The Open Society Foundations in Pakistan

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The Open Society Foundations began working with Pakistan in 2005, supporting local groups working on education and then providing emergency funds after that year’s devastating earthquake. The Foundation Open Society Institute Pakistan opened in 2008. Based in Islamabad, the foundation is run by a staff of Pakistani nationals, and guided by an advisory board that includes some of Pakistan’s most respected thought-leaders. 

Since 2005 the Open Society Foundations have contributed over $40 million to support social and economic development and stability in Pakistan. Today, the foundation is a partner with Pakistan in its drive to meet the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—including Sustainable Development Goal 4 (providing inclusive, quality education) and SDG 16 (building peace, justice, and strong institutions).

We also work closely with all levels of government, and work alongside other international funders. The Foundation Open Society Institute Pakistan generally provides no more than one third of any group’s total annual budget, to ensure their independence and sustainability. 

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Nine facts about the work of Open Society Foundations in Pakistan:

  1. The Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Education in Islamabad to create a national center of excellence for early childhood care and education—as part of a national effort to raise standards for teaching and caring for young children and families. 
  2. In 2011, the Foundation helped launch the country’s first Children’s Literature Festival initiative, an effort to promote reading, creativity, and critical thinking that has engaged thousands of children, teachers, and parents in cities across the country. 
  3. The Foundation seeks to promote an educational culture of critical thinking at the primary and secondary level rather than rote learning through a comprehensive professional development program for teachers. The program has been developed with The Citizens Foundation, a private, nonprofit network of over 1,400 schools in poor and remote areas, and with the Teachers’ Resource Centre to support government schools. 
  4. Our efforts to expand education for all include providing educational programs for children held in a number of prisons. 
  5. The Foundation works with the Rural Support Program Network, the largest network of NGOs in Pakistan, to train community-based paralegal advisors in remote villages. 
  6. Our support for independent journalism includes helping to establish the Pakistan Coalition for Media Safety, documenting and monitoring threats to journalists.
  7. We have funded the work of the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives, which provides independent research-based social and economic policy advice to the Punjab provincial government on issues ranging from education, urban growth, policing to budget, and tax. 
  8. Through our grantees we support the work of government-established Information Commissions across Pakistan, and promote the adoption and implementation of access to information laws.
  9. The Open Society Foundations has twice responded to international appeals for emergency relief funding in Pakistan, delivering $6 million after the devastating 2010 monsoon floods, and $3 million after the 2005 earthquake.

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