Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) joined hands with Akhuwat through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony on September 17, 2018. This partnership aims to facilitate research-based policymaking and innovation in education through shared data analysis for scalable impact in Pakistan.
The event started with a welcome note by Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Associate Dean, LUMS Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE), who also provided a brief introduction on the School and its MPhil Education Leadership and Management Programme.
Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Founder of Akhuwat emphasised the importance of the collaboration, and how both parties can benefit from a productive partnership. Within a short span of time, Akhuwat under Dr. Saqib’s leadership successfully opened 662 branches in 350 towns of Pakistan with over 600,000 active clients and 1,695,000 total beneficiary families. Akhuwat has disbursed more than $347 million interest-free loans. Some of Akhuwat’s educational initiatives include Akhuwat schools, colleges and the first-ever fee-free university where students from all over Pakistan will receive quality higher education.
Dr. Chughtai stated, “When we look at the issues Pakistan faces, be it economic growth or the current account deficit, it is very clear that the answer to all these problems always finds its way to fixing education.”
Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS, said, “This collaboration between LUMS SOE and Akhuwat will be greatly beneficial as it provides mutual strategic support in research.”
The MOU signing ceremony was followed by an EduSpeak session titled, 'The Philosophy of Philanthropy with Impact – Akhuwat', with Dr. Saqib as the guest speaker. The session was attended by SOE students, faculty, and the LUMS community. He emphasised on the importance of continuous analysis of the effects that education institutions have on society. Dr. Chughtai moderated the session and posed questions regarding his inspirations to bring about a change in the education system of Pakistan.
This collaboration between LUMS School of Education and Akhuwat will move towards bridging the gap between theory and practice and will assist the students and faculty of LUMS to conduct research and fieldwork.
Akhuwat, a non-profit company established in 2001, aims to alleviate poverty by creating a bond of solidarity between the affluent and the marginalised. Akhuwat’s goal is to develop and sustain a social system based on mutual support. It extends a helping hand to the poverty-stricken by providing interest-free loans so they can start a business and become self-reliable.