Document Type

Conference Paper

Book Title or Conference Proceedings Title

Impact: Making a difference

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

A recent publication of the Ministry of Education, Islamabad, shows that the province of Sindh has a population of over 30 million. The overall literacy rate in this province is 46.7 %, while the female literacy rate is 35.4%. However, in the rural areas of Sindh the female literacy rate is 13.11% against the male literacy rate of 52.1%. There are many social, cultural and economic factors that inhibit females from availing opportunities on an equal basis with the other segments of society. The literature also reveals that due to the above-mentioned factors females are confined to play a passive role in general and in the education sector in particular. According to a recent UNDP publication, there is considerable disparity between males and females in terms of professional development. Considering the importance of professional development of females in the education sector in Sindh, the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), under the Pakistan Non- Government Initiatives (PNI-II), took an initiative to launch a project titled ‘Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs/CBOs’. The project targeted to provide opportunities of professional development to 258 individuals, but the actual number of those who graduated was 388, considerably exceeding the planned target. Out of 388, 68 % (262) were females, which show the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants, collaborating NGOs/CBOs and AKU-IED towards the professional development of females. Through this initiative, females were trained as ‘agents of change’ to motivate their communities towards education of their children, in particular the girl child. This presentation unfolds the learning experiences of the USAID Project-III team in promoting female participation in professional development programmes at AKU-IED.