The Alumni department in partnership with the Institute of International Education awarded 29 grant awards to Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship alumni in Pakistan. Of these, 12 are Alumni Impact Awards and 17 are Professional Development Grants. The Alumni Impact Award is a USD 10,000 grant that supports the development of a community project for public good. The Professional Development Grant is a USD 2,500 cost-sharing grant that aids a recipient to pursue professional development training anywhere in the world to build on their previous Humphrey Fellowship experience.
In the last issue, we highlighted the efforts of Dr. Salman Shahzad who is training teachers in substance abuse prevention to support vulnerable school students in Upper Chitral. Here, we cast the spotlight on more changemakers:
Empowering our girls
Humphrey Fellow Dr. Malika Saba launched the Empower Her initiative to train young schoolgirls in one of Pakistan’s remotest districts to manage their menstrual cycle and personal hygiene without dropping out of school. Empower Her is assisting 500 girls from grades 7 to10 at Diamond Jubilee High Schools run by the Aga Khan Education Services in the remote Gupis and Yasin valleys in District Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan.
This initiative includes awareness sessions for not just the students but also teachers and parents on understanding menstrual health and erasing stigmas. The aim is to break the cycle of absenteeism and offer dignified and sustainable solutions that ensure their education remains unhindered.
In addition to the trainings, each of the students in the program will receive kits containing six months’ worth of sanitary pads and undergarments. To ensure the long-term continuity of practicing personal hygiene and to tackle the challenges of acute poverty in the region, Empower Her is also teaching girls and volunteer parents how to make homemade reusable sanitary pads.
Humphrey Fellow Dr. Itbar Khan is conducting peace building workshops across public universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s vulnerable Malakand Division. His program equips faculty with the knowledge and tools necessary to counter extremism and promote peace through dialogue in classrooms.
The project aims to disseminate the message of peace and provide educators with the skills to discuss peace building effectively, propagate it through their teaching methodologies, and exemplify peace through their behaviour.
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Journalist and Humphrey Fellow Abdul Waseem Abbasi has developed the INSIGHT Project, a six-month initiative focused on improving the journalistic landscape in Pakistan. Key components of this project include the establishment of FactPulse, a dedicated fact-checking website (a first in Pakistan!), intensive training for journalists, social media awareness campaigns, and the formation of the INSIGHT Network for policy advocacy on critical issues. Select journalists registered with press clubs across Pakistan are being trained in all four provincial capitals and in the federal capital to identify and cross-reference news items for disinformation and misinformation.