Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO) is an indigenous initiative aimed at to improve the socio-economic conditions of the local communities with a special focus on women, disabled people and other marginalized segments of the society. It has a remarkable history of more than twelve years.
KADO’s genesis lies in formation of a society called Karakoram Handicrafts Promotion Society (KHPS) in 1995 in order to revive and harness indigenous handicrafts for local development. The source of inspiration for motivated founders (social workers, entrepreneurs, development professionals, artisan men and women etc) was to engage in an institutional mechanism to help grow the local handicraft market and also to instill level of confidence in artisan and indigenous skills. This initiative turned into Karakoram Handicraft Development Programme (KHDP) in April 1996, when Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) agreed to finance the pilot project. After successful completion of the pilot phase, SDC extended its financial support to the Programme. Based on the results achieved, it received awards from President General Pervaiz Musharaf as recognition of its outstanding performance for rural women and crafts.
As the project got an acceptable speed and recognition amongst the community, many other ideas floated by community and AKDN agencies in Environment, culture and other sectors. For that purpose, two projects were started, one with the name of HEC (Hunza Environmental Committee) in the domain of Environment and other HACF (Hunza Art and Cultural Forum) in the domain of culture and heritage.
When the mandate was grown, there wasthe realization that an umbrella organization is needed to manage variety of projects, thus KADO was formally formed and registered under the Company Ordinance, in 1998. From there on words, KADO diversified its focus areas and resource bases and successfully implemented projects in rehabilitation of special people, information and communication technology, gems cutting, polishing and jewellery making, knowledge management and E-governance.
One of the interesting parts of the KHDP exit phase 2006–2008 was the divestment of the project into five women-owned embroidery businesses. The purpose of establishing these companies were to promote profitable, culture-sensitive and environmentally sustainable micro-enterprises creating village-based income and employment opportunities for artisans, women, small producers and the special need members of the community. Similarly, the ownerships of the carpet and fabric centers were also transferred to the artisans. These women-owned business groups are now independently and successfully managing their businesses and KADO is just providing overall supervision.
For further details read the below Case Studies.
- Empowerment of Civil Society for Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Karakoram Area Development Organization in Hunza Valley.
- Decade of Hope and Accelerated Action: A Personal Story and Reminiscence of the Challenges and Dynamics of Fostering Area-based Indigenized Institutional Actions in Hunza Valley.