Qurat-Ul-Ain Bakhtiari

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1999


This profile was prepared when Qurat-Ul-Ain Bakhtiari was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Drawing on thirty years of experience as arguably one of the best community organizers in Pakistan, Quratul Ain proposes to move away from the current model for training development professionals to a wholly new approach that bypasses government and academia and ties communities and workers into a web of learning centers.
Quratul Ain's new approach attempts to organically ground community workers in the community where they work. Rather than bring students to universities for an extended period, Quratul Ain proposes to bring students into a shared environment for an initial period of three months where the staff and students live together, raise their own produce, and learn community development precepts by working together as well as through lectures and discussions. Each student then goes back to their community with a specific assignment/project to undertake for a period of three to six months. Each student's work is monitored by Quratul Ain's faculty members, who travel to the district where the student is working and interact with a local "panel" of people who review and comment upon each student's work. In the final stage of the program, the student returns to Quratul Ain's Center for a three month period of reflection in which the student presents the results of the work to a panel of faculty members at the Center and spends more time studying and discussing how to strengthen and broaden his/her work.
By focusing on select areas in Baluchistan and Punjab for her initial students, Quratul Ain proposes to make the faculty field review process economically feasible, while concentrating on a number of graduates who can, in turn, form their own community learning nodes, creating a center like hers and reaching out to train other community workers.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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