Acumen Pakistan is calling out to all social professionals who are making a difference in their communities by tackling our nation’s pressing social problems. The Fellowship was launched in 2012, and aims to bring 20 individuals together for a fully-funded, one year leadership development program. One big advantage to all those who apply is that there is virtually no restriction on the nature of projects that change makers can be working for as long as its creating social change. Recently we have witnessed the rise of social enterprises, i.e., organizations that focus on maximizing social return in addition to financial profitability, an example of which is Active Shehri. Active Shehri encourages community awareness and inclusiveness in communities across Pakistan. The Pakistani industry has a lot of room for startups that aim to improve the standard of living for people and help solve social problems prevalent today. If your organization is committed to a social cause, read on!
Last year, Waqas Ali of Markhor was selected as one of the twenty candidates for Acumen’s first Regional Fellows Program in Pakistan. The experience changed his life.
“Acumen started its Regional Fellows program last year in Pakistan. From an intense application to a phone interview and then a selection conference, I made it to the 20 selected fellows. Needless to say the selection process was mind blowing and looking at other fellows, I could confirm it worked out really well.” – Waqas Ali
Another Acumen Fellow is Daniyal Noorani, Founder of Wakhra Studios and KaroKuch. TechJuice reached out to Daniyal to find out more about his experience with Acumen Pakistan Fellows.
“The Acumen Fellows group was matchless. The opportunity allowed me to familiarize myself with the diversity of Pakistan by meeting people from different walks of life.” – Daniyal Noorani
Daniyal urges all social enterprises to avail this opportunity. The Fellowship is not limited to entrepreneurs alone, and encourages all emerging leaders and social change makers (they may be working in CSR!) to apply.
How to Get Selected
The Acumen selection process starts in August and the final cohort is announced in December. Acumen screens all applications and invites the top 40 candidates to an Annual Selection Conference. The day-long conference sees applicants go through pitches, panel interviews and group activities, before the final selection is made.
“It is very important to have clarity of your objectives so that when you pitch, you can be true to yourself. Otherwise, the judges will see right through you.”– Daniyal
While it is important to consider impact and reach, interested candidates must also be clear about what they stand to gain from the program, and how their learnings will be practically applied within their ventures.
Acumen Demands Commitment
The Acumen Fellowship is a one year, leadership development program which allows Fellows to stay within their jobs during the program. Fellows are expected to be available for 5 weeks in a year to attend Acumen’s seminars. Seminars usually see Fellows take a week to go a quiet location.
Daniyal said, of the seminars:
“You have to put your life on hold but at the end of the day, the work we do here is refreshing. It allows you to reflect, gain insight and incorporate new thought process in your life.”– Daniyal
Acumen’s Fellows from last year, including Waqas Ali, are doing tremendous work. One example is Safdar Hussain who is focusing his energies on building the Institute for Development Studies and Practices.
“Safdar Hussain a fellow from Quetta, graduated in computer science. He is helping build Institute for Development Studies and Practices, which aims to impact 1 million lives. From planting and selling flowers to building class rooms with mud and installing solar panel, Safdar has been doing it all for the last 10 years.”
We also reached out to Saima Irtiza, Acumen Fellows Manager, Pakistan. She said,
“Our mission is to provide essential tools needed by today’s emerging leaders and social changemakers in a way that does not detract their attention from their work. While staying in their jobs, Fellows meet over the year for five multi-day seminars that are built to deliver trainings around Acumen’s Leadership Curriculum which consists of 3 core areas: Moral Imagination, Operational and Financial skills. With each new cohort of Fellows, we are building a platform by which the Fellows become part of a growing ecosystem, casting a wider net in the social impact space.”
Acumen is a great opportunity to develop your leadership skills, join a global network of change-makers and to realize your role in uplifting Pakistan. The applications are now open. Last day to apply is Sep 29, 2014. Apply now!