Ever wonder how Gladioli bulbs can help an estimated 1,000 families start earning their living and jumpstart a fledgling flower industry in Pakistan? USAID, through the Small Grants Program and the US Ambassador’s Fund, seeks to empower grassroots organizations and community groups working to strengthen civil society in Pakistan.
The U.S. Ambassador’s Fund provides small grants to improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community level. The Fund supports high-impact, quick-implementation activities, that can be completed within one year without requiring further funding.
On this occasion, we highlight one of the results of the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund in Rawalakot, known for its dire economic situation for the 540,000 residents who until recently only planted maize and wheat.
In a strategically located valley just 120 km from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Rawalakot’s high elevation (1,615 m.) makes it ideal for growing gladioli bulbs which are increasingly becoming popular in major cities.
USAID financed the purchase of gladioli bulbs, training sessions for farmers, and consultations of an agricultural specialist to help the families grow the flowers correctly. Thanks to the project, families have increased their revenues by over 70%, with women being the main beneficiaries of the project. This project has enabled women to become salient participants in the flower industry and because of related activities involving the sale and distribution of the flower, it is estimated that many more families in surrounding communities will benefit greatly from this project. As a result of the increase in income, families are now able to invest the money into their children’s education and household expenses.