2014-15

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Overview:

Pakistan Youth Change Advocates was formed with the resolve to inform and inspire young people across the country to actively play their role in making Pakistan a center of peace and development. While we stand firm in our resolve; we at PYCA understand that realizing our vision will prove to be an uphill climb. However, horrific incidents of terrorism such as the attack on Karachi and Peshawar airports, targeted attacks on religious minorities and the slaughter of our children at Army Public School, Peshawar have only gone to ossify our commitment to reclaim the Pakistani identity and way of life that has been held hostage by terrorists and their sympathizers for too long now.

As a first step in this direction, during 2014, PYCA’s “Peace, Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship” curriculum was taken to 1,500 university-going young people across 25 higher education institutes in all the four provinces of Pakistan. The primary purpose for devising this curriculum was to deconstruct hate narratives that have made headway into the mainstream over the last decade owing to rigorous propaganda by terrorist and extremist outfits. The curriculum facilitates young people to appreciate how hard-line elements have worked to create division, spread distrust and hatred in the Pakistani society and how the youth can play a part to counter and undo the damage.

The success of our preliminary work can be gauged from the fact that during 2014 over 40 groups of students (each group having 4 to 5 members) submitted innovative project ideas aimed at peacefully countering extremism in the society. 17 groups were finalized for the seed grants and thus, the “Peace, Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship” curriculum was successful in effectively engaging Pakistani youth to actively think on the lines of countering violent extremism (rather than passively absorbing extremist propaganda) and played a pivotal role in formulating the world view of the youngsters across the country.

In the same realm, the active participation of young people was also a manifestation of the fact that Pakistani youth is not only ready to embrace pluralistic ideas but is also geared up to counter extremist agenda head-on.

We credit all our achievements to our generous partners. Their support has been instrumental in allowing PYCA to help young people channelize their energies towards materializing the dream of a peaceful and developed Pakistan.

This video presents our journey to inspire young people across the country to strive for “A Dream Called Peace”.


Progress:

Youth Jirga: Under this proposed project, students hailing from the conflict prone tribal areas of Pakistan managed to use the age-old collective decision-making tool, i.e. jirga and reached out to the tribal youth with the message of peace building and countering hate based narratives. The PYCA volunteers visited internally displace people and recorded their perspective through focused group discussions.

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Peace Bags: To promote the message of peace students from Superior University, Lahore developed over 1000 shopping bags with peace messages on them. These bags were distributed in major shopping centers of Lahore.

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Revival of Historical Artefacts: PYCA and the Faculty of Archaeology, Hazara University collaborated to provide support to the university’s students for the completion of this seed project. Under the initiative historical remnants from the era of King Ashoka were cleaned and preserved. This exercise revived the cultural heritage of Pakistan, helped in developing a sense of ownership in the community and allowed students belonging to various castes, religions and ethnicities to work together as a team. Much neglected site of Ashoka Rock Edicts is now once again open for general public. Through this activity people minimized their encroachments and developed a sense of respect for the worship places of the local Buddhist community.

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Clean-up Campaign: During the clean-up campaign participants installed waste bins displaying peace messages at central locations within the district of Mirpurkhas, Sind. Since, interior Sindh has a sizable population of people belonging to the Hindu faith; this activity allowed young people to work as a team irrespective of their religious beliefs. Moreover, the waste bins with peace messages continued to reinforce the importance of peace and harmony in the community much after the activity had concluded.  The students also organized a Peace Convention for the promotion of peace in the region. Members of political parties and the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mirpurkhas also attended the event.

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Anger Management: Under this proposed intervention students from the University of Karachi helped 50 school-going teenagers between the age bracket of 15-17 to understand essential life skills such as assertiveness (rather than violence), basic conflict resolution and mediation.

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Peace Archives: Another group of students from the Karachi University organized a video-making competition that focused on creating awareness with regard to the importance of tolerance in the society.

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Blogging Weekend: Under the initiative students from IM Sciences, Peshawar organized training sessions in 4 public schools of KPK to propagate the idea of peace-making through blogging and other social media platforms.

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Peace Messages across university campus: Students worked with the aim to develop 15 peace focused messages in consultation with PYCA. These peace messages were placed all across the university so that the visitors could be constantly reminded of the importance of tolerance and respect for all ethnicities, cultures and religions.

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Local Branding: Pakistan Youth Change Advocates in association with Citizen Awareness Program (CAP) launched an innovative initiative aimed at promoting pro-civic responsibility, peace and tolerance in the society. Under the planned initiative, stickers especially designed for vehicles were developed. Each sticker bore a key message urging the masses to exercise restraint, respect, tolerance and exhibit civic responsibility.

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Poster Competition: Under the initiative students of Superior University, Lahore with the help of PYCA engaged school going children from the province of Punjab in a poster making competition.

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Articulating Peace among the Children of Pakistan: Articulating Peace among the Children of Pakistan was yet another initiative that was launched with the support of PYCA in order to provide the children of capital city with an opportunity to explore new ideas with regard to the concept of peace-building through activities such as painting, chart writing, essay competition, video screening etc.

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Peace Exhibition:The exhibition was organized by the students from the Superior University. Peace models, posters and paintings were displayed during the event to promote the message of peace.

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Essay Writing and Speech Competition: Students from all across the district Balochistan were invited to send in their contributions to take part in an essay writing and speech competition focusing on peace-building and sectarian harmony. The District Coordinating Officer for Quetta (i.e. head of district administration) and senior faculty members from local universities took part in the prize distribution ceremony as a sign of their endorsement for the greater cause of peace. The presence of such community gate keepers will go a long way in ensuring that the activity is not limited to a mere competition.

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Empowering Girls for Peace Building: In the remote Pushtun village of Maine in Malakand district, a week-long campaign was conducted to encourage the local people to understand the importance of female education. The project did not merely aim to empower girls through education but acceptance of female education was a step towards a progressive and less extremist society.


Media Coverage:

 

“PYCA”

Kay 2 television’s report on the seed project activity in the University of Hazara.

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Comments from Kashif Zaheer regarding the PYCA funded seed project “Articulating Peace Among the Children of Pakistan.”

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Event Report on Peace Exhibition that was organized by the students of Superior University, Lahore on the 10th of Feb, 2014.”

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Pakistan Youth Change Advocates

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