Fellow Since 2003
This profile was prepared when Abdul Wadood was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Abdul has designed a communications strategy that is effective in reaching the poorest third of the population with nonfinancial services that encourage self-sufficiency and money and asset management. He trains community groups to track living expenses, build assets, and resist exploitative practices of some lenders. To make the discussions at the community level effective, Abdul has revived a traditional form of public discussion and debate familiar to these people–many of whom live in isolated, rural villages much like the one in which he grew up. The facilitation style he uses builds the confidence of participants by bringing only the poorest together to identify exploitation and inefficiencies in earning. This helps participants build assets using their own savings, thereby mitigating external exploitative influences. Abdul plans to spread and sustain the poverty alleviation process by recruiting youth from all over Pakistan, training them in the process as a step toward addressing widespread poverty and linking them in a national federation. He has also begun drawing in donors as well, advising them to fund nonfinancial services rather than provide direct financial support, which he claims favors the elite among the poor at the expense of the poorest among them.