Four awards were conferred for Women’s Contribution to Development on the Opening Day of the 38th Annual Meeting of IDB recently held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Only one was an organisation award to the tune of $100, 000 which was presented to Heritage Foundation, Pakistan, while the other was an award of $50,000 shared among three individual award winners hailing from Indonesia, Kazakastan and Azerbaijan.
With an aim of recognizing and rewarding outstanding achievements made by individual women and organizations in integrating women in the development process the Bank is striving to change the way women are viewed in society. A different theme is set every year revolving around issues that impact women, and this year the theme was Women, Environment and Sustainable Development. The awards were presented by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon, and the organization category award presented to Heritage Foundation of Pakistan was received by Trustee Heritage Foundation, Shanaz Ramzi.
The award was in recognition of the organization’s use of earthquake-proof and flood-resistant eco-construction techniques in disaster prone areas in the remote regions of Pakistan. This unique technique has facilitated women’s active participation in the development of their communities. The Foundation has empowered women economically by promoting income generation through engagement in community-level businesses and revival of home-based crafts and agro-based products.
It may be recalled that Heritage Foundation, recipient of UN Recognition Award 2002 for the promotion of culture and peace. has implemented large-scale humanitarian aid programmes devised by its CEO, Yasmeen Lari, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the first woman architect of Pakistan. By employing Lari Principles for DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction), it has been helping build up resilience of communities so that they can become self-reliant and deal with disasters themselves. By propagating Lari’s zero carbon footprint eco designs (based on the use of mud, lime and bamboo), aimed at preventing depletion of the planet’s resources, Heritage Foundation has helped international organizations build several thousand housing units (KaravanGhar) for the most vulnerable households in disaster affected areas. The organization now plans to utilize the esteemed prize money for the implementation of Lari’s vision for creation of Barefoot Women Eco-Entrepreneurs in every village in Pakistan. These Eco-Entrepreneurs will be trained by Heritage Foundation in various indigenous activities including tailoring, vegetable farming, bee farming, soap and pickle-making, composting and chicken farming.