islamabad-Philanthropic organisations have a significant role in filling socio-economic gaps in the society and philanthropists need to come forward to serve education, especially higher education, and health sectors, speakers said on Tuesday.

The 1st National Forum on Philanthropy in Pakistan was hosted by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) jointly with Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and Global Donors Forum (GDF) at the Commission Secretariat here on Tuesday.

The theme of this forum was “Conventional to Strategic: A New Paradigm in Giving” held with an aim to celebrate the achievements of PCP since 2001 and join heads to bring improvement in philanthropic operations of PCP.

Addressing the forum, Dr. Ishrat Hussain remarked that philanthropy in Pakistan has three supporting instruments including state, market and community. He said the state allocates resources to various sectors while performing the responsibility of ensuring equitable resource distribution.  He maintained that the philanthropic organizations play a great role in filling gaps by taking care of people deprived of necessary facilities. He stressed the need for enabling the underprivileged segments of society to create their own assets.

He further said philanthropic organizations need to help out-of-school children acquire education. Investment in provision of skills including vocational and technical training makes a big difference. He urged the charity bodies to pay due attention to micro financing, as creating know-how of small businesses among the poor is a significant task. He also pointed out areas where philanthropic organizations need to invest. Dr. Ishrat Hussain urged the civil society and philanthropic organizations to assist small charity organizations to develop ethical standards of conduct, scale up their operations and ensure impact-oriented results of philanthropic activities.

He emphasized the importance of financial sustainability measures to maintain the pace of philanthropic activities of an organization. He also underscored the need for ensuring accountability and transparency in philanthropic services. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC stated that HEC is honoured to be a part of Pakistan’s 1st National Forum on Philanthropy. He said the Government is extending remarkable financial support to higher education sector in the form of enhanced budget.

However, he added, philanthropists need to come forward to serve education, especially higher education, and health sectors. “Education and health sectors need proper attention of philanthropic organizations, be it in the form of individual contributions or corporate charity endeavours,” he emphasized.

He assured that HEC will provide all-out assistance to philanthropic activities of donor organizations. Moreover, he revealed that HEC has taken a number of measures based on hand-holding of the underprivileged. He informed the audience that HEC will soon launch ‘Change-Maker’ concept, under which funds will be raised to work on various themes.

 He added that HEC, with the help of predominantly Muslim countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Iran, is considering providing scholarships to students of less developed countries. As many as 4000 scholarships will be awarded every year under this initiative, he pledged. “Let’s keep the hope alive and work for humanity to turn this world into a heaven,” the Chairman concluded.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, HEC, Mr. Zaffar A. Khan, Chairman of the Board, PCP, Ms. Shazia Maqsood Amjad, Executive Director, PCP, Dr. Tariq H. Cheema, Convener, Global Donors Forum and a large number of Vice Chancellors and representatives of donor organizations attended the conference.