Research funded by AusAID’s Pakistan country program specifically targets Pakistan’s development challenges. Some of the recent highlights of this AusAID-funded research are listed below.
Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (Phase II)
Australia’s assistance helps Pakistani fruit growers improve their livelihoods. Photo: Christian Roth
Australia promotes sustainable economic development in Pakistan by increasing agricultural productivity and improving rural livelihoods. Both countries share similar agro-climatic and resource management challenges. This uniquely places Australia to provide specialist expertise to further Pakistan’s development in this area. This assistance is delivered primarily through the Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) implemented by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Phase I of ASLP was highly regarded by the Government of Pakistan and key stakeholders. In response to requests from Pakistani counterparts, AusAID and ACIAR embarked on the second phase of ASLP in early 2011, to improve access for small-hold and marginalised farmers. Activities are helping farmers increase market and employment opportunities, enhance academic links through long and short-term scholarships, and develop partnerships to improve Pakistani approaches to natural resource management.
Key outputs of ASLP to date include research on key topics relevant to mango production by three female students at the National University of Agricultural Sciences in Islamabad, and delivery of a mango production workshop seminar held in Punjab for district and agricultural officers.
Research and Advocacy Fund
Australia works in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) to support the Government of Pakistan to implement its National Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) program. Through this partnership, the Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF) was established to promote quality, non-clinical research and effective advocacy to improve maternal and newborn health policies and practice in Pakistan.
The RAF generates original research-based evidence to contribute to effective MCNH policy development. In 2011 it allocated more than $12.6 million to 16 projects in 56 districts in-country. The grants enabled research and advocacy on key maternal, newborn and child issues, such as barriers to health services for women and children, and improved birth preparedness for poor women.
Through this successful partnership with DfID, Australia is assisting Pakistan’s progress towards meeting its Millennium Development Goal 4: Reducing child mortality and Millennium Goal 5: Improving maternal health.