Social ‘inclusivity’ or ‘inclusiveness’ is the incorporation of all individuals, regardless of their background, in every sphere of life – whether social, economic, political, or any other – serving as the basis of sustainable development and growth. The participation of different members guarantees the promotion of tolerance, protection of human dignity, and diversity within the society.
The trend is now being followed in Pakistan too. Many organizations are working towards the creation of a diverse and inclusive environment in the country. Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks “GDIB” Standards in Pakistan supports these organizations in the development & implementation of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) best practices.
The GDIB Awards are one of the mechanisms to recognize and encourage progressive organizations that use GDIB standards to align D&I with organizational policies and processes for sustainable financial and social performance. HBL, Bank Alfalah, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Nestle are amongst the few organizations that have been recognized for their efforts this year.
Out of all the winners, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has won the most number of awards for their efforts towards ensuring diversity and inclusion in different areas, whether it is at their workplace or through their initiatives and programs, the organization has ensured effective representation of people belonging to different segments of society.
Even within the organization, women are given equal representation in leadership roles. It is a matter of pride for PPAF to have a woman from Balochistan as its chairperson and achieving a 33% female hiring rate for the year 2019.
Inclusion has been one of the core values of PPAF. Women, differently-abled and marginalized sections of the society are an essential part of PPAF’s flagship programs that are directed towards helping the poor.
Ehsaas Amdan as part of PPAF’s National Poverty Graduation Programme is co-funded by the Government of Pakistan and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with an overarching objective to assist the ultra-poor and very poor including women in graduating out of poverty sustainably.
The program aims at transferring livelihood assets and providing training to 176,947 ultra-poor and vulnerable households in 23 districts of 4 provinces of Pakistan to achieve its objective. Since the inception of the program till December 31, 2020, overall, 31,986 livelihood productive assets have been transferred to the ultra-poor and vulnerable households. Of the total asset transfers, over 95% have been made to women.
All of these initiatives serve as inclusivity tools for the poor and those marginalized in society. Giving prominence to the most segmented, including the social integration of the youth – which is currently the largest segment of the Pakistani society.
Further building on their inclusivity agenda, PPAF understood the on-going marginalization and discrimination of the differently-abled within the society and revolutionized the learning landscape for people with disabilities (PWDs).
Moreover, PPAF was able to support the enrolment of 500 new Deaf students from low-income marginalized communities in Sindh.
These programs are a reflection of the organization’s will towards incorporating people from all segments of society. It is high time we realize that inclusion will not only lead to the creation of better opportunities and equality but would also promote harmony in society.
Therefore, it is very important for organizations across Pakistan to follow suit, creating more initiatives and opportunities for the poor to graduate from their impoverished state, so that they may become a central part of the society and contribute towards its uplift.