Lal Jan

Ashoka Fellow
Gwadar, Pakistan
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Lal Jan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Especially in rural areas, many people in Pakistan live in terror. Any gesture to make the allocation of resources more equitable or to change the way decisions affecting the public are made evokes the ire of chiefs or landowners who are the de facto rulers. To counter this formidable group, Lal sees that capable leadership and mobilization of the people is desperately needed. To achieve this, he is identifying promising young leaders in rural communities, training them in leadership techniques, and linking them in an effort to guide local development practices. In Khuzdar, he organized young leaders whom he had convinced to give up their party affiliations–a measure that allowed them to win the local government elections. The real win, however, came when the people of the Moola Valley region rallied behind the organization, forcing the tribal chiefs to recognize that constituency as a vital voting bloc and to negotiate a partnership with them.
This opened the way to adding the provincial government's resources to the local government's meager pool for building strategic infrastructure long delayed by the same tribal chiefs. These experiences made Lal realize that political sensitizing is the key to tackling underdevelopment and exploitation in Pakistan and can be effectively used to create a viable leadership base. Lal is now helping young leaders prepare a model development strategy, a new way to approach local governance and sustainable development, while breaking the traditional tribal hold on the area. He sees that such a strategy will equip people with a vision and the freedom to mobilize their own resources, overcome underdevelopment in Pakistan, and arrest increasing regional disparities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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