Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN), Pakistan
Shandana Humayun Khan

Shandana Humayun Khan

Chief Exective Officer

Shandana has thirty two years of experience in rural, community-driven development in Pakistan and other South and Central Asian countries. She has worked at the field and policy levels, an unusual combination, having started her career with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in northern Pakistan. She is Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan’s largest, civil society network ie the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN), which she and other colleagues set up in 2000. RSPN consists of nine Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) that have worked directly with over 50 million people across rural Pakistan. Shandana has strong networking and leadership skills that enable her to provide strategic direction to this countrywide network. She has strong advocacy skills and has succeeded in having policy input into government and donor strategies. She has been a senior member of numerous government policy committees and task forces, providing input into public sector poverty reduction strategies by bringing years of RSP grassroots successes to policy forums eg input into local government acts, into federal and provincial level poverty reduction policies. The RSP Network provides strategic and technical support to Pakistan’s RSPs. Shandana actively mobilises resources for the RSPs towards a national scale up of their programmes in Pakistan. The RSPN provides strategic and technical backstopping to the RSPs.

Shandana has worked on replicating of the RSP approach in South Asia, under UNDP’s South Asia Poverty Alleviation Programme, in the Maldives and Nepal. She has been instrumental in promoting exchange and replication between RSPs and programmes in other countries. This includes the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India. Shandana worked with the Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan as Director Rural Development from 2014-2016, where she replicated savings and credit groups of women and men in northern Afghanistan.

Shandana is widely traveled and comfortable in multi-cultural environments. At a personal level, she has been active in building cross-border links with Afghanistan, through the promotion of Pashtun cultural exchanges. She has assisted in the translation of the Pashtun leader, Bacha Khan’s, autobiography ‘My Life and Struggle’ from Pashto to English and other Pashto literature, as a cross-border effort between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. These works were authored by Imtiaz Ahmad Sahibzada, a senior, Pakistani ex-civil servant.

Shandana is fluent in English, Pashto and Urdu and ‘manages’ French and some Russian. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Delhi University, India; a Tripos in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK; and a Masters in International Public Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, USA.