Shad Begum

Ashoka Fellow
Pakistan,
Fellow Since 2006
Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen (ABKT)

Citation

This profile was prepared when Shad Begum was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Shad’s group activities for tribal women, whose voices and identity have been silenced by generations of oppression, help them to gradually regain their confidence and independence.

Her organization, Anjuman Behbood Khawateen Talash (ABKT), runs a micro-credit program and trains women in ways to earn more money. This program enables women to come together without arousing suspicion among the men. Participating in these groups enables women to organize, govern themselves and learn to interact confidently with the outside world.

Financial independence gained through micro-enterprises also empowers women to exercise more influence as their communities make decisions. Shad gradually brings women into the formal political process, especially in respect to government allocations for development projects. Traditionally, women’s legal right to vote has been denied to them by political and religious leaders. Shad is encouraging and guiding women to participate in local elections not just as voters but as candidates as well and thus gain a foothold in local government policy-making.

Shad’s vision goes beyond business and political training for women: her goal is to defeat the authority and power that local religious and self-governance councils exercise over women. She is networking with women councilors and female politicians to spread her grassroots women’s organization movement throughout Pakistan, while building a male voter bank that supports women in politics.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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