Jafar Shah

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Jafar Shah was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Jafar created Caravan, a citizen organization (CO) in the mountain area of Swat, to mobilize local people and cater to their needs through self-help and donor-sponsored projects. Caravan focuses on helping people manage their forest and water resources by assisting them to find alternatives to timber for heating and cooking purposes. It also responds to their health, education, and livelihood needs.
Jafar has also mobilized and organized tribal people of the mountain region in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan to create a hierarchy of organizations from the village level to an apex forum consisting of representatives of the people living in four valleys. The apex forum—Kohistan Development Forum—is helping the provincial and local governments implement forest management and conservation policies through the newly introduced Joint Forest Management (JFM) directive. The JFM committee, comprising representatives of community, local government, and relevant provincial government departments is implementing government policies that were previously shelved due to lack of cooperation and coordination between the three groups.
Having demonstrated the positive affects of the JFM policy in the four valleys (especially through effectively controlling illegal logging), Jafar is using the United Nations and COs to tap the increasing number of networks of community organizations to help expand the JFM policy implementation to other regions and provinces. To support this expansion, Caravan is setting up a training center at Swat, and has developed a promotion campaign to influence government and international donor policies.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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