The Foundation Open Society Institute—Pakistan was established in 2008 as part of the Open Society Foundations. We support and promote public participation in democratic governance and respect for human rights by awarding grants, introducing concepts, and bringing together diverse civil society organizations and groups. Our key areas of activity are education, media, government transparency and accountability, justice and human rights, and economic policy.
We provided assistance in the initial relief efforts after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, supporting the rebuilding of schools and counseling for children. And we supported flood relief and rehabilitation activities through an emergency fund of $5 million during the country’s 2010 floods.
The foundation relies on the expertise of an advisory board composed of Pakistan’s most respected thought-leaders, who oversee our activities, shape strategy, assess performance, and review the latest developments related to our fields of work.
Transparency and Accountability
The Transparency and Accountability Program has been making grants since 2009 supporting the right to information (RTI), budget transparency, and community social audits. We advocate the adoption and implementation of effective RTI laws, and promote the use of these laws by citizens, journalists, and other pressure groups to resolve service delivery issues.
Law and Human Rights
The Justice and Human Rights program supports civil society organizations in Pakistan who promote legal empowerment of the poor, the right to fair trial, and clinical legal education.
Through our legal empowerment model, we are training paralegals to be deployed into communities where they will be supported by legal aid clinics. We have been instrumental in introducing the concept of clinical legal education, which provides law students with real-life work experience in the spirit of social justice, and we have supported research and advocacy activities around the right to a fair trial and the abolition of torture from the criminal justice system.
Since 2012, the Media Program has worked towards a free, independent, and responsible media in Pakistan. Ethics and the safety of journalists have been its thematic focus since its inception. The program works through partners and coalitions to bring key stakeholders together, including media outlets, journalists, and civil society organizations in order to raise a collective voice for journalists’ safety.
The Media Program has also supported research studies on the ethical dimensions of media content in Pakistan, and promotes ethics and transparency, particularly in regards to conflict reporting.
We have been engaged with Pakistan’s education sector for a decade, and our Education Program’s objective is quality education for all. To achieve this goal, we partner with politicians at all levels of governance, bureaucrats, civil society, the media, and private citizens, and support all of these groups to become more substantially involved in the education debate.
The program mainly focuses on equal access to quality primary and secondary education by providing and supporting the implementation of the constitutional right to education at national and provincial levels. It also aims to promote the concept of early childhood education and development. Other focus areas are the introduction of critical thinking in education and encouraging libraries and reading culture in Pakistan.