Monday, February 26, 2024

UN-Led Policy Research Challenge Bootcamp Empowers Youth in Sindh and Balochistan for Climate Adaptation

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the School of Leadership Foundation (SoLF) successfully concluded the Policy Research Challenge (PRC) Bootcamp in Karachi. This dynamic four-day program was tailored for adolescents from the outskirts of Sindh and Balochistan, with a specific focus on climate adaptation.

The bootcamp, designed to meet the unique needs of Sindh and Balochistan’s  diverse and vibrant communities, aimed to equip participants with essential skills and knowledge in on-ground research, policy-making processes, and effective communication of findings to relevant stakeholders. By diving deep into real-world challenges related to climate adaptation, participants gained practical insights and contributed to addressing pressing issues within the city.

The bootcamp brought together 10 teams of adolescent researchers from various parts of Sindh and Balochistan for a transformative experience. One of the participants from Zhob, Balochistan, Hafiz Muhammad Rameez, is researching on “Investigating the Impact of Climate-Induced Disasters on the Education System in Rural Areas of Pakistan”. According to him, during the time of flash floods in Zhob, the students had nowhere to go and continue their education, which resulted in a higher percentage of dropouts especially in females.

“The Policy Research Challenge Bootcamp provided an invaluable experience for our team. The hands-on approach and mentorship not only sharpened our research skills but also enhanced our ability to devise impactful solutions to address the pressing challenges our city faces. The practical insights gained during the bootcamp have undoubtedly shaped our approach to tackling real-world issues,” shared a participant on Day 3 of the bootcamp.

Towards the end of the bootcamp, the researchers presented their proposals and received targeted feedback from Sher Shah Khan Bangash and Rabail Fatyma, aimed at catalyzing substantial enhancements.

Ten exceptional participants were recognized as winners;  Aitzaz Ahmad, Zahra Salam, Syeda Haniya Ajaz, Zunaira Qayyum, Johne Yusuf, Ayaan Malik, Aiza Saifullah, Ehsan Ullah Irshad, Hafiz M Rameez Khan, Shahzad Ali, Samul Mehmood and Damini Rajesha Kumar.

These ten winners, distinguished for their innovative research proposals and commitment to addressing the challenges, have been awarded research grants totaling up to Rs. 150,000 each. The grants aim to support and further develop the promising research initiatives put forth by these teams, ensuring that their impactful work continues to contribute positively to the betterment of Pakistan.

Mariyam Irfan, Managing Director of SoLF, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited to have successfully concluded the Policy Research Challenge Bootcamp in Karachi, recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities in Sindh and Balochistan. By focusing on themes like education, water, livelihood, and health (mental health & SRHR), this initiative aligns with our commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders who will drive positive change within their communities.”

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