Mobilink Empowering Women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through its m-Learning Initiative
Mobilink Foundation, under its ‘Make Your Mark’ initiative, has teamed up with The Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) and GuarantCo for ‘SMS-based Adult Female Literacy Programme’, which is enabling learners to receive ICT based education in close proximity to their homes. Through this initiative, Mobilink Foundation with its partners is educating around 4,050 women in eight rural districts of KPK, including Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Malakand, Haripur, Mansehra, Kohat and Buner.
“Our m-Literacy project started with 250 female learners, and as of now, it has changed the lives of more than 10,000 women across the country. Success of the program is based on the utilization of mobile as an educational tool, enabling us to reach areas without any formal schooling systems. Another factor is the customised curriculum for sustained and practical learning, which gains interest of the learners. The focus of our program is on facilitating these women to manage domestic finances in a better manner and play a more productive role at community, family and individual levels,” said Omar Manzur, Head of Corporate Communications – Mobilink. “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has reiterated their full support for this program, and will facilitate with the on-ground execution of the initiative” he further added.
Since community mobilisation was deemed a cornerstone to make this initiative sustainable, Mobilink Foundation’s partner I-SAPS created ‘Village Education Support Committees’ throughout the eight districts, whose members include respected elders and influential individuals.
As a result, I-SAPS not only had an all-out community support in identification of teachers and learners in each of the 154 villages, but also managed to establish 160 easily-accessible Adult Literacy Centres, where adult females of ages between 15 and 35 have been enrolled and imparted basic literacy skills.
“Given the traditional constraints in the KPK province, our success has been dependant on navigating through the cultural barriers effectively by community mobilisation and the innovation of infusing literacy with ICT in the close proximity of the learners’ homes,” said Ahmed Ali, Senior Research Fellow – I-SAPS.
Under the ‘SMS-based Adult Female Literacy Programme’, learners gain some level of literacy during their five-month basic literacy coursework along with the provision of a mobile phone in order to practice and further develop their newly acquired skills.
The ‘Make Your Mark’ initiative is a key element of VimpelCom’s corporate responsibility strategy, with the objective of ‘Helping young people shape their future’. It aims to provide young people with technology tools, support and mentoring, and in some cases access to basic education, to help them tackle these challenges at an individual, community and national level – to shape their future.