Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development


The Improving Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Programme (I-LED) was a three-year initiative to assist communities affected by the October 2005 Kashmir earthquake. I-LED focused on generating increased incomes, employment, and an improved asset base for the earthquake-affected populations in the Siran and Kaghan Valleys in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Bagh District in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The Livelihoods component, completed in 2008, delivered assets replacement of key farming systems, capacity building, and reconstruction of affected infrastructure. Complementing these efforts, I-LED developed agricultural and tourism value chains that resulted in the creation and support of 3,082 new and existing enterprises that provided full-time equivalent employment to more than 4,914 individuals by the project’s conclusion.

Programme Approach:

  • Through a participatory community engagement process, I-LED worked with communities to identify and prioritize needs; provided support for communities to restore livestock and re-establish crop systems;
  • Promoted industries with growth potential by strengthening key subsectors through grants training and technical assistance, which lead to increased competitiveness of local Pakistani enterprises;
  • Engaged community groups and government stakeholders to facilitate stronger public-private partnerships, supported a positive role for government in enterprise development, and helped producers and processors improve economic opportunities through formal organization.

Value-Chain Development & Enterprise Development: I-LED is built upon revitalized and improved agricultural production by introducing sustainable value-adding activities such as milk collection schemes and potato seed storages that created market, as well as employment, opportunities for farmers. Further, by organizing producers and processors into clusters and associations, we increased opportunities for collective marketing and purchasing as well as group advocacy. I-LED sought to generate new employment and income opportunities, improve competitiveness of products and services, and increase access to markets by providing the resources necessary to develop value chains and establish new enterprises.

Forage Crops: I-LED supported “Cut and Carry” fodder projects for each of the 176 feedlot grant recipients to improve the availability of green fodder. Recipients participated in trainings on land preparation, seed sowing and fodder management.

Dairy Sector Improvement: Our strategy in the dairy sector was two-fold: increase the production capacity of dairy farms and develop clearly defined milk production clusters or zones within close proximity of major regional markets. Trainings were provided on proper animal care and animal husbandry to increase the sustainability of impact and growth in the dairy sector.

Small Ruminants and Poultry: CNFA designed and conducted numerous training activities for farmers and associations. In addition, I-LED awarded livelihoods and enterprise grants, aiming to restore livestock populations and improve the production capacity and quality of animal products.

Grants & Training: While initial programming activities focused on rebuilding damaged livelihoods, in later stages I-LED transitioned accordingly towards economic value-chain and local economic development using enterprise matching grants, value-chain grants and farm store grants.

Support of Women Entrepreneurs: I-LED involved women and men equitably in the community engagement process; women made up over 28% of programme beneficiaries who received direct training.

Community Organization & Association Development: The Local Economic Development component focused on strengthening clusters and associations by promoting teamwork, enhancing local decision making and maximizing usage of local resources. I-LED established linkages between local banks, enterprises and associations to provide better access to loans and business services for entrepreneurs.

Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI): In order to facilitate the transition from relief to economic development, I-LED restored, renovated and reconstructed numerous physical structures vital to local communities, such as irrigation structures, shops, public facilities and other productive infrastructure.

Programme Impact:

  • 1,957 Members in business associations and societies created during the program;
  • 432 Trainings held in various agricultural and tourism sectors;
  • 18,182 Individuals reached by I-LED agriculture and tourism sector trainings;
  • 493 I-LED supported enterprises accessing formal finance;
  • 72,000+ Employment opportunities provided for over 26,000 households benefiting from I-LED.