Sikander Bizenjo: One of Bill Gates' COVID Heroes
I graduated from the UEA in 2016 with MSc in development economics. My two research areas were gender equality and inclusive education and this is what I did my final dissertation on as well under Pieter Serneels' supervision. Upon completing my degree, I soon found this opportunity to become part of Pakistan's largest education advocacy campaign – Alif Ailaan. I was their coordinator in Karachi to steer policies and bring education at the center of public discourse in the country. I have also worked with the government of Pakistan in the ministry of planning, development and reforms at the office of Chief Economist of the country. Currently, I am the program manager at KSBL where we design frameworks and interventions to empower young entrepreneurs by giving them business related training and mentorships.
Apart from my professional engagements, I am also the curator of Global Shapers at Karachi (It’s the youth initiative of the World Economic Forum) and we are constantly working to improve the state of our community through activities and projects. I, along with some friends started a campaign during the COVID-19 to support the most vulnerable in our country – these would be the poorest of the poor. We started supplying food items and medical equipment to the far flung villages and rural settlements in Balochistan province of Pakistan. In terms of accessibility, Balochistan is toughest to reach due to its arid and inhospitable terrain. We built a model around community leadership and empowered local volunteers to help us. To date, we have helped over 13000 people since we started off in April this year. Our efforts were highlighted in national media and also on the global platform by the likes of Paulo Coelho and Bill Gates. Sikander was featured in Bill Gates' blog on Covid Heroes.
*As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the School of International Development are changing their name to the School of Global Development from 1 August 2023