The ‘Changemaker Institute Project’ aimed towards embedding social entrepreneurship and innovation within higher education institutions in Pakistan.
The concept of ‘change-making’ (encompassing social innovation and social entrepreneurship) is not yet sufficiently integrated within the culture and curricula of higher education institutions in Pakistan. Therefore, the ‘Changemaker Institute Project’ was launched to help establish an effective system for the development and growth of youth-led social entrepreneurship within leading higher education institutions across the country. In particular, the project aimed towards building the awareness and capacity of faculty members, encouraging entrepreneurial drive among students, training young people in the skills they need to set up a business and manage its growth, providing practical opportunities for students to use their entrepreneurial talents and, finally, integrating the concept of social entrepreneurship within the curriculum.
As part of our work, several universities were assessed using the ‘Change-making Campus Scan’. This is an inventory tool entailing a structured process which surveys the provisions for ‘change-making’ in a given institution, catalyses deeper commitment among social innovation champions, generates new insights and ideas about how to advance social innovation and social entrepreneurship education and opportunities.
Groups of faculty members and students were established at each university to serve as the core team within our partners. As these teams were responsible for raising awareness around the concept of social entrepreneurship within their institutions, a workshop was organised to provide members with the necessary knowledge, skills, connections and resources.
‘Youth Engagement Services’ (the implementing partner for this project) has launched ‘Change-making Competitions’ in three universities to provide young people with the opportunities and support (financial and technical) they require to drive change in their communities. In addition, a series of seminars on the concept of youth-led ‘change-making’ through social entrepreneurship were organised in universities with the aim to inspire young people to become social entrepreneurs and participate in the ‘Change-making Competitions’.
“The participatory approaches used at all levels of the training I received enhanced my willingness to acquire knowledge. New horizons have opened up for me about the subject of social entrepreneurship and I will utilise the skills and knowledge acquired in the training to empower others on social entrepreneurship as well.” (Project Participant)
The ‘Change-maker Institute Project’ engaged 56 higher education institutions across the country, created of a team of 54 master trainers in the field of social entrepreneurship, raised the awareness of over 280 faculty members regarding the concept of social entrepreneurship, and oriented 2000 students directly through training on the subject of social entrepreneurship. In addition, 250 students have been engaged in designing and implementing social enterprise projects since the initiation of the project, subsequently reaching out to over 4000 people.
The project has been successful in fostering a healthy institutional and social environment to support the practice of social entrepreneurship. It has already supported a vast number of higher education institutions to develop and instil entrepreneurial mind-sets, behaviours and skills and has forged a strong community of practice and knowledge that is engaged in improving the system that supports social entrepreneurs.
Those who have attended seminars or participated in ‘Change-making Competitions’ describe their experiences as transformational; indeed, most hard of social entrepreneurship for the first time through these events.
Overall, the project has been able to encourage a better understanding of the importance of employability and enterprise skills, as well as raise expectations of young people regarding what they can achieve. It has also provided key policy makers within the higher education institutions involved with improved knowledge concerning the need to promote social entrepreneurship, enterprise education and employability skills among young people.