The power of connectivity is not a good or bad thing in itself but it has the power to be used for both. With the advent of social media, the power of connecting and sharing ideas which can transform societies and cultures is now a reality. It allows for cooperation between different people and can be used to move forward on ideas and collaborate to create societal and cultural change.
In Pakistan, the internet and connectivity has shifted the financial, political and social parameters in previously unimagined ways. News and information is the single most important factor in the development of a well educated and aware population. The internet has the power to be a life changing technology in Pakistan and the applications are numerous.
Recently, e.g. Wateen was able to apply the principles of connectivity and transformation through social media for environmental change. Wateen Scouts is a unique initiative by Wateen to bring together young people from around the country for a cause. We saw them as agents of change and, just like scouts; these agents would work to serve the community.
A first phase of the activity was carried out in colleges in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad where Nadeem Chauhan, a renowned trainer, asked students what social problems really bothered them. He then asked them what they wanted to do about them and asked them to volunteer on projects that the students themselves chose.
In Karachi, the students opted for a beach cleanup, students in Lahore opted to plant trees and students in Islamabad opted to clean trash from the streets.
Hundreds of students, their friends, family and well wishers came to participate after connecting and being informed through social media. The results were astounding as people set to their work with a dedication that in the end made a difference. And that’s the point.
Social media, used intelligently, can be used not just to connect with friends but to connect with them for a cause and through them to connect with total strangers who also believe, as we do, that community and society need care and attention to grow.
The internet is fundamentally a tool, and we at Wateen believe that it should be used to unleash the power of people, to transform societies and enable communities and people to make a difference. There is no boundary the internet cannot cross and no person who is beyond the reach of this World Wide Web and the correct use of it is a mechanism for liberating people to follow their hearts.