The SEPLAA Foundation & Umeed Jawaan Dialogue on Lessons Learnt in South Punjab was held at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, Lahore on 22nd December, 2014.
During the past 10 months in 2014, the SEPLAA Foundation had worked with great dedication with the youth of Bahawalpur, South Punjab. Over 1,700 youth received social entrepreneurship orientation and 464 youth benefited from the social entrepreneurship pre-incubation training from the SEPLAA Foundation team in Bahawalpur under our USAID funded Umeed Jawan project in South Punjab. A further 497 underprivileged youth also participated in orientations on the benefits of social enterprises and at least 16 new social enterprises have been created over the span of just nine months. Over 11,000 indirect beneficiaries have benefited to date despite numerous challenges faced both in Bahawalpur as well as Lahore.
The SEPLAA Foundation Founder Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik, was able to speak about SEPLAA’s creative incubator model, the Impact Change Xcelerator (iCx) SEPLAA, internationally in the US and later in Iraq during an International Peacebuilding Symposium. She was also able to speak about iCx at several seminars in Pakistan including the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship recently organized by i-Genius(UK) in Lahore.
Okapi Research Institute in India also conducted a case study on 2 innovative social enterprise models from Pakistan for a South Asian study and SEPLAA’s incubator on social entrepreneurship for peacebuilding was the main case study selected for research from Pakistan. The research paper was later presented in an international conference in Sri Lanka which is a great achievement for the SEPLAA Foundation.
The Bahawalpur participants reached SEPLAA Office early in the morning where they were welcomed by the SEPLAA core team members. After breakfast, Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik (Project Director & CEO of SEPLAA Foundation) greeted them and gave an introductory session to the conference. The participants were short listed on the basis or their business plans to compete during the conference in the ICx SEPLAA Social Entrepreneurship Competition.
The team along with the participants moved to Royal Palm Golf and Country Club for a ‘Concluding Dialogue on Lessons Learnt’ as part of the Fourth Annual SEPLAA Talent of Pakistan Social Entrepreneurship & Peacebuilding: Conference and Awards 2014, under the flagship of SEPLAA Foundation Umeed Jawaan (USAID) Project on ‘Promoting Social Entrepreneurship for Peacebuilding through IT & Youth Mobilization.
Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik, the Project Director and the CEO of SEPLAA Foundation opened the event with an introduction to the dialogue and welcomed the honorable guests who graced the event during such an unstable time. She explained that due to security concerns, the event was scaled down to a smaller audience keeping the recent unfortunate incident of terrorism (Peshawar School Massacre) in mind. She further explained how long and challenging her team’s journey throughout the project had been. She thanked the Umeed Jawaan team for their constant support throughout the project.
ICx SEPLAA Social Entrepreneurship Competition:
SEPLAA Communication Officer Sidra Liaquat announced the commencement of the ICx SEPLAA Social Entrepreneurship Competition. The Honorable judges were Mrs. Asma Fakhr (Head of Active Citizen’s Program, LCWU), Mr. Ahmed Qureshi (National Outreach Program) and Miss Sana Mela (Social Activist).
A total of seven business plans from South Punjab were shortlisted to compete in this competition. The participants were called in one by one to explain their social enterprise’s agenda. The participants were adjudicated on the basis of presentation, idea and plan of sustainability. At the end of each presentation, a question answer session between the judges and participants commenced in which the participants were allowed to interact with the judges directly to prove the functionality and sustainability of their projects. The list of the short listed business plans who participated in the conference is as follows:
1. Sohaib Chaudery & Faisal Mumtaz – Humaaray Maveshi
2. Muhammad Zain – Online Print Project
3. Muhammad Talha- University Express
4. Irum Saeed – Sui – Taankay
5. Isra Chaudhry – I – Boutique
6. Mannan Bin Sajid – Education Storms
7. Revive Age – Zuha Saeed
Dialogue on Lessons Learnt with Honorable Guests & Hi- Tea:
Sidra Liaquat then invited Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik to highlight the achievements and challenges during the SEPLAA Umeed Jawaan Social Entrepreneurship Project in South Punjab. An interactive discussion took place between the audience and Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik as she addressed the different parameters of the 10 months long project that took place in South Punjab. The guests were very keen in learning about the efforts of team SEPLAA in Bahawalpur where they reached across to over 2100 youth.
Result Announcement for ICx SEPLAA Social Entrepreneurship Competition:
The results were announced after thoroughly reviewing the evaluation sheets presented by the judges. The winners who received cash awards were as follows:
1. Muhammad Zain – Online Print Solution
2. Manan Bin Sajid – Education Storms
3. Irum Saeed- Sui Taankay
The judges gave their remarks for each of the winners and congratulated the SEPLAA Foundation team for hosting a successful event.
In the end Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik gave a vote of thanks to all the prestigious guests who had graced the event and thanked the SEPLAA Foundation partners for the event.
Display of Incubatee’s products:
Some of the incubatees also displayed their products during the conference in the hall. Several participants and guests appreciated these displays.
A number of key findings were established during the project which are listed as under:
1. People of South Punjab have fewer opportunities in terms of entrepreneurship but through this conference, they have been given the chance to make use of their skills and showcase their work in Lahore.
2. The local culture is at times too bureaucratic and this slows down proposed projects and interventions.
3. We found that the students lack a self awareness and consciousness towards building peace in the region however this consciousness increased greatly after training.
4. South Punjab is considered to be the recruitment ground for terrorist activities. Women are barred to work outside of their home due to domestic and societal pressures. Through social entrepreneurship, women empowerment and peace building are possible because women can work online from home as well.
5. As a result of the 10 months process in South Punjab, the team came to conclude that through the awareness of social entrepreneurship and peace building, there is a prospective chance for the young generation to be responsible citizens of the community. Hence, through social entrepreneurship, the young generation is motivated to work for the betterment of the society rather than indulging themselves in volatile extremist activities.
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