Provision of basic services in the Hunza Valley: Transition from social mobilization to social entrepreneurship
Abstract:Provision of basic services in the remote Hunza Valley of northern Pakistan continues to be a major challenge for the public sector. Poor governance, lack of technical and institutional capacities and an absence of financing mechanisms mean that such operations cannot be sustained by the public sector. This experience-based paper shows that, while the demand for services increased with improved socio-economic well-being in the valley, the supply-side gap has not been met by the public sector. Rather, people's needs in Gilgit-Baltistan have been addressed by a range of solutions including innovative merging of civil society and private sector approaches.
This article narrates and evaluates three such cases from the Hunza Valley, namely: the Hunza Environmental Committee, the Hunza Power Utility Company and the Hyderabad Rural Support Organization's early childhood development services. These service providers have received support from multiple actors – local civil society organizations, agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network including the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, and in some cases government offices – but the services are ultimately sustained through private sector fee-for-service models. The path from 'social mobilization' to 'social entrepreneurship' has not been without challenges some of which persist till today, and this paper looks at the successes as well as the challenges.