Community Engagement Team
Parents are arguably the most important stakeholders in the education conversation whose children are supposed to be beneficiary of the overall education system. A significant proportion of Pakistani parents have started looking elsewhere for education solution and those parents whose children attend government schools, are faced with lack of economic and political agency to hold political and administrative authorities accountable and ensure their constitutional demands for quality education for their children are met. Within Alif Ailaan campaign, Community Engagement team is front face of the campaign which converses with parents and communities across all four provinces of Pakistan through a team of 35 education activists, entitled ‘Regional Campaign Organiser’.
Led by Moiz Hussain and supported by Sajjad Changezi, Saad Sultan and Aleena Khan, CE team manages strategic communication between campaign office and this cohort of passionate community leaders positioned to cover every administrative division/region across the provinces. We look up to local and national print and electronic media as well as digital and social media platforms as avenues and tools to empower parental voice and help devise local strategies to reform the broken education system in the country.
Of the 35 positions for campaign organisers four are reserved for passionate young campaigners who specialise in areas such as media engagement, data analysis and interpretation, digital strategies and platforms and establishment and management of alliances with governmental and non-governmental for and non-profit organisations. Community leaders passionate about reforming education in their communities and regions fill the remaining posts. 11 in Punjab, 8 in Sindh, 7 in KP and 5 in Balochistan, these positions have been distributed across all four provinces to ensure we have major voices covered from all regions in the provinces. You can contact Alif Ailaan’s relevant RCO appointed in your region and become an active volunteer for this campaign. At this moment, we are looking for CVs to fill in four vacant positions – one in each province. The vacant regions have been left uncoloured in the map below. Please note that as much as we welcome CVs from male activists, female community leaders and activists are encouraged to apply for these positions.
History of Activities
Since this campaign’s official launch in February 2013 our team of grassroots education activists, then called Network Coordinators, have not missed out on any form of engaging parents and communities to articulate a loud and clear demand for quality education across Pakistan.
In 2013, Taleemi Caravan from Islamabad to Bahawalpur covering 15 districts in 15 days was one of the major rally that created stir in the public conversation in the Punjab followed by a similar caravan in KP. These caravans highlighted scale of the problem i.e. 25 million children out of schools and underlined the need to get these kids into classrooms. It is encouraging that conversations around access to education have been sustained and strengthened by enrolment campaign owned by provincial governments in all four provinces.
Realising the contrast in rural and urban contexts, our team of activists organised and facilitated stage theatres and puppet shows along the theme of education in major towns and villages across Sindh and the Punjab. These cultural activities stroke the right strings for our rural communities to join in the push for access to education as fundamental right of their children.
Informed discussion with representative bodies of teachers, government officials and civil society have been organised in provincial and district headquarters. Over the course of these years, hundreds of seminars, conferences and press briefings have been conducted with journalists and reporters encouraging them to amplify these local genuine voice demanding reforms in public education system in the country.
On many occasions, ‘Kuli Katchehri’ were organised to bring communities face to face with their elected political leaders as well as district education authorities. These avenues of public interaction were healthy experiences, resolving several issues on the spot as well as increasing parents’ understanding of and familiarity with how governmental departments work and how they can effectively chase their demands.
In collaboration with Rural Support Programme Network (RSPN), we established parental bodies at union council and district levels in several districts. Similar engagements resulted in activation of Swat-Kohistan Qaumi Taleemi Jirga where Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqqi (IBT) mobilised the community elders in mountainous Swat-Kohistan region to press their political leadership and administration to establish middle school for girls.
Evolving from the basic conversations around enrolment and infrastructure, the campaign organisers have stepped up the conversation and together with their participants and conversant, have moved to debate the core of the education system: learning outcomes. Alif Ailaan has specifically chosen to pin this debate around maths and science education where, as verified by the findings of Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) in Punjab and Standardisd Achievement Test (SAT) in Sindh, Pakistani children perform the worse. Partnering with dozens of for-profit and non-profit organisations, particularly those invested in promotion of science, Alif Ailaan local chapters have been visiting schools, organising science melas, fairs and exhibitions.
Given the map of where Alif Ailaan Regional Campaign Organisers are stationed, you can join us and play an effective role in promoting the cause of education in Pakistan.
Objectives for Elections 2018
There is hope in the context of Pakistan. Pakistan is a young nation and a huge portion of our population is below 30 years of age. With this and the upcoming General Elections in 2018 in mind and the fact that democracy and peaceful transition from one democratically elected government to another is gradually becoming the new political norm in Pakistan, there is hope that passionate youth, equipped with data and evidence to fight their case, can further identify, recruit and develop community leaders to initiate a social conversation on why education system needs to be fundamentally reformed and how the very nature of existing relationships between constituents and elected representatives can be transformed.
Campaigns for social change need to sense and respond to the opportunities unforeseen at the start of the campaign and also develop a defensive mechanism to deal with emerging risks. Seeing the upcoming General Elections in 2018 as the ultimate opportunity, Alif Ailaan as a campaign to build a public narrative and political will to reform broken education system in Pakistan, strives to ensure public education system remains integral part of the conversation between voters and candidates.
Our objectives for the upcoming election include;
- All political parties prioritise education in their election manifestos.
- Current federal and provincial governments fulfil their commitment to allocate 4% of GDP to public education system prior to 2018 general elections
- No political parties commits less than the minimum 4% of GDP to fund public education in their corner meetings, election manifestos and speeches
- Asks related to education reforms top the demand list by voters and communities
- Education tops the list of promises and priorities committed by the candidates
- Media follows up education stories as integral part of their understanding while reporting on political constituencies and comparative performances by candidates as well as political parties
- Education becomes an integral and core part of the public conversation so much so that it retains its priority positioning even beyond the life of this campaign