and individuals for who’s welfare and development it has been established. However, it may not be fair to say that it has served more in one region than other, a person with a more familiarity with KADOs activities would eloquently accept KADOs struggle for a balanced approach in all three regions.

    Having said this and taking the words of Amin Beg as representative thoughts of KADOs AGM, one could ask the questions such as:

    What are the main reasons for failures?
    What is the planning to avoid this kind of failures in future?

    Let’s talk a bit more frankly and come out of the niceties of literal values for the sake of more clear to put the point across.

    Although KADO is a democratic organization, and as any other democratic organization politics would be and was a major element to decide policies, implementation of programmes and hiring staff members. As being a democratic organization politics could not be avoided at all rather it is an important factor that has to be harnessed towards effective politics by avoiding destructive politics. Politics that I observed and heard about is revolving around three regions of Hunza some times to a point of destruction and sever damages. It is crucial to avoid and reduce regional politics within KADO and should be replaced with principles of democracy as Amin Beg has mentioned “Transparency, accountability, plurality of views, consensus, self-reliance, innovation”. These should not be words on lips rather genuinely implemented

    Second most important element is hiring competent, enthusiastic and committed staff members meritocraticlly. Board members could generate the best possible ideas, policies and a visionary programme, but it has to been implemented by staff. Staff members are implementers of the board vision same as tools in the hand of a skilled carpenter or any technician. There should not be any compromise or politics at the cost of quality human resources. No matter how skilled is the technician if he will not have proportionately effective tools and technology he could not produce a desired product. So it is highly desired to create the right balance between strength and capabilities of staff and board to achieve the desired objectives of KADO avoid all sought of politics and with single objectives of having competent staff.

    I hope with the awareness of the weaknesses, challenge and opportunity as expressed by Amin Beg and by getting the right people with right capabilities KADO will progress faster to meet the expectation of the many people in Hunza.

    Abbas Ali
    AKU-ISMC, London

  14. While roaming around on the net I just came accross this blog where I could see a lot of comments by individuals who are residents of North Pakistan especially Hunza and surroundings including upper Hunza.
    I myself belong to upper hunza (Misgar) but for the sack of a better life , been out of there most of my life however always heartly care for this region. And I wish to do some extra for the community in the future.
    I had got a chance to contribute my part for the development of this region while being a team member of KADO ICT Project. Now what I learnt about why KADO was establishing its project in central hunza mostly and not on the surrounding regions; was that due to some facts:
    First because for any project / mission to acheive successful results and goals, the environment counts, especially if you are doing some technology based research then you have to consider some points in mind and a feasible ground which are the most important for a successful launch. This was what KADO has considered and because HUNZA was a good point to start with and to spread branches from there.

    Secondly, there were always some priorities those were needed to be set for the acheivement of the mission.
    Anyhow there were some good points and some bad points ; we had some success stories and some failures. We also made mistakes as humans. But tried to analyse them and overcome.

    I think personaly I always wanted to bring Internet connectivity to Upper Hunza, although it was already one of our tasks assigned. Also once myself and then my good colleague Javed tried to conduct tests in each and every place in Gulmit, Gulkin, Sost etc but the media was not capable. So besides wishing we could not acheive this using the available resources.

    There is no point that KADO is not doing anything for other regions as it always tried to expand but one thing that needs to be considered here is that representation in the BOD and AGM by the people of other regions is important as well.

    I will try not to compare it with other organizations as I have no authority on that it is something to be decided by the community .

    Mostly why people wish KADO to come to their village and contribute is only because definetly it has made acheivements and there are some success stroies (besides failures).

    So I think the forming model of KADO as a community organization is worth appreciating and KADO needs fruitful critisim for its further improvement.

    I wish that it can fullfill the requirements of people of whole Karakoram Area not only hunza and I hope that it will try to learn from this criticism.

    Good Day!

    Imran Ahmed
    Snr. Assistant Manager Planning
    Mobilink GSM Islamabad Pakistan

  15. While we respect the views and perceptions of Safaid Posh ( i hope the ‘posh’ is not a family name here like Javed Posh!!), there are some lessons for KADO and other CSOs in what he/she has described in the posting above:

    i) KADO needs to really communicate to the larger audience using conventional and non-conventional communication tools to what it is standing for and what its achievements/non-achievements are;

    ii) Civil society organizations like KADO who are involved in delivering public good, have limitations; finance, outreach, relevance, efficiency and effectiveness are major challenges the volunteers and professional staff need to constantly strive for. However these initiatives are not a replacement of the government, public representatives or the private sector. They have to play their due role in delivering public good, and the youth and the public need to act as watchdogs in this regard;

    iii) Projects and programs are by definition time and resource-bound. They have to end. but the important thing is its effects and impact remains and is internalized either by the market forces, or the communities and the government.

    iv) To err is human, and institutions also make mistakes because these are concieved and run by people. Important point is to learn from mistakes and move ahead.

    Amin Beg

  16. I respect all criticism about KADO, but I will request the PT Blog editor, to please follow the etiquette rule for PT.

    “”“Shall be posted using original name, consistent nicks, and/or verifiable email addresses. All comments not following this rule will not be allowed space on Pamir New Blog”””

    It is not the forum to critique families,

    Javed Aly


  17. KADO was the first institutional attempt by the people of Hunza to set themselves free from NGOs headed, operated and run by people from outside our region. The reality that KADO has successfully completed a decade of its existence indicates the capability, competence and above all the willingness of our people to take their own destiny in their own hands. KADO’s success story tells us a bit about the role of board members who apparently took good policy-decisions and it also tells us something about the members of the staff who worked with dedication and enthusiasm, as voiced above in some of the comments from former employees of KADO. Setting aside power-struggles, scramble for scare resources and regional politics; I think achievements of KADO as a successful, genuinely indigenous initiative must really be appreciated.

    Since there is a proliferation of NGOs in Hunza I think this is now an occasion to seriously ponder on the their role in our area. Here, I would like to offer some general remarks on this growing culture and mentality of dependency on NGO that has impacted negatively our perceptions about addressing issues of development in Hunza and elsewhere in Giligt-Baltistan. As noted above that the government is the main institutional vehicle through which all social, economic and political issues can be resolved. It must be the responsibility of the government to create appropriate conditions in which business could flourish, jobs and employment opportunities could emerge, issues of health and education are addressed. NGOs are merely there to supplement the efforts of the government. As a matter of fact, all NGOs are transitory, temporary and auxiliary elements in society. They can never replace the government.

    Although we are fond of categorising NGOs as part of the civil society and we expect them to behave as if they are the ultimate source of solution to our problems. No they are not. A robust civil society is the space where people enter into a social contract and enact a covenant to which they surrender their liberties in the hope of managing their affairs. Now independent associations, based on shared interests seek to monitor the system of laws that has been in place to govern their lives. NGOs in our area so far have never performed such a task. They have presented and behaved like corporate bodies without accountability to the people whom they serve. KADO may well have distinguished itself by trying to focus on the disadvantaged members of the community in Hunza and attempted to boost local entrepreneurial potential but in the end this organisation remains accountable to its foreign patrons: in this case Swiss Development Corporation SDC. The idea is not that KADO and others must not be accountable to their donors at all but the point is that NGO don’t care if the community is well-served or not, for the very simple reason that they are not really answerable to the community in question.

    While we recognise that Hunza and surrounding valleys have recently seen a transition from traditional, subsistence and agrarian-economy to an economic system that is based on the concept of free-market, we cannot resist pointing out that this transition has been haphazard and ill-planned. The market is already there, alive and well. We have got private businesses, shops, buyers and sellers, exporters and importers and all the trappings of a market-based economy. But it is sadly noted that we don’t have an appropriate legal mechanism, an efficient and a just governance system in place. Economic growth and development takes place not just because of intervention of a cluster of NGOs but certainly because of the enabling conditions that include rule of law, processes of legislation, and development of healthy norms and above all a fair chance for everybody to succeed.

    Remember the recent judicial battles and subsequent abuse of power by Ghazanfer and his sons in Sost Dry Port episode. Had we a strong and effective judicial system, impeccable bureaucratic structure and a vibrant civil society then no one could ever have dared to abuse the rights of poor people not only in Dry Port but elsewhere as well. Now I think all of this boils down to our quest for the need to have a government of our choice in place.

  18. In my turn I wish to congratulate KADO with its anniversary as presumably the first but no longer sole Hunza based non governemental organisation.

    Being with KADO and involved in several of its succesfull projects as a foreign cultural consultant during the winter of 2001, I can tell you, that this episode, although brief as it may seem, belongs to one of the highlights in my professional career of the last ten years. I thank KADO. I witnessed an overall ownership of the organisations’ strategic goals by the participants, a commiitment of all stakeholders with the target groups, and an inspiring human resource management, which benefited young talents, regardless of gender.

    The value of the organisation lies in my opinion not in its smart successes, or in its deplorable failures, as they both are inevitable in any learning organisation, but the true value of KADO is that it has been a role model for development organisations in the NA.

    No point in repeating Mr Aili Begs remarks, whom I hold in great esteem. I like what he wrote:” Transparency, accountability, plurality of views, consenus, self-reliance, innvotion, concern for the disadvantaged groups, networking and partnership building, these were of the principles and values KADO continuous to promote”

    I believe the words of Mr Abba Ali when he puts, that the villages of the 3 Hunza valleys opt for cooperation with KADO if asked for. And if ones would wish to counterspeak the criticism of Mr/Mrs Posh I,d say to move ahead with a redefined focus on addes value of a development organisation. Society support matters and international communication.

    A thourough analysis of opportunities chances strengts and weaknesses is an item I have missed in this meaningfull discussion though.

    I might repeat myself, but its like Mr Sultan Ahmed said, that het method of the project has been trained and implemented in other organisations. To paraphrase a well known saying: ” method over matter”

    Exporting methods rather than public goods is the business the international development branche – myself included – has been involved with for at least the last five years.

    I have read all posted comments with great attention. keep u the good work. Its really important to the people and the region. You have made a difference.

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