Aqeela Bano is an inspiring example of how women can make a difference in the world. She joined Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan (AKCSP) as a trainee in 2003, and then went on to become a team leader for the condition assessment and documentation of 900-year-old Altit Fort from 2005 to 2007. Despite facing numerous challenges, she has now become the CEO of Ciqam Green Solutions, one of the unique skill development projects manage and led by woman.
Her project seeks to alleviate rural poverty by engaging young women in skills development and income earning opportunities. Through this project, Aqeela has enabled women to have access to income earning opportunities and improved their family income. Her work has also promoted social change based on gender equality while generating multiple benefits for the local economy.
Ciqam currently manages Altit Fort operations with 40 employees, runs Kha Basi Café with 12 young women which promotes local cuisine, operates carpentry workshop with 20-woman carpenters, crafts centre and Leif Larsen Music Centre (LLMC). The project has also planted more than 10,000 plants during the last 3 years in order to sustain its outputs and outcomes.
Through Ciqam’s core value of creativity, it seeks to develop local human capital by providing increased opportunities for youth - particularly for women - to become economically active and empowered. Its mission is to engineer wider social acceptance for women’s participation in labour markets by positively impacting local economies through developing environment friendly products and services that satisfy customers’ needs and increasing networking with local institutions.
Aqeela Bano’s initiative has been successful so far due its ability to create new possibilities for improving standards of living while promoting gender equality in Gilgit-Baltistan. By introducing her model into other areas of GB not only Hunza, she is determinedly pushing forward her vision of empowering more young women with economic opportunities that will allow them reach their full potential.
Ciqam Project History
Aqeela Bano’s work with Ciqam Green Solutions began in 2003, when she joined Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan (AKCSP) as a trainee. After honing her topographic and building survey skills, Aqeela was promoted to team leader and conducted condition assessments for the 900-year-old Altit Fort between 2005 and 2007. As part of this initiative, she set out on a mission of empowering women with economic opportunities that would allow them to reach their full potential.
The AKCSP developed local community-based institutions to manage restored heritage assets while enhancing community participation and ensuring sustainability of heritage as a capital for local economic growth. Through this model, over 120 young women received training in non-traditional skills such as topographic and building surveys, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrification, crafts and traditional music instrument making, hospitality services, housekeeping services, tourist guides services and folk music. This led to the formation of Ciqam Green Solutions—the first social enterprise in Pakistan run by women—in 2017 under section 16 of Companies Act 2017.
The objectives of Ciqam are multifaceted: they strive to alleviate rural poverty by providing access to income earning opportunities for women; promote local architecture using local construction materials; practice energy efficient methods; incorporate climate change resilient practices; increase gender equality; generate multiple benefits for the economy; create awareness about the importance of female participation in development initiatives; manage Altit Fort operations with 40 employees; run Kha Basi Café with 12 young women which promotes local cuisine; operate a carpentry workshop with 20 woman carpenters; craft centre and Leif Larsen Music Centre (LLMC).
Since its launch Ciqam has accomplished several impressive feats: it has generated over 120 direct employment opportunities while also creating indirect benefits through promotion of local materials, traditional food and plantation. The project has planted more than 10,000 plants during the last 3 years. Additionally they have been engineering wider social acceptance for female participation in labour market while positively impacting on local economy by developing environment friendly products that satisfy customers’ needs. Their goal is not only limited to Hunza but also plan on introducing their model into areas outside Gilgit Baltistan too.
Ciqam Achievements Objectives
This section of the blog post will focus on Ciqam Green Solutions' achievements and objectives. Through its innovative skill development program, Ciqam has enabled women to access income-earning opportunities, improved family incomes, and promoted a social change based on gender equality. By providing training in various skills such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrification, crafts and traditional music instrument making, Ciqam has created over 120 direct job opportunities for women in Gilgit-Baltistan. In addition to creating employment opportunities for women, Ciqam has also raised awareness on the importance of women's participation in local development.
Ciqam has taken steps to ensure that their work is sustainable by institutionalizing the project outputs and outcomes. Today it manages Altit Fort operations with 40 employees working together and runs Kha Basi Café with 12 young women promoting local cuisine as well as a carpentry workshop with 20-woman carpenters along with a crafts centre and Leif Larsen Music Centre (LLMC). Ciqam strives to continue its mission of poverty alleviation while promoting an environment friendly construction model which is climate change resilient.
The team at Ciqam works closely with their agents to ensure a sense of empowerment throughout the process. Agents are encouraged to complete self-assessments in order to stay motivated and take pride in their work. Beyond average handle time metrics, they investigate extreme length calls which can provide more useful insights than AHT alone. They have also begun monitoring basic courtesies between agents and customers such as use of “please” or “thank you” and instructing employees on how best to differentiate themselves from competitors using politeness when interacting with customers.
Ultimately, Ciqam’s goal is not only to sustain current projects but expand outreach beyond Gilgit-Baltistan so that more young women can benefit from these opportunities for economic growth across Pakistan. With their core value of creativity driving them forward each day, Ciqam hopes to develop local human capital by increasing chances for youth – particularly women – to become economically active members of society through engineering wider social acceptance for female participation in the labour market while positively impacting the local economy.
Benefits of Ciqam Model
The Ciqam model has had a profoundly beneficial effect on the women of Hunza. Through its provision of training in non-traditional skills such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrification and crafts, it has enabled females to have access to income generating prospects. This has improved their family incomes and created over 120 job roles for them in Gilgit-Baltistan. Additionally, it has sparked a social transformation centred around gender parity by delivering multiple advantages.
Ciqam further advances local architecture and construction materials which are energy efficient and environment friendly. This boosts regional economic growth through the reduction of emissions that contribute to climate change and improving air quality. It also strengthens links with local organisations which helps foster additional development in the area.
By providing more opportunities for youth – particularly women – to become economically active and gain autonomy, Ciqam is helping to cultivate wider social acceptance for women’s involvement in the labour force. It has also raised awareness about the importance of female engagement in local growth initiatives by stimulating female leadership and entrepreneurship within the community.
Furthermore, Ciqam is making attempts to extend its outreach outside of Gilgit-Baltistan so that even more young females can reap these benefits for economic prosperity throughout Pakistan. It is committed to upholding its project outputs and outcomes via its core value of creativity which will build up local human capital through allocating resources needed for education, health care and other services essential for a thriving community.
In summation, Ciqam Green Solutions has had an uplifting impact on the lives of many women in Hunza thanks to its promotion of gender equality as well as training programs encouraging non-traditional skillsets and plans to reach out beyond Gilgit-Baltistan into other parts of Pakistan too. The model stands as an example of how sustainable development can be realized by empowering communities with access to educational resources, employment opportunities and social commendation concerning female leadership positions at every level
What's Next for Ciqam
Going forward, Ciqam Green Solutions has an exciting journey ahead. It is actively working to extend its reach beyond Hunza and create a lasting positive impact in Gilgit-Baltistan. The organization plans to continue promoting local materials and traditional food while connecting with local institutions, so that more young women can benefit from increased economic opportunities. Its initiatives such as tree planting, energy efficient construction models and providing educational resources will help further reduce emissions, improve air quality and support climate change resilience practices both within the region and beyond its borders.
Ciqam is also dedicated to developing human capital by introducing non-traditional skills such as topographic surveys, carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electrification through workshops and other skill development programmes. As a result of these efforts, it hopes to empower more women in the region; giving them access to job roles which weren't previously available to them. By doing this it aims at inspiring future generations for years to come!
As Ciqam Green Solutions continues on its mission of empowering young women while creating a lasting positive effect on Gilgit-Baltistan's economy; it strives towards achieving gender equality through improved access to economic opportunities - all driven by its core value of creativity.