AHKRC is engaged in evidence based research on youth, aid effectiveness, social accountability, sustainable solutions, participatory development and development innovations. Akhter Hameed Khan Resource Centre (AHKRC) has developed maintained and expanded collection of unpublished field reports, published documents and video footage of rural communities at work over the past few years. All these resources are being catalogued, digitized and placed on the website for providing access to interested readers, researchers, development professionals, Policy and public opinion makers. In addition AHKRC has subscribed to national newspapers and national and international magazines and journals. Clippings on issues of interest to low income communities and development professionals are kept on selected issues and Public Forums for exchange of ideas between people, professionals and politicians are held on the emerging trends identified in the print media.
AHKRC has also introduced a course on Justice and Peace in Pakistan in collaboration with Professor Maggie Ronkin for Georgetown University and another on course on Social Development in Pakistan for Harvard University. A Master’s degree Programme on Rural Development has been initiated in collaboration with International Islamic University (IIU). These activities have helped the Centre to build local body of knowledge and organize a community of knowledge based development professionals. Details of ongoing activities and future plans for 2009-2010 are given below.
The AKHRC Reference Library was established in 2000. Total library collection increased to 11000 in 2006. It included (2500-3000) published books and reports, 6000 photocopied materials, and 2000) files and folders. Annotated cataloguing of these materials according to library conventions is ongoing. At the same time digitalization of the Reports and allied materials has been started. The keeps documents on poverty alleviation and participatory development, small business and entrepreneurship, livelihoods and employment, education and adult literacy, human resource development and management, natural resource management and the environment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health and gender and development. It also has an audio visual section having an archive of more than 1,500 digitized documentaries, a vast collection of audio-video digital recordings and a wealth of digitized photographs dating back to the late 1980s, covering the evolution of the RSP movement in Pakistan.
These documents could be useful material to other development and/or research organizations. As part of its modernization programme AHKRC has developed a web portal and a digital library which has been functioning from the beginning of 2007. The Resource Center offers web browsing which allows users to link with online libraries, archives and research facility. At present digital archives contain documents and pictures of different events. Audio-visual collection consists of 2500 videos and 500 audio cassettes including 44 video of SSK and 4 A/V of AHK. There are 9810 documents and library membership has expanded to 500. Library offers services on current awareness, selective dissemination of information and preparation of annotated bibliographies. In addition Today’s Word Service is being uploaded on monthly basis and Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) service is available on the website. On average there are 15615 hits per month on Centre’s Website. During 2009-10 Centre plans to procure at least 3000 more books.
An important objective of AHKRC is to facilitate and promote rigorous research on participatory development practice. A peer group of researchers from 11 local Universities has been created to deliberate on common research agenda and benefit from and contribute to the knowledge resources of AHKRC.
The Centre regularly holds quarterly public forums on issues of interest to development practitioners, policy makers, academics and other interested citizens.
Quarterly Public Forums were arranged on “Migration and its impact on Rural Economy” (March) “Micro Finance” (September),” Food security in Pakistan” (October) and fourth forum is scheduled on “Global Financial crises and its impact on Pakistan” in (December). From October onwards AHKRC is holding Public Forums in Institutions of Higher Leaning. The speakers in each forum include representatives of NGOs, research organizations and Government to generate debate and promote understanding between key stakeholders on poverty alleviation.
AHK Memorial Lecture was organized on June 21, 2008 at National library Islamabad.
During 2009 Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan’s book “Reminiscences and Personal Reflections” and Urdu translation of his work “Rural Development in Pakistan” was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. Centre arranged research and translation support for these publications.
Other studies in Policy Papers on Poverty Alleviation Series include:
1. Shelter for the poor: Legislation and Enforcement- A case study of Islamabad
2. Madrassah Education: A case study of two Union Councils in violence affected areas of Sindh.
3. Traffic Congestion and Urban Planning: A case study of traffic management in Raja Bazaar Rawalpindi
4. Water: A Case Study of UC 60 Lahore
5. Islands of Hope- A valedictory volume on Dr. Akhter Hameed Khan. Compiled by AHKRC and published by Vanguard Publishers.
6. My story- memoirs of a civil servant. This book gives a good account of ways to deal with external pressures without compromising professional integrity through story telling. A remarkable reader on good administration in public sector.
7. Progress, Inequality, Poverty, and Well-Being.