We have provided many free resources developed at AGEHI SACHET
BACKGROUND and ORIGIN :
agehi is a word that means ‘knowledge’ and ‘insight’ in Urdu language. The mission of agehi was to promote social development with empathy as its core value. agehi evolved as a concept back in 1998 and was formally established in 2000 following the ground-breaking success of a pioneering TV series on gender issues produced from the forum of SACHET (Society for the Advancement of Community, Health, Education & Training),Pakistan – a multidimensional nonprofit that Dr.Rakhshinda conceptualized ,Co-founded and later contributed in its take off and sustainability. Prior to the year 2000,agehi remained in the background as an incubator for instituting social or civic entrepreneurship, as it was then known.
The average strength of the organization in terms of workforce ranged from 5 to 70 (both full-time paid and short-term consultants). We also worked with a sizeable number of volunteers from different parts of the country, from different age groups and with diverse sets of skills and talents.
We worked with different UN agencies, international technical and donor agencies, INGOs, smaller voluntary organizations, ministries of Human Rights, Youth, Women Development, Social Welfare, Population, and Health and Education, besides collaborating with a large number of schools, colleges and universities, both public and private.
While agehi was multidimensional and flexible, our focus revolved around social enterprising with gender as the common denominator of our areas of work. Our key products included varied consulting assignments, training workshops, research study designs, mentorship of nonprofits, internships and an innovative concept Café AcTeavism.
The scope of the organization included:
1. Facilitation of the career pathways of young graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds.
2. Enrichment of marginalized communities in different parts of Pakistan by enabling effective community participation, mainstreaming certain traditionally excluded gender and women issues through its service delivery, such as reproductive health rights (in particular, access to contraceptives and abortion), and advocacy initiatives.
3. Research-based advocacy and activism initiatives in areas such as awareness and legislation against a neglected form of highly prevalent dowry and domestic violence.
4. Providing co-working space for training and incubation of social entrepreneurs especially skilled artisans for cultural products and acting as a connecter between business growth centers in chambers and private sectors besides enabling them to build synergies.
agehi -SACHET was one of very few setups in the capital of Pakistan that visibly offered a level playing field to people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds from across the country and landed in Islamabad in search of better employment and living opportunities.
‘Social Work’ is a prevalent model of development in this geographical region, which revolves around (a) establishment of charity schools or vocational institutions to the “poor youth and stigmatized women” (b) keeping the disadvantaged group/s as recipients of grants or (C) developing the disadvantaged group into followers (in contrast to leaders). agehi -SACHET differentiated itself from the above model in that it enabled, empowers and equips marginalized groups:
• To have long-term aspirations and goals,
• To acquire the relevant set of skills towards this end
• To create their own income-generating ventures
• To apply to prestigious academic institutions, including the Ivy Leagues, and to international competitive scholarships and fellowship programs
• To pay back to their communities as genuine empathetic leaders
The most unique feature was that it is a woman-led initiative, working mainly in the interest of disadvantaged women and girls who want to establish themselves as business and or social entrepreneurs. At the same time, agehi-SACHET engaged actively with men (who predominantly control resources) in order to promote gender harmony whilst remaining cautious of not creating newer dependencies for women and girls.
agehi-SACHET regarded as an institution that visibly advocated for health/SRHR ,education and poverty elimination at public policy and community levels through replicable and scalable social entrepreneurship in a context, culturally acceptable in Pakistan. To this end, it has been successful in building partnerships and intellectual alliances with grass-roots organizations, national and international non-profits, and intergovernmental and public sector organizations.
Through the implementation wing of the non-profit SACHET , agehi had been enabled to directly extend free primary health care and essential reproductive health services and information to millions of the rural and slum population, especially the highly vulnerable women and adolescents in 12 districts of Pakistan.
agehi-SACHET led a number of innovative projects on reproductive health issues. For example, (a) a project for which a local non-profit (affiliated with agehi) was selected as the implementing partner by the European Commission as part of a 7-country Reproductive Health project. This involved setting up of youth-friendly centers under the Reproductive Health Initiative for Youth in Asia (2003-2007), (b) a project led by USAID for an AIDS awareness program for university students (2003-2005). These game-changer models were replicated by several INGOs.
These critical social impacts continue to influence the lives of many who have been touched with agehi -SACHET i. Very often, these are covered not only in reports generated by the development sector partners and allies, but also in mainstream print media and television channels. The emerging new media, i.e. social media, also highlights, shares, cites and covers stories of our impact and contribution towards struggle, resilience, creativity and innovation.
As the founder and CEO agehi, Dr.Rakhshinda’s role was to engender development through a broad range of complementing activities such as leadership development, talent management, and integration of cross-functional perspectives in designing solutions. These were based on actual needs of the community and integrate applied empathy. Additionally, she led research, policy and media advocacy, communication, training, investments in human capital and fund-raising activities. She also provide technical assistance to a number of successful local and national level non-profits and various local and international partners in development.
Her role also involved leading and managing Fight Against Dowry Advocacy Network (FADAN) to advocate for legislation against dowry violence in Pakistan. This platform is the pioneering voice against the most prevalent form of gender-based violence.
Some specific examples of Dr.Rakhshinda’s vision and its impacts are listed below:
a. A concept shop namely ‘shop for a cause’ was established by agehi which provided a model unique in our local context for the elimination of the exploitative role of the middleman and augmented the direct benefits to small and aspiring entrepreneurs (mostly women) in project areas across the country (2001-2007). A total of 1000 women (20% supported by their respective male relatives) became the consignors. Out of this, 25 women started their own home-based businesses. The gallery part of the shop regularly organized an average of four exhibitions a month that gained extensive media coverage. She played a lead role from the concept to execution phase of this initiative.
b. Pakistan was hit by a massive earthquake in 2005. At that time, managing community’s expectations and loss of our own skilled staff to bigger organizations emerged as major challenges in our rehabilitation efforts. Dr.Rakhshinda used this situation as a learning opportunity and led my team in initiating consultations with the stakeholders (such as representatives of various donor groups, business community, banks and senior management of some nonprofits).This resulted in the formation of a three-pronged strategy aimed to (a) recruit volunteer interns (b) devolve more responsibilities to the staff and (c) trained both these groups for effective delivery of their jobs. After refurbishing the human resources, she developed two comprehensive fund raising proposals and presented these to the World Bank and to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Based on the soundness of the proposals and the inventive strategies proposed to respond to the rehabilitation challenge, both proposals were awarded funding. It is pertinent to mention that this was the first time that a social entrepreneurship strategy in emergency from a local institution was recognized by the World Bank.
c. Her concept of Women Friendly Spaces in Mansehra (province Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa) not only won the acknowledgment of UNFPA but also evolved as a framework from that land-mark project. Later we scaled up the project in earthquake-affected districts with the support of an international nonprofit and a local one by focusing on reproductive health needs of adolescent girls and boys and establish adolescent-friendly centers. Those were also chosen as one of the 50 civil society institutions for effective humanitarian efforts for earthquake survivors, by the Government of Pakistan’s National Volunteers’ Movement.
As the first Ashoka fellow from Northern Pakistan, she introduced Social Entrepreneurism as a new concept in Islamabad at a time when many in the local development scene were skeptical and had little understanding about the model and its benefits. The continued influence of her contributions with focused enthusiasm to enable growth of youth and women from excluded groups and replication of the ideas based on social entrepreneurism is affirming and validating its impact on a daily basis.
SACHET Pakistan at a glance :
Dr.Rakhshinda was its co-founder & founding Executive Director / Twice elected Executive Vice President.
Main activities: Public policy Advocacy, Resource Mobilization, Gender Programme formulation and perspective integration, Research & Development, Service Delivery, Training, Leadership & Management.
Key Achievements :
1. The organization evolved as a recognized multidimensional organization that pioneered innovative combination of advocacy and service delivery in the areas of community participation, health education, training and poverty alleviation with gender perspectives.
2. Organized ifrst international youth conference on Human Development in Pakistan in 2003 from the platform of SACHET that not only included the local marginalized youth but was instrumental in establishing a separate Ministry for Youth in Pakistan.
3. Produced Seminal TV series ‘Gender Watch’, from the platform of SACHET, which won PTV Excellence Award in 2001 besides instituting the Urdu alternative of gender (sinf).
4. SACHET was the first Pakistani NGO to introduce & implement paternity leave, structured internship program for disadvantaged youth and a business plan for technical & financial, sustainability.
5. Adoption of the model youth friendly centers, to impart Life Skills Based Education &Sexual and Reproductive education/information at the policy level by the then Ministry of youth, Government of Pakistan.
6. Developed Human Capital from disadvantaged groups and regions, through SACHET.
7. SACHET Gallery& Shop for a cause (2000-2005): Pakistan’s 1st co-working space for women artisans & families to eliminate exploiting middleman agency & contribute towards their economic empowerment.
8. Fundraising from Philanthropists, international technical and aid agencies, INGOs, and their back-donors.
9. Earthquake Response: Led the organization in 2005 Earthquake and developed new partnerships, programs and mobilized resources.
10. Transformation of SACHET: Over the years the organization from a locally supported social development organization into a national level NGO that partnered with key development and donor agencies as equal. Starting with 5 full time staff (including one support worker and 3 interns one each in accounts, administration and program and a medical officer) and an endowment of 500,000 PKR SACHET transformed into a sustainable institution with a total average strength of 65 full time staff and with monetary value of 12.5 million US $ in a decade, under her leadership
NO.&KIND OF EMPLOYEES SUPERVISED: Minimum 5-Maximum 650 at different points in time. Support, Technical, Professional & part time consultants.