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Rural Hub Pakistan

Exchange facilitating

On a 10-day visit in Nepal the learning group of Pakistan visited:

  • READ Centre
  • Hamri Bahini - The Green Angels
  • Rockstart
  • Daayitwa Rural Enterprise Acceleration Programme

It was a full programme with meetings, lectures, and seeing in practice. Each initiative has different approaches for their local challenges. This made the visit a rich experience in which the group learned many new insights and knowledge to tackle their own local challenges.

The return visit is scheduled for the beginning of 2018, when the representatives of the Nepali initiatives will come to visit the learning group.


“This exchange program was a phenomenal experience. It was full of valuable lessons consisting of best practices for achieving sustainability for small enterprises. Aspects related to establishing hubs in rural areas were the major highlight of the program - the learnings from this have been absolutely instrumental in effectively establishing Innovation Hubs in Layyah and Jamshoro districts of Pakistan. Through these Hubs, the aim is to provide safe environment, mentoring and coaching to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, particularly youth and women.” - Mohsin, Program Manager TiE



"The exchange program was very useful as we were able to learn from the best practices in Nepal. Not only did we learn but we have also applied those learnings in the context of Pakistan. Where we have started similar programs through Oxfam’s partner organization in two localities. I am honored to be part of a team that is able to implement cross cultural learnings."-Mevish, Business women from Lahore


The following lessons and observations were captured from the various initiatives during the exchange visit:

Rockstart impact

  • Work with existing small, but potential businesses
  • Do not only link with national mentors, but also with international mentors
  • Develop a market place for girls to pitch tech-based solutions for innovative enterprises

R&D Innovative Solutions

  • Develop multiple selling platforms, connecting rural to urban platforms
  • Connect farmers via a self-sustained model
  • Contract farming can lead to guaranteed sales

Himalayan Climate Initiative

  • Develop a home grown social innovation and incubation hub
  • Create a job placement model (social enterprise)
  • A strong campaign can result into the creation of demand

Daayitwa Rural Enterprise Acceleration Programme

  • Create a cluster of entrepreneurs from one community and connect them with other entrepreneurs for knowledge sharing
  • Bring together a cluster of entrepreneurs/ farmers with strong negotiation power for impact creation

Read Center – Rural Education and development

  • Ensure the initiative is a community collective with community-based management
  • Make us of different sub-communities to ensure the smooth running of the operations of the hub

Blog by Shahzad Shakeel

Hello! My name is Shahzad Shakeel and I'm a project officer at Oxfam Pakistan. I joined the E-Motive learning exchange to learn around women mobility, tools for entrepreneurship and sustainability of HUB. Moreover, to learn around issues prevail different context and their solutions.

The experience was quite rich and able to broaden the horizon to look at the enterprise development in a different perspective. I have been able to learn around various services that helps me to rethink services that an incubation centers can provide. I am very delighted to see how R&D develop a value of chain of different products that come straight from farms. I am very hopeful to replicate the model in Pakistan and share learning with others.

What I was expecting from the learning exchange: My expectations were to learn real, practical and workable models of incubation or alike centers. Moreover, their sustainability and model of services that they offer in villages. In addition, how do they engage women especially their economic engagement at village level.

My biggest learnings are:
1) It is very important to make clear plans and focus on the products or services that are viable, feasible and your target audience have related skills.
2) Do not engage everyone in entrepreneurship, first learn about their inspirations and show them model, pathways that are relevant to their context and be a catalyst.
3) Market linkage is an important component but broaden your horizon and try to link in a non-traditional manner such as create reliable innovative agents in value chain.
4) Always start humble, try little thing, fail fast and move on.

What I want to do with my learnings in the future: I really want to implement successful models such as R&D, that we hope to be beneficial for the people we work. These learning will be incorporated at different levels such as sustainability of HUB. I would like to share my learning with other project team members and work together to replicate model.

Finally, I would like to share:
I really like the idea of return visit, which is a mean to stick to our plans and analyze the work we are doing. Moreover, a combination of diverse group not just enhance learning but a chance to lobby and work for a bigger purpose. Lastly, it is important to personalize the learning to get maximum out of it.

In the meantime...

The first implementations of the learnings are in full swing. Mevish Arifeen travelled to Layyah for a mentoring visit.

"It was very exciting! I also saw the Hub. It is a fantastic space and I can't wait for it to come alive! Exciting things are taking place and I am honoured to be part of it in some way."