Promoting Social Entrepreneurship for Peacebuilding through IT & Youth Mobilization
In 2014, the SEPLAA Foundation worked with great dedication with the youth of Bahawalpur, South Punjab to counter violent extremism through the promotion of positive activities such as training for and setting up of social enterprises.
1. Project Objectives
The overall objective of the Project is to strengthen Pakistan’s fragile context by shifting attitudes and behaviors of the Pakistani youth in Bahawalpur away from adversarial intolerant approaches towards greater tolerance, inclusiveness and understanding among the various regional youth and socio-economic groups; by promoting innovation and filling the gaps in society through the introduction of the youth to the concept of social entrepreneurship and IT Skill Development for community building.
The specific objectives were:
- To introduce 480 youth to skills related to social entrepreneurship, basic information technology (IT), peacebuilding, and conflict management
- To establish the first incubator in Bahawalpur that supports 480 youth to develop social enterprises and use the internet and youth development events to showcase their entrepreneurial talents
- To prevent youth from joining violent and extremist groups by cultivating an environment for creative thought and action by reaching out to an additional 720 youth through induction seminars and 480 underprivileged youth.
2. Overall Analysis:
The SEPLAA Foundation faced a number of problems during its implementation which were quickly overcome by changing the work plan and methodology of project implementation.
- People of South Punjab have fewer opportunities in terms of entrepreneurship but through this conference, they have been given the chance to make use of their skills and showcase their work in Lahore.
- South Punjab is considered to be the recruitment ground for terrorist activities. Women are barred to work outside of their home due to domestic and societal pressures. Through social entrepreneurship, women empowerment and peace building are possible because women can work online from home as well.
- As a result of the 10 months process in South Punjab, the team came to conclude that through the awareness of social entrepreneurship and peace building, there is a prospective chance for the young generation to be responsible citizens of the community. Hence, through social entrepreneurship, the young generation is motivated to work for the betterment of the society rather than indulging themselves in violent extremist activities.