Rural Development

Giving people greater voice and choices in deciding their futures


In agrarian places such as Northern Pakistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Mozambique, poverty is widespread with average income at only $150 per year. The Foundation works in these places and more to support local communities and their rural development projects. Our success has encouraged other development organizations to adopt our approach to rural development.

Our rural development programs help families save and gain access to credit. These programs also provide assistance to enterprise development, natural resource management and building infrastructure. Through grassroots decision making bodies, programs not only build up rural areas but also give people greater voice and choices in deciding their own futures.

Our Foundation has rural development programs in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Syria and Tajikistan. Today, 2.5 million people worldwide have benefited directly from the Foundation’s rural development programs, while nearly 12 million people in over 8,400 village organizations have indirectly benefited.


Over a quarter century ago, the Foundation began an ambitious experiment in Northern Pakistan. For centuries the economy was mainly dependent on the barter system. Only one person in ten could read. And the country had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

To reverse these deplorable trends, the Foundation has worked to organize small, subsistence farmers and communities into democratic villages that work to raise living standards. These community organizations collectively identify common farming problems and find affordable, effective solutions. To date, over 4,300 village and women organizations have been formed in northern Pakistan.

Project Spotlight: Read more about our work in rural development

Pamir Energy, Central Asia

Facilitating Farmers' Access to Markets, Mali

Teaching Sustainable Agriculture, Mozambique

Microfinance & Home Improvement, Afghanistan

Women's Agricultural Entrepreneurship, Egypt