Development of Citizenship and Values materials(Humsafar Travelogue) for Grades 4-7 school children-2019

These are children’s books that communicate messages of pluralism and tolerance and open a window on Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and diversity by focusing on specific districts. Humsafar books developed in collaboration with UNESCO have so far covered areas of Tharparkar, Taxila, Gilgit-Baltistan, Swat, Ziarat and Bahawalpur comprising  sites that have a unique history and cultural importance that is not usually  reflected in children’s textbooks or supplementary reading material. Interviews and discussions were held in project districts to learn more about local customs and practices, including popular legends and folklore. The language is simple, the books are rendered effective through illustrations and photographs  and developed in a story/travelogue format in order to engage children and develop the reading habit.

Social and Religious Tolerance Course 2017-19

SAHE in collaboration with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Multan (MNSUAM) and with the support of Development Alternatives International (DAI) developed a multi-disciplinary course “Social and religious tolerance” for under-graduate students with support of DAI in the context of the Pakistan government’s National Action Plan (NAP) that among other things lays stress on the development of a counter-narrative to one that promotes extremism, violence and terrorism. The course attempted to put into context issues such as equity, tolerance and peace by referring to Pakistan’s historical, social, religious, cultural and civilizational setting and engaged the students in a dialogue on some of the key contemporary challenges faced by the people of Pakistan. The course  sought to provide students with the intellectual resources that can help them negotiate  the extremist narrative in our  society. Themes like Civilization and Territorial Context, Identity Formation, Federal Imperative, National Aspiration, Statehood and Democracy, Majority-minority Calculus of the modern nation-state; development, equity and social justice; women and youth development were included in the course.

Among the experts who conducted the course were Dr. Hasan Askari Rizvi, Dr. Faisal Bari, Ahmed Salim, IA Rehman, Dr. Nida Kirmani, Dr. Malik Hammad Ahmed and others.

The course offered earlier at Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University Multan (MNSUAM) was again offered in 2018-19 over two semesters with the university taking greater ownership of the course in the second semester and  conducted  it largely through its own faculty with SAHE remaining in a support role. The course was also introduced simultaneously in the two campuses of the University of Education (UoE) Lahore with one campus being co-ed and the other exclusively for women.

Citizenship Values (CV) and Community Resilience (CV & CR) program 2018-19

The project “Citizenship Values & Community Resilience”  was implemented by SAHE in collaboration of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and the School Education Department (SED) in two major districts of Punjab (Multan & Lahore). The project developed training modules on Citizenship Education for Master Trainers/Teacher Educators and School Council Representatives with supplementary reading materials for students to encourage reading and learning. The material is based on Social Cohesion & Resilience work of UN bodies, training materials of QAED on peaceful coexistence & resilience. It aims to reinforce implementation of SDG 4.7 and its indicators, National Action Plan and other related provincial and national policies.

Building on the trainings provided to school teachers and school council representatives by Master Trainers on citizenship, students were provided opportunities to translate what they had learnt from their teachers and school council representatives through School-based action projects (SAPs). Student engagement through SAPs was of two types; school level actions that target cohesion and improvement in the school environment/classroom and community level actions that target improved cohesion and resilience at the level of the community.

Social Cohesion and Resilience (SC&R) in Punjab 2013-2017

Under the Social Cohesion and Resilience (SC&R) project, a situation analysis study was conducted with to identify the problems and entry points from various stakeholders’ perspectives.

SAHE developed supplementary materials comprising an illustrated storybook series by the name of Humsafar and a set of pictorial flash cards that complement the information provided in the books. Messages of pluralism, tolerance and social cohesion are embedded in the narrative. The Humsafar books on Bahawalpur and DG Khan districts in Punjab are well-illustrated and developed in a story/travelogue format in order to engage children and develop the reading habit. At the same time, as before, they will communicate messages of pluralism and tolerance. The purpose of the Humsafar books is to foster in children an understanding of their historical and cultural context with a view to highlighting the strains of diversity, tolerance and pluralism. The storybooks entail knowledge of Pakistan’s history, culture, places and people and to promote messages of peace, tolerance and social cohesion. These books also encourage development of critical thinking skills and citizenship values amongst the children.

In the third phase of the project, SAHE developed a series of sixteen radio programs in Urdu, broadcast in nine districts of South and Central Punjab. A total 08 radio programs were developed in the form of dramatization enactments based on Humsafar storybooks. These programs were broadcast on radio FM 103 and its network channels in 5 districts of Southern Punjab and 3 districts in Central Punjab. A series of radio talk shows were also broadcast around key themes of Right to Education, ECE, Inclusive Education, School Safety, Youth, Teachers Education, Citizenship and Culture.

A comprehensive Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) Survey both pre and post to assess prevalent attitudes over citizenship, peace, conflict-resolution, available supplementary and school material was  also  conducted besides a series of 24 orientation sessions in project districts for youth groups, teachers, district government officials and other relevant stakeholders. Capacity building workshops and advocacy sessions were also conducted for provincial and district level stakeholders and civil society groups.