I have just returned from another fantastic visit to Pakistan. After every visit I feel privileged to work for an organisation that is striving to bring about positive change across the region.
This was a great trip! Our programmes are really taking off, so it was brilliant to be able to visit projects that are now delivering excellent results. I had the great pleasure of meeting many of the women we are supporting as part of our Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme (supported by DFID) and also spending time with a group of young entrepreneurs we have supported through our partnership with LUMS National Incubation Center Lahore (supported by the Citi Foundation). It was also excellent to spend a day with the Vice-Chair of our UK Advisory Council, Haroon Sheikh, and visit the Mental Health Programme that his foundations (CareTech and COSARAF) are so generously supporting.
I had an extremely positive meeting with Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, Vice-Chair of our Pakistan Advisory Council and now Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.
What I enjoyed most about this trip was the sense of optimism and change in the country. We met several people from the fast-growing social enterprise sector and found a real desire to embrace social finance and more effective ways of using resources. For an organisation like the British Asian Trust, this is incredibly exciting as we are such pioneers in the Development Impact Bond space and would really like to grow this work in Pakistan.
We have made great steps forward in Pakistan in recent years and I am extremely confident that, with the support and guidance of our Pakistan Advisory Council, there are many excellent opportunities for us in the years ahead. I look forward to even more visits to this wonderful country!
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, British Asian Trust.