Gilgit - Baltistan

Op – Ed: Ten years of KADO

by Aejaz Karim

I went through some interesting discussions between various individuals, starting from Mr. Aziz and Mr. Javed. I appreciate it, it is a healthy practice to dig up more and more and question the success stories of various organizations working in our part of the world. Countering and challenging any idea, fact or statement gives one more insight to its reality. So it is important and we must keep it on, but for the positive reasons and for the sake of knowledge. Keeping in view the context of our area and going through the lines of Mr. Javed I assume or surely can say that “KADO is the only” means no other organization works with the same mandate, activities, strength, resources, networking etc. So, comparing KADO with any other organization seems kind of less rational. Being a community based organization we cannot compare it with AKDN, because AKDN is matchless even on international level. Though there are many organizations working on community level, but still there is a huge gap. KADO has a very dynamic mandate and approach. It started with Sharma (plos) making, and embroidery and kept on enhancing its activities to both traditional and nontraditional fields. Today it is talking about many e’s.

Let’s start from the very beginning. KADO vary successfully transformed the household skill of embroidery to a commercial and income generating activity for more than 3000 women in the entire Hunza valley. Before KADO there were hardly 3 or 4 embroidery product lines, but today it has increased to several hundreds. KADO transformed its handicraft project to women enterprise where the women artisans have been linked to the market and they are working independently to meet the market demand. Threadnet Hunza, a brand name of embroidery products has been established and is recognized internationally. KADO also published a book on traditional embroidery designs and motifs which is a great source of transmitting the century old skills to the coming generation and art lovers. Carpet weaving, a new skill was imparted to the more than 100 women, who are now running their own enterprise.

Now let us move further, Kasbe Kamal project of KADO has been very instrumental in reviving our tradition music and production of musical instruments. It also played a great role in reviving certain skills, festivals and performing arts under the umbrella of Hunza Arts and Cultural Forum (HACF). 

Mainstreaming the special people and making them a useful part of the society is also one of the great contributions of KADO. Through its Rehabilitation Centers-both for men and women KADO successfully engaged more than 100 special persons and made them not only skillful citizens, but also a source of income for their families-some the only bread winners. Today a full-fledged Rehabilitation Center is under construction with the help of the government.

Environmental issue, KADO is the first organization ever to step into this very important part of our beautiful valley. From the solid waste management to environmental day celebration KADO has played a pivotal role in both awareness about and safeguarding the environment of Hunza valley.

 The most important requirement of today’s age-Information Technology, project has been very successfully implemented by KADO in the area. This project is not only an ISP, but eVillage, eSchool, eGovernance, eMarketing, eLearning, eKnowledge, eFarming & Telemedicine are also its various components. Documenting and recording of traditional festivals and events, and producing them to visual form is also another major step of KADO. 

Another non tradition project of KADO is the establishment of Gem Stone Cutting and Polishing. Under this project many youngsters have been trained.

Now on the other side, one the great contributions of KADO to our society is human resource development. Under its Human Resource Development project KADO has trained hundreds, I would say thousands, of people in verity of fields: accounting, bookkeeping, governance, management, administration, marketing, project management, leadership skills, computer literacy, designing, arts and craft, music, embroidery, wool spinning, knitting, cutting and sewing, product designing, wooden utensil making, wood carving, performing art, documentary producing etc. the list goes on and on.

Introduction of new projects, Business Incubation, Business Development Service Providers, Women Enterprises have also been the unique and effective approaches of KADO.

Another contribution of KADO to the human resource development in the area is in the form of enhancing the skill of its board members, staff, volunteers and interns. KADO has very successfully played the role of steppingstone for many young development professionals. KADO welcomed them, trained them, and transformed those raw materials to a synthetic form. Today they are enjoying key positions not only with various organizations in the Northern Areas, but in other parts of the country as well as abroad.

KADO has also very successfully established networking and good working relationships with the government of Pakistan, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC), International Development & Research Center (IDRC), COMSATS, The World Bank, Embassies of: the United States of America, Finland, Japan, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, WWFP, IUCN, UNESCO, ICIMod, Rupani Foundation, Hashoo Foundation etc. KADO has also very good working relationships with the entire civil society organization in the area.

It was just a reflection on the successes of KADO, not ultimately an answer to any question or a part of any debate. Lastly, a couplet for KADO and Mr. Sultan Ahmad, my colleague at KADO and AKESP, a very nice and great person.

صرف تو ہی نہیں سلطان جویہ محسوس کرتا ہے
 بہت احسانمند ہے اور بہت مشکور ہے ہم بھی
(Sirif tu hi nahi Sultan jo ye mehsoos kart he      
Buhot ehsanmand he awr buhot mashkoor ham bhi he)

The Writer started his career with KADO as a volunteer then worked as Training Officer and Human & Institutional Development Officer. He spent four years of his career with KADO. Currently he is working for the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, in Washington, DC.


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