9th PPAF Amtul Raqeeb Awards acknowledges efforts of women change-makers

March 14, 2022

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) organized the 9th Amtul Raqeeb Awards ceremony to recognise the services of female community leaders for playing exceptional roles in various PPAF’s community development initiatives. This award has been conferred upon seven recipients, whose contribution to PPAF-supported communities in self-advancement and socio-economic development of their respective areas.

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) organised the “9th PPAF Amtul Raqeeb Awards” to acknowledge the exceptional contributions of women in PPAF-supported community institutions across Pakistan. This year the award highlighted the work of seven women champions including Isharat Mai (Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab), Mariam Kanwal (Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab), Naveeda Jehangir (Lower Kohistan, KP), Razia Bibi (Sujawal, Sindh), Rukhshanda Kokab (Rajanpur, Sindh) Shabana Ikhtiar (Islamabad) and Sumitra Bai (Tharparkar, Sindh) for bringing positive transformation not only to their lives but also to the lives of communities especially during the difficult time of pandemic. While receiving the awards, the awardees shared their stories and appreciated PPAF and its partner organisations for enabling their progress.

Ms. Naima Ansari, President and the founding member of Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), while sharing thoughts at the occasion, said that it is matter of immense pleasure that the the women and girls across Pakistan are making their marks in every field of life. The examples these resilient women are setting would lead to a much-needed socio-economic development of the underserved areas. She added further that IWCCI could connect these women entrepreneur to market their products.

Ms. Rabia Fajer, Executive Director at Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE) said while speaking to the awardees said, “the women of Pakistan played exceptional role during the pandemic despite bearing most of the brunt of this unprecedented situation. She added further that this role of resilient women of Pakistan has revived our hopes for a better tomorrow. She said education would play crucial role in bring real socio-economic change in the country.

PPAF instituted the award in recognition of courage of Amtul Raqeeb, a programme officer at PPAF’s partner organization Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), Quetta. Amtul was killed, along with two other colleagues, on the way back to Quetta after performing her duties in Mastung on January 24, 2011. Her immense contribution in capacity building of local traditional birth attendants resulted in a significant reduction of the mother-child mortality rate in the inaccessible regions of Balochistan.

While addressing the ceremony, Mr Nadir Gul Barech, COO at PPAF, asserted that, “I’m immensely proud today of all these empowered women who are serving their communities and transforming so many lives around them. Their stories symbolise strength and commitment, and the drive to bring about positive change in the society.

At PPAF, 50% of those actively participating in progress of this country are women, who contribute tremendously. We are working hard to enable livelihoods generation, provision of assets, interest free loans, infrastructure, and health and education facilities for women across the rural areas of Pakistan. Together, we will do more to encourage more women to bring about exceptional yet sustainable progress in the society.”

Amongst those who received the award is Ms Razia Bibi from district Sujawal who worked day and night to get 35 women from her village organisation (VO) registered while securing birth registration certificates for 150 newborn babies. Despite being differently abled, she proved to be a mentor and leader to other women in her area during the pandemic. Another awardee, Ms Sumitra Bai who hails from district Tharparkar in Sindh, led an exceptional awareness campaign in the area leading to zero COVID-19 positive cases reported in her area.