The Irtiqa’13 Leadership for Social Change conference organised by the Acumen Pakistan Fellowship opened at Ali Auditorium on Saturday.
The conference aims to provide a platform for the youth to share innovative ideas for a political, economic and social revolution. Young entrepreneurs were invited to share their ideas and experiences.
“We have brought together visionaries and leaders to share their reflections on the current social and political-economic scenario of Pakistan,” the organisers said at the opening ceremony.
Acumen Pakistan Fellow Asfandyar Kasuri said the conference aimed to highlight the ideas and success stories of people whose work, to create a positive impact on the society, often went unnoticed.
“The conference seeks to provide a snapshot of their work and provide a forum for them to interact with people who can support their cause of bringing about a positive social change,” he said. Kasuri said this was a call-to-action for the civil society, activists and donors to get together to evaluate and support social welfare initiatives by people from various fields working to bring about a progressive social impact in Pakistan.
Pakistan has been grappling with the challenges of unstable political, economic and social systems for years, the organisers said.
The conference was organised to provide a forum for the youth to find solutions to issues like illiteracy and energy crises.
Sumaira Gul, a participant from Rawalpindi, told the participants about her project of solid waste management. “It started when a colleague’s wife died within two days of falling sick due to contaminated water. We went to various government departments who said that they did not have the funds to dispose of solid waste in certain areas. I decided to collect money from people and provide them a garbage disposal service.” She said that they charged Rs100 per household and provided the service to more than 2,500 houses. “Our project has expanded to other cities as well,” she said.
One of the topics discussed at the conference was Community Infrastructure Development. There was a panel discussion on indigenous construction and eco engineering.
Darcy Donovan, an eco-engineer from California, said her work focused on building green structures. As an eco-engineer, it was her job to also build structures that not only served her clients’ needs but were also eco-friendly, she said.
The conference also included presentations and reflections on human development. Forum discussions on Alternative Education and Problems of Scale and Poverty Alleviation through Entrepreneurship were held.
Case studies on lower income entrepreneurship and success stories of alternative education were also shared.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2013.