How Muslim Aid Pakistan collected 669,000 #UpForSchool Petition signatures

Up for School or #upforschool campaign

Muslim Aid volunteers gather #UpForSchool signatures

There was no magic formula – just hard work, planning and plenty of passionate volunteers. That’s how Muslim Aid Pakistan collected 669,115 signatures for the #UpForSchool Petition in less than three months.

Using brochures and banners, T-shirts and posters, the humanitarian charity swung into action in March to gather support for the campaign – a youth-led petition which demands that world leaders keep their promise to get all children into school.

Saqib Farooq Babar, Muslim Aid Pakistan Head of Programmes, said: “It was a wonderful activity. I hope that Muslim Aid Pakistan team efforts will contribute to the overall objectives of the campaign and children will get the required support from governments and donor institutions for education.”

The organisation’s amazing work has helped the #UpForSchool Petition reach eight million signatures. It will be handed in to the United Nations General Assembly in September.

More than five million children in Pakistan are denied an education. When Muslim Aid decided to be part of the #UpForSchool campaign, field offices including Pakistan were asked to take part. 

Muslim Aid Pakistan’s report on its #UpForSchool campaign said: “We support the cause that every child has the right to an education. In Pakistan we are working in the thematic area of education and are currently running child development centres, Rainbow Family programmes, “street to school” projects and many other initiatives for out-of-school children to bring them back to schools.”

Country director Khobaib Ahmed Vahedy gave the responsibility to head of programmes to lead the campaign and to make sure all staff were involved.

To ensure the campaign was visible, banners, brochures, shirts and posters were printed and a detailed presentation was given at the Islamabad office. Staff were asked to start collecting signatures from their areas, their families, communities, colleges and universities.

Collecting signatures at Comsats University in Islamabad

The various regions – Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Islamabad – were given ambitious targets of numbers of signatures to collect. Each provincial manager or co-ordinator shared the information with their project teams and the campaign began in earnest.

Schools, universities and communities were targeted. The report said: “Our main focus was to arrange campaigns in remote areas and create awareness about the importance of education and to support the campaign by getting signatures.”

Volunteers at Ripah University get appreciation certificates

Muslim Aid Pakistan has a strong network of volunteers and its public relations and communications team engaged about 160 to take part in the campaign in these areas – Azad Kashmir (Rawalakot, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Hattian Bala), Sindh (Karachi and Hyderabad), Punjab (Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, Chakwal, Multan), Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar) and Gilgit-Baltistan (Gilgit, Astore, Hunza). 

Volunteers from 17 universities and several schools also took part. Muslim Aid Pakistan’s Iqra Khalid, who led the team of volunteers, said: “Community service is not about giving monetary support. It is something more than that – to render your services for those in need.

“The #UpForSchool campaign was a unique idea to sensitise the public and communities about the importance of education and how we can help those who are in a need of this support from all of us.

Volunteers at Fauji Foundation University in Islamabad

“This is really an exciting campaign for me at the very start of my professional career and it was really wonderful to work with my ex-university fellows and other volunteers from different universities to raise the voice for those who don’t have the privilege to get a better education.”

The signatures campaign also resulted in other benefits for Muslim Aid Pakistan. Mr Saqib said: “During the campaign we have achieved many other objectives, including the effective and efficient involvement of our existing volunteers, and also enhanced our list of volunteers to get support in any situation in Pakistan.

“Our visibility was enhanced and now many universities and communities know about Muslim Aid and its efforts of serving humanity.”

If you haven’t signed the #UpForSchool Petition yet, you can do it here now.

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