Report from Aisha Zaheer, executive member from the NUST BioReach Society’s publications’ team on the presentation and workshop I shared at NUST last week… This is not to flatter myself but nice to see the way one person from Pakistan took it all on.
Nust Bioreach Society had the privilege of setting the stage at ASAB auditorium for Global Poverty Project (GPP) to strengthen the collaborative forces between the two organizations.
Day 1 was an introductory presentation explaining the efforts GPP is putting in to advocacy and awareness for the end of extreme poverty and polio from the entire world. Mr. d’Arcy Lunn – an educator, teacher, campaigner, passionate trainer and celebrator at the global level – engraved the fresh minds with the fact that every individual is a global citizen and hence should be facilitated with the basic necessities of life. He showed idea and examples as to how we can overcome extreme poverty prevailing throughout the world. He not only involved the audience into the problem but also provoked their thoughts and defined their individual responsibilities and roles as global citizens.
According to statistical data, approximately 1.4 billion people are lving in extreme poverty which is quite a big number. d’Arcy mentioned that every small action, if multiplied by a large number of people, can actually make a huge difference. So it is ‘you’ who can create a change and accelerate the poverty deterioration process.
But nothing in this world is as easy as it seems. d’Arcy then discussed various barriers to ending extreme poverty, like corruption, lack of resources and trade. All three of them tend to sustain poverty in a community or nation. Therefore, there is a strong need to overcome the hurdles and move ahead. Education is one of the powerful tools towards poverty cessation. The entire hall was vibrant and thoughtful provoking them to the road of amity, selflessness, devotion and action.
The other face of the coin for the presentation was ‘Polio’ which has crippled many innocent lives. Pakistan is among three countries still endemic with polio. 99% of polio has been reduced due to mass immunization and there is a small but difficult remaining 1% is still to go.
d’Arcy mentioned that the Global Poverty Project is eradicating polio at the advocacy level. GPP has spread its messages across the globe to encourage and try to ensure a polio-free state of the world. According to d’Arcy, polio is a stepping stone towards the improvement of other community health problems and thus serves as an excellent entry point that may not exist otherwise.
The eloquent and impactful words of d’Arcy instilled the importance of polio in every young heart. The importance of ending polio from Pakistan was instilled in the Pakistani youth. The extent and magnitude of the problem is found not to be as simple as it was thought before the session but this session shed light on various aspects on how we can contribute, as a citizen, in making polio a part of history in Pakistan.
A common beautiful part of the presentation was the interaction not only with the presenter but also within the audience itself. d’Arcy engaged the audience by giving thought-provoking questions and asked the audience to exchange the answer with the person sitting next to them. This technique created an environment of sharing diverse ideas, views and personal experiences among the heads from different background.
Day 2 of the event, held the following day, was more intense in terms of youth involvement and their concerns regarding the current status of Pakistan. A professional training workshop by d’Arcy was the basis of the day, which lasted from 9 am to 5 pm.
The day was enriched with the elements of brainstorming, healthy discussion and debate and fun games to intertwine the beads of ideas together. It was highly interactive day which boosted confidence and courage in the participants to share their beliefs and past experiences. The room was continuously electrified with sparkles of innovative, fresh and practical ideas and suggestions.
d’Arcy said he believed that ‘… problems in Pakistan can be better solved by the Pakistani people rather than any international organization because you are the experts and know the problems which you feel and see in your everyday life.’ He said he could offer the tools that he and the GPP use in advocacy and for effective change and for them to be modified and adapted according to your own country and community.
d’Arcy also discussed the effectiveness to ‘shout’ to ensure your voice reaches every nook and cranny of the world!
After such a high powered conversation; spicy golden-brown chicken tikka pieces and juicy seekh kabab along with naan and soft drinks were served as fuel to retain the same energy for the afternoon. Everybody, with their plates filled with delectable lunch, marched to the top roof where participants surrounded d’Arcy and had a brief talk-and-eat session.
The floor was set again for the last session of the day. According to d’Arcy, collaboration is the key to advocacy and this includes people of significant influence where possible as advocates. For example, Shahid Afridi, who resonates in the heartbeat of cricket lovers, has recently joined the polio campaign.
Common people are readily influenced by celebrities and others and this was used in India, which had the highest cases of polio in 2009 but it managed to eliminate it by 2011. One of their keys to success was using Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachan, who himself immunized children with polio vaccine.
There are special strategies on how to influence those who can influence others or to be an effective advocate yourself. This included to be the best advocate by adapting to your audience, being yourself when conveying messages and meaning and to live the change. d’Arcy also discussed various tips to answer questions and techniques to build up an effective story for advocacy. There was room for all to practice and learn these skills with interactive group work.
After such a productive day the closing ceremony was commenced. Polio Champion certificates were given away to the participants as a mark of appreciation and d’Arcy was presented with a shield as a token of appreciation from Dr. Ashraf, Principal ASAB. NUST BioReach Society President, Saba Safdarزمنرمدtima and Sabaof the program, Mr. Lunn was presented with a shield as a token of appreciation from Dr. Ashraf, Princمغ or that, the trainees excercised for questions, how to build up an effective story n reaches every nook and canny. e contro, and General Secretary, Fatima Riaz, also presented the esteemed guest with a certificate as a token of remembrance.
Overall it was a wonderful two days of learning, sharing, experiencing and inspiration for all involved with d’Arcy taking back great experiences and learning for his advocacy for Pakistan and for the audience and participants to start or continue their own journeys of working towards a world without polio and extreme poverty for everyone, everywhere and forever!