Mega Project Blog 2: Safaai Nisf Emaan
You will agree with me on this that there are certain things in our lives that we really care about. It can be your family, your goal, your work, or any social cause. Our religion Islam put a lot of emphasis on cleanliness. It requires us to use our abilities for the betterment of humanity and work for this cause. Pakistan is created based on Islam so it’s our duty to embody the Islamic principles and sayings in our society.
We joined the Amal family 3 months back. The journey was exciting, full of energy, and hard like mountains. Here, we learned to find our abilities, urge ourselves to use our abilities, and make some impact.
Success is not measured in the amount of dollars you make, but the amount of lives you impact
We wanted to do something using Amal’s mega project to go the extra mile to solve one of the biggest problems in Pakistan.
What it could be!
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life
In Pakistan, there is no proper system of solid waste management. We all wonder how the foreign countries are so clean and humans experience much better health. It is solely because they take responsibility for the cleanliness of their immediate surroundings and their government supports them too. The main reason why we are unaware of the significance of cleanliness is lack of awareness. It is sometimes more about the mindset that we as a nation does not feel this a significant problem. Hence, we are never interested in solving it.
I know you don’t need a proof for that…
We had several meetings and brainstorming sessions to throw several wonderful ideas. By using techniques taught at Amal we were able to finalize that we will look for areas where we would be able to give awareness. Besides, since action speaks louder than words so we planned to practically clean those areas as well. We know that in 2 months span we won't be able to clean the whole of Pakistan or even just Lahore but the idea is to do something which we can as per our resources since little drops of water make the mighty ocean.
Division of tasks
We divided the whole campaign work and I assigned duties to everyone. Sarah had to deal with the graphics and media section along with me. Farah was given the responsibility to contact the NGOs and Tehreem had to get media (print and electronic) coverage. Lastly, Abuzar had to deal with the finance and Usman had to get us the volunteers.
Social media reach
We now have more than 600 followers on our social media handles and community of more than 2000 members and it’s still counting.
We created three different videos shared them on our social handles. First one was about the introduction of Safaai Nisf Emaan, its history, mission and goals.
The second video was a public service message for everyone regarding cleanliness. We actually don’t bother to maintain a proper system of solid waste management in our society and consequently, it leads to streets full of waste. We all should take the responsibility for our areas and try to avoid any mismanagement of waste there. This would eventually lead to a cleaner Pakistan.
The third video encompassed the highlights of two drives of Cleanliness campaign initiated by our team. It portrayed the effort we had put to spread our message to our targeted audience.
I also created some videos with face cam and upload it on my WhatsApp story to create awareness among my circle. The idea was to ask for support as well by creating awareness.
Execution of Volunteer and Fundraising drive
To execute successful cleanliness drives, we had to gather volunteers and raise some funds. For that, we made posters and executed virtual drives. It was not easy for us but after putting in a lot of effort we were able to raise 1,150 Rs as funds and get 15 members as volunteers. We even managed a few perks for our volunteers to attract them and keep them motivated. One of the highlighted perks is that every volunteer will get an e-certificate from our side. The registrations for volunteers were held online through a google form. The posters we made for that purpose are:
Flyers and E-Certificate design
We decided to design an appropriate flyer for our campaign and give them to the houses we would reach. We finalized the design of our flyer and distributed them to the houses we had reached. The design of the flyer is as follows:
Media and Coverage Collaboration
We signed media partnership with a society of UET known as UET Photography Club for the year 2021–2022. After signing the MOU, UPC is obliged to cover all our events, publish them on their social media handles, and even create customized videos if required.
We also contacted Roznama Newspaper and they agreed to publish about out campaign in their newspaper. Our campaign is yet to be published in that newspaper. It will probably get published within 3-4 days.
Contacting NGOs for support
We contacted around 20 NGOs through social media and email in which many were Karachi or Islamabad based. Some replied that they would get back to us later and so on. Two of them gave us a green signal and agreed to give us volunteers. We decided to get volunteers from them in our final campaign since we were unaware of proceedings. The idea was to learn from our initial drives and then get volunteers from an NGO.
Execution of Drive 1 and 2
We finally executed our drive 1 in an area known as Sheraz Villaz and it is near Cavalry Ground. We had designed a poster to publicize our drive.
The name of the area suggests that there would be an appropriate system of solid waste management but it was the opposite. On our first drive, we gathered 12 volunteers and were total of 17 in number. We reached 50 houses and covered an area of 1.5km. We spread awareness verbally and distributed flyers too. Photographer from UPC was there to do the coverage. I remember a guy was so inspired by our idea and efforts that he even requested us to take a picture with him. Besides, he was humble and owns a band. Alhamdulillah, there were challenges but we covered it well. You can see the highlights of our first drive here.
For drive 2, we went to an area called Madina colony. Due to some issues, we could not get volunteers and we were just three in number but I was of the view that challenges and obstacles always compliment the path of success. We knew that we just have to show character and never lose hope. We still backed ourselves and completed our threshold target of 30 houses and covered an area of 1km. We also made a database and tried to collect the name, contact and address of the house which we covered. We were unable to get the details of every single house and even every single detail. However, we still managed to get enough and even made their excel sheets too. This was just to validate our door-to-door campaign.
As we were just getting started with our project, it was necessary to make use of different tools to market our idea. We used the following ways to increase our reach and meet our goals.
- Video creation
- Facebook page
- Instagram Page
- YouTube Channel
- WhatsApp groups
- Personal connections
We created our Facebook page and published different posts related to awareness about solid waste management and our campaign. W invited our friends to increase likes on our page and right now our page has 380+ likes in this short span of time.
Similarly, we did the same with Instagram and got 120 followers on our page. Moreover, we created our YouTube channel as well and until now we have posted three videos on our channel and our channel has attained 90 subscribers. Moreover, we utilized our personal connections smartly to spread the word.
Challenges and Solutions
Whenever you start something, it is obvious you are going to face challenges. We have listed some of the challenges that we faced.
- Convincing people and facing their reaction
- Time limit
- Gathering volunteers
- Permission, exams and high fare issues
- Garbage collector issue
It is not an easy task to convince others to believe in what you believe. So, we came up with a strategy to motivate each other and saying ourselves that we can do it. We had to face some odd responses too from people but we faced them calmy and did not panic. We convinced people by saying that:
“Jesa jis ghar ma hm rhta ha wo hmra ghr ha usi trh Pakistan b hmra ghar ha. Hma Pakistan ko b saaf rkhna chiya. Ham politicians ko bht criticize krta ha but ham ma sa koi apni responsibility lena ko tayar nai. Hama is chz ko smjhna chiya k jhn hm rhta ha agr wo jga saaaf hogi to when hmri families na grow krna ha. Wo jagah agr gandi hogi to hmri families hi bemarion ka shikar hngi. Bajaya k hazaro rupay doctors pa lgya hma chand 100 rupay jamadaar ko dakr apna mohallah ko b saaf rkhna chiya. Hamra message yai ha k apko jhn spots nazar aya ap hr 15 se 20 days baad mil kr uthwa dya kra”
Marketing was yet another challenge for us. As we were new, we had to work hard to gain trust and increase likes on our page, show some work, and then also make effective use of different media platforms. We as a team worked according to the plan and we achieved more than 100 likes on our Facebook page in a few hours and the chain continued.
We all were aware of the tight time limits for Amal mega project and we are trying our best to do whatever we can to achieve our mega project goals. Since every one of us has been getting involved in exams so it was a challenge too to achieve our goals.
Gathering volunteers was never easy since no one seemed willing to participate. We encouraged them by offering them an e-certificate and by that we finally managed to get volunteers from our circles.
Some of our circle members were facing issues regarding permission and high transport fare. Sarah’s parents were not giving her permission to come for the campaign. Similarly, Usman, Tehreem and Abuzar had issues related to high transport fare since the campaign area was not near to them. So, we tried to manage our drives by achieving our minimum targets. Exam issue was bothering our project too as Tehreem and Usman are still involved and Shehryaar has gone back to NUST for his exams. Moreover, we planned our final target near UET Lahore which would be near to Usman and his volunteer force. Lastly, we planned a strategy for Abuzar and Tehreem so that it would be economical for them too.
For our first two drives, the garbage collector I had approached did not come and we had to face it right on drive day. If we were informed earlier, we could have managed an alternative. But, I had plan B in my mind and we approached a shop whose primary work was to collect any kind of waste. That shop was near to the campaign area so we managed that situation well on spot and did not panic.
Any Change in Approach?
We don’t actually see any major U-Turn in our approach. In the initial proposal of our blog, we had several different options. But Amal has taught enough skills to brainstorm and use the power of unity to find the best possible ideas that can actually work. We just had to change the name of our project from Nisf Emaan to Safaai Nisf Emaan since there was already a CSR initiative with the same name.
As it is clear from our goal and our work, we really want to help address the major hurdle for the success of Pakistan. Here, at this stage, what matters is quality, not quantity. We tried our best to spread our message and pray to Allah to give us courage, will, and passion to serve our nation with this little effort.
Mali da kam pani dena bhar bhar mashkan pawy, malik da kam phal phul lana lawy ya na lawy
We have tried our best to make people realize the significance of this issue and took the first step towards betterment. Reaching close to 100 houses, spreading the word, and cleaning that area was not easy considering the challenges we had to face. We hope that our hard work will pay off.
We have ambitious plans. While doing the campaign, we made sure to convince the people that if they observe spots full of waste, they would call a garbage collector and clean that spot at least twice a month. If they follow its principle, there would not be any mismanagement of waste.
We are yet to execute the third and final drive of our cleanliness campaign. We are looking forward to executing it this Sunday near UET Lahore.