Initially, the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) tended to provide business support services directly to local micro, small and medium enterprises. Services included business advisory and consulting services, training, marketing services, and information resources. Over time, AKF has focused more on increasing capacities and facilitating relationships between actors in specific value chains. AKF also helps to strengthen intermediary organisations such as business or marketing associations, and supports vocational and technical training institutions. AKF’s non-farm enterprise and employment work is increasingly focused on a small number of high potential sectors – such as tourism, construction or gems cutting and polishing – where there is real market demand and a comparative advantage for local production.
Non-farm enterprise and employment activities currently reach just over half a million people and there are ambitious plans to extend coverage to over a million by 2017. This reflects the increasing importance of non-farm rural income in the target areas and is based on the positive results of interventions to date.
Key highlights include:
- AKRSP Pakistan support to 27 vocational training centres across the programme area, reaching 27,000 people with skills training;
- Almost 60,000 people have accessed AKRSP India’s training centres to obtain information on government schemes, agriculture markets and job opportunities;
- AKF has successfully strengthened support institutions such as the Bamyan Tourism Development Board, in Afghanistan, the Centre for Business Guidance, Cabo Delgado in Mozambique and numerous business associations in key sub-sectors.