The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan hosted the 1st National Forum on Philanthropy at the Commission Secretariat in Islamabad in collaboration with Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and Global Donors Forum (GDF) on Tuesday. “Conventional to Strategic: A New Paradigm in Giving” was the main theme of the forum, which was held with an aim of celebrating the achievements and improvements of PCP operations since 2001.
State Bank of Pakistan former governor Dr Ishrat Hussain and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmmod Pasha were chief guests of the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, PCP Chairman of the Board Zaffar A Khan, PCP Executive Director Shazia Maqsood Amjad, Global Donors Forum Convener Dr Tariq H Cheema and many renowned vice chancellors and representatives of donor organisations attended the event.
Speaking at the event, Dr Mukhtar lauded the government efforts of enhanced financial support to HEC, saying, “Education and health sectors also need the attention of philanthropic organisations, be it in the form of individual contributions or corporate charity endeavours.” He assured HEC would also provide all assistance to philanthropic activities of donor organisations.
Dr Mukhtar reiterated that HEC was considering providing scholarships to students of under-developed countries in collaboration with Turkey, Malaysia, and Iran. “As many as 4,000 scholarships would be awarded every year under this initiative,” he said.
Dr Ishrat Hussain underscored the importance of investment in skills provision such as vocational and technical training and stressed the need of enabling the underprivileged segments of society to create their own assets. He urged the charity bodies to pay due attention to micro-financing and pointed out areas where philanthropic organisations need to focus. Dr Ishrat also urged the civil society and philanthropic organisations to assist small charity organisations to scale up their operations and ensure impact-oriented results. He emphasised the importance of financial sustainability measures to maintain the pace of philanthropic activities.
Pasha admired PCP for providing certification facilities to NGOs and successfully institutionalising the philanthropy in Pakistan. He assured PCP of continuous technical support from FBR and stressed the need for coordination to ensure transparency in certification processes.
Khan said PCP worked with a simple but focused mission to provide an environment to philanthropic organisations to deliver. He highlighted the problems faced by PCP due to resource limitation and massive population growth.
The forum deliberated three thematic areas, ‘Enabling Legal, Policy and Regulatory Environment for Institutional Philanthropy’, ‘Setting New Standards of Informed and Institutionalised Giving’, and ‘Corporate Philanthropy as Catalyst for Human Development’. Lahore University of Management Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Sohail H Naqvi, Audit Oversight Board Chairman Dr Tariq Hassan, Centre for Asian Philanthropy Director Research Mehvish Mumtaz, Heartfile Founder Dr Sania Nishtar, Financial Analyst Dr Farhan Bukhari, Aman Foundation CEO Malik Ahmad Jalal, Hashoo Foundation CEO Ayesha Khan, Centaurs Group CEO Sardar Yasir Ilyas and other notables also expressed their views on the key topics.