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This article was originally published by the Daily News.

A cohort of 20 youth from Sultanabad, Karachi was trained on social entrepreneurship skills to fight both the unemployment and civic challenges in their area. The training, imparted by the Accountability Lab in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, focused on developing leadership, entrepreneurial, conflict management, and communication skills among the targeted youth.

The training programme, spread over six months, besides training the selected youth on given topics, hand-holds them in developing their individual and collective civic projects that may promote transparency, accountability, and better governance in Sultanabad. The best among these designed projects will then be recruited into the Accountability Lab’s larger two-year incubation programme where they will be provided with all the necessary technical support, mentorship, linkages and networking, and seed-money to be tested, piloted, and if successful, scaled up within and outside the targeted communities.

Faced with a grind of increasing unemployment and a non-performing government that has little rapport of solving civic issues, such programmes encourage citizens, especially youth, to step forward and not only demand bottom-up accountability, but also to play their role via developing creative solutions for the recurring problems that the communities face on a day to day basis. Riding on youth’s increasing connectivity via online tools, the programme encourages them to form constructive learning and doing communities that may not only lobby for improved public service deliveries, but also loop in, educate, and motivate the common citizens to play their roles towards a better governed, inclusive, participatory, and responsive local government.