Today Standard Chartered is celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child. This celebration is part of the new community investment strategy, Future makers by Standard Chartered. The aim of this strategy is to tackle the issue of inequality and seeks to promote greater economic inclusion for young people in our communities, with a special focus on girls.
International Day of the Girl Child highlights the need to invest in girls’ most pressing needs and opportunities, because investing in girls is investing in a better future that is equal for all – for girls themselves, for their families and for communities. The theme for this year is, as declared by the UN, Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable”.
Standard Chartered Pakistan has a long history of contributing to the social economic development and supporting communities in the country. Investing in communities is one of the three priorities of our global sustainability strategy along with contributing to sustainable economic growth and being a responsible company.
As an organization we are majorly focused locally on Gender diversity and view this as one of the biggest challenges to our economy and industry. We support under- served communities from low-income households, particularly girls, to take part in programmes focused on education, employability and entrepreneurship.
There are two programmes for girls that the Bank is implementing in Pakistan: Goal and # SCWomenInTech.
Goal uses sport or play-based games to enable girls to be active in their learning and reinforce the social messages. It targets adolescent girls aged 12 to 20 in urban areas from low-income families. In Pakistan, Goal was launched in Karachi in 2016 and has reached 11,000 girls. This year we have launched it in Islamabad as well. Goal is actively running in 26 schools across two cities in Pakistan.
Furthermore, through Goal we are implementing employability and encouraging financial independence. Over 450 Goal girls have received vocational training since November 2018 with the objective of enabling them to become economic leaders in their communities.
We also launched the #SC WomenInTech in Pakistan this year. The aim of this programme is to provide female entrepreneurs an opportunity to scale their businesses using technology as an enabler. The programme involves mentoring, training and pre-seed funding of up to USD10,000 to five female-led business ventures. This year the Bank received a total of 85 applications from which 20 were shortlisted to be part of the #SCWomenInTech incubator.