Acumen Blog


The Pakistan Floods: How You Can Help

Photo Credit: SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images

As you know, Acumen Fund is committed to working in Pakistan where we have been operating since 2002. We have been closely watching the developments with the severe flooding on the ground, and would like to provide an update on the situation, highlighting organizations that you can support in their response efforts to this grave and urgent situation.

Pakistan has been affected by the worst floods in living memory.  13.8 million people have been displaced by the flood and 6 million of these require immediate help according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),.  The floods have severely affected all of the provinces of the country and the magnitude of the devastation dwarfs other recent natural disasters. The millions who have been displaced were living at or below the poverty line and whatever little possessions and assets they had have been washed away, and their crops destroyed by the flood. The public infrastructure in the region – including access roads and bridges – have been badly damaged or have collapsed. There is a desperate need for temporary shelter, clean drinking water and toilets to avert a public health catastrophe. People also need basic goods and essential medical care.

In the wake of this devastation, thousands of Pakistanis – together with national and international relief organizations – have stepped forward to generously contribute and volunteer their time and resources to alleviate the suffering of their fellow country men and women. While Acumen Fund works in Pakistan with some of the leading social enterprises to provide low-income groups with access to critical products and services in a sustainable way, we do not have the capability to be directly involved in relief activities. We call on our community of supporters and partners around the world to support relief organizations working in Pakistan and assist in any way they can to make a difference in this grave and urgent humanitarian situation.

Many organizations are doing extraordinary work directly, and we would like to recommend a few organizations we trust that you might consider supporting in their Pakistan flood relief efforts. We hope to share more information with you all through our blog as we hear more from those working on-the-ground in Pakistan.

  1. Rural Support Program Network (RSPN) is a national organization and the largest non-government network of rural development programs.  RSPN’s partners have worked extensively in disaster relief efforts in Pakistan, including the 2005 Earthquake. RSPN is collecting donations for affected families. Donations will be provided to affected families through the on-ground network of RSPN’s partners, including SRSO that is headed by Dr. Sono Khangharani, a long time Acumen friend.
  2. The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens concerned with the dismal state of education in Pakistan. It is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of formal education.  It has 660 school units in hundreds of rural areas and urban slums located in 68 towns and cities across Pakistan.  Although its focus is on education, TCF was actively involved in relief efforts after the earthquake and is once again mobilizing resources to contribute towards the flood relief efforts.  TCF plans to provide food packages to flood affected people and has set a target to provide 20 million meals to these people in 30 days.  The aid will be in the form of ration bags containing flour, rice, cooking oil/ghee, lentils, dried milk, sugar, salts and spices, dates etc. Each bag will feed a family for a month. To give to TCF in the US, follow this link.
  3. Kashf Foundation, one of the largest micro finance organizations in Pakistan which lends to women in low income communities, is also an Acumen Fund investee.  Kashf has also started a relief drive wherein relief packages will be distributed to 10,000 households in the most affected areas. Each relief package will sustain a household of 5 members for 4 weeks. Kashf undertook similar relief efforts in 2005 where 10,000 families were provided food and shelter through its efforts and in 2009 to 1,000 internally displaced families.Given Kashf Foundation’s focus on provide sustainable livelihoods, the next phase of rehabilitation will involve support through access to financial services so that affected households can rebuild their income streams.To make a donation, contact CEO Roshaneh Zafar via her assistant Fatima Raja:
  4. International Rescue Committee is responding to the devastation caused by severe monsoon season rains and extensive flash flooding throughout Pakistan. With a robust network of local staff and partners already on the ground, and 30 years of experience working in Pakistan, the IRC is well-positioned to provide shelter, clean water, sanitation, and essential supplies to those who have fled the rising waters.
  5. Mahvash And Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, established in 2003, is a charitable, not-for-profit organization which is run by several Board Members and staff on a gratis basis. On Flood relief, the Foundation has designed a Relief Process that provides basic food, clean water, and essential medicine. The Foundation is in close coordination with local NGOs to directly provide basic relief items such as 8 day food rations and clean drinking water. MJSF is currently working in selected areas of Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. MJSF is also an Acumen Fund partner supporting social entrepreneurship in Pakistan since 2005.
  6. Karachi Relief Trust (KRT) has been leading relief efforts since 2007. Created by a group of civic minded volunteers, KRT shares the fundamental belief that each person can and should make a difference.
    Today, KRT has mobilized once more to help with the enormous task of providing assistance to displaced individuals in the flood affected areas of Pakistan.  Efforts include immediate relief in KRT Camps, 30 days food rations, a “household package” (including a bed, fan, clothing and hygiene kits) and providing purified drinking water through the innovative EPA certified LifeStraw Family Instant Microbial Purifier. Rehabilitation projects include rebuilding homes with environmentally friendly locally adapted designs.

Aun Rahman is the Country Director for Acumen Fund Pakistan.


Why India’s Economic Growth Depends on Vocational Training

India has an enormous population of young people – over half of the 1.2 billion people are younger than 25 years old. Yet, only 2% of its 500 million person workforce has any skills or training. The majority work in the informal sector (90%), where there are few opportunities for education other than what workers ‘pick up’ on the job. This reality limits overall productivity, as well as upward mobility. [Read More]

Letter from Jacqueline: My Week in Ghana

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are constant reminders of our fragility and the strength of our connectedness. [Read More]

Six online courses we’re taking this year

+Acumen’s free online courses are a great way to learn tools that will help you develop both professionally and personally. Whether you are a social entrepreneur who wants to market to your customers or a young professional that wants to strengthen your leadership skills, we are offering six courses this Fall that will help you develop the tools, knowledge, and networks to change the way the world tackles poverty. [Read More]

Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]


Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]